[How To] Speed Up Old PC Without Hardware Upgrade or Formatting The PC

by Rohit Khurana on April 18, 2013

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We have crossed almost 2 decades past the time when the PCs became really affordable (at least desktop PCs) compared to the initial times when the personal computers were more of luxury of for work applications only. As they become more and more affordable, they are also becoming more and more speedy and sleek. In most cases, your 3 to 5 year old PC (or maybe an older one) maybe still lying on your desk and you may not be using it because you find it too slow. Many of us have such old PCs at home which are not of much use. Recently, one of our readers submitted a query asking-

I have Windows XP, it is too slow and even games like total overdose and counterstrike lags very much. Video formats such as .mkv hangs and slow down. Please give me a solution?

In this article, I will share some tips on how to speed up old and obsolete PCs without upgrading the hardware. The reason why hardware upgrade is not recommended is that most of the hardware components of a 3 to 5 years or older PC are already out of production and it makes no sense to buy a rare component at high price which will not give you a good return on the money you spend to upgrade. I don’t recommend to do a clean install as it is usually painfully time consuming and finding right drivers for old computers is also very challenging.

Before you start with any of the tips below- Make sure to take backup of your important data on external storage or cloud storage.

Windows XP

Delete Unnecessary Data

There are tons of pictures, files and data in our documents folder which we keep accumulating but we never use, I recommend that you remove any unneeded files as they burden the disk which may make it slow. Any free space is a breather for the disk, so don’t overload it with heavy files and data which you don’t need.

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Uninstall Softwares

This is one of the most important part, most computers become slow not because they have aged, but because they have too much to handle. Identify the softwares which you use and need- keep only these softwares and uninstall rest of them which are just adding burden to your PC. This is  a slow and time consuming task, but it does give you noticeable improvements.

Optimize Startup

Startup tasks are those which are started automatically at starting if Windows. More often then not, they are the primary reason to make PC slow, to make your PC respond faster and boot quickly, follow the instruction here to remove some load from startup list.

Run Registry Cleaner

There are many free registry cleaners available which remove the old and corrupt entries which tend to accumulate and make PC slow. You can use some free tool like CC Cleaner to clean up the registry.

Run Virus Scan

If you have an antivirus installed, run a full system scan. If not, install any free or paid anti-virus of your choice and run a full virus scan. Sometimes viruses also make your PC slow. They are also a threat to your data and information security.

Run Disk Cleanup And Defrag

Disk cleaner and disk defragmenting tools are in-built in Windows, It is recommended that you run it every couple of months to clean up the disk and make it faster.

Create New User Account

This part is optional, but creating a new user account will give a fresh look, a clean desktop and feeling of using a new-like PC for most users. It does not increase the speed much, but it does create a cleaner space to work.

Hope you find these tips useful. Do leave your comments and suggestions in comment section below.

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