Computers are powerful technological devices, but they are also rather delicate, and over time your computer may start to lose its power and speed. Laptops especially are susceptible to age because of their smaller size and more complex design. There are many ways to help increase your computer's speed and efficiently. This may take some time depending on your system and how long it has been since its last maintenance.
Log in to the administrator account. You may need the full powers of the administrative account to perform the maintenance.
Perform a Disk Cleanup, then a Disk Defragment. You can access these by going to Start, All Programs, Accessories, then to System Tools. The Disk Cleanup shouldn't take more than a few minutes, but the Disk Defragment could take an hour or more, depending on the amount of files in your hard drive, and if it has been a long time since you last performed this operation.
Make a list of any programs in the Startup folder you don't want. Locate this folder from the Start menu, under the All Programs list. If there are any programs that start automatically upon start-up, this can slow down your computer from the start. Remove any applications you don't want to start up automatically.
Look in your Add/Remove Programs list and remove any applications you no longer want, including those in the Startup folder. Access this menu by clicking on Start, then Control Panel, then Add/Remove Programs. Alternatively, you can click Start, then Run, then type in "Appwiz.cpl" with no quotes. While applications don't usually use any RAM (Random Access Memory), they still take up space on your hard drive, and some may have processes running in the background that slow things down. To uninstall, select a program, and press the button in the highlighted box. This will take you through the uninstall process.
Shut down your computer. When the computer has cooled, use a canister of compressed air to clean out your keyboard and ventilation areas to ensure a steady flow of air can pass through the laptop without being obstructed by dust. This will help your laptop run cooler and can help a laptop's performance by preventing it from becoming too warm. Warm laptops require more use of the fan, which could in turn decrease battery life.
Perform maintenance on your computer on a regular basis to keep it running smoothly. Consider running basic maintenance, such as Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmenter once a week.
Despite maintenance and cleaning, computers will eventually succumb to the effects of age and may need to be replaced. Be wary of free cleaning applications, registry cleaners and maintenance programs. These may not always be trustworthy, and could end up causing damage to your computer.