Beacon Article

Keep It Simple, Keep It Cheap

-Eric Mekkelsen / Info Tech & Info Sec Student @ Southern Maine Community College

Last Edited: 4/06/2017

Have you ever had the need to just buy a new laptop or computer, because you feel like your system is just running so slow?  Many people out there run into this problem and in most instances, sure it’s time to get a new computer! Realistically though, what many of us in IT, or Help Desk situations find.  Is that a person’s system is often bogged down by various unnecessary applications, the hard drive is too full or maybe the hard drive is on its last leg.  Very easy to repair, easy to fix problems.  Often is the case, that people will just purchase a new system.  Sure if you can ‘afford’ to just buy a new laptop every year, this is a possibility.  However for most people, it’s not as easy.  What if I told you with a simple application, regular updates and just checking your hard drive space every so often could resolve this.  What if a quick trip to Best Buy to buy a new hard drive and a screw driver could save you hundreds?

If you feel like your system is running far slower than normal, there are some simple supplied features you can use.  The first thing you should do is restart the device (yes that same thing every tech support person asks you to do). Secondly, make sure your machine is up-to-date.  On windows, this feature is right in your start menu under “Settings”.  On a mac, this feature is in your apple icon under “Updates”.  Another option is to check how much hard drive space you have.  On Windows, simply open up “My Computer” or “File Explorer” and click on your hard drive.  It will give you a summary of how much free space you have.  On an Mac, right click your “HD” and choose “Properties”.  This will also give you a summary of free space.  After any of these easy services, if you find that the issue isn’t resolved by a restart, update or clearing up some space.  Then don’t fret, there are still a much easier solutions.

A next step, would be to run a 3rd party application.  I swear by (and so should you) CCleaner, an application that will help clean up your system for you.  It’s easy to find online and extraordinarily simple to use.  Download the application and install it.  Once installed, start it up – press “Analyze” then – “Run Cleaner”.  That ‘s it! Nothing to it at all and many support specialists use this tool all the time!  If still your system is running very slow, there is a bit more that can be done.  Yes it may cost you money, but still far less than buying a new computer.

Next is hardware replacement, and please understand it’s generally as easy as plugging something in or turning a screw driver.  If your hard drive needs to be replaced, it’s extremely simple.  It may seem daunting to replace hardware in a computer, but it’s honestly very simple for most non-Mac machines.  Just unscrew your computers case, you’ll see a large square box or thin square box with some wires running into it.  The box will even say the size of the HD on it, so you KNOW it’s a storage device.  All you need to do is unplug it, unscrew it from case and take it to your nearest Best Buy and ask someone for a similar hard drive.  Bring the new hard drive home, screw it in and plug it in.  Yes, you’ll have to reinstall windows on it.  But that’s what those recovery disks are for that came with your computer.  Installing windows is no more hard than any of those other applications you’ve installed on your computer.  Heck, if you get stuck you can always just use google. There are TONS of how-to’s.  Lastly, there is memory.  If you know your memory is bad, or lacking.  Then go buy some, it can be so cheap!  Take a few old sticks out (just google what memory looks like, you can’t miss it), bring them to Best Buy and get the same type, but with a larger size. They simply unclip from your mother board, and re-clip back in.  Now of course, these hardware swaps should always be done with the device off and unplugged.

That’s it, there isn’t too much to most people’s computer problems that you can’t do yourself.  So stop paying for tech support for your slow system.  Open up google, do a little reading and use some of these ideas.  Technology can seem scary, but really with simple issues.  It’s no more harder than changing a light bulb, or putting a coffee table together that you bought at Walmart.