AVG Signal Blog Performance Speed How to Speed Up and Clean Up Your Slow Windows PC

Why is my computer so slow?

Usually, your PC slows down because it’s not using its finite resources efficiently. There’s only so much processing power, memory, and storage space available, and the key to speeding up your computer is to optimize all three.

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    If you’ve already tried shutting down your PC and restarting it, and that didn’t speed things up, then you'll need to take a more active approach. So, if you’re wondering why your PC gets slower over time, it’s likely because of one of the following reasons:

    • It’s too hot. Your computer will self-regulate its performance to compensate for excessive heat. A cool computer is a fast computer.

    • Your software is old. If you’re behind on your Windows and driver updates, you might suffer performance losses.

    • It’s doing too much. If you’re running too many programs at once or your disk usage is at 100%, your PC won’t be able to optimize performance for the things that really matter. Excessive startup and background programs are the usual culprits here.

    • You’re running low on memory. Your PC uses RAM (random access memory) to run all its active programs. Maxing out your RAM can lead to a sluggish PC.

    • You’re running low on disk space. As your hard drive fills up, your PC has less room to hold temporary files. And without enough free space, your PC won’t be as easily able to prevent hard drive fragmentation.

    • You’ve got malware. Many types of malware, such as viruses and worms, chew through your PC’s resources and slow it down.

    But whatever’s causing your machine to perform sluggishly, AVG TuneUp for PC is your all-in-one performance booster that will whip your machine right back into shape. Not only will it optimize your PC’s speed and performance, but its built-in Disk and Browser Cleaners will free up tons of storage space. Download AVG TuneUp today and enjoy a smoother, speedier PC experience.

    A few words of warning (and how to prepare!)

    Some of our tips and guides concern critical areas of your system. But if you follow them carefully, nothing bad will happen — we’ve tested everything on countless machines!

    Nevertheless, if you consider Murphy’s Law, then you should back up your system. At the very least, create a system restore point. To do that, open the File Explorer, right-click on This PC, and select Properties. From there, click System Protection in the top-left corner and create a restore point. If anything goes awry, you can return here and revert all settings.

    Creating a restore point in Windows

    How to speed up your computer

    Here, we’ll show you how to speed up your computer with a full set of performance-optimization tips, tricks, and tweaks. From a RAM upgrade to a CPU overclock to a thorough physical cleaning, the following techniques will give you everything you need to get your computer back in tip-top shape.

    1. Work and browse faster: Upgrade computer RAM & get a fast SSD

    There are two major limiting factors to any office PC or laptop: its RAM and hard drive.

    Upgrading RAM

    Your first limitation is your PC’s available physical memory (the RAM) where your computer holds the programs that you’re using. Think of RAM as your PC’s short-term memory.

    These days, 4 GB of RAM should be the minimum to run a PC. That’s mostly because of two types of applications:

    • Resource-intensive applications like video editing, gaming, Photoshop, programming apps, and online streaming platforms.

    • Browsers. Fire up Google Chrome and load up 10 of your most popular sites: You’ll likely see RAM usage skyrocket to more than 2 or 3 GB. That leaves barely enough room for Windows itself, let alone any other program.

    The result: Without sufficient RAM, your PC needs to shuffle things in and out of its short-term memory, and performance suffers. This is where all the annoying load times and freezes come from. Our advice: Upgrade your memory if you’ve got anything less than 4 GB of RAM.

    And picture of two sticks of RAM.

    Unless you’re playing games or working with insanely large files, 8 GB should be fine. RAM comes cheap these days, with prices starting as low as $30 for a 4 GB module. If you’ve got a laptop, make sure it’s upgradeable (in many cases, it’s difficult or even impossible to upgrade laptop RAM).

    Desktop owners are a little luckier here: Open up the case and locate your memory slots. Check the specifications of your PC to make sure your new RAM module fits (or ask a knowledgeable friend to help you).

    Upgrading to an SSD

    Your second-biggest limiting factor is your PC’s long-term memory: the hard disk! This is where Windows, your programs, and all your personal files are stored. Any time you load or open something — say, Spotify or your favorite photos — the hard disk needs to look for those bits and bytes. Then it transfers them to your RAM (see, it all plays together!).

    More than 80% of PCs still have a mechanical hard disk drive (HDD). It’s essentially a rotating platter accessed by a moving read/write head — like a turntable playing a vinyl record, or a laser head reading a DVD. In contrast to all other PC components that process data, this mechanical approach is painfully slow. Your RAM or CPU (central processing unit) might be idling while the disk is still busy spinning.

    Our advice: If you can, invest in an SSD (solid state drive). It’s a digital successor to your hard disk — no moving parts and instant access to all the bits. An SSD should increase your read and write speeds by a factor of at least 10. Windows will load faster, your files will open instantly, and your programs will run significantly smoother.

    A solid state drive from Samsung

    While SSD prices are still a bit higher than those of mechanical hard disks, you won’t regret the investment. A 250 GB SSD can be had for as little as $100. Even the more economically priced disks will breathe new life into an aging PC. Trust us on that — but, again, make sure your laptop or PC is upgradeable before you buy one.

    Neat side effect: Going from a mechanical disk to an SSD also results in less power consumption and more battery life for laptops.

    2. Play & edit faster: Get a great GPU

    Are you a gamer, designer, or video editor? In that case, RAM, hard disks, and even your computer’s processor (the CPU) aren’t your top concern. Your graphics card is responsible for how well your PC handles video editing and gaming. So, if Grand Theft Auto 5, Ark: Survival Evolved, or Dark Souls 3 aren’t running as fast or looking as gorgeous as they do in their trailers, your graphics card is to blame.

    On laptops, you’re completely out of luck, as the GPU (graphics processing unit) is soldered to the mainboard. No chance of upgrading that. Desktop PCs, however, can be easily upgraded with new GPUs.

    Two GeForce GTX cards in a computer chassis

    If you’re looking to upgrade your GPU, market leaders NVIDIA and AMD have a wide range of options.

    • Full HD gaming and rendering: Starting at $100–$150, the GeForce 1050/1060 series or Radeon 460/470 series offer great gaming experiences at Full HD resolutions (1920 x 1080).

    • 1440p higher-end gaming and rendering: If you want to play at Full HD with the graphical settings in your games completely maxed out, or if you’re playing on a screen with WHQD resolution (2560 x 1440), you’d better get a Radeon 480 or a GeForce 1070/1080 (in the $300–$500 price range).

    • 4K ultra-high-end gaming and rendering: These days, 4K is where it’s at. Only NVIDIA offers something for hardcore gamers who want to run games at a stunning 4096 x 2160 resolution. The only cards capable of hitting 4K gaming at a smooth framerate are the 1080 Ti (starting at $700), or the Titan X(p), if you’re willing to pay $1,300 to get the absolute best (even if it offers only an extra 5%–10% performance bump).

      Just to be safe, deep-pocketed hardcore gamers should probably get two 1080 Ti or Titan X units to play every game at a buttery smooth 60 FPS.

    Screenshot of the Witcher

    Bonus tips: if you’re deep into gaming, we’ve also covered how to optimize your gaming PC and boost FPS. Check it out.

    3. Defragmentation: What is this? And is it still a thing?

    We’ve explained the differences between the slower HDD and lightning-fast SSD above. Mechanical disks, in addition to being painfully slow, will also suffer from a phenomenon called “fragmentation.” The more programs and files you use, copy, and move, the more cluttered your disk becomes — and the harder the read/write head has to work to open or store your data.

    The solution: Defrag your disk by opening up your Start menu, typing in Defrag and hitting the Enter key.

    Searching for the Defragment and Optimize Drives app in the Windows menu for Windows 10Click Optimize to start the process — and be patient, this might take a while.

    Defragmenting drives with the Optimize Drives function in Windows 10

    4. Optimize startup by disabling startup items in Windows Task Manager

    Is your PC taking a bit too long to boot up? It might be loading up too many programs that you don’t need. Use Windows Task Manager to review the list of programs that run automatically at startup.

    To go through the list, right-click on your Windows taskbar (the bar along the bottom of your screen with all your app icons) and select Task Manager. Go to Startup and look at the items listed.

    The Windows start up tab in task manager

    The screenshot above shows at least two programs that don’t need to start up every time you fire up your computer: the Epic browser installer and the screenshot-taking tool Greenshot. If you need those, you can simply launch them yourself. To prevent an app from launching automatically at startup, right-click on it and select Disable.

    Now those were some super-easy examples. What about entries that aren’t immediately clear, such as NVIDIA Capture Proxy? In those cases, Google is your friend. Simply look these entries up online, and you’ll likely find them explained on a forum or technical website. That should help you decide whether you need them or not.

    To help you get rid of annoying startup delays, we’ve put together some tips for speeding up boot time as well as some common boot-time myths that you should be aware of.

    5. Use a patented method to reduce daily slowdown

    Many programs like iTunes or Photoshop install software components that run every time your computer is turned on — even when you’re not using them. These are:

    • Services: They provide basic functionality like keeping products updated. For example, Adobe Reader installs “Adobe Updater,” which frequently checks for updates.

    • Scheduled Tasks: Background applications that come with Windows or other software you install. These tasks are mostly used to perform actions at specific times or in certain situations. For example, Dropbox uses a scheduled task on your PC that checks for updates every day at 5:50 pm.

    • Startup items: As mentioned above, startup items are additional programs that launch every time you turn on your PC. But while services and scheduled tasks run mostly in the background, startup items tend to be more visible — most of them show up on your taskbar.

    There are many reasons why your PC gets slower over time, but these programs are among the most significant. They can put a high degree of stress on your computer and lead to undesirable outcomes.

    • Less memory is available for active processes, making your PC sluggish.

    • Higher stress causes more heat and increased energy consumption. Your PC runs slower to prevent overheating, and your laptop’s battery drains more quickly.

    • Windows prioritizes these background tasks instead of your current programs and activities, such as a video game you’re playing or work you’re actually doing.

    Now that we’ve established the causes and the effects of a typical PC slowdown, what can you do about it?

    Well, you could turn off all startup applications (which is quite safe). But in order to catch everything on this list and return your PC to like-new performance, you’d need to uninstall programs (even those you might like or need). And you’d need to dig deep into your system and manually turn off services, scheduled tasks, and more — and then turn them back on again in case something goes wrong. That’s not exactly an ideal situation.

    At AVG, we solved this problem with “Sleep Mode,” our patented technology that detects the programs slowing down your PC and freezes all the resource-eating components mentioned above.

    The sleep mode menu in PC TuneUp

    Sleep Mode is built into AVG TuneUp and shows you the resource hogs in a simple list. Then it lets you, well, “put them to sleep.”

    And the cool thing about this method is that you don’t need to uninstall or forcefully turn off things you might need. Instead, Sleep Mode pauses them while dramatically reviving your system.

    Now here comes the critical part: Once you launch an application, say Google Chrome in the example above, Sleep Mode turns it all back on again, then turns it back off once you’re done using it. Use Sleep Mode on as many applications as you can, and you’ll notice a considerable speed improvement, especially if you’ve installed a lot of resource-heavy apps.

    Download AVG TuneUp for PC today and let Sleep Mode boost your PC’s speed and performance automatically.

    6. Overclock your CPU or GPU

    Your processor and graphics card work at specific “clock” frequencies, which determine how many operations per second your hardware performs. For example, a Core i7 6700HQ clocks from a base rate of 2.6 GHz and boosts up to 3.5 GHz. The GeForce Titan X(p) runs at just over 1500 MHz. Overclocking increases these frequencies in order to get more processing power.

    Overclocking also increases the stress and heat put on your PC's hardware, though it’s not as dangerous as it used to be. In most cases, your CPU or GPU simply turns off when overstressed or overheated, and Windows freezes before any real damage occurs. Still, due to these effects, overclocking is considered an advanced process that requires you to carefully monitor CPU temperature. In other words, don’t overclock your hardware unless you know what you’re doing.

    Overclocking the CPU

    Unless you’re doing a lot of CPU-intensive tasks like multimedia editing or running lots of applications at the same time, you won’t feel the difference of an overclock. But for those who want absolutely optimal performance, try Intel’s own Extreme Tuning Utility.

    With this tool, you can easily adjust the CPU clock speed, but we advise you to increase it only in increments of 50 MHz — and then test your system’s stability under various high-stress scenarios (editing, gaming, or rendering) — before increasing it further.

    Overclocking the GPU (only for gamers)

    Gaming performance depends mainly on the power of your graphics chip — even more so than on how much memory you have or on how fast your processor is. In almost all cases, your graphics chip is the bottleneck that causes jittery or laggy gameplay. To improve performance, you may want to overclock your GPU to run it beyond its factory speed setting.

    Gaming performance depends mainly on the power of your graphics chip — even more so than on how much memory you have or on how fast your processor is.

    In the GPU world, you can overclock both the processing chip and the memory speed using various tools like MSI Afterburner. On our own gaming PC (with two Titan Xp graphics cards), we managed to clock the GPU by 200 MHz and the memory by 500 MHz before things became unstable. And the benefits were noticeable: Gaming performance climbed by another 15%, and we saw the best possible frame rate and picture quality on even the most demanding games.

    But again, this is something you — even as an experienced user — have to experiment with. Not all chips are created equally and they react differently to overclocking. Plus, your cooling solution is another limiting factor. We were able to achieve these clocks using a water cooling system. With a traditional fan setup, you might run into thermal issues more quickly.

    Measuring your overclockNote to laptop users: Overclocking is also possible if you’ve got a dedicated graphics chip, such as the GeForce GTX 965M (shown above) or the Radeon Pro 460. But thermal issues are even more prominent with laptops, because heat can’t dissipate as easily in small enclosures. That’s why you often won’t be able to push the clocks past 100 or 150 Mhz. Plus, due to the increased power draw, your battery life will definitely suffer.

    7. Update your drivers

    Your PC comes with more than 100 built-in components. You’ve got the Wi-Fi chip, the processor, the graphics card, the power button, and loads of other bits and pieces that make things happen. It’s a complex system that miraculously works.

    All those components are controlled by device drivers. Drivers are small, complex pieces of software that control the way different components work. And just like any piece of software, drivers can be faulty (especially early versions). They can also fail to deliver the full potential from your hardware.

    That’s why it’s crucial to update your drivers to keep your PC performing at top speed. You can also use dedicated driver updater software to automatically scan and update your drivers.

    8. Update your OS

    Microsoft constantly makes adjustments to Windows OS. While many of these updates patch up security holes like 2019’s BlueKeep vulnerability, others are performance-based.

    If you’re not yet using Windows 10, consider upgrading if you can. It’s not going to be free, but because Microsoft has stopped issuing security updates for Windows 7, moving to Windows 10 will give you a far greater degree of protection.

    But regardless of which edition of Windows you’re running, be sure to use the most current version. You can check which version of Windows you have by opening your Windows menu and navigating to Settings > System > About.

    Viewing the Windows specifications in the System settings of Windows 10

    9. Should you use a registry cleaner?

    The registry is a crucial part of your Windows operating system. In many cases, it contains hundreds of thousands of entries, out of which probably thousands might be invalid or just empty. And the web is full of so-called “registry cleaners” and tips on how to clean up a registry to speed up PCs. Registry cleaners find these problematic entries and delete them or fix them as needed.

    What the Windows registry looks like

    But 99.999% of the time, using a registry cleaner has no impact on PC performance. Sure, Windows constantly accesses the registry, but the size of that database is about 100 to 200 MB, which even a 10-year-old PC can process in a fraction of a second. Deleting a few entries from the registry does not impact speed whatsoever.

    Nevertheless, cleaning the registry is a bit like hygiene, as even some Microsoft employees have said in the past. In rare instances, some missing keys might cause error messages upon startup. But unless you’re experiencing these errors, there’s no need to run a registry cleaner.

    Our advice: Leave the database alone. Windows does a good job of taking care of it. And if you do have an error, make sure you go with a professional registry cleaning tool.

    10. How viruses, Trojans, adware, or any form of malware affect performance

    Viruses, adware, malware, spyware, and Trojans aren’t just a major security risk. Some of them can seriously affect your PC’s performance. If your PC is running slow despite all your noble efforts, you might need to consider getting rid of malware with a dedicated antivirus tool. Go ahead and download our award-winning antivirus protection today.

    11. Physically clean your computer

    With your PC or laptop fans blowing air in and out of the system for years, there’s likely entire families of dust bunnies thriving inside your machine. These slow down or even stop your fans, which traps heat and leads to poor performance and frequent crashes.

    That’s why I frequently open up my PC case and laptops to catapult dust bunnies out of the system with a gas duster (keep a vacuum handy). And while you’re at it, you might as well make your computer screen and keyboard shine, too. There are many cleaners designed specifically for this.

    When you’re done, be sure to position your computer so that cool air can reach the vents. Place both laptops and desktops on hard, flat surfaces — no carpets, and don’t use your laptop in bed if you don’t have to. Also, don’t leave your desktop inside a cabinet where air can’t circulate freely.

    12. Prevent programs from running in the background

    RAM is a finite resource, and even computers with a lot of it still can handle only so many tasks at once. If you have a lot of programs that operate in the background — when you’re not actually using them — they’ll drain memory from more important tasks.

    You can prevent programs from running in the background so that they’ll only consume memory when you’re actively using them. Here’s how to do that in Windows 10:

    1. Open your Settings and select Privacy.

      Opening the Privacy settings from the Settings menu in Windows 10

    2. Select Background apps from the menu on the left.

      To prevent all apps from running in the background, flip the toggle next to Let apps run in the background to Off. To prevent individual apps from running in the background, flip their respective toggles to Off.

      The Background Apps settings within the Settings menu of Windows 10

    13. Try Windows troubleshooters

    Windows includes built-in optimization tools in the form of its troubleshooters. These utilities analyze your system and offer recommendations for how you can optimize performance with a few simple tweaks.

    1. Open your Settings and select Update & Security.

      Opening the Update & Security settings from the Settings menu in Windows 10

    2. Select Troubleshoot from the menu on the left. The troubleshooting utilities will evaluate your system’s performance based on the respective issues they’re designed to address.

      The troubleshooting utilities in the Settings in Windows 10

    14. Adjust your visual effects

    Windows features a whole range of stylish visual effects, but if you don’t mind going without them, you can improve performance by turning them off. You’ll need to open the Performance Options section of your Control Panel.

    1. To find this setting, type adjust appearance into your Cortana search bar, or directly into the Start menu. Then, press the Enter key to open the Performance Options.

      Searching for the Performance Options in the Cortana search bar by entering the phrase "adjust appearance"

    2. Select Adjust for best performance to let Windows optimize its visual effects automatically. You can also enable or disable individual effects.

      The Visual Effects settings within the Performance Options for Windows 10

    15. Increase virtual memory (advanced)

    Virtual memory is a sort of halfway zone between RAM and the long-term storage of your hard drive. With virtual memory, your computer allocates part of your hard drive to handle less-active processes, freeing up your RAM for whatever you’re doing right now.

    If you’re getting an error message that warns, “Your system is low on virtual memory,” or if you need to increase it for other reasons, you can give this a try. However, we recommend a virtual memory increase as a solution only for advanced users who know their way around a computer.

    Additionally, your hard drive isn’t meant to switch between tasks at rapid speed — that’s why you have RAM. If you rely too heavily on virtual memory, your machine’s performance may suffer even more severely than before.

    Here’s how to increase virtual memory in Windows 10:

    1. Open your Settings and select System.

      Opening the System settings in the Settings menu of Windows 10

    2. Select About from the menu on the left. Then, select System info from the Related settings on the right. If you don’t see the Related settings, expand your window horizontally until you do.

      Finding the System info settings within the About settings in Windows 10

    3. This opens the System settings in your Control Panel. Select Advanced system settings from the options on the left to open the System Properties window.

      Opening the Advanced system settings within the System settings of Windows 10

    4. Click the Settings button in the Performance section to open the Performance Options window.

      Opening the Performance settings in the Advanced tab of the System Properties in Windows 10
    5. Select the Advanced tab. Then, click Change.

      Opening the Virtual Memory settings from the Advanced tab of the Performance Options in Windows 10

    6. Uncheck the box next to Automatically manage paging file size for all drives. Instead, select Custom size.

      The Virtual Memory settings in Windows 10, showing how to set a custom size

    7. At the bottom of the window, note the Recommended and Currently allocated memory amounts. If the latter is smaller than the former, set the Recommended amount as the new Initial size. Set a Maximum size that is larger than this value.

      You can also use the following formula to calculate your Initial and Maximum virtual memory: Set the Initial size as 1.5 times your current RAM, and your Maximum as triple your current RAM.

      As an example, 4 GB of RAM works out to 4,096 MB. With that amount of RAM, you’d set the Initial size as 6,144 MB, and the Maximum size as 18,432 MB.

      Setting a custom size for virtual memory in Windows 10

    8. When you’re done, click Set, and then confirm by clicking OK. Finally, restart your computer.

    How to clean up your PC and hard disk

    The advice in this section is about how to clean up your computer and eliminate all the built-up digital junk that’s clogging your machine. We’ll show you how to clean out your hard drive, how to identify and remove useless programs, and how to migrate your files to cloud storage to free up more space on your PC.

    1. Perform a disk cleanup

    Whenever you use your PC — its programs, its browser, its games — you leave behind a plethora of digital waste. That’s because all programs on your PC create some form of “temporary files” — files that the programs need in order to operate, but that remain behind, like little pieces of digital waste, once you’re done using them. Those might be:

    • Temporary setup and program files

    • Old Chkdsk files

    • Setup logs

    • Windows Update & Windows Upgrade leftover files

    • Windows Defender leftover files

    • Temporary internet files & offline web pages

    • System error memory dump files

    • Windows error reporting files

    • Thumbnails & user file history

    Luckily, there are a few options for getting rid of all that clutter.

    First, you can use the built-in Windows Disk Cleanup tool, which deletes basic clutter from your PC. To launch it in any version of Windows (including Windows XP, 7, Vista, 8, and 10), right-click on your desktop and select New/Shortcut. Type in the following text:

    %SystemRoot%\System32\Cmd.exe /c Cleanmgr /sageset:65535 &Cleanmgr /sagerun:6553

    Creating a cleaning shortcut

    Name that shortcut “My new PC cleaner” (or whatever name you prefer). Then, right-click on it and select Run as Administrator. Select all the files you find there and remove them. If you’re unsure about anything, check the descriptions so you know what files you’re deleting. But in most cases, you won’t have any problems deleting these day-to-day temporary files.

    After a while, the superficial digital clutter should be gone, and we can move on to deeper cleaning options.

    1. Windows 10 offers another tool to help you clean up old upgrade files. These files can be significant if you’ve upgraded from Windows 7/8 to Windows 10 or from an older version of 10 to a newer one. You can find this option if you open your Start menu, click the Settings cog, and go to System. Under Storage, click your hard disk and select Temporary files. This is where you’ll find additional clutter, including the aforementioned backup files.

      The storage menu in Windows

      The temporary files menu in Windows

    2. Professional tune-up software: At AVG, we know that the built-in cleaning methods barely scratch the surface of the junk hidden on your hard disk and in your system folders. That’s because most programs like iTunes, Office, or Chrome create their own junk, which Windows doesn’t know how to delete.

      But we do, and our engineers have created cleaning methods for over 220 programs right inside AVG TuneUp. Let us tune up your PC for you.

      First, download AVG TuneUp.

      Next, go to the Free Up Space section, and move through all the features to delete all the temporary files our tool can find. You’ll often free up multiple gigabytes of useless data that can now be used for new programs, music, photos, or anything else you need.

      The PC TuneUp free up space menu

      Our Disk Cleaner removes the following types of additional leftover files:

      • Crash reports: Windows creates reports when your PC has crashed, but these are useful only to software engineers and can be easily deleted.

      • Cache files: These are temporary files left on your disk by Windows and other programs.

      • Thumbnails: These are temporary thumb files created and displayed by Windows Explorer.

      • "Recently used files” lists: Many programs, including Windows, create lists of files you recently opened. And while that’s convenient, it’s also a privacy risk. Disk Cleaner, a built-in feature of AVG TuneUp, locates these files and cleans them out once and for all.

      • Gaming: Leftover files from gaming platforms like Steam, such as installers for DirectX or Visual C++ Redistributable files, are no longer needed after you’ve installed and launched the game you downloaded.

      • …and much much more.

    2. Free up space on your hard drive by deleting huge files

    It happens all the time: You download a massive file or a huge video from your phone, then forget all about it. Windows Explorer provides a great way to find the largest files across your entire hard disk. Open up your explorer and click on the Search field. From here, click Size and select Gigantic. This will list all files larger than 100 MB.

    How to find large files with Windows Explorer

    3. Uninstall applications you don’t need

    You might have apps on your PC that you barely use or need anymore, slowing down your PC and wasting disk space. To get rid of any unnecessary apps, go to your Windows Control Panel, click Programs, then click Programs and Features. Go through the list and uninstall anything you don’t need.

    The uninstall unused programs menu in WindowsOne downside of this method is that it won’t tell you whether or not you need a specific program, or when you last used a certain program. But don’t worry, AVG TuneUp makes it easy to identify which programs you do and don’t need.

    The duplicate finder in PC TuneUp

    The Uninstall Manager lets you easily search for:

    • Rarely used programs.

    • Recently installed programs.

    • Large programs.

    • ..and more.

    After downloading and installing AVG TuneUp, click Uninstall Unused Programs, and then click Filter List.

    The unused programs menu

    The above example shows how a game that I’ve already finished (Dying Light) is still sitting on more than 20 GB of storage. I can uninstall it for now, then reinstall it next time I want to play.

    4. Test your hard drive’s integrity and health

    Any file on your HDD or SSD can get damaged if your PC loses power or crashes. That’s why it’s important to thoroughly check your hard disk’s integrity. To do that, click your Start button and type the letters CMD. This will bring up the search result Command Prompt. Right-click on it and select Run as Administrator.

    The administrator command prompt

    Enter chkdsk /f /r /b and hit Return. Confirm that you want to scan your disk upon the next reboot, then restart your PC. Depending on the size of your disk, this check and repair process can run for more than an hour. But in the end, you’ll have fixed some hard disk problems and repaired critical files. Or, at least you’ll know that everything is OK.

    5. Use cloud storage if you’re running out of local space

    If all the cleaning methods mentioned above aren’t giving you the space you need, you might consider uploading some of your larger files to a cloud service, such as OneDrive or Google Drive. While accessing files from the cloud might take a bit longer, cloud services are a good solution if you’re constantly running low on hard disk space.

    6. Clear your browser cookies and cache

    Your browser stores a bunch of files that, while individually not very large, can add up when you’ve got a lot of them. These include:

    • Cookies: Cookies are small files that share information about you with the websites you visit. Some cookies help websites remember your user preferences, but others track you around the internet, sending your data to advertisers, marketers, and website admins.

    • Cache: Your browser stores elements of the websites you visit in its cache. This helps your browser load those websites faster on subsequent visits.

    It’s always a good idea to periodically delete your browser cookies and purge your cache. Clearing cookies improves your browser speed and performance, and it prevents people from collecting data about you with tracking cookies. Meanwhile, emptying your cache forces your browser to load fresh versions of the websites you visit. This ensures that you’re seeing only the most current content while you browse.

    While you’re at it, consider deleting your browsing history as well. This won’t speed up your computer, but it will help protect your privacy. No one but you needs to know which websites you visit.

    You can easily clean up your browser, cache, and cookies with AVG TuneUp, which features a suite of dedicated cleaning and optimization tools. It'll quickly and easily get rid of all the junk clogging up your browser and make sure your computer stays clean with automatic maintenance and updates.

    How to update your applications

    Our studies have shown that over 52% of applications installed on PCs are outdated. Sometimes that’s due to people ignoring updates. Other times it’s because the applications don’t include a working updater.

    Why do we bring this up in our ultimate guide to speeding up PCs? Because old apps can cause stability and performance issues. So be sure to check out our dedicated guide on updating your apps.

    In short: Use an automatic software updater, or manually go through your list of apps and make sure they’re all current.

    Keep your PC clean and fast without the effort

    Now that we’ve covered the most important tuning and cleaning steps, it’s good to repeat them on a monthly basis. But if regularly cleaning and tuning your machine sounds like a hassle, then here are a few tips to reduce this upkeep for a healthy PC:

    • Before you install any software, consider whether you actually need it and plan on using it regularly. If you just need it once, remember to uninstall it after you’re done.

    • Go through the list of all your installed programs and decide if you still need any of them.

    • Finally, I often create full PC backups after I clean-install and configure my PC. Then if something goes wrong, I go back to that previous state. 

    AVG TuneUp handles many of the above processes automatically. After installing it, it’ll automatically clear our junk files, update your software, uninstall unwanted programs, and perform a whole suite of regular maintenance tasks — all without you having to do a thing.

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