The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic enabled a work-from-home arrangement for most of the global workforce. However, not everyone has the luxury of a brand-new laptop.
Buying a new laptop nowadays is difficult. Malls are closed. Online shopping is limited to essential goods.
1. Update Windows regularly
Regular Windows updates might be annoying at times. Sometimes the timing of the update is off and it takes a while before it gets finished.
However, these updates are like oil to an engine. It reduces bugs and updates the system drivers as well. Like a car, frequent change oils are needed for it to run at its optimal state.
Be sure to tick off the automatic updates option. Select the manual update to prevent updates from happening at the worst time. The manual update option allows the user to update whenever it is convenient, such as before bedtime or if going on a long break.
2. Disable Cortana
Cortana is not the best assistant in the market. There are times when it is needed, but most of the time, it gets annoying. There are pop-ups everywhere. It continues to gather data, plus it uses Bing as the default search engine.
Disabling Cortana is easy. Open the “Settings” menu, search for Cortana, and turn off all the needed options.
There is another trick to disable Cortana from gathering personal data. On the “Privacy Settings,” turn off the “Inking and Typing Personalization” and the “Speech” tab.
Disabling Cortana frees up memory, which is needed for multitasking.
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3. Turn off startup apps
There are some software that initializes upon opening a device, such as BitTorrent, Spotify, Mega, OneDrive, and many more. These apps use memory and processing power even if it is just running in the background.
To disable these startup apps, follow the steps:
- Open “App Settings”
- Click on the “Startup” tab
- Turn off any unnecessary apps
4. Uninstall unnecessary apps
There is bloatware included on Windows 10 upon installation. Most of these apps are forgotten through time but continues to take space.
Under the “Settings” menu and “Apps & Features” tab, all software installed will be listed. Uninstalling these apps is just one click away.
The most annoying bloatware that Windows has is Candy Crush and Candy Crush Saga. These two games take almost 400MB of storage.
Before deleting an application, make sure that it is not being used or it is not an essential part of Windows. If unsure, a simple Google search will help if it is worth removing or not.
5. Check battery saving options
This is only applicable to laptops. When using a laptop, a small battery meter appears on the taskbar. Hovering the mouse over this icon shows the battery percentage or the power mode.
When using a laptop plugged in, turn on the “Performance” mode. For people who are mostly using their laptops unplugged, however, it is better to check the “Balanced” option for a good mix of performance and battery life.
The battery saver mode disables some of the apps that are not needed. This is a great option even if the battery is still full. It frees up memory load, as well as reduce unnecessary processes.
6. Manage system temperature
Working on a laptop gets demanding, especially if it involves heavy tasks such as image rendering, content creation, or programming. These tasks use a lot of power and drastically increase computer temperature.
One cheap way of decreasing laptop temperature is by lifting the laptop at an angle. This exposes the bottom part of the laptop and provides better airflow. If there is an extra budget, there are USB-powered laptop coolers that double as a stand.
Lastly, for those who are brave enough to open their laptops, changing the thermal paste is a great solution. This is for advanced laptop users who know how to work around computer components. It is not recommended for beginners.
Another thing to do is to free up the side vents of the laptop. Some laptops have air vents at the bottom and these should be checked as well.
7. Monitor CPU usage
The Task Manager might be known as the lifesaver whenever a laptop hangs up. But it is not its only job. The Task Manager is a great tool to monitor power-hungry applications as well.
To check which apps consume a lot of power, under the “Processes” tab of the Task Manager, a row of options appear with a percentage number. This number represents how much of the processor, memory, disk, and network are being used.
Under the “Performance” tab, more in-depth details of the processes can be seen. It shows how much of the processor is being utilized. It displays the current speed in GHz, plus many more details such as the number of threads and the number of processes.
If there is software that consumes a lot of processing power, it is better to close that software. Google Chrome, for example, is guilty of hogging memory and CPU power whenever a lot of tabs are open.