Pay attention to your Task Bar (windows) / Activity Monitor (Mac)
In order to be able to fix the problem, it first needs to be identified. Task bar / Activity monitor is an extremely useful application which tells you exactly what is running on your computer, and more importantly, what is using the most RAM – the allocated memory which dictates how many programme’s you can run at the same time without compromising speed/performance.
On windows, simply right click the bottom taskbar and select ‘Task Manager.’ For Mac, cmd + spacebar to open up spotlight and then type in ‘Activity Monitor.’ From here, pay attention to both CPU and RAM as they are the main factors which determine how fast your computer will be able to run.
By clicking either of the two at top of the screen, it will order all of the programmes using the most memory at the top, and vice versa. If there is a particular application that has frozen on your computer, this is a great method to select it and forcing it to quit /end task so as it doesn’t begin to affect anything else.
If you come across anything you don’t recognize, a simple Google search will shed some more light as to what it is. A trial and error approach is normally the best route in this instance, try closing a programme down which is taking up more than its fair share of memory, and then continuing to work and see how much impact it has. As you begin to get more familiar with this process, you will begin to see trends appearing which will in turn help you to identify which apps are impacting your performance.
Full Hard Drive
If your computer’s hard drive is getting full to the brim, it will start to affect your overall performance. It is usually recommended to give yourself a safety blanket of around 15% of your computers capacity untouched as the more memory you have filled up, the more difficulties your computer will have running basic processes and applications.
To check what percentage of your hard drive you have used, click file explorer at the bottom of your screen. From here, select ‘This PC’ from the left hand side. You will now see ‘OS (C:)’ and underneath it there will be your hard drive size listed, along with the amount of space you have used.
For Mac, click the Apple icon in the top left of your screen, then select ‘About this Mac.’ From here, click ‘More Info’ and then ‘Storage.’ You will be able to see not only how big your hard drive is, but also which particular things are taking up the most space; the usual suspects being photos, videos, music and games.
Now, unfortunately, there is no simple button you can press to free up some space. It is merely a case of having a general clean up and going through your files and deleting things as and where needed.
If you have either deleted a few files to no avail, or deem everything to be of importance, your next best option would be to invest in an external hard drive. This will give you the option of transferring those important files over to it which in turn will free up some invaluable space. Here is a detailed guide
Still No Luck?
If none of the options above seem to have an impact, there are a few third-party apps that can help you clean up your drive. CCleaner is a brilliant option, and is compatible with both Windows and Mac. It is a small, effective utility that cleans out the ‘junk’ that accumulates over time: temporary files, broken shortcuts, and other problems, whilst ensuring that your privacy is protected at the same time.