The general rule of computing is if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. There’s nothing more dangerous than tinkering with a perfectly good and fully-functional computer than doing the tips I will list below. But the truth of the matter is, if you do the steps below, your PC will likely run a lot better. Just keep in mind, however, doing some of the steps below can also render your PC utterly useless.
Update The BIOS
You should only update your motherboard’s firmware if you are experiencing hardware problems and your research has led you to believe the BIOS may be the culprit.
Updating your BIOS is much easier these days than it was a few years ago. If your computer is more than a year old, you’ll be surprised to find the current BIOS is probably a few versions newer than the one you’re running on your motherboard.
Your computer will use a traditional BIOS (Basic Input Output System) or the newer UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface). Both the BIOS and UEFI provide the initial communication between your hardware and software when you first turn on your PC. What BIOS version do you have installed? You can check by going to the run box in Windows and typing msinfo32.exe
If you have a major brand name computer from Dell, Lenovo, HP or Sony, you can go to their website and look up your computer’s model. Drivers and BIOS updates will often be listed under the support section. Download the latest BIOS and launch it as you would any other executable program by double-clicking it. In most cases, it will compare the version you currently have with the version it will be installing and ask if you want to proceed. If there is a significant version gap, you might want to proceed, If there isn’t you can likely hold off on the update.
When updating your BIOS, it is extremely important you do not turn off the computer. Make sure the computer is on and do not touch any keys until the update is complete. Generally, the update should only take a few minutes. The PC will restart on its own to apply the changes and when you get back to the Windows login screen, you can login as normal. Update complete.
Update The Drivers
A driver is a piece of software that tells your hardware how to run. You will have motherboard chipset drivers that control everything on the motherboard, and you will also have drivers for specific hardware devices such as the Ethernet and Wifi network adapters, video cards and audio devices. As with the BIOS, you may not have the need to update any of the drivers unless you are experiencing problems. Driver updates can fix bugs that reduce system crashes. You will see the most benefit from updating your graphics drivers regularly. Visit the manufacturer of your graphics card or visit the major brand name PC manufacturer and get any driver updates directly from them.
Installing the new driver is as easy as double-clicking the update you have downloaded from the manufacturer’s website.
Uninstall Unnecessary Programs
Are you a software hoarder? Each time you install a program, it takes up space on your hard drive–but even worse–it probably adds additional processes that run in the background when you boot the machine or perform normal day to day computing. Go into your Control Panel under Programs and Features to audit the software running on your system. Remove anything you know you no longer need or use.
Check Your Computer’s Temperature
Heat is the devil when it comes to computing. When your chips and drives get hot, they run slower and eventually either fail or cause your computer to shut down. You can download a free tool called Speccy to check your computer’s temperatures. Try and make sure everything stays below 60C.
If you find your system is running a little hot, look into the Metro Duster to keep your fans, grill intakes and overall computing environment clean.
Add More RAM And A Solid State Drive
Hands down, the best way to improve computer performance is to install additional memory and move away from slow, spinning hard drives to a Solid State Drive (SSD). You can use the Crucial Advisor Tool to see how much memory you currently have and how much you can add to your system. RAM is cheap and we recommend at least 8GBs or more if your motherboard and Operating System will support it.
Solid State Drives are more expensive than their spinning counterparts. You should check to see how much space you have on your current drive to determine how large of an SSD you’ll need to replace it with. If you have a secondary, large capacity spinning drive you can keep installed in your desktop for archival storage, a 128GB or 240GB SSD should be just fine for your needs. If you have a laptop, you can use an external USB drive to access your archival data when you need to. Find a Solid State Drive here.
Installing a new SSD is easy. Many drives you buy will come with software you can use to clone your existing hard drive and copy that image over to the new drive.