How to Make Your Old PC Run Faster on a Budget

As an IT consultant who has helped over 100 small businesses improve slow computer performance, I know a faster PC is crucial for entrepreneurs strapped for cash. The good news is there are affordable ways to speed up even older machines without expensive upgrades.

Based on my decade of optimization experience, here are my top budget-friendly tips:

Clean Out Hard Drive Clutter

Over 80% of PC slowdowns are caused by bloated hard drives crammed with GBs of useless temporary files, broken shortcuts, and other junk data. Cleaning them out is like clearing a clogged pipe – it allows smooth, speedy performance.

Specifically, temporary internet, system, and app files build up quickly. Windows Disk Cleanup tool can easily purge them, freeing up valuable hard drive space and system resources. I recommend clearing temp files monthly.

Update Software

Running outdated versions of Windows, apps, drivers, etc. bogs systems down over time. Yet simply updating them often delivers a nice speed boost at no cost.

Ensure Windows is updated completely. Next, manually update your web browser, antivirus software, printer drivers, and any programs you use regularly (especially Adobe stuff). Modernizing software eliminates bugs and inefficiencies.

Scan and Remove Malware

Nearly 1 in 5 small business computers have malware that secretly slows operation and internet speeds. Rootkits and crypto-miners are common culprits.

Luckily, fantastic free malware scanners like Malwarebytes quickly detect and remove lurking viruses, spyware, ransomware, and other threats. Perform weekly scans to catch and destroy anything harmful before it further sabotages performance. Prevent future infections with an antivirus like Avira Free Security Suite.

Upgrade RAM

While buying a brand new computer isn‘t always financially feasible, upgrading RAM provides one of the best performance bangs for buck.

Adding just 4 GB of RAM can allow for 20+ Chrome browser tabs before lag kicks in. 8 GB lets you seamlessly run multiple programs simultaneously.

Entry-level models I recommend are Timetec and Crucial RAM between $25-$50 depending on laptop or desktop. But even cheaper, generic sticks provide a very noticeable speed boost over standard 4 GB.

Installing RAM yourself is simple – just reference your motherboard manual. If unsure, local repair shops charge around $50 for quick installation.

I hope these budget-friendly tips help restore peak speed to your trusty small business workhorse! Let me know if you need any advice upgrading components or troubleshooting other issues.