Laptop has generally less powerful hardware than similar priced desktop, but portability is the main reason why most people choose laptop over desktop nowadays. While notebook is getting more and more powerful, there are still performance issues exist in low/mid-end laptops like netbooks and budget laptops.
Here are some optimizations tips that I’ve used to make my laptop faster, without spending any money. Most of these techniques are also applicable to desktop computer.
Basic & Must Know Tips To Make Your Laptop Faster
You probably have heard of these PC speed up tips before, as they are often mentioned in typical make-your-computer-run-faster type of articles.
Here are the essential laptop optimization tips that you should be aware of and following:
- Defrag your hard drive at least once a month (not applicable to Windows 8 & SSD laptops). Use the default disk defragmenter in your system or install free third party defragmentation software like Smart Defrag or Auslogics Disk Defrag.
- Cleanup your computer at least once a month. Use the default disk cleanup utility in your machine or install CCleaner, a top-rated and popular Windows cleanup tool.
- Uninstall unnecessary programs.
- Secure your computer with security software and good computing practices. Check out the 10 golden rules to keep your PC safe from viruses and hackers.
- Disable unnecessary startup programs. Windows 8 has included a startup manager in its task manager. For non Windows 8 users, you can use the startup manager in CCleaner or configure startup programs in MSConfig.exe.
- Clean and organize your desktop. Here are 7 simple methods to keep your desktop organized.
- Keep your laptop up-to-date. Windows automatic update should be turned on by default. Drivers and software should also be updated as soon as there are available updates. You may find these software and driver updater to be useful.
Lesser Known Laptop Optimization Tips That Are Beginner Friendly
The following optimization techniques are seldom discussed, but they are easy to implement:
1. Change Your Power Plan To High Performance
If battery life isn’t an issue and laptop performance is your top priority, you may consider to change your power plan to high performance, which maximizes system performance and responsiveness.
1. At start menu, click on the battery icon and select More power options.
2. Select High performance.
2. Get A Free PC Tune-Up Utility Software
A PC tune-up utility, also known as a PC optimizer, helps to improve your system performance by analyzing, configuring, and fixing the causes of a slow computer.
I highly recommend Advanced SystemCare Free, which is the second most downloaded utility software on CNET.com (behind CCleaner) and highly rated by both experts and users. It makes your laptop faster by combining several useful tuneup and maintenance tool like anti-malware, registry repair, shortcut fixer, Internet booster, and privacy sweeper. It is extremely easy to use. Simply click scan to detect problems that slowing down your laptop and repair to fix them. There’s also a Turbo Boost feature that temporarily boost your computer performance by terminating unnecessary services and applications.
If you are considering to download and install Advanced SystemCare Free, remember to select decline when you are offered to install the IObit toolbar during installation. Also, you should beware of scams and frauds when trying out other PC tune-up utilities. Here is an example on how to tell if a website is reputable.
3. Uninstall Bloatware
Bloatware, also known as crapware or craplet, is pre-installed software in your system when you first bought your computer. You can choose to remove bloatware manually or automatically.
If you are confident that you can manually identify crapware in your laptop and successfully remove all of them, you probably don’t need a third-party uninstaller to assist you. Else, PC Decrapifier is a great tool that will help you to automatically identify and uninstall annoying craplets from your laptop. Apart from removing unnecessary programs, PC Decrapifer also helps to remove unneeded startup items and icons that can slow down your machine.
4. Disable Sound Effects
If you rarely turn on your speakers and/or you don’t find Windows sound effects to be useful, you probably want to disable them to achieve slight improvement in performance.
1. Right click on the Speakers icon and select Sounds.
2. Under Sound Scheme, select No Sounds. Uncheck Play Windows Startup sound if you wish to turn it off.
5. Keep At Least 10% Free Space In Your Hard Disk Drive
A full or almost full hard drive will cause fragmentation, thus slowing down your laptop. Try to free up your hard disk space by deleting unnecessary files and programs. Perform disk cleanup on regular basis. Upgrade your hard disk or buy external hard drive if necessary.
Advanced Laptop Optimization Tips For Intermediate & Advanced Users
The following laptop tune-up tips require advanced computer knowledge, which are suitable for tinkerers. For beginners, if you are willing to invest some time to improve your computer literacy and performance, feel free to try them out!
1. Enable Disk Write Caching
When data in your storage device is changed, write caching will save the write command in high-speed cache, and write the changed data to your storage device only when your system is idle. By enabling write caching, data loss or file system corruption could happen if your computer experiences power outage or device/system/shutdown failure.
I recommend you to enable write caching only for your internal hard disk to increase system performance. The risk of data loss is minimal as you rarely disconnect your internal hard disk in general use.
1. Open Control Panel, select Hardware and Sound, and select Device Manager under Devices and Printers.
2. In Device Manager, click Disk drives, right click on your primary disk drive, and select Properties.
3. Go to Policies tab, Check the box next to Enable write caching on the device.
2. Configure Windows Services
Windows service is application that operates in the background. If you really want to squeeze every last drop of performance out of your laptop, configuring Windows services is probably the right way to go. However, disabling Windows services may cause system operating issues. You should create system restore and backup your important files before getting your hands dirty.
So, which Windows service you can uninstall or disable? It depends on your needs and operating system. You can get the full list of Windows service information at Black Viper. Black Viper has included information for all built-in Windows XP/7/Vista/8 services, which tells you what each service does, which one is safe to uninstall or disable, and more.
If You Have The Money, You Should…
1. Get A Solid-State Drive
Solid-state drive is one of the best hardware upgrade you can make to boost your laptop performance. SSD is cooler, quieter, more durable, and much faster than hard disk drive (HDD). With SSD, you will experience visible differences in boot time, application launch time, and most tasks that require reading and writing data in your SSD. Check out the complete guide to solid-state drive here.
An Intel X25-M Solid state drive (Image credit: Intel Free Press)
2. Upgrade Your RAM
RAM is probably the cheapest hardware upgrade you can get in terms of improving system performance, as its price is extremely low nowadays. If your laptop is still running with less than 2GB of RAM, you should consider to upgrade or add RAM into your additional RAM slots. If you often multitask and use memory intensive software (image/video processing, graphic intensive games, etc), you probably need more than 4GB of RAM. Find out how much RAM do you need here.
Laptop RAM (Image credit: Afrank99)
3. Get A Cooling Pad
Laptop overheating is a common problem among frequent laptop users (especially gamers), which will cause hard drive failure or some other performance degrading issues. Since most laptops won’t allow users to increase their fan speed with software or in BIOS, a laptop cooler is a great alternative to solve overheating problem. Remember to get one that actually helps to cool down your notebook.
Also, try to clean dust and dirt that are clogging up your laptop fan. Avoid placing your laptop on soft surfaces like cushions and pillows to allow heat transfer.
Zalman Laptop Cooler (Image credit: Yortw)
How do you make your laptop run faster? Tell us if you have anything to share.