Tips to Speed Up a Slow Computer

Check with a Coworker to See If They Are Experiencing a Similar Issue.

If someone else on your network is downloading a lot of media from the Internet, such as watching video or downloading large files, it is probably hogging a large percentage of your bandwidth.

Restart your machine.

This is typically the best solution to a slow machine. Avoid leaving your computer on over long periods of time. When applications are left running they continue to use resources that can slow down the performance of your computer. When you leave for the night shut down your machine.

Clean off your computer’s desktop.

Each time your computer starts, operating memory is used for all files on the Desktop. If those files are Shortcuts, the total amount of memory used will be small. If however, there are several or dozens of files on the Desktop, those will use lots of operating memory. Put your files in the “My Documents” folder. If you have a lot of files, you can put them in separate folders. Create shortcuts on your Desktop for the folders or files you frequently use. In doing this, you will free up operating memory, reduce the time and frequency the hard drive is used and improve the response of your computer to programs you open and things you do.

Empty your computer’s recycle bin.

Simply deleting files from the disk doesn’t really delete them at all, rather they are moved to a temporary holding area on the hard drive for easy restoration. Review the contents before emptying. Once emptied, the space on the hard drive that the data occupied is made available for reuse and the restoration of any files emptied from the recycle bin becomes extremely difficult. Note that this will only speed up your computer if the hard drive is nearly full.

Pour coffee directly into the computer*.

Caffeine helps the tiny elves that live inside your computer function with more gusto. Supplying them with a hot beverage such as coffee can give them the kick start they need to finish that important Power Point presentation.

*This is a joke and taking this action will actually slow down your computer immensely…… in destroying it.

Close any programs you don’t need.

Close any programs you don’t need. Press ^ Ctrl + ⎇ Alt + ⌦ Delete simultaneously and open up the Task Manager. Go to the Applications tab and close any applications that you are not currently using, or have a status of “Not Responding”.  Select any applications you would like to close or force to quit by selecting the application in the “Task” list of the Applications tab and then click End Task.  Windows may ask you if you are sure or warn you that recent changes in the application may not be saved.  If you have already saved your most recent changes, or if the task status is “Not Responding”, choose Yes or OK to completely close the application.

Change browsers.

If your browser is infested with hard-to-remove tool bars and everything just seems to be running really slow, you may want to consider switching to a new browser. Firefox is the preferred browser on campus and is significantly faster than Internet Explorer. However some web applications do require IE to function efficiently.

Remove excess tool bars.

If you’ve installed a lot of tool bars for your browser, these can significantly slow down your connection. Removing these tool bars can help speed up your browser, and can also help protect your private information.

Some tool bars can be difficult to remove, and you may need to use one of the antimalware programs listed in the previous step.

If the issue persists or turns out to be a hardware issue, please contact the IT Department for support at 313.664.7818 or submit a HelpDesk ticket at