Slow Computer

There are very few things that are more frustrating than a computer that is running slow – especially if you are relying on your computer to finish important work, study or meet strict deadlines. Before you lose your cool, here are a few things that you can check to help things get faster.

Reboot your computer

Sometimes if a computer has been running for a while without being restarted, it can begin to slow down. Try rebooting and see if it makes a difference. Click Here to view my post that outlines why rebooting a computer can actually help with speed issues.

Identify programs and processes are consuming the most resources in the background

Having programs running in the background is a common cause of a slow computer. You can use your task manager to see what programs are running on your computer and how much memory and CPU they are using. To open task manager, just hold down Alt + Control + Delete.

If you have programs that automatically start when your computer turns on, try disabling or removing them. If you are still unsure then you can simply reboot your computer. Rebooting will restart all of your services and only start the service required.

Delete temp files

Some applications will begin to save temporary files or logs to ensure data is saved correctly and log actions and errors while running the program. Most of the time you do not need these files and they just take up space on your hard drive and can cause your computer to run slowly. Deleting these temp files can help improve computer performance.

First, we suggest using the Windows Disk Cleanup utility to delete temporary files and other files no longer needed on the computer.

Unfortunately, the Disk Cleanup may not delete every file in the temp directory. Therefore, we also suggest deleting temporary files manually. To do this, open the Start Menu and type %temp% in the Search field. In Windows XP and prior, click the Run option in the Start Menu and enter %temp% in the Run field. Press Enter and a Temp folder should open. You can delete all files found in this folder and, if any files are in use and cannot be deleted, they can be skipped.

Free hard drive space

Verify that there is at least 1Gb of free hard drive space. This available space allows the computer to have room for the swap file to increase in size, as well as room for temporary files. If you do not have this then there is a good chance your computer will begin to slow down.

Defragment your system

Over time, data on your system becomes fragmented in pieces in different places on your drive.  With Windows 7 and Windows Vista, defragmenting happens in the background happens automatically, but with old XP systems, you’ll need to initiate this manually when your system is slow, or perhaps once a month.

Is an antivirus slowing you down?

While security is important, sometimes antivirus or spyware detection software may run a scan in the background of your computer. If a scan is in progress, your computer may slow down. Once the scan is complete, things should speed back up. If you keep your computer on, you can schedule these scans to occur after hours.

Is your computer infected with malware?

The various types of malware, including spyware and viruses, can significantly reduce the performance of your device. Viruses like these can trigger background activity that uses valuable resources. Ensure that you have an up to date Antivirus program and run a full scan immediately to try and remove these viruses.

Update your Computer

It’s a good idea to make sure you’ve got the latest version of Windows installed on your computer. If your computer only slows down when you’re online, make sure your browser and any related plug-ins are up to date. Hardware drivers should also be updated when new versions are released.

Hardware Failure

It may be possible that your computer is experiencing a more serious hardware related issue such as a failing component in the computer. This could be a failing or bad hard drive, CPU or RAM.

Upgrade your Memory

If you have had your computer for more than two years, you may need more memory. Today, we suggest computers have a minimum of 4GB of memory (RAM) for a 32-bit system and over 4 GB for a 64-bit system. By having enough memory for programs to run within memory, your computer will not need to swap information stored in memory to the swap file. If the hard drive light is constantly active, it can be an indication the computer is frequently swapping information between your memory and hard drive.

Upgrade to an SSD

One of the biggest bottlenecks of a computer is the hard disk drive. It doesn’t matter how fast your CPU is or how much RAM you have. The speed at which data can be written and read from the older style mechanical hard drives can cause a bottleneck. Upgrading from a standard hard drive to a Solid-State Drive (SSD) with faster read/write speeds will significantly improve the performance of a computer.

Someone is using your computer for cryptomining

A sluggish computer could signal that a program or ad is using your system to mine cryptocurrency. Often, this occurs because of code on a website ad that is active only while the site is open. Cryptomining (also called cryptojacking) can also be the result of malware that downloads to your computer – like the Digimine virus that spread through the Chrome version of Facebook Messenger – then runs in the background, mining away and sending information back to its creator.

Shutting down your browser will halt the browser-based cryptomining. To figure out if you’re inadvertently downloaded cryptojacking malware, head to Task Manager (Windows) or Activity Monitor (Mac) and see what’s making demands on your processor. Whether it’s a virus or browser-based cryptomining, you’ll be able to see if something is using your processor for its own needs.

Is your computer old?

Computers more than five years old tend to perform more slowly than newer models. When new software is released, it’s optimised to run on newer machines which means it may not play nicely with an older computer.

Consult a professional

Don’t give up if your computer is running slow and resort to purchasing a new system until you really need to. These are but a few tips you can do to speed up a slow computer. Performing these basic troubleshooting tricks can certainly save you a trip to your local repair shop.  However, when you’ve done all you can and even these steps are not enough, consult a professional to take a closer look at your computer

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