Even if you have the patience of a saint, waiting for your computer to load can be some of the most maddening moments of your day. Those seconds (or minutes) that you wait for programs or web pages to load can be incredibly frustrating. Fortunately, most of the time you can get rid of those delays without too much trouble or expense. Start by asking yourself the following questions and performing the most common troubleshooting steps.
Are You Doing Too Much at One Time?
Just like most users, when a computer is overburdened by too many things going on at once its performance tends to decline! Each open process or application makes demands on the resources of your CPU and memory. It’s easy to inadvertently open dozens of tabs, programs, and applications on your computer; closing or shutting them down will immediately improve your computer’s speed and performance.
To see what’s currently running and using resources on a Windows-based PC, open the Task Manager. Use this tool to close programs and processes you’re not using one by one. Restarting your computer is also a good way to reset programs that haven’t closed entirely or have stalled and are slowing down the system.
Many applications launch when you boot your computer and continue running in the background; you may not even know they are running! To find these hidden power drains, click the up arrow icon near the system tray in the bottom-right corner of your screen. If you see any applications running that you don’t need, right-click to close them. You can also prevent them from automatically opening when you boot your machine; to do this, click the Startup tab in the Task Manager, then disable any applications you don’t need from auto-opening on startup.
Is Your Hard Drive Full?
As your hard drive starts to fill up, especially as it approaches 90-95 percent of its limit, your system will start to perform more slowly (and may even have difficulty booting up). To free up space on your hard drive and improve performance, remove some of your data or add additional hard drive capacity either internally or externally. Delete temporary files, empty your trash, and uninstall programs you no longer need. If you have a lot of large files like pictures, videos, and music, think about moving some of your data to cloud-based storage solutions.
You may also be able to speed up your Windows-based PC by adding additional RAM, which is an inexpensive, easy upgrade for most computers and will improve your machine’s speed and performance when running graphics-heavy software like Photoshop or video editors.
Is Your Computer Infected?
Viruses, spyware, and malware are often to blame when your system slows to a crawl. These programs attach to your browsers and other programs, accessing your personal information and improperly gaining access to your data and networks. You may have installed browser add-ons, extensions, and toolbars that come bundled with software downloads without even realizing it; these can slow your browser dramatically, so make sure you don’t ever click “yes” during the install process and allow them to infiltrate your machine.
An up-to-date anti-malware and anti-virus program is vital to protect your data and equipment, but as it performs a scan it can slow down your computer’s performance. To solve this problem, schedule routine scans to run during times you don’t use your computer or don’t need it to perform optimally (like during the day while you’re at work for a home computer or on the weekends for business machines).
Is It Just Getting Old?
Unfortunately, technology changes very quickly, and most computers become obsolete in 3-7 years. Older systems can be maddeningly slow and have difficulty running modern applications and programs effectively (or at all). The costs of continuing to use old computers can really add up, including the time and money spent to repair issues and malfunctions, perform maintenance, update old programs, and troubleshoot repeated issues and problems. Components, too, can break or deteriorate over time, which can also cause a slowdown in your computer’s performance. Some components can be replaced piecemeal, but others cannot.
Should You Fix It or Replace It?
You may be able to repair or upgrade your existing machine to improve its performance, or it may be time to replace your technology. How do you know? Contact us to arrange an in-home repair appointment or drop by our Urbandale showroom to talk with one of our experienced IT techs. Our in-store computer repair service can diagnose and repair most computer hardware and software problems within 24 hours.
We’ll give you the best advice based on your computer’s symptoms and configuration. Sometimes, we can suggest a quick fix or upgrade; other times, you may need more hands-on repair, or we may recommend you replace your machine with a newer model. If you’re ready to upgrade, check out our selection of new and used computers to find something that meets your needs and your budget.