Slow computers are not only annoying, but they can also cost your business a lot of money. If you think about it across the company, a computer that wastes 5 minutes of someone’s time every day, equates to a couple of hours a month. In a team of ten, that’s well over a month per year you’re losing.

Despite these numbers, a lot of small business owners ignore slow computer problems because they assume that the only way to address the issue is to fork out for an expensive replacement. But many of these speed issues can be fixed by changing some settings, removing unnecessary programmes or upgrading hardware.

We have therefore published an accessible guide to speeding up sluggish machines, complete with the step-by-step instructions you need to implement these fixes yourself.

Here’s an overview of what to try first. You can download the full guide here.

1. Update Your Operating System

Your OS is responsible for managing your computer. It allocates resources like memory (RAM) and storage space, schedules tasks, controls peripherals like your mouse and acts as an intermediary between programs and your computer’s hardware.

Manufacturers are constantly tweaking their operating systems – adding security patches, fine-tuning performance, removing compatibility issues and improving the way that your OS handles routine tasks.

So if you haven't enabled automatic updates yet, double-check you’re running the latest version of your OS by heading to Settings > Update & Security > Check For Updates (On Windows 10). If you’re using a macOS, you’ll want to head to Apple Menu > System Preferences > Software Update to achieve the same.

Once you’ve done this, you might want to think about enabling automatic updates so that your computer will keep itself up to date from now on.

2. Check For Viruses

Traditional viruses are becoming less common, but malware such as trojans, spyware, adware and keyloggers will all slow your computer down and compromise your security so it’s always worth double-checking that a slow computer isn’t host to an unwanted guest.

Windows Defender does a lot of the work here, but you can run free downloadable software like Malwarebytes that’ll search through your files and programmes to track down any horrors. Malwarebytes is actually one of the most trustworthy options and it doesn’t take long to do a full scan of your system so download it now and see if it turns anything up.

3. Check For Unnecessary Programmes

Other than viruses, there are other programmes you may not be aware of that can slow your computer to snail’s pace. Think about things like the Xbox Game Bar which is almost always running in the background on Microsoft Machines.

They’re designed to do something fun or helpful, but they actually end up hogging important resources, so it makes sense to disable them wherever possible.

To do this on a Microsoft machine, head over to Task Manager, click on the Startup tab and browse through the resultant list of programmes; disabling anything that you know you don’t need.

But take care not to disable anything that you don’t recognise – just in case it’s pivotal to an important process.

It’s also worth noting that this only prevents these programmes from starting automatically when you boot up your machine. If you want to disable them all right now, you’ll want to repeat this process for “Background Apps” to dictate which programmes can and can’t run in the background while you’re working.

To do this, head to System Settings > Background Apps and disable anything that you recognise and do not want to run.

4. Downgrade Your Performance Settings

Believe it or not, your operating system actually wastes a lot of resources on minute visual enhancements that most people don’t notice. Things like the blur effect that kicks in when you try to drag a window across your screen, or the animations that play when you mouse-over items in your start menu.

To prevent this, and eke out a bit of extra performance, head over to System Properties > Advanced > Performance Options and you should see a list of optional visual enhancements. Turn any (or all) of these off to get a slight boost to your computer’s speed.

For a visual guide to all these suggestions, you can download a free checklist here.

5. Upgrade Your Computer’s Hardware

If you’ve tried everything else, it might be time to look at upgrading some key bits of computer hardware such as

  • Your hard drive
  • Your random access memory (RAM)
  • Your graphics processor or GPU

Still Battling With A Slow Computer?

Get in touch with Alto at We work with growing Aberdeen businesses to help them maximise their productivity and avoid frustrating IT problems.