PC Slow? Follow this guide to save money…

Computer slow, Repair, Upgrade, Replace
Plenty of cheaper options available before buying another new PC.
Repair, Upgrade or Replace?
 
The common expression, “My computer is starting to show its age,” is what customers have said when presented with a device that’s slower than a Sloth.  It’s very common due to the amount of work, software and virus nasties we throw at them.  A gradual decrease in performance can develop so slowly over time, we don’t often notice how sluggish they do become.
 
With enticing advertisements broadcast daily to replace your old egg timers to a super-fast shiny new one, it’s quite tempting with trade-in offers of “qualifying” products.  Chances are, if you have a qualifying product, it’s probably good enough to maintain or upgrade for now.
 
Before you’re tempted to give up on your seemingly outdated computer and £100’s of your hard-earned cash, there are a few other cost saving maintenance processes or minor upgrades to try beforehand.  These can often bring your PC back to normal or faster speed and help save your wallet and planet.  Upgrading key components in your computer will give your device a new lease of life and can extend it for a few more years.  Go through these options below before taking the plunge on a new computer. 
 
 
Maintenance
 
The first and cheapest option is to use easy maintenance procedures to regularly scan and clean your systems.  There are many free apps that will clean your systems, 2 of which are described below.
 
Computer cleaning software offers optimisation on many issues with Windows and iMac.  This one from Piriform removes temporary files left on your browsers, recycle bin and clears system folders & logs to boost productivity and free up space on the drive.  It also scans and removes invalid entries in the Windows Registry optimising the system.
 
Malwarebytes offers protection against malware (Malicious software) that some virus scanners fail to detect.  Using the tools within your virus scanner and regularly scanning your system for viruses is good practice to keep your system tip-top and keep computer flu at bay.
 
Utilising Windows own free clean-up tools offer additional maintenance to further optimise performance.  Tools such as Disk Clean-up and Optimise Drives will free up space and improve your system.  Using the Apps & Features (Win 10) or Programs and Features (Win 7) to remove software you no longer use will free up space and optimise your system. Some of the apps affect the boot time or run in the background taking up resources.  You’ll be surprised by how many apps you can rack up over time so the more you can optimise this list, the better.
 
Dust is the nemesis of electronic equipment and should this build up inside to a high level, so will the temperature making internal parts susceptible to heat damage.  This can block air flow, damage fans and prevent components cooling down to overheat.  Checking dust levels at least once a year is recommended and more frequent in dustier environments.
 
If, after trying these maintenance procedures and still faced with a slow or having difficulty accessing certain features, a system refresh is recommended.  This involves re-installing the Windows Operating system and can be invoked many ways:
 
Windows 8 & 10
Settings, Update & Security, Recovery, Reset this PC feature
Press & hold the Shift key whilst selecting Restart (Will invoke Windows Diagnostics during start-up)
Windows 7
Use a Windows installation CD or USB to boot up and choose “repair this computer”
 
Choose the option to keep your documents when resetting the PC.
 
A complete wipe of the hard drive and re-install of the operating system will in most cases, restore your system to normal speed.  Drivers, Windows/iOS updates, software, files and configurations will be required to bring familiarity back to your system.
 
In all instances, always ensure you have a recent backed-up copy of your documents.
 
 
Upgrade
 
Some upgrades can be simple 5-minute installations, whilst others are more complex and labour intensive.  I recommend DIY as much as possible so long as you are confident and know what you are doing as this could develop into major and costly problems.
 
An upgrade of a mechanical hard drive to Solid State Drive will massively improve performance and prices start from as little as £20.  These will provide faster boot times, fast file and software access, and overall system responsiveness.  See this blog for more details.
 
An upgrade of RAM memory will improve overall use and prices vary considerably depending on type.  Crucial offer an online memory scanner to provide compatible and memory capacity of your device.
 
Other upgrades include graphics cards, processor, motherboard, power supply, mouse, keyboard or monitor and can all bring improvements to the systems you use.  Upgrades of graphics, RAM, processor and newer Solid-State Drives will require a little research to ensure compatibility with your system.  Once you are thinking of upgrading the motherboard, it normally follows that processor, memory would also need updating which starts to tread in the territory of new replacement.
 
 
Replace
 
If after looking into the previous options, replacement could be the only option left to choose as some older models will not accept new technology.  You’re spoilt for choice with plenty of replacement options such as refurbished, build your own specification online or ready built packages from manufacturers or the High Street.  Of course, if you are struggling with your ZX81, Spectrum, Commodore 64 or Amiga, I think it’s time to replace that much-loved PC of yours.
 
By following the maintenance/upgrade/replace route in that order you will earn yourself some tech savvy points, a sack full of pound coins, and an invisible barrier of invincibility.  OK, maybe not the last one, but you’ll get a feeling of awesomeness from saving money and this land we are filling by the mega tonne load.