8 Tips to Improve Performance in Older Windows Computer (PC) Hardware

By George Otte


Your PC takes ages to start up in the morning. Seemingly simple processes stretch for what feels like hours. Browsing media-rich websites feels like running a marathon.

You can no longer deny it: your computer is getting older. Is it time to accept the inevitable and invest in a new device?

Perhaps not. Many people do not realize just how much they can do to prolong the useful life of an older laptop or desktop computer and improve its performance while it remains functional. 

If you would prefer not to buy a brand-new PC just yet, why not try these eight proven tips to improve computer performance? Most cost little or nothing and require only minor changes to your routine, if any.

1. Power Down Your Computer When Not in Use

This might be the easiest tip of all. Rather than let your computer run all night, even in sleep mode, power the device down completely whenever it’s not in use. This is especially important for work devices, which we ask to perform for hours on end almost every day.

2. Set Fewer Programs to Run at Startup

Your computer might take so long to power up every morning because of how many programs it’s starting up in the process. To find out if this is the case for your PC, open the Task Manager (from the Start menu or using the Ctrl + Shift + Esc shortcut) and count how many programs are set to run from startup. For each program that runs from startup, you’ll see how much computing power it’s using too. Right-click to change each program’s settings.

3. Uninstall Unnecessary Programs (Including Preinstalled Software That Came With the Device)

Every PC has its fair share of “bloatware,” the unnecessary programs that users rarely open and that don’t improve system performance in any real way.

On the contrary. Bloatware can adversely affect your device’s speed and cause run errors. 


“Get rid of software you don’t currently use and don’t ever plan to by uninstalling it from the device and making sure no copies remain on the hard drive.” — George Otte


Don’t spare preinstalled software either. Despite what you may have heard, uninstalling “default” programs won’t damage your operating system. 

4. Run the Disk Cleanup Process

Manually uninstalling unnecessary programs is a good start, but it won’t remove every file that’s slowing down your device. For that, you need to run the Disk Cleanup process. Simply type “Disk Cleanup” into the Start menu bar to get started. Do this at least three times per year, and more frequently if you download lots of files to your hard drive.

5. Offload Extra Files to an External Hard Drive and Delete Them From Your Device

Another way to improve system performance is to “outsource” files and programs that don’t absolutely need to live on your hard drive. Use a high-capacity external hard drive to store these files, keeping the physical drive in a safe place (ideally, a locked file cabinet), and delete the originals from your hard drive.

6. Routinely Scan Your Device for Malware

Install a trusted anti-malware program on your computer and run a full malware scan every month. Do this overnight so that it doesn’t impact system performance while it’s running; a full scan can take several hours. Note any performance-diminishing spyware or viruses that the scan identifies and removes.

7. Try a Different Web Browser

If your device’s Web browsing performance is of particular concern, try switching to a different browser. Sometimes, this is all that’s needed to improve load speed and enable faster, richer surfing. 

8. Upgrade to a Solid State Drive (But Consider the Cost First)

Short of purchasing a brand-new device, this is the most drastic step you can take to improve your computing experience. It’s also the most expensive. However, the difference will be crystal clear. If nothing else works to your satisfaction, this is your best option.

Do you have an older laptop or desktop computer that is showing its age? Have any of these tips helped improve its performance?


George Otte is a Miami-based entrepreneur and executive with more than 15 years of multifaceted business operations experience.

Working from Home During Covid? Here’s How to Protect Your Online Data

By George Otte

As more people shift to working from home because of the pandemic, cybersecurity has increasingly become a significant concern for companies and individuals.

According to estimates, cybercrime costs global businesses at least $1.5 billion per annum, with the figure expected to rise in 2020 as people work remotely. Indeed, in the first half of 2019 alone, data breaches had exposed more than 4.1 billion records.

Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to protect yourself while working remotely. According to experts, users are typically the weakest link in cybersecurity, but knowing that puts you in a better position to protect yourself.

Here are simple, practical steps you can take right now to safeguard your data working remotely.

Protect your computer

Your home-work computer is the first line of defense against major cyber threats. While some companies provide work computers or laptops, most new remote workers transitioned their private computers into work computers.

That’s fine, but you need to take cybersecurity seriously. You don’t want to end up accidentally posting sensitive company data on social media.

So, how do you protect your computer?

  1. Invest in a robust antivirus suite

First, install a strong antivirus suite. A good antivirus effectively protects you from most of the major cyber threats, including:

  • Malware, viruses, and spyware
  • Zero-day attacks that exploit new vulnerabilities before they are patched
  • Phishing scams
  • Trojans and worms

Additionally, since antivirus software runs in the background and updates automatically, you can expect protection from most new and emerging threats.

     2. Keep your computer up to date

Set your computer to automatically receive and apply all security updates, especially Windows updates that patch critical vulnerabilities.

Lock it down

Whenever you step away from your computer, lock it down. While working from home seems safer with family around, issues still exist. For instance, your kids could accidentally delete critical files.

On Windows computers, press the Windows+L buttons. With modern Macs, Command+Control+Q works, or you can just close the lid. Always use a password to lock your computer down (more on that below).

     3. Create stronger passwords

Like most people, you probably use several passwords every day. It’s tempting to default to a single password for everything, but that only increases your risks.


“Instead, consider using a password manager to store your passwords safely. Some password managers even let you create strong random passwords that further strengthens your cyber-defenses.” — George Otte


Great passwords have the following characteristics according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC):

  • At least eight or more characters – the more, the better.
  • A mixture of lowercase, uppercase letters, and numbers
  • At least one special character, e.g., %@!?}[. However, avoid < and > as they cause problems on some browsers.

Secure your home wireless network

Home wireless networks are a soft target for hackers because most users don’t set a password or use weak passwords.

Here are some easy steps you can take right now to beef up security on your Wi-Fi at home and protect your data:

  • Rename your SSID (the name of your network) to something cryptic and unpredictable. Do not use your name or other details that can identify you.
  • Create and use a strong password (refer above) and ensure you change the router’s default settings.
  • Use network encryption such as WEP, WPA, and WPA2. Users on newer hardware produced later than 2016 can use the strongest encryption, WPA2.
  • Always upgrade your router’s firmware to the latest version, including installing the most recent security updates.
  • Only allow specific MAC addresses to connect to your Wi-Fi at home. Every device connecting to your network has a unique code. If you know your trusted devices’ codes, you can lock out all other devices, further securing your network.

Minimize video conferencing security risks

Videoconferencing has gained popularity as people work, study, and socialize online. However, increased use of video conferencing platforms, such as Zoom, has attracted cyber criminals out to cause chaos. You can protect your video conferencing sessions by:

  • Opting for platforms that use end-to-end encryption like Webex, Microsoft teams, etc.
  • Ensure all meetings are private and require passwords or individually approve guests
  • Install the latest updates on your video conferencing client.

Secure data locally and in the cloud

Finally, take steps to protect your data by creating backups both locally and on cloud platforms. Keep backups of critical work documents, preferably encrypted to deter hackers.

Additionally, consider using a Virtual Private Network when connecting to or accessing your company’s network. A VPN encrypts your data and network traffic, making it inaccessible and unusable to cybercriminals.


George Otte is a Miami-based entrepreneur and executive with more than 15 years of multifaceted business operations experience.

Geeks on Site Featured on “Designing Spaces” LifeTime TV

By George Otte

Geeks on Site is proud to announce it has been featured on Designing Spaces, a popular Lifetime TV program. Through Designing Spaces, we’ll be showing viewers how our company’s professional, dependable technicians help solve our customers’ most complicated IT and computer issues in the comfort of their own home or office.

The segment aired on Lifetime TV on January 27, 2020. It’s an overview of our technical support solutions and a reminder of our commitment to help all who struggle with occasional computer and IT issues. 

Geeks on Site was founded in 2002 to provide technical support to home and businesses in the Miami area. In the years since, it has grown into a nationwide computer repair and technical support company providing remote and in-home services in more than 250 U.S. cities. The company’s talented staff of technical experts continues to uphold the simple proposition upon which the company was founded: customers first, homes and businesses rely on dependable computer systems — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

We are pleased to collaborate with Designing Spaces to show the many ways in which Geeks on Site can help consumers solve challenges with their computers, computer systems, and virtually any IT issue without leaving the comfort of their own home. 

We believe the segment is a great opportunity for us to showcase our staff’s expertise and professionalism. 


“Working either on-site or remotely, our professionals provide the services necessary to fix malfunctions quickly and expertly.” — George Otte


That is exactly what busy consumers and business owners need to minimize downtime and lost productivity while reducing stress and avoiding the hassle and cost of replacing equipment.

What makes Geeks on Site different from other technical support providers? As our Designing Spaces segment shows, we have technicians standing by around the clock, ready to be dispatched to our customers’ homes and offices. We also have the capability to fix problems online, remotely, no matter where the customer is located. Our reach is truly nationwide.

Geeks on Site is distinguished by its technical support staff’s professionalism, as well. Let’s face it: finding qualified, reputable computer repair technicians is difficult for many customers and business owners. 

We understand this. It’s why we’ve invested in staff training and professionalism for nearly two decades. As our Designing Spaces segment shows, we strive to make every interaction between customers and technicians successful, no matter the issue that brought the customer to us.

The segment shows off another distinguishing feature of Geeks on Site: our versatility. Simply put, we do much more than computer repair.


“Our residential customers often have WiFi, home theaters, smart doorbell, and smart cameras set up. Our business customers rely on us for data recovery, printer repairs, and [business] solutions.” — George Otte


It’s no wonder Geeks on Site has earned the trust and loyalty of our customers since 2002. Many of our home and business customers have been with us for years. When technical misfortune strikes, we are their first call. We hope that Designing Spaces viewers will think of us first too.

The segment also highlights one last differentiator that deserves mention. We already know that what sets us apart is a very professional and personalized service, but our availability is also of extreme value to our customers. Time is money, after all, and because our center is open 24/7, we’re able to provide immediate help at all times.
If you missed our Designing Spaces segment, check your local listings for future airings.


George Otte is a Miami-based entrepreneur and executive with more than 15 years of multifaceted business operations experience.