Windows 7 Running Slow? How to speed up a slow PC.

Windows 7 debuted in 2009, which is an eternity in computer time. Older windows 7 systems are probably running very slowly by this point. Windows 7 is a popular choice, and some people are really against the tile-centric interface of Windows 8.  So you’ve stayed on Windows 7 because it works just fine for your needs, and it’s running slow. Here are some ways to speed up your system and breathe new life into an aging computer.

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Windows 7 Running Slow? Here’s how to speed things up.

1. Check for System Updates

Some people are worried about system updates breaking their computer, so they never bother with keeping their computer up to date. System updates are important towards keeping your computer running at full capacity. Here’s how you do this on Windows 7:

  • Go to Control Panel
  • Click on System and Security
  • Click on Windows Update
  • The window will tell you how many “Important Updates” and “Optional Updates” are available. You can click on either list to get more detail into exactly what you’re installing
  • Click on “Install Updates” to keep your system up to date.

Sometimes a slow computer is the result of an issue that a system update can fix. Keeping your computer up to date will avoid any critical bugs keeping you from being productive.

2. File Organization

Cluttered desktops are difficult to navigate. Many people simply save everything they download to their desktop, but this is detrimental in the long run. Try to keep your desktop clutter-free and organize files where they belong. Put all those family photos in the “Pictures” library and make a folder for work documents under “Documents”.

Fences is a great program to help you organize your desktop. The software allows you to group different sets of icons or files on your Windows desktop according to whatever parameters you’d like. You can customize and resize these windows to fit your needs. Sign up for a 30-day free trial or purchase the software on their website.

3. Disable unnecessary startup programs

Having too many programs launch at the system’s startup can cause your computer to be sluggish for minutes after launch. There’s a way to choose only what you need, and here’s how:

  • Open the start menu, and search in the search for “msconfig”
  • Navigate to the “Startup” tab
  • Disable programs that you don’t need

There you have it, a simple and easy way to bump up your system’s speed.

4. Check for hardware limitations- Upgrade if necessary

Sometimes it’s not the software holding you back, but you’re simply the victim of an aging device. There’s a simple way to check this on your Windows 7 computer.

  • Press Ctrl+Alt+Escape to open the task manager (Or Ctrl+Alt+Delete, and then click “task manager”– but that’s an extra step)
  • Now you can see a list of every program open on your computer, the amount of processing power each program is taking up, and the amount of memory each is using.
  • On the bottom of the window should be “CPU Usage:” and “Physical Memory”. These percentages change depending on how many programs you have running.
  • If these percentages are high without many programs open, your computer might be in need of an upgrade.

Here’s how to diagnose what these percentages mean:

A high Physical Memory usage means that your system’s RAM might not be up to snuff. You can probably get by with 2GB of memory, but 4GB is becoming the norm. The RAM can be upgraded in most windows computers.

If the “CPU Usage” and the “Physical Memory” percentages are low and your computer is still slow, then your hard drive might be the culprit. Slow hard drives can really hold back an aging computer. Considering swapping your HDD for a much faster Solid State Drive, or SSD. Here’s our guide on which SSD’s to buy if you’re interested.

The CPU Usage stat being high is a bit more of a problem. Slow CPU’s can’t be changed or upgraded. However, you can search for low-impact programs that aren’t as taxing on your system as everything you use normally. Unfortunately, an underperforming CPU might mean that it’s time to upgrade to a new system.

5. Uninstall bloatware

Many computers from 3rd party manufacturers (Dell, Lenovo, Acer) ship with unnecessary software that slows down your computer. Anything that’s branded with your computer’s manufacturer is probably not worth your while. Here’s how you can do this:

  • Navigate to Control Panel
  • Under “Programs” click on “Uninstall a program”
  • Find the unnecessary programs, right click on them, and choose to uninstall.

Your computer should run much faster without these programs slowing it down.

If these tips helped- leave us a comment. Also we’d love to hear anything that we missed, so go ahead and tell us your own tips on how to fix a slow Windows 7 PC.


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About the Author
Brian Galloway is an unabashed tech geek based in Nashville, Tennessee. When he's not obsessively searching for the next computer upgrade, he's probably curled up on the couch with a book and the day's third cup of coffee.

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