Speed up a slow tablet (or PC)

By | August 8, 2016
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At work we’ve got a whole variety of different bits of equipment – different PCs, laptops and tablets. All so we can write about how each type works and make sure we understand the differences and what works well at what.

It’s not just bang up to date kit, either. We’ve got some older bits and pieces, too.

After all, if you’re like me, if you buy an expensive tablet or PC, you want it to last a while, not have to replace it every year or two (whatever the manufacturers might like you to do).

PCs and laptops have always tended to get slower as they get older. There are several reasons: they get cluttered up with files and bits of programs (even programs you’ve now uninstalled), you might have newer software designed for faster, more modern PCs, and some parts can even deteriorate physically (especially the hard drive, which apart from the cooling fans is the only moving part in a PC).

There are various things you can do to speed up a PC, without replacing it. In fact I wrote a short book about it a while ago (“How to Speed up Your PC” – but you can’t buy it as it’s only available as an ebook free to Inner Circle members – if you are an Inner Circle member, have a look in the downloads part of the website but if you’re not, I’m afraid we’re not talking any more members right at the moment).

But the biggest single tip I give people is make sure you turn your PC properly off. Some people only ever put their PC into standby and although that’s convenient (because it starts up quickly when you press the button next time), it doesn’t allow the computer to clear its memory properly. It gradually gets more and more cluttered and slower and slower.

And if you are having problems with your PC not behaving it’s always my first advice, too: turn it off and then back on again. It often helps.

When tablets came out, it looks like they might be different. Apple (for one) promised that new versions of the “operating system” would make older iPads run faster, not slower, even though they were mainly designed for newer devices. And crucially, tablets don’t have a hard drive with moving parts that can wear out. They use “flash” memory instead – much like inside a USB flash drive or the cards you put in a camera.

So in theory tablets shouldn’t get slower as they get older.

They often do, though. And one of the big causes (though certainly not the only one) is that with tablets it’s even more tempting to just put them in stand-by when you finish with them instead of turning them off properly.

On most tablets if you press the on/off button once, it only puts the tablet into stand-by. Next time you press the button it’ll wake up almost instantly. And with modern ones, they use virtually no battery when they’re on stand-by (iPads seem to be great at this).

Most of the time, that’s fine. But it’s still a good idea to fully turn it off and on again every so often, to allow the memory to fully reset. On most tablets you press the on/off switch and hold it down for 5 seconds or so and a screen will appear asking if you want to shut down. You often have to slide something or other to say yes. Then it’s properly turned off.

When you want to turn it on, you usually can’t just tap the on/off switch. You have to hold it down for 3 or 5 seconds again. And it’ll take a bit longer to start up. But it’ll help keep your tablet running faster, so it’s well worth the wait!

As I say, you don’t need to do this every time you use your tablet. But it’s worth doing it every so often – I’d say at least once a week, maybe more (depending on how much you use your tablet).

After all, if it can keep your tablet running faster and smoother, it’s worth the few seconds wait every so often.

A quick favour?

Could I ask a quick favour?  I’m trying to make sure I know a bit about what tablets our customers have got (and what kind of support they’ll have from the places they bought them from).  If you have a tablet, could you answer a very quick survey for me?  It’s only two questions and it should take about 30 seconds.  All you have to do is go here and answer the two questions and then click to say you’ve finished.  (You’ll get a screen telling you all about SurveyMonkey, the service I used to make the survey, but you can just close that down unless you want to be able to make surveys yourself!)


5 thoughts on “Speed up a slow tablet (or PC)

  1. Margaret and Jim Smith

    Thank you for a useful tip. We are new to the mouseless world. Not sure if you answer queries or not, but we would like to be able to listen to internet radio on ours. At home our laptop is near the hi-fi, and we use the auxiliary input to get better sound. On using the tablet, when we tap the programme we like, we are told that it cannot be played.

    1. Tim Post author

      It depends how you listen to the internet radio – some stations have a website which only works on an actual computer and if you want to listen on a tablet, you have to go into the store and download their app to make it work. eg I think for classic fm you have to download the classic fm” app. It might be worth trying that to see if it helps.

  2. Phil Linskey

    I do this daily. But my tablet and PC both still slow up with use. On my PC I use CCleaner to delete old emails, empty the trash bin etc, and I defrag the disc occasionally. This works well on PC, but I can’t find tools like this for my iPad. Do they exist? At present I delete emails after reading, but then have to use the folder All Emails to delete it again to completely remove it from my tablet. Is there an easier way? I do use Settings/Safari/clear history of websites visited occasionally as well.

  3. keith PEARCE

    Thank you for the advice to switch off tablet to speed it up. My Android tablet had virtually ground to a halt,and was unable to load the BT WiFi login page. After switching off and switching back on, and then rebooting……problem solved……many thanks….Keith Pearce


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