Whether you need to do some shopping, get some work done, or jump into a game, a slow computer can turn even the simplest of tasks into a real pain in the ass. There are many different reasons why your PC is running slower than you would like. This is a fairly common problem, and there are just as many ways to tackle the problem, so don’t sit there and scratch your head and ask yourself “why is my computer slow?” but do something about it.
Why is my computer suddenly so slow?
Before we attempt to speed up your slow PC, let’s go through a few reasons why it might be slow in the first place. A slow system could be suffering from viruses or just needs cleaning.
Don’t forget, your operating system ties up your system’s resources and distributes power for different applications you run every day. There are huge amounts of background processes running on a PC all the time, and sometimes that can slow us down. However, this is only noticeable on an aging or underperforming computer.
Main causes of a slow computer:
- aging system
- Entry Specifications
- CPU overheating
- malware or virus
- Insufficient amount of RAM
- Insufficient amount of disk space
- Too many background processes are running
- Too many applications are open
- Keep your PC on 24/7
How to speed up your computer
Speeding up your system can be accomplished by updating a driver, stopping background processes, or even removing dust.
Restart your PC
Whether you’ve been running your PC 24/7 or not, a quick restart could bring your computer back to life. Of course, closing programs can help if your PC is running slow, but restarting your PC can refresh everything. It closes unused programs in the background that are no longer needed and allows installing Windows updates. This in itself can fix a whole bunch of bugs, fix memory leaks, and generally speed things up.
You can easily close applications from your taskbar, but restarting them may be more beneficial. When restarting, pay attention to which programs are started automatically. Programs that open at startup can slow down boot processes, so if you don’t use them, prevent this from happening.
Free up disk space
A full hard drive can actually slow down your PC. When there isn’t enough disk space for your operating system to function properly, you can start to notice performance issues. To prevent the computer from slowing down, try to keep about 500 MB of disk space free. Even if you have multiple drives, it’s a good idea to keep that amount of space on your main drive where your operating system is stored.
- Empty your trash
- Delete your Downloads folder
- Clear your web browser’s cache
- Delete temporary files
- Find and remove old/unused programs
When you’re done, it may also be worth defragmenting your hard drive. After you remove programs and other files to free up disk space, your hard drive keeps fragments of deleted data. Deleting these fragments may take a while, but they help organize your drive and increase performance.
Stop background processes
Even though you have rebooted, there may still be many background processes running, consuming some of your CPU or memory. Background processes can run even when a program is closed, so it’s always worth checking your task manager to see what’s running.
Before you end a task, make sure you know what it is or do some research into exactly what the process is doing so you don’t accidentally close something important.
Do you have a virus?
Aside from being incredibly annoying, a virus or malware can even slow down your performance. These slow down your background processes, so run a virus scan every once in a while, clean up and discover any threats lurking on your hard drive.
Dust off that dirty PC
Dust and other dirt is your PC’s and its fan’s worst nightmare. Regular cleaning/dusting with compressed air can help improve airflow and your internal temperatures. This in turn can improve performance and keep your components healthy for longer.
Update your drivers
If your PC is having problems in-game, make sure your graphics drivers are up to date. Sometimes a driver can make the difference between choppy and smooth gameplay. The latest drivers from the GPU manufacturer ensure that the card works as efficiently as possible and iron out any errors that may be present.
Set Windows Power Options to High
On a laptop, changing your Windows power settings to high will ensure that your CPU is only using the power it needs to run the open tasks. This setting defaults to Balance and saves overall power consumption or reduces battery consumption.
Is it time for an upgrade?
One of the most common causes of slow PC performance is an aging system or entry-level specs. The same also applies to a computer with insufficient storage capacity. The steps above should give you a faster experience on your PC, but if they don’t help, consider doubling your RAM, especially for gaming. RAM is used to store information from your operating system and running programs. Programs that use a lot of memory, such as games or video editing, can slow down your PC significantly. It’s best to aim for at least 8GB of RAM, but this depends on what you’re using your computer for.
If you still run everything (OS/programs) from a hard drive, have you thought about moving to an SSD? SSDs are a much faster and cheaper way to breathe new life into your PC with fast boot times and some in-game performance boosts.
If your computer suddenly runs slow, it’s not necessarily the end of the world. In some cases, a slow PC can mean the end of the road. However, some of the tips above can help you push your system further and get more bang for your buck. Upgrades are expensive, and given the current inventory issues facing the computing world, it’s understandable why some are trying to squeeze every ounce of performance out of their components.
If the initial steps don’t speed up your desktop or laptop, you may be planning a full reformat (starting from scratch) or an upgrade. Reformatting is a last resort and upgrades are expensive, but we hope this article can take some of the stress away, at least for now.