Why Is My PC Slow?

computer-frustration-1238728“I don’t mind slow computers,” said No One, ever.

What are some likely causes of this vacuous sinkhole that swallows your time, patience, and sanity? Here are the possibilities we recommend you check out first:

1. You’re running too many programs at once.

Re-evaluate all of the programs that auto-start upon booting your computer, and disable any that aren’t necessary.

Identify any virus or malware protection program that automatically scans your computer, and either change it to scan your computer less often, or at a more convenient time (late at night, or weekends), as these programs can affect your computer’s performance.

Take a look at your start menu (Windows) or Login Items (Mac). When installing a new program, you may have been presented with an option screen allowing you to add newly-downloaded programs to your startup menu. Most of us are too busy to carefully read over these options, which leads to inadvertently adding programs that we will not use. These items fight each other to be ready to be opened when your computer is started.

Recommendation: Disable unnecessary programs and reduce the frequency of programs that automatically scan your computer.

2. You have a virus

This is probably the answer most readers suspect, and many times malware is the culprit of slow machines. Additional symptoms may include computer crashing, or even signs you won’t notice (in the case of spyware).

Recommendation: Prevention is the best method, by keepingĀ  your antivirus software up-to-date. If you suspect virus infection, use an online scanner (such as Microsoft Safety Scanner) to identify and remove the virus.

3. You need to restart your computer

Little known secret from the tech world…the reason helpdesks ask if you have restarted your computer is because it generally fixes a myriad of possible issues. Your computer could have been running for a long time without a reboot. Most of those updates and patches that annoyingly ask you to restart your computer after installation, and are promptly ignored (ain’t nobody got time for that). Ignoring the reboot request means that they still have unfinished business. Even in cases where helpful updates have completed themselves, reboots clear your RAM and force a new registry read, which gives your machine a quick tune-up.

Recommendation: Reboot your computer once every week at minimum.

4. You don’t have enough memory

You could be low on RAM (Random Access Memory). If you use graphics-heavy programs such as video or photo editing software, it is recommended that you run them on a machine with at least 4GB of RAM (2GB is recommended for the average user).

Recommendation: Consider purchasing additional RAM.

5. You don’t have enough free hard drive space

Why does it matter how much free hard drive space you have, as long as its not ‘full’, you ask? Well, while hard drives provide storage for data, additional unused space is temporarily used while programs are operating, and some hard drive space is used just to start the computer itself. When your hard drive reaches 80% capacity is when a user will start experiencing issues with speed.

Recommendation: In general it is best to have 20% of your hard drive space free at all times. You can free up this space by moving some files to the cloud or deleting some files, or perhaps with a simple solution like emptying your trash.

There it is, some quick tips on how to speed up your computer. Best of luck!


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