You get up. You wait in traffic. You wait at the coffee shop. You wait all day in meetings. You wait for dinner to finish cooking. You wait to fall asleep. Sure, life takes patience, things take time – that’s just the way it is. But one thing you shouldn’t have to wait for is your computer. For whatever reason, it’s just frustrating sitting there listening to it hum and watching the buffer wheels spin.
Whether you sport a Mac or PC, there’s a handful of things you should try before cashing in Old Faithful for a newer (more expensive) model.
- Uninstall “helper programs”. The admittedly less-refined, everyday term for these programs is “crapware.” They are applications you probably don’t even remember installing but they’re in there, just slowing down your computer by running in the background and taking up RAM. Go to a list of your programs and applications, sort by “installed programs” and it will be pretty obvious which ones are from a separate company you never, ever use. Simply uninstall and enjoy the speed bump.
- Clean your disk. You don’t have to wait for spring to thoroughly clean your computer. If you have a PC, run Disk Cleanup, and if you have a Mac, try installing the free download of CleanMyMac3. These programs find temporary files, offline web pages, and installer software that add needless storage to your (probably) overburdened system. Think of this as the computer version of throwing out all those company team builder t-shirts – it just feels … better.
- Add RAM. Sure, it would be nice if there was a big, sweeping way to speed up your computer that cost zero dollars, but sometimes you have to pay a little to save a lot. Adding additional RAM, while costing some money, is usually more cost effective than springing for a new computer. And if you’re running hefty programs like photo or video editing software, you’ll be amazed at how much faster this makes your machine.
- Upgrade your browser, and your Internet. Okay let’s just rip this Band-Aid off right now – if you’re still using Internet Explorer, just stop. Sorry – we know that hurt, but it’s just not the fastest browser anymore. Try Google Chrome Also, if your Internet speed was fast enough five years ago and is dogging a little right now, that’s probably because you’re using it for a lot more, with more devices. For multiple people to stream video, music, and play games online all at the same time, you should visit Frontier for FiOS and Broadband solutions that help you maximize your down time, every time.
- Consider Dumping Energy Hogs. Just because your computer came with applications like Windows Media Player and Microsoft Office, which suck up a lot of speed, doesn’t mean you need to keep them. Open source alternatives like VLC Media Player or online, cloud-based suites like Google Docs allow you to perform the same functions, faster. Just make sure you have a strong WiFi connection to keep those docs online, and download those applications efficiently!
- Automate Updates. For whatever reason, it seems like system updates come at the absolute worst times – no, of course we’re not going to restart the computer right before we marathon-watch the new Daredevil season. To solve that problem, turn on the function on your computer to automate updates. That way, you won’t be four iterations behind with a computer that’s struggling to keep up, just because you haven’t updated.
- Take the time to analyze your storage. If you downloaded all three Lord of the Rings movies four years ago, and they’re just taking up space, it may be time to let those go. Dig into your storage. Files you downloaded or saved that you forgot about, image and video files, or even a Recycling Bin full of garbage files you haven’t emptied are all taking up space and slowing down your machine. By either deleting these files outright or transferring them to an external hard drive, you free up your internal hard drive for files you’re actually accessing regularly, without being weighed down by the 600 photos you took at that one Backstreet Boys concert.
Yes, life is full of waiting, so speed things up where you can. With just a few simple maneuvers, you can feel that rush of satisfaction when your machine does exactly what you want, as soon as you want. You may still have to be patient while waiting for dinner to cook, but at least you’ll have fast Internet on a fast machine to enjoy while you wait!