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These days, because we use our gadgets more than ever and rely on devices to send emails, write documents, play games, connect on social media, Skype, conduct research, shop and a whole lot more, we notice more acutely when our computers fail us.

There’s nothing more annoying than having your computer freeze or slow down right when you’re in the middle of work or need to send a quick message. As such, it’s important to take steps to help your tech tool stay in tip-top shape. Read on for some ways you can help your computer run more smoothly, and faster, today.

Get Rid of Unnecessary Programs

For starters, one of the best things to do is get rid of unnecessary programs that are taking up valuable space and processing power on your computer.

Keep in mind that it’s not just about programs you have installed over the years; in fact most new PCs come pre-loaded with a bunch of things you’ll probably never need — though you might not know it.

Many programs run background processes as you’re loading your computer, even if they’re not open and being used. This, again, adds to the load unnecessarily.

Get rid of these types of things by opening the “Programs and Features” page on the Control Panel and scrolling through the list of installed software to see what you can get rid of.

Make sure you don’t delete anything that is necessary for your hardware to operate properly. If you’re concerned about doing this step yourself, there are third-party programs you can use, many of which are free, which will alert you to unnecessary programs you could remove.

Obtain More Storage

Next, your computer will start running slowly if you simply don’t have enough storage on it to suit your needs. This can be addressed in a couple of different ways. For example, you may need more hard drive storage (permanent storage).

If you end up with so many files on your computer that the hard drive gets close to capacity, say even 80 percent and above, this will affect the speed of the machine.

Regardless of whether you clean out temporary files or not, if you have most of the storage capacity filled up, the computer will have to work harder.

If you store large files on your computers, such as movies and photographs, you will probably need a hard drive that’s upwards of 1 terabyte in size.

Another way you can add storage is via RAM. This is short for Random Access Memory and refers to the temporary storage used by your computer when tasks are being completed by various programs.

If you’re someone who always has a lot of programs open, you will need more RAM. If you don’t have this, your computer will continue slowing down.

One indication that you need a RAM upgrade is if you notice your machine freezing often when you try to do several things at once or if it slows right down whenever you try to open and work with large files. To alleviate this issue, the simple fix is to add more RAM via extra memory sticks. Usually 4 gigabytes is plenty for most people.

Use Clean-Up Tools

If your hard drive is way too full and slowing your computer down, clean it up by deleting old files. While you can manually do this yourself by clicking through the thousands of files, the job is quicker and easier when you take advantage of tools designed to do the work for you.

Look for programs like the best Mac cleaner or quality Windows cleaner online, and you’ll find many products to choose from.

Another thing to clean up is language settings. Most computers these days come pre-installed with a variety of language alternatives to cover all the various users who buy them. However, you’ll likely only need a single language, so you can free up valuable hard drive space by deleting the rest.

Run your Computer Regular Updates 

You probably ignore the regular messages that pop up on your computer telling you it’s time to run an update.

While you might think these are annoying, the problem with not paying attention to them is that, amongst other things, running older versions slows your computer down.

To keep it in good working order then, continually check for and run the latest hardware and software updates.

This covers multiple areas, from the operating system you use, through to browsers, apps, plugins, security software, firewalls and more.