A slow computer is extremely frustrating when all you want to do is get on with things. Spending ages waiting for your PC or laptop to carry out the simplest of tasks like opening a web page or opening a Microsoft Office document can make you want to throw everything in the bin and shout “Why is my computer so slow?”
Fortunately, there are usually some very basic reasons why your PC is running slowly and some simple steps to get things back on track and running faster.
Restart your computer from time to time
Many of us rarely switch our computers off these days, as they’re such a key part of our day to day lives. It seems too simple, but switching your computer off and on again closes all programs, gives it a chance to reset itself, and can improve slow performance.
Keep your computer software up to date
Your Microsoft or Apple operating system should be set to check regularly to make sure that it’s up to date and that everything on your computer is working at optimum performance with all the correct drivers (a driver is the software that tells your computer how to work correctly with things like screens, keyboards and printers). As well as adding new drivers, these updates fix security holes and ‘glitches’ and ensuring they are updated regularly is important for computer performance. Every application you install also has its own update process. If any of these become out of date they can run more slowly as they are not optimised to work with your computer and with each other. A regular check on the status of updates is crucial for the optimum performance of the core operating system and your essential applications.
Don’t run more than one anti-malware program
Malware is the collective term for the many types of harmful software that can wreak all sorts of havoc if they get into your computer. Anti-malware developers design their software to work independently and running multiple security solutions on a computer can often result in poor performance. A single, reputable anti-malware solution should be all you need.
Cluttered (fragmented) hard disk
A Hard Disk (also known as a Hard Drive) is where your files are stored on your computer. Historically, when computers save files to the hard disk storage device they are broken into smaller pieces and stored across several areas on the disk. As you create and save more files, storage becomes cluttered with a file taking longer to find and re-assemble into a single document, spreadsheet or image for you to view or edit. Sorting the split files into an orderly fashion with all the fragments in order is known as defragmenting the disk, and can give your PC a speed boost.
Many programs create temporary files as you use them. These files are not automatically deleted and take up space on your storage device. With less space to use, your computer slows down as it needs more time to find or create spare space. These temporary files can become a massive overload and should be removed with regular housekeeping. If you are not familiar with removing temporary files and defragmenting, then you should let an experienced person assess and check if this is required.
Every computer has an operating memory where applications run while you are using the system. In addition, there are ‘hidden’ applications that run in the background just waiting for something to happen or monitoring computer activity. Commonly these are applications such as security and anti-virus which are there to keep your computer safe, but there are also ‘helper’ applications which have been installed by programs you add to your computer. Many of these automatically start running when you turn on your computer, potentially slowing down your computer! A lot of these are just not required on a day-to-day basis and can be removed from the startup list, freeing valuable memory and making things faster.
There are lots of things that can make your computer run slower than it did when you first took it out of the box. These and other key checks and fixes can extend the useful life of your computer and stop you reaching for the bin!
Why is my computer so slow? Where to find out more
To find out more about how we can help you to speed up your computer, please read our IT Help & Support page.
Or give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.