10 common reasons why your PC is running slowly.

Most people find their computer gets slower over time, and it can be rather annoying.  Today we’ll look at 10 of the most common reasons we find that make computers run slowly, and also give a practical tip on how to resolve each of them.

Reason 1.  PC has not been restarted for a long time.

Windows and many programs have auto-update options which if turned on download and install updates.  Many of these updates require the machine to reboot before they can finish their installation process, however while Windows usually tells the user a restart is required, some programs (Adobe Reader for example) only advise the user that a restart is required.  They then sit there in the background waiting for you to restart the machine and taking up your computer’s resources while they do so.

Tip 1.  Restart your computer.

Reason 2. Not enough free space left on hard drive

Windows makes use of free space on your computer for virtual memory to run programs and hold temporary files.  Once your disk becomes more than 80% full this process becomes slower, and this gets progressively worse as the amount of space decreases.

Tip 2. Run disk cleaner on your hard disk, or download and run a 3rd party cleaning utility like Ccleaner.

Reason 3. Too many background programs.

Some programs open as soon as your computer starts up, and most antivirus or internet security programs have options to start scanning in the background even if you are using the machine.  All of these programs are taking up resources, and security scans can be very resource intensive, even in the background.

Tip 3.  Run a utility like Ccleaner to see your start-up programs and turn off the ones you don’t want. Turn off your security software’s setting to scan in the background while you are using the machine as well.

Reason 4. Malware or virus infection

These can really slow down your machine, however if your computer has been infected with one of these programs, that might be the least of your worries if you don’t deal with it immediately.

Tip 4. Run an anti-malware program like Malwarebytes Antimalware to remove the infection.

Reason 5. Your version of windows or other software is out of date

If you there are updates available for your software and you don’t install them, this can cause other programs which were developed after those updates came out to malfunction or run more slowly.  If you are still running XP Service Pack 2, software designed for Service Pack 3 may be unable to find some of the files they need to run properly.

Tip 5 Run windows update, and run updates on any software that you use like Internet Explorer, Adobe reader, and Java.

Reason 6. Drivers for your hardware are out of date.

Just like with using out of date software, using hardware with out of date drivers can cause problems to run slowly or malfunction.

Tip 6. Use device manager to see when the drivers for your hardware were written and then check with the manufacturers to see if newer ones are available for download.

Reason 7. Your disk is fragmented or has errors.

If your disk is badly fragmented then it will take your computer longer to find and read all the parts of your files.  Disks with errors not only take longer, but can also crash causing you disruption and data loss.

Tip 7. Run disk defragmenter to see if your disk needs defragmented.  Run a check disk if you think your disk may have errors on it.

Reason 8. Your computer is overheating

Processors work best at lower temperatures, but when they are put under high load they generate heat.  If your computer is dusty inside the fans and ventilation system doesn’t work properly, your computer cannot operate at full speed.

Tip 8.  Clean the inside of a desktop PC by using canned air designed for computer systems.  For laptops, follow the manufacturers guidelines.  Always use common sense, and never a vacuum cleaner when cleaning a PC.

Reason 9. Your computer requires more memory

Some lower end computers ship with low amounts of memory.  For this reason, sometimes even fairly modern computers will not have sufficient memory to run the latest programs.

Tip 9.  How much memory you will need will depend on what you use your computer for.  Normally, we recommend at least 2GB for Windows XP machines, and 4GB for Windows 7/8.  You’ll need to check the type of memory your computer uses, and how much memory it can take before you decide to buy some.

Reason 10.  Your might need to upgrade your computer.

If your machine is over 5 years old and none of Tips 1 – 8 have helped speed it up, perhaps it’s just time you bought a new one.

Tip 10.  Don’t waste money putting new hardware into a very old computer, put that money on a brand new one instead.

So there are our 10 common reasons why your PC might be running slowly and tips to improve its performance.

Thanks for reading.

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