How to Make My Dell Computer Faster

By Gregory Hamel

Dell is a popular Windows computer manufacturer. Like any type of computer, a variety of issues may cause Dells to run slowly; some issues will be related to the Windows operating system, while some may involve the hardware or software. There are several simple steps you can take to increase the performance of your Dell PC.

Things You'll Need

  • New RAM cards
  • Screwdrivers
  • Antivirus software

Step 1

Delete old programs and data. Click "Start," "Control Panel" and "Add/Remove Programs" (XP) or "Programs and Features," (Vista). Right-click on any old, unused programs in the list and select "Uninstall," to remove them. Remove other files, such as old media files, by dragging them to the recycle bin, right-clicking on the bin and choosing "Empty recycle bin."

Step 2

Defragment your hard disk. Click "Start" then "Computer." Right-click on the drive you want to defragment, select "Properties," click the "Tools" tab, then click "Defragment" or "Defragment Now." This process may take several hours to complete.

Step 3

Download and install the latest device drivers for your Dell computer. Go to Dell's driver support site (see the link in the Resource section below) and click "Enter a Tag." Locate your service tag number on a label on the back of your computer tower and type it into the box. Click "Go." If you need help finding the tag, click the link called "How do I find my service tag?" for detailed instructions and diagrams. Scroll through the list of driver updates and click the "Download" button next to the most recent driver for each of your devices, then run each of the downloaded setup files to install the drivers. Restart your PC after installing any driver updates.

Step 4

Install new random access memory (RAM). Some Dell PCs may experience a lag due to insufficient RAM. You can find the appropriate RAM upgrade for your Dell machine by clicking "Parts & Upgrades" at Dell's support site (see the link in the Resource section below) then entering your service tag number and clicking "Search." To install new RAM, turn off your PC, open the case with a screwdriver (Note: some Dells have easy release mechanisms and do not require screwdrivers to open the case). Align the new RAM module in an open RAM slot on the motherboard (or remove an old module and replace it with a new one) and push down firmly until the plastic locking clamps close and hold the module in place. Close the case and start your PC; no software installation is necessary when installing RAM.

Step 5

Conduct a full system scan with an antivirus program and delete any malware identified by the scan. Malware like viruses, spyware and adware can potentially cause an otherwise healthy computer to run slowly. If you don't have antivirus software, popular free programs include AVG Free, Avast and Avira AntiVir.

Step 6

Run the disk cleanup utility to get rid of small unnecessary files. Click "Start," "All Programs," "Accessories," "System Tools" and "Disk Cleanup." Choose the drive to clean from the drop-down list, then click "OK," wait a until the system scan is complete, check the boxes of any types of unnecessary files you want to delete in the list, such as temporary Internet files, then click "OK."

Tips & Warnings

  • Dell periodically releases new driver updates for its computers, so check back at Dell's website for new drivers from time to time to make sure you are running the most current drivers.