5 fast fixes for a slow computer

·4-min read

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Boys using tablets and laptops in kitchen
A slow device can seriously slow down the homework process. (Photo: Getty)

Many kids and teens rely on computers to complete their homework, as well as play games and in some cases, use social media. At some point, though, your child may complain about a slow computer.

If you’ve ever had this problem, then you know it can be frustrating. You want to fix it, but you may not know where to start. Before you consider replacing your kid's slow computer, there are steps you can take to help fix it that won't break the bank. And let's face it, a new computer isn't always in the budget.

Here's how to fix a slow computer and get back on track in no time at all:

Slow computer fix #1: Check how many programs you have running

The first thing you should do is make sure a random program isn't slowing down your machine. Or if you're running multiple programs simultaneously, close them one by one until only one program remains open and then see if the speed of your computer improves.

Slow computer fix #2: Tune up your computer

You can find sources of these slowdowns by employing software, such as System Mechanic. The full-service stack helps speed up computers by removing unnecessary software and files, and it also fixes problems that can cause computers to randomly restart or lose internet connectivity. In addition, System Mechanic scans your files and deletes any cybersecurity threats that it finds.

Try System Mechanic for 30 days free. After that, it's $4.99 per month.

Japanese girl worried about how to use a tablet device
A sluggish computer can slow homework hour to a crawl. (Photo: Getty)

Slow computer fix #3: Update your browser and operating system

If the browser on your kid's computer is out of date, it's possible for hackers to install malware on the device. You should always keep the web browser up-to-date with the latest security fixes and firmware updates, as these can help protect your child's computer from cyber-attacks.

Slow computer fix #4: Clear your browser's cache frequently

Your child's web browsing habits can affect their computer's overall performance. When you or your child visits a website, its content gets downloaded into your browser cache. This means that every time you return to that site, it doesn't download the same file over and over again. Instead, it downloads the most recent version of the page. However, after some period of time, the cached versions of pages can start to slow down your computer.

Slow computer fix #5: Test your Wi-Fi connection

Most of us take wireless home internet connections for granted. Usually, Wi-Fi is fast, easy, and convenient, but what if you suddenly notice that a download is taking a lot longer than it should? Before buying new hardware, test your current router to see if it works properly. Try connecting to different networks to ensure that your internet service provider hasn't changed anything recently. Also, make sure that your modem/router is plugged directly into your wall outlet rather than through a power strip. If these tests don't resolve your issue, contact your internet provider for help troubleshooting.

Along with following these five tips to help improve a slow computer, it's important to have conversations with your kids about being safe online in general — and that includes only downloading apps from well-known, trusted sites. It can be easy for kids and teens to inadvertently infect their computers with malware — viruses, trojans, and spyware that can spread through emails, videos, and other online content. Another type of cybercrime to talk to your kids about is phishing, where a website or email looks similar to the real thing, but offers a fake login page to steal your passwords and other personal information.

Try System Mechanic for 30 days free. After that, it's $4.99 per month.

Happy elementary student waving to someone while having an online class over computer at home. Copy space.
Make sure your child's browser stays up-to-date to keep your computer optimized, safe, and secure. (Photo: Getty)

"Know what types of activities your children engage in online and teach them about specific areas of risk," Rob Shavell, co-founder and chief executive officer of DeleteMe, tells Yahoo Life. "Do the games have chat? Video chat? Voice messaging? Are they creating usernames and sharing information? Find out how your children interact online and understand where there are potential privacy risks that can be mitigated with better controls."

What's more, says Shavell, children shouldn't use their real identity when online. "Parents should ensure that usernames and accounts associated with any online activity by children are established with anonymized names and unique 'burner' [disposable] email addresses," he says.

Make sure your kids — particularly those under age 13 — also know that they shouldn't enter their personal information online, at least not without talking to you about it first. "There is no reason for any apps or services to ever request their personal information — it remains illegal to collect data from minors — and children should know never to submit personal information," Shavell says.

Try System Mechanic for 30 days free. After that, it's $4.99 per month.

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