9 Things to Try Before You Give Up on a Slow, But Too Slow Laptop

Does your laptop feel slow? Should I wait 5 minutes for the laptop to respond when I restart it? Tired of switching between tabs when you have only a few browser tabs open?

If your laptop is slow and frustrating, you usually end up buying a new one. However, you need to try a few methods before giving up. If you can improve the performance of an aging laptop, you can add several years to your laptop’s lifespan and avoid increasing e-waste.


Have you tried turning the PC off and on again?

It’s a cliché, but it’s all for a reason. This method makes more sense today. Modern laptops are more reliable and can be set to sleep mode to save power. There’s no reason to turn it off unless you’re installing Windows updates or troubleshooting.

Still, try turning the laptop completely off using the power button and turning it back on again. It only takes 1 minute.

Clean up your startup applications

When the newly started laptop boots into Windows, the application starts. Many applications are designed to start together when a window loads and tend to build up over time. A buildup of startup apps can cause your laptop to freeze.

Startup applications can be organized by opening the Windows Settings app. If you search for startup apps in the settings menu, you will see a list of apps that run along with system startup. A toggle switch next to each app lets you enable/disable the startup method. The approximate amount of time startup apps contribute to boot time is also displayed. (However, it was not very accurate empirically.)
Most applications appear on this list, but some that don’t appear can be disabled the old-fashioned way using the Windows System Settings application.

Check your internet connection

Most of the things you do regularly on your laptop will likely require an internet connection. Web browsing, Netflix streaming, and online gaming all require a stable internet connection. A slow internet connection can degrade performance.

You can check your Internet connection with a speed test utility such as speedtest.net. Run the test several times, recording ping times, download and upload speeds. Single-digit ping times and download and upload speeds in excess of 10 Mbps are ideal.

Also note the rapid fluctuations in performance between tests. This is a sign that your internet connection is working but unstable.

Ethernet users who suspect that their Internet connection is the problem should refer to our wired Internet connection troubleshooting guide, and wireless users to our Wi-Fi troubleshooting guide.

free up RAM

Laptop RAM is short-term memory that keeps track of active applications and the data they need. Laptops running out of RAM have to pull data directly from the hard drive, which can take a long time even with the latest SSDs.

Active programs and consumed memory can be checked with Task Manager. Task Manager can be launched by searching within Windows. Alternatively, press Control + Alt + Delete on the keyboard and select Task Manager from the menu that appears to launch it.


This will open a list of active programs in Task Manager. Select ‘Details’ to see how much memory each program is using. Select the memory-consuming application and click ‘End Task’ to close it. Be aware that the app closes completely, so any unsaved data may be lost.

Freeing up RAM with Task Manager is a workaround. It’ll help you shut down RAM-hogging applications, but those apps are there for a reason. Still, while you’re searching for alternative apps that use relatively little memory, or planning a memory upgrade, this method works.

Free up hard drive space

The hard drive is the laptop’s long-term memory, and when full, it also causes problems. Not surprisingly, you won’t be able to install new applications, and you’ll notice common problems. The reason this happens is that many apps and Windows themselves require some temporary file storage.

You can check your laptop’s storage space by opening Settings in Windows and selecting ‘System’ and then ‘Storage (‘Storage’ in Windows 11). A bar graph is displayed showing how much storage space is being used. If your hard drive is too full, the bar will turn red.


You can also see a list of how the storage space is being used here. This includes apps, temporary files, videos, music, OneDrive files, and more. You can select each one to get a detailed view of what’s taking up space, as well as start an action to uninstall apps or free up temporary storage. Apps and features almost always take up the most space, so going through that section and deleting large apps is the most effective way to free up space.

However, Windows’ storage menu isn’t perfect, so it can sometimes fail to detect programs. In this case, the program will show up under “Other” instead of “Apps and features,” so make sure to check both places.

run windows update

Running Windows Update may improve performance by updating your laptop’s drivers, or by installing a newer version that fixes issues found in older versions of Windows.

By default, laptops run Windows Updates periodically. That is, the user has no updates to install. However, the user may have postponed the update or turned off the update feature completely. Windows users often do so because they are fed up with frequent reminders from Windows updates.

Windows Update starts immediately after opening the Windows Settings menu and selecting ‘Update & Security’. Download and install any pending updates. Most updates require restarting the laptop to complete the installation.

reinstall windows

If your laptop is still annoyingly slow, you may need a full reset.

Reinstalling Windows is an extreme measure, but it often helps with performance issues. It effectively returns your laptop to its factory default settings, which may fix problems with applications, Windows configurations, and device drivers that are causing performance issues.


Fortunately, the execution steps are fairly simple. Open Windows’ Settings app, select “Update & Security” and then “Recovery.” At the top of the menu is “Reset this PC.” Click ‘Start’ and follow the on-screen instructions.

Before reinstalling Windows, be sure to back up all your important files. Resetting takes time on older hardware, so be prepared to assume that your laptop won’t be usable that day.

Upgrade your laptop’s RAM

If your laptop is still slow, a hardware upgrade is your only hope.

Adding RAM solves the problem of slow performance due to the limited amount of RAM. You can also free up RAM by closing programs as suggested earlier, but adding more RAM is the best long-term solution.


Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible. Newer laptops may have RAM permanently fixed to the motherboard or sealed in a way that makes upgrades difficult or impossible without special tools. You should check your laptop’s user manual to see if it’s upgradable.

upgrade to SSD

Most modern laptops are sold with an SDD installed, but some newer models have a mechanical spinning disk, also known as a hard disk drive (HDD). HDDs offer a lot of storage space at a low price, but are much slower than SDDs. Every time you access data from your hard disk, you have to wait.

Like RAM, hard drives are not user-upgradeable on some laptops. However, laptops shipped with HDDs are highly likely to support upgrades. For details, check the user manual.

Before starting, be sure to back up any important data. Most laptops do not support two hard drives. Installing a new drive requires replacing the current drive.

If your laptop is still slow, it’s time to replace it

If you’re lucky, the methods above may fix your laptop’s performance issues. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to consider a new laptop.

We also recommend how to recycle old laptops. Remember, an old laptop shouldn’t just be thrown in a landfill! Laptops contain materials that are hazardous if released, and lithium-ion batteries can catch fire if damaged. Laptops can be recycled by taking them to your local recycling center or by contacting the manufacturer, often at no cost.
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Source: ITWorld Korea by www.itworld.co.kr.

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