We have all experienced it at some point – an office computer that runs at a frustratingly slow pace, reducing your productivity and stopping you from getting work done.
As computers get older they tend to get slower. This problem can be exacerbated by upgrading to newer, more sophisticated versions of software that your machine simply cannot handle. However, continuing to use outdated software can present compatibility issues with files created on newer versions.
There are options for improving the performance of your PC. Adding more memory or upgrading to a faster processor will increase the speed of your machine but will require new parts, which can be expensive. Fortunately it’s not always necessary to take such action. In many cases, a slow computer may well be up to the job in terms of its specification. If it has slowed down over a period of months or years, it is possible that the machine has become clogged up with unnecessary data stored on the hard drive and has too many processes running in the background. A lot of these processes might start automatically, even if you aren’t going to use the software to which they are part of.
The solution to these two problems is to do some serious housekeeping. The hard drive can be cleaned up by deleting a lot of unnecessary files, such as temporary files which are created during ‘Autosaves’ of documents, or temporary copies of the website which you are visiting. It can be made even faster by ensuring that the files on the disc are stored “whole”. Having a single file saved in several segments just makes the process of opening the file and doing anything with it much slower than it needs to be. ‘Defragmenting’ the disc can speed things up significantly. This normally takes a long time to do and is probably best to run over the weekend.
The second aspect of housekeeping is to ensure that you only have the programs running that you want. Many programs in your office are only used once a week, or sometimes less. Having such programs running in the background when you don’t need them is a waste of system resources.
Housekeeping may be a drudge in real life, but a little regular tidying, de-cluttering and streamlining of your computer can give it back much of the performance which you thought you’d lost over time.