Whether you want to do a little shopping, finish a job, or jump into a game, a slow computer can make the simplest of tasks a real pain in the back. There are many different reasons why your PC may be running slower than you would like. This is a fairly common problem and there are so many ways to fix it, so don’t just sit there scratching your head wondering “why is my computer running slow?” do something about it.
Why is my computer so slow all of a sudden?
Before you start trying to speed up your slow PC, let’s look at several reasons why it might be slow in the first place. A slow system may be suffering from viruses or simply need cleaning.
Remember that your operating system connects your system resources and provides power to the various applications you run on a daily basis. There are huge amounts of background processes going on with a PC and sometimes it can slow us down. That being said, this tends to only be noticeable on an aging or underpowered computer.
Main causes of a slow computer:
- Aging system
- Entry-level specs
- CPU overheating
- Malware or virus
- Insufficient amount of RAM
- Insufficient storage space
- Too many background processes running
- Too many apps open
- Leave your PC on 24/7
How to speed up your computer
Speeding up your system could be from updating a driver, killing background processes, or even clearing dust.
Restart your PC
Whether you use your PC 24/7 or not, a quick restart could bring your computer back to life. Of course, when your PC is slow, closing programs can help, but restarting your PC will refresh everything. It closes unused programs in the background that are no longer needed and allows Windows updates to be installed. That in itself can fix a number of bugs, fix memory leaks, and generally speed things up.
You can simply close apps from your taskbar, however, restarting may be more beneficial. When you reboot, watch out for programs that start automatically. Programs that open at startup can slow down startup processes, so if you’re not using them, stop that happening.
Free up storage space
A full hard drive can actually slow down your PC. If there isn’t enough space for your operating system to run smoothly, you may start noticing performance issues. To prevent your computer from slowing down, try to keep around 500MB of free space. Even if you have multiple disks, it’s best to leave this amount of space on your primary disk that stores your operating system.
- Empty your trash
- Clear your download folder
- Clear your web browser cache
- Delete temporary files
- Find and remove old/unused programs
Once done, it may also be useful to defragment your hard drive. After deleting programs and other files to create space, your hard drive retains fragments of deleted data. Deleting these fragments may take some time, but will help organize your disk and increase performance.
Stop background processes
Even if you have restarted, you may still have many background processes running that are consuming some of your CPU or memory power. Background processes can run even when a program has been closed, so it’s always worth checking what’s running in your task manager.
Before you end a task, make sure you know what it is or find out exactly what the process is doing, so you don’t accidentally close something important.
Do you have a virus?
Besides being incredibly annoying, a virus or malware can actually slow down your performance. These slow down your background processes, so run a virus scan once in a while, clean and spot any threats lurking on your hard drive.
Dust off that dirty PC
Dust and other grime are the worst nightmare of your PCs and the fans that come with them. Regular cleaning/dusting with compressed air can help improve air circulation and your internal temperatures. This in turn can improve performance and keep your components healthier for longer.
Update your drivers
If your PC is having trouble in-game, check to see if your graphics drivers are up to date. Sometimes a driver can tell the difference between jerky and smooth gameplay. The latest drivers from the GPU manufacturer ensure that the card runs as efficiently as possible and fixes any bugs that may exist.
Set Windows Power Options to High
If you’re on a laptop, changing your Windows power settings to high will ensure that your CPU uses only the power it needs to run open tasks. This setting is set to balance by default and can save overall power consumption or reduce battery usage.
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 can be said for a computer with an insufficient amount of memory or storage. The steps above should help you have a faster experience on your PC, but if they don’t offer any relief, consider doubling your RAM, especially for gaming. RAM is used to store information about your operating system and running programs. Programs that use a large amount of memory, such as games or video editing, can slow down your PC significantly. It’s best to aim for a minimum of 8 GB of RAM, but that depends on how you use your computer.
If you still run everything (operating system/programs) from an HDD, have you considered switching to an SSD? SSDs are a much faster and more affordable way to breathe new life into your PC, with fast boot times and in-game performance improvements.
If your computer started running slowly all of a sudden, it’s not necessarily the end of the world. On some occasions, your PC slowing down can mean it’s the end of the line, however, some of the tips above can help you push your system further and get more bang for your buck. Upgrades are expensive, and with the current stock issues facing the computer world, it’s understandable that some are looking to get the most performance out of their components.
If the initial steps don’t speed up your desktop or laptop, a full reformat (start from scratch) or upgrade may be on the cards. Reformatting is a last resort and upgrades are expensive, but hopefully this article can relieve some of the stress, at least for now.