One of the most frustrating things is when your computer runs slower than you expect it to—lagging when opening programs, struggling to load webpages, and worse. If you’re starting to develop an Office Space-worthy case of computer rage, the following explanations may help you understand (and solve) your slow computer problems.
You’re Running Too Many Programs or Browser Tabs
The simplest explanation of why your computer runs slowly is that its resources are stretched too thin. That is, a process or application is using a lot of your CPU resources or putting a heavy demand on the memory. On a Windows-based PC, you can open the Task Manager to see what programs are using more than their fair share of your resources and close/restart them. Restarting your computer can also help reset programs that perhaps haven’t closed entirely or are hung up and slowing down the system.
A common drain on your computer performance is applications that launch at startup and stay running in the background but remain hidden. Click the up arrow icon near the system tray at the bottom-right corner of your screen, right-click any applications you don’t need running in the background, and close them to free up resources. Or you can prevent them from launching at startup entirely; click the Startup tab in the Task Manager and disable any applications you don’t need from auto-opening when you boot your machine. Another common resource-waster is having a ton of tabs open in your internet browser. Each tab requires additional processing power, so closing the ones you’re not using can help speed up your performance. (Save them to your reading list or bookmarks to find them easily later when you need them.)
It’s Got Malware
Viruses, spyware, and malware can slow down your computer as they infiltrate your browser and programs. These nasty little programs can spy on your browsing history, access your secure personal information, improperly gain access to your data and networks, litter your computer with advertising, crash your computer, and more—all of which can occupy resources and make your machine run sluggishly. Browser add-ons, extensions, and toolbars that come bundled with software download are another kind of adware that slows down your browser. Make sure you don’t click "yes" during the install process to allow their installation.
It’s vital to have an active anti-malware program, but this may also be contributing to your computer’s slow speeds: virus scans can slow your machine as they run in the background and tie up a lot of processing power. It’s a good idea to set your scans to run at a time you don’t need your machine to perform optimally (maybe at night, during the day while you’re at work for a home machine, or over the weekends for business machines). Having an IT professional perform a complete computer cleaning service checkup and implement a comprehensive anti-virus and malware defense plan is a good investment to protect your system and improve its performance.
You Are Approaching System Capacity
When your hard drive gets to 90–95 percent full, your system will start to slow down and may have difficulty booting up. Hard drive space is taken up by programs, updates to programs, and downloads as well as temporary files and associated files of deleted programs, so you may be able to clear a good amount of space just by emptying your trash. To free up space on your hard drive, move some of your data to cloud-based storage solutions (or delete it entirely). You can also add additional hard drive capacity either internally or externally.
If you have a Windows-based PC and work with graphics-heavy programs like Photoshop or video editing software, you may be able to speed up your computer by adding additional RAM. Upgrading to 4GB of RAM is an inexpensive, easy process for most computers.
Unlike many things that we buy, which generally “work until they don’t,” computers (unfortunately) break the mold! As a computer gets older, it requires more and more maintenance to keep running properly. The costs of continuing to use old computers can really add up, including the cost of repairing issues, ongoing maintenance and troubleshooting, and lost time spent addressing repeated problems. Continuing to use older computer equipment can decrease productivity and often increase security risks. There becomes a point where the older equipment simply can’t deliver the performance and advanced features that newer equipment can. Older systems can be frustratingly slow and have difficulty running modern programs and applications effectively. A good rule of thumb is not to run computers beyond 5–7 years for business machines because the cost in lost productivity starts to add up to more than the cost of a new computer. Personal computers should be replaced every 3–5 years to keep up with your lifestyle and computing needs.
It’s Got a Faulty Part
Computers aren’t black-or-white when it comes to functioning properly. A defective part can cause all sorts of strange effects, including making the computer run abnormally slow. Parts can go from fully functional to completely nonworking in an instant, or they may slowly deteriorate over time, progressing from suffering intermittent issues to losing functionality completely. At the first sign of something performing peculiarly, give us a call. We’ve got years of experience, so we’ve seen and heard it all! We’ll be able to give you the best advice based on your symptoms. Sometimes, we can suggest a quick fix; other times, you may need more hands-on repair. Our in-store computer repair service will diagnose and repair of most computer hardware and software problems within 24 hours.
Dymin has one of the best selections of new and used computer parts in the Des Moines area and an extensive inventory of new and refurbished computer systems. Contact us or drop by our Urbandale showroom to chat with one of our experienced IT techs about how to make your machine run its best.