Optimizing Your Laptop

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With remote work on the rise many people who were used to using company computers are finding themselves repurposing personal laptops for their day jobs.

Finding the motivation to work from home is already hard enough - having a sluggish or unoptimized laptop doesn't help.

It can be daunting to try to fix technical issues on your own - but never fear - you don't need an IT professional to improve your laptop's performance.

Keep reading to learn more about how you can fix common laptop optimization issues quickly and easily.

Potential Laptop Performance Issues

Potential performance issues depend on your laptop model and operating system but there are some issues that are as common as they are universal. Fortunately they are also pretty straightforward to diagnose and fix on your own.

Long Loading or Boot Up Times

Long loading times, slow app start times, long boot up times - these are all symptoms of insufficient drive storage space.

If you are running a laptop with less than 10% drive storage space available you aren't running efficiently.

If your system has more than 90% of onboard storage full you will start encountering frustrating slowdowns and potentially even freezes or crashes.

Here's how to fix it.

Find and delete redundant files like old downloads, unused apps, and outdated software you no longer need or use.

Transferring data to an external storage solution like Dropbox, Drive, OneDrive or iCloud is also a way to keep your files handy but keep them from clogging up your laptop.

Check with your employer as well. They may already have a cloud-based storage option available for your work files but be careful. Putting personal files on work servers is probably prohibited and can lead to data loss or deletion of files.

General Sluggishness Or Poor Response Time

Another culprit for slow performance could be malware. Malware comes in many flavors but all of them produce general system slowdowns.

Scan your laptop with reliable antivirus software to check for potentially corrupted files and keep your antivirus software up to date.

If your antivirus finds any cybersecurity threats take the recommended action and delete them right away.

Loud Fan Noise

Your laptop generates heat and as a result it needs a fan to disperse that heat and keep your laptop running. Normally these fans run as needed and are unintrusive. However, when fans start getting loud they can be annoying and distracting.

The most common culprit for this issue? Dust.

Dust builds up on moving parts inside your laptop and can force fans to run longer and louder.

Canned air or canned electronics cleaner can make short work of dust build up. Simply spray several blasts into the fan vent and do this regularly (not just when the fan is noisy).

If the noise continues to be loud and intrusive even after some cleaning consider limiting the number of background processes. Active software could be consuming more system resources than you expect creating heat and forcing the fans to run.

Have a MacBook? Check out these suggestions specifically for Macs.

In case you have a MacBook, browse these tips that were written to reduce fan noise specifically for Macs.

Flickering Screen

Flickering screens can be intrusive, frustrating, and distracting.

Usually screen flicker is caused by an incompatibility between the operating system and the graphics processing unit (GPI).

As most issues, the first thing to try is restarting your laptop. If the problem persists after a few restarts the issue may be more serious.

It may be necessary to revert to an older version of your operating system to fix the problem, especially if the problem developed after an operating system update.

Be aware, however, this is a temporary fix. It is not a good idea to go too long without implementing operating system updates to keep your computer safe from ever-evolving cyber threats and to keep software and apps running smoothly.

The Bottom Line

A fickle or unreliable laptop is a source of ongoing frustration and a drain on productivity.

Taking the time to tackle these issues as they emerge is a good way to keep things running smoothly and prevent potential issues down the road that increase in severity.

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