How To Speed Up A Slow PC

Do you have a slow Windows PC? In this article, I will cover basic steps to help you speed up your slow PC. Before you make any changes to your PC, you must be comfortable navigating your computer’s settings. Do not make changes to your computer unless you are comfortable doing so. Otherwise, you may risk disabling features that help to protect your PC. So, if you are not sure what to do, take your PC to your local computer guy. With that said, I want you to know that there are other advanced steps to speed up your slow PC before you get to Windows. However, I will not cover those steps in this article to keep things simple. So, let us get started.

How To Optimize Your Slow PC On Startup

The first step to speed up your slow laptop or desktop PC when starting up Windows is by eliminating unnecessary start up items. As you install more apps on your computer, some programs add themselves to the startup process by default. Nothing except your Anti-virus software and apps that you need to load as Windows starts up needs to be in your computer’s startup items. Having too many Startup Apps can slow Down your PC’s startup. Here is how you fix that:

Startup Apps
  • Go to the search box or search icon on the taskbar and search for Startup Apps. If the search box or icon are not showing, right-click on the taskbar. If you changed your mouse’s default settings, you may need to left-click to show the menu instead of right-click. See image below for visual aid. Navigate down the menu list to search. Left-click on search and left-click on the show search box option if it is not checked already. The search box should show up on your taskbar now. So go ahead and search for Startup Apps.
  • Select Startup Apps from the search results. This should take you to a list of Apps that startup when you turn on your computer.
  •  From the list of Apps, turn off anything that has medium impact or high impact on startup, except your security software and any Apps that you want to load when your PC starts. This should help speed up your PC on startup unless your computer has viruses or hardware problems.
Windows 10 Taskbar
Slow PC

How To Optimize Your Computer’s Drives

Another way to speed up a slow computer is by optimizing your computer’s disk or disks. To use an analogy, a computer’s disk is like a sock drawer with different colored or assorted brands of socks. You may have your socks nicely organized and easy to find at first. But if you stop organizing the socks in pairs over time, it will take you longer to find a matching pair of socks, right? A computer works in a similar way. It finds things faster if the resources that it needs are easy to find. This is the purpose of optimizing your computer’s storage drives. Optimizing your computer’s drives is one of the easiest ways to speed up your slow PC. Here is how you optimize your computer’s drives:

  • Go to the search box on the taskbar just like you do to find the Startup Apps.
  • Search for Defragment and Optimize Drives and select the matching results. The Optimize Drives window should popup.
  • Select the disk that you want to optimize from the list and then click on the optimize button to run disk optimization. This can help to speed up your slow laptop or desktop computer if there are no major problems with your computer.   
  • You can schedule disk optimization to run weekly if this option is not already set by default.
Optimize Drives

If the steps above do not help to speed up your slow computer, take your computer to your local trusted computer expert for additional help. A slow computer can be a sign of a serious computer-related problem. If your computer is older than three years, or someone spilled liquid on it, you want to back up anything important if you know how to do a computer back up. Otherwise take it into your local computer shop. As I mentioned earlier, there are other ways to speed up your slow computer, but those usually require a bit more technical expertise. If you live within Clark County, Washington or the Portland Oregon Metropolitan area and you need help speeding up your slow PC, check out PC Rescue Wiz.

Solid-State Drive Upgrades

SSD Upgrade, A Fix For Slow PCs

Are you tired of struggling with a slow laptop or desktop PC? Do not waste your money upgrading your computer’s RAM. Get a solid-state drive upgrade instead. RAM upgrades seemed to be the “fix-all” solution for slow PCs before solid-state drives. But, with newer laptops and desktop computers coming with at least 6 or 8GB of RAM, if your computer is slow, chances are you do not need more RAM. If your computer is much slower than before, you want to take it to a computer expert sooner rather than later. A slow PC can be a sign of malicious software, or it can be a sign of imminent hardware failure. So, take your PC to your local computer repair shop for service.

Solid-state drive upgrade

Computer Speed Factors

There are three main factors that determine your computer’s speed. They are the speed of your processor (CPU), RAM (data processing memory), and then the storage memory. Before solid-state drives, most PCs used hard disk drives for their storage memory. Solid-state drives (SSDs) entered the computing scene around 2010. Back then, they were quite expensive for not that much storage space, and unstable compared to the hard disk drive. Fast forward to 2023, solid-state drives are very dependable and affordable. Of course, there are other computer performance factors, like caching, network card speed, and graphics processing. But the core PC performance factors are the CPU, RAM, and the Read/Write speed of your computer’s storage.

Why Get a Solid-State Drive Upgrade

Drives are the computer’s storage component. Hard disk drives (HDDs) are the older version of computer storage that use spinning disks to store data. This makes them slow and prone to wear and tear. On the other hand, solid-state drives are made from memory chips which have no moving parts. To put it simply, the performance of SSDs is based on controlled input and output flows of electricity. This is what makes them faster than mechanical drives.

Assuming that there is no malicious software or imminent hardware failure, bottlenecks on either the CPU, the RAM, or the storage memory can cause your computer to be slow. If your computer’s processor has at least two physical cores above 1.8GHz speed, with 6–8GB of RAM, yet it takes 5 minutes or more to start up, the problem is usually the speed of your computer’s storage. So, if your computer is slow, and it still has a mechanical drive, I highly recommend that you get a solid-state drive upgrade to fix your slow PC.

The Benefit of Solid-State Drive Upgrades

Having done so many PC upgrades myself, I can tell you that solid-state drives are as good as advertised. One of the benefits of upgrading to an SSD, if you do not have one already, is quicker start up times. Most laptop and desktop PCs will only take seconds to boot up after upgrading to an SSD. Your Apps will also become very responsive and start up quicker, if not instantaneously. Unlike hard disk drives, solid-state drives are more impact resistant. So, you have much less risk of data loss if the cat or dog decides to jump on your lap and knock down your laptop, or something like that.

SSD Upgrade Service Vancouver, WA

If you live in the Vancouver, WA and Portland Metro area and you need help upgrading to a solid-state drive, check out PC Rescue Wiz. We offer a free assessment to make sure your PC qualifies for a solid-state drive upgrade. We will also optimize your PC to make sure that you get the most from the upgrade. And, if your drive is accessible, we can migrate your system and data files (as-is) to the solid-state drive, so you will not lose anything. However, if your PC’s current drive is failing, we cannot guarantee that we can get all your files. But you will get nothing short of our best to ensure a successful PC upgrade. Feel free to stop by our shop during business hours or give us a call if you need help upgrading your PC to an SSD.

M.2 SSD Upgrade

BitLocker On Windows 11

BitLocker—Windows Drive & Device Encryption

Why Does Windows 11 Require the TPM 2.0 Chip? The short answer, to enable a Windows computer security feature called BitLocker. Windows 11’s hardware requirements are notably different from previous versions of Windows. One of the Windows 11 system requirements that often causes confusion is a Trusted Computing feature known as the TPM chip. TPM stands for Trusted Platform Module. The Trusted Platform Module makes it possible for the Windows operating system to protect the user’s sensitive data. Different PC hardware manufacturers may have their own type of TPM. But, to support Windows 11, they must meet the TPM 2.0 security standard.

BitLocker Encryption

TPM 2.0 Simplified

To use an analogy, the TPM is like a secure vault that helps to keep sensitive data like your Windows PIN, or anything that you store on your PC, secure from unauthorized access. That is why Windows 11 requires the TPM 2.0 chip, or a Firmware (software) version of the TPM chip also known as fTPM. Intel also has its own version of TPM known as Intel Platform Trust Technology (Intel PTT). While Windows 11 system requirements may add unwelcome expenses for users, the demand to protect Windows users from sophisticated computer threats necessitates these system requirements for Windows 11. The TPM 2.0 security standard and the secure boot requirements on the new Windows operating system is a security measure that helps to keep Windows safer to use, especially with malicious software attacks that can compromise your computer as it starts up.

The TPM Chip Before Windows 11

TPM technology has been around since 2009. Until Windows 11, Microsoft used early versions of the TPM chip with their drive encryption feature known as BitLocker. This security feature was only available on the Professional and Enterprise versions of the Windows operating system. But since Windows 8.1, Microsoft added another type of BitLocker called Device Encryption. So now Microsoft enables Device Encryption by default on all eligible devices from Windows 8.1 to Windows 11.

Device Encryption Pros and Cons

Pros: Whether you handle sensitive data or you don’t want your data falling into the wrong hands, device encryption is a great solution for that. It’s quite easy to access data on an unencrypted device. But that is not the case when you encrypt your device. Device Encryption comes in handy in the event of theft or loss of your computer. Unless you put a sticky note with your password on your computer, you can rest easy knowing that you encrypted your device. Data privacy and security is the biggest pro for device encryption. If you also have your data backed up to Microsoft’s One Drive, or your preferred back up method, you can resume your normal operations with minimum loss. 

Cons: The biggest issue that I’ve seen come up with device encryption is that most home users are unaware of this feature. Microsoft has Device Encryption turned on by default for any eligible PCs set up with a Microsoft account. Since some users are reluctant to create a Microsoft account to begin with, they don’t keep track of their Microsoft account information. Sometimes the users are surprised to learn that their device has encryption on it. As a result, there is a potential for data loss for users unfamiliar with the Device Encryption that has become standard on most Windows 11 PCs.        

The Two Types of BitLocker

BitLocker is available for all eligible devices for Windows 11 Home, Pro, and Enterprise editions. If your PC’s hardware meets Microsoft’s system requirement for BitLocker, you will have one of the following types of BitLocker:

Device Encryption: this type of BitLocker is available on Windows 11 system set up with a Microsoft account. If Windows should ever prompt you to enter your BitLocker recovery key, you will find it under your Microsoft account, your School, or Business account, depending on how or who set up your Windows 11 machine.

Drive Encryption: this BitLocker type is available on the Pro and Enterprise Versions of Windows. It allows you to encrypt your Windows system drive and gives you the option to encrypt specific storage devices, including removable drives. The Drive encryption BitLocker also gives you the option to choose how you want to save your recovery key. If you choose to print or save your recovery key to a thumb drive, be sure to keep them somewhere safe. Otherwise, you will lose access to your data without BitLocker’s recovery key.

While what Microsoft is trying to achieve with Windows 11 is understandable, I think they should make the Microsoft account and Device Encryption BitLocker optional during the initial setup, especially for Windows 11 home users. Based on the feedback that we get from our customers; the mandatory Microsoft account is one of the least favored features of Windows 11. If there are features that you think make Windows less user friendly, you can play a proactive role by sending Microsoft your feedback.

Windows 11 Upgrade

Are you ready to upgrade to Windows 11? If yes, we are here to help. You can save money on tech upgrades that give you the speed you want, without changing your setup. Also, if you have a loved one who is frustrated by how slow their PC runs, consider some hardware upgrades. For those of you ready to bite the bullet and transition to Windows 11, we can help make that process seamless. If your computer is less than 5 years, and still running Windows 10, its hardware might support Windows 11. Give us a call and schedule your free Windows 11 upgrade assessment.  

Windows 11 & 10, Pin vs Password

When you setup a Windows 10 or 11 machine, you have the option to setup a PIN to make it easier to login. While that is convenient for the user, there is also a downside to using a PIN. During the setup of a Windows 10 or 11 computer, Windows requires a password first before you can set up a PIN. If you setup your computer with a Microsoft Account (Online Account), your computer’s password is usually whatever you use for your Microsoft Account. If you setup your computer without a Microsoft account, the password you set before setting up the PIN will be the administrator’s password.  

Why is this important? Glad you asked. An issue that comes up often is that users don’t always remember the administrator’s password when they bring their computer in for service. Without the administrative password, we cannot access the advanced features to perform needed repairs—not without some wizardry.

When you are working on a budget, the last thing you want is the extra cost from the workarounds we need to do to access the administrative features. So, whenever you or someone else sets up your Windows 10 or 11 machine, make a note of your password before you set up the PIN. That will save you money if you should need to have your PC serviced.  The main take away from this is that a PIN does not give us access to the backend advanced service and repair tools. So always make a note of your admin password in addition to the PIN.

If you have a desktop computer and are considering replacing it with something newer and faster, let us know. We build durable, high quality, and high-performance desktop computers backed by our 1-year local warranty! If anything goes wrong, you don’t have to worry about shipping your computer off somewhere. Custom-built computers typically last an average of about 10 years. Feel free to give us a call if you are interested in a custom-built Windows 11 PC.

Computer Upgrades

Laptop Batteries & Liquid Spills

As most of you know laptops, electronics and liquids don’t mix. Unless your notebook or laptop is waterproof, there is a risk of structural damage or fire due to liquid spills. Unlike older laptops that had an easily removable battery, newer notebooks now come with internal batteries. So, you cannot easily take out the battery in the event of a liquid spill. Since liquids can pass electricity, they can create a connection between electrical components normally separated by insulation. This is what causes damage to electrical components, including the battery. 

Recently, we have seen an increase of laptops coming in with structural damage from batteries on the verge of bursting from neglected liquid spills (See battery image below). While some notebooks come equipped with safety mechanisms to prevent fire from liquid spills, it’s better not to wait and find out what happens should that safety mechanism fail. That’s why we strongly recommend that you have your laptop checked by a computer professional as soon as possible.

Liquid spill can cause a short circuit in laptop batteries. This damages the insulation that helps to regulate how batteries store and discharge electricity, which then accelerates the chemical reaction that produces oxygen. In a nutshell, the accelerated chemical reaction in batteries releases gas too fast, causing the battery to swell up. You may notice that your touch pad or some keys on the keyboard won’t go down all the way when you push on them. You may also hear what some describe as a “simmering” or “hissing” sound. Do not keep your laptop plugged in at that point. Take your laptop to your local repair shop as soon as possible to prevent any further damage to you or your device.

Swollen Laptop Battery vs Normal Laptop Battery

Although technology has come a long way to prevent major mishaps, it’s always a good idea to error on the side of safety in the event of liquid spills on electronics, whether it’s a phone, laptop, or a desktop computer. Using the wrong, or cheap charger can also damage laptop batteries and cause them to swell up. The indication for this type of damage is that the battery may no longer hold a charge well while the laptop is relatively new.  So, if you need to have your laptop’s battery replaced, feel free to contact us through our website or through our Facebook page. We are here to help.

On that note, we hope you found this information useful. If you did, pass it along to friends or family members who can benefit from this information.