It’s a point that every computer reaches eventually. You may start to notice that it takes longer for your computer to boot than it used to, or that it will take a minute before the game you clicked on starts running. Whatever it is, the situation has progressed to a point where it is noticeable and very inconvenient. There are many ways to handle a computer that is slowing down, ranging in price and efficacy, so for your convenience, here are 5 effective and low-cost ways to speed up a gaming PC.

Tip #1: Defragment Your Hard Drive

This is the simplest step to do whenever upgrading or repairing your PC. If you have a large hard drive with a lot of files installed, chances are there may have been some virtual degradation. This isn’t a very effective method of speeding up your computer compared to the others on this list, but it’s incredibly easy to do, takes very little time, and can potentially fix your problem.

If you’re running a PC with Windows, you have a defrag program included with your OS. You can usually find it under Accessories in your programs folder, or by searching ‘defrag.’ If you’re using Mac or Linux, you don’t need to defragment your hard drive, but for the majority of gamers who use Windows, this can be a quick and painless fix.


Tip #2: Clean Your Registry

Another thing that happens over time with large hard drive, especially when many programs are installed and uninstalled, is that a lot of junk files are left over. These don’t take up much space at first, but as more and more files are added and removed from your hard drive, this digital waste will build up. There are many free programs that can be installed to clean your registry; a great pick is CCleaner by Piriform.


CCleaner and other free programs like it can be used to clean your registry and defragment your hard drive.

Tip #3: Scan For Viruses and Malware

Nowadays, the web is a bit less seedy, so the threat of viruses is fairly manageable. However, there will always be people looking to exploit your software in order to take money from you, or steal your identity. Something as simple as a cookie embedded into your browser after visiting a website can slow down your machine, taking up valuable free space, and it can be as serious as a Trojan that plants spyware in order to siphon your data.

If you’re running any of the newest versions of Windows, your installation will come with a program called Windows Defender. This does a good job of actively protecting you from threats, but if you’re worried that something may have gotten through your defenses, try running a full scan of your system. Additionally, you can use free programs like SUPERAntiSpyware and MalwareBytes. For a computer so infected you can’t even get online, run a portable version of HitmanPro off a flash drive.


Check Windows Defender and run a scan if you suspect malware or viruses on your computer.

Tip #4: Clean Out Excess Dust

At this point, you’ve performed all of the tasks to speed up your computer through the use of software. This is effective for a vast majority of computer issues, but if your problems persist past this point, you may want to start examining the hardware. Depending on where your PC tower is placed in your workstation, you may have a lot of dust, lint or hair built up inside the components. This can be fixed with minimal effort, at a minimal cost.

Unplug all the wires and dongles from your computer case and take it outside. Unscrew and open the metal plate on the side of your case to access the inner components. Use something like a canned dust cleaner, or an industrial compressed air jet, and spray all the tiny parts with high-pressure air. This will free up any dust or gunk keeping it from running slowly, and will probably decrease the standard running temperature of your machine.

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At this point, if you’re computer is still running slowly, you may want to upgrade to a better machine. Check our pick of some great PCs under $300 and Best Computers for Gaming under $600 for some suggestions if you’re in the market for a new computer.

Tip #5: Buy Additional RAM

This is the last-ditch scenario if you’re looking to save money. If you’ve ensured that all the software and installed programs are running correctly, and that your computer case is free of dust, the last option is to modify hardware. This is the most expensive method, and it is less effective for older machines that cannot support newer hardware.

The cheapest component to replace in your gaming PC is your RAM, followed closely by the hard drive. Memory can be found for reasonable prices at many online retailers, and some local outlets will have some and even offer installation service. This isn’t a cost-effective choice, but if you aren’t comfortable performing the upgrade yourself, this is a viable alternative.

The extra RAM will allow programs to load a bit faster, freeing up more energy for the CPU to focus on other tasks. It also increases multitasking ability, which is very helpful for gamers that like to use voice chat on Discord while playing a game, or listen to music on Youtube or Spotify. From here, this is about as much effort you should invest into hardware upgrades before considering getting a new computer.

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Upgrading your system’s memory is a cheap way to speed up your gaming PC through hardware.


Following these 5 tips, the majority of computer issues can be resolved. This will potentially save you the money you would have spent on a new computer, when your current model still had a few years of life left in it. That said, if after applying these tips and your computer is still too slow for you, consider getting a new PC.

There are many options to choose from with gaming PCs, and it can be a bit discouraging if you aren’t very familiar with desktop hardware. For your benefit, we have articles showing the Best Cheap Gaming PCs and the Best Budget Gaming Motherboards if you’re interested in building your own from scratch. Hopefully this article helped you solve whatever problem is getting in the way of you and some quality gaming time!

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