How to Make Videos Play Faster on a Computer

By Josh Fredman

Computers offer a great way to watch videos, but choppy playback and repeated buffering are a real drag on the enjoyment factor. Nobody likes to be interrupted in the middle of watching something just because the technology isn't up to the task. But before you spend the big bucks on upgrading your hardware or replacing your whole computer, you can try a variety of easy and mostly free measures that should improve video speed and reliability on your computer.

Step 1

Close unnecessary tabs in your Web browser and other programs running on your computer to free up system RAM.

Step 2

Launch the Windows Task Manager by typing "Task" on the Start Screen or pressing and holding "Ctrl," "Shift" and "Esc" on your keyboard. In the Task Manager, look at the active processes and shut down any that you recognize as nonessential. Ending processes also reduces RAM usage.

Step 3

Restart your machine if it has been running for more than a day. Operating systems are very complex, and starting a fresh session can clear up bottlenecks that degrade system performance.

Step 4

Disable hardware acceleration if you're watching a Flash video. This can be especially helpful if you have a computer manufactured before 2010, or if you have trouble watching Flash videos in full-screen mode. If you don't know whether you're watching a Flash video or another kind, simply right-click on the actual video during playback. If it's a Flash video, the Flash context menu will pop up. Click "Settings." The Display Panel will appear, and from there uncheck the "Enable Hardware Acceleration" option.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you're having trouble with online videos in particular, watch them using a lower resolution quality. Most video websites, including YouTube, Dailymotion and many news video websites, allow you to adjust this setting. In YouTube, the "Settings" button is in the bottom-right corner of the video. In Dailymotion, the "Resolution" button is at the top of the video. Lowering the quality of the video stream is one of the most reliable ways to make online videos play faster.