By Justin Klanica

You use your computer for everything: to respond to work emails, to create presentations, to do research, and to go shopping. So, when your computer is operating at a snail’s pace, you want it fixed—and you want it fixed yesterday. In fact, slow computers are one of the main reasons people seek out computer repairs. But before you do that, you should always try to see if you can remedy the situation on your own. Here are five simple tricks you can try today to make your computer run faster, smoother, and feel brand new again.

1. Reboot Your Computer

Before you do anything, attempt a simple restart on your computer and see if it makes a difference. This is the easiest trick on the list, but it is often the last one people think of. Many people today simply put their computers to sleep instead of actually turning them off, and this can cause things to stall over time. By simply shutting the machine off, a lot can be fixed. It’s not always the answer, but it is at least worth a try.

2. Remove Unused Programs

If you are still having trouble after the reboot, it’s time to take a good look at all of the programs you have installed on your computer. The more items you have taking up space in your computer’s memory, the slower your computer runs, so your goal is to clear as much of the memory as possible. Look through your control panel and delete any programs that you once installed that you don’t use anymore. That being said, if you don’t recognize the name, let it be. You don’t want to risk uninstalling a program your computer relies on to operate.

3. Put Folders to Use

Take a look at your desktop. How many icons do you see? If it’s more than a few, then you need to start using folders. Each of those icons has to be loaded every time you boot up your computer, which can take up a decent amount of RAM. But if you organize them into a few folders instead (e.g. one for your music, one for your pictures, and one for your documents), your computer only has to load those three images. As a bonus, it will be easier for you to locate something when you need it.

4. Increase Your RAM

With all this talk about your computer’s memory, it would stand to reason that you can improve the speed of your computer by upping the amount of memory your computer has. This, in fact, is true. RAM stands for Random Access Memory, and it is the short-term storage area that your computer uses every time you try to do something.

For example, if you click on a link, the RAM temporarily stores the information necessary to complete this task. But if there is not enough space, it has to find a way to make room before it can complete it—hence the stall. Since RAM is stored on a removable memory stick, installing a higher capacity one is a pretty simple task. Just make sure you watch YouTube videos first, so you can see it done before you try it yourself.

5. Pay Attention to Updates

The pop-up on your computer that tells you an update is available is not a marketing scam; it is an important part of making sure your computer operates efficiently. An update for your operating system is put out for a reason. It will fix any issues with your current system and it will make sure you have the protection you need to keep away hackers. Essentially, an update is a free upgrade for your computer, and you need to take advantage of it. Sometimes, simply updating your software will make your computer run like new.

Dealing with a slow computer can be one of the most frustrating things that you have to deal with on a daily basis, especially if you rely on your computer for your income. Wasted time is wasted money. The good news is you don’t have to just deal with it. After completing the above tricks, chances are you will have a much smoother experience on your computer. And if you don’t, you might need to call that computer repair company after all.

Photo credit: Computer running slow concept from Sam72/Shutterstock