Experiencing frustration due to a slow computer? It happens, but you also might be asking too much of your computer setup. Finding the problem might be extremely frustrating if you don’t know where to look, and there are many different reasons your PC could be slowing to a halt.
We’ve come up with a list of eight common causes of slowness to start your search. Hopefully this will start to narrow down your issues and get you on your way to speeding things up — and lowering your stress levels, too.
1. Too many browser add-ons
Do you have all kinds of toolbars installed or have lots of extensions or add-ons? That could cause you some serious issues, says Techlicious. Some of these run in the background continuously, and/or load ads and other hidden software that puts a drag on system resources. If you don’t need them, disable them.
2. Too many programs running
If you’re not using a program, shut it down. Geek Squad notes that like some browser add-ons, unused applications still run in the background. Have a system tray full of icons? This probably means they’re also running anytime your computer is. This goes for applications running in your taskbar, too: If you’re not using it, don’t leave it running.
3. Your hard drive
The Telegraph points to hard drive type as another reason why computers run poorly. Traditional hard drives work by writing data to a magnetic plate, which takes time. If you have some money to burn, consider upgrading to a “solid state drive,” which uses flash memory. This is the same general memory used in USB drives, and computers can access data much, much quicker. As a hard drive gets full, it will also take longer to access information, as the hard drive head physically has to move further on the drive to scan that data.
4. Malware and adware
If you haven’t run antivirus software in a long time, your slowness could be a result of some type of malware on your computer, HowToGeek says. This software sneaks on to your computer and can play havoc with your system resources. Do yourself a favor and run a virus scanner and a malware scanner, and make sure they’re set to run regularly if not already set to do so.
5. You haven’t rebooted in awhile
AOL points to a more simple reason for your misbehaving PC: It hasn’t restarted in awhile. As our computer runs, it collects and stores temporary files intended to help make the computer run faster. But you can have too much of a good thing too. A large cache (as it’s called) can cause your computer to slow down. The fix is easy: all you need to do is restart your PC.
6. Wi-Fi moochers
PC Tune Up Tips suggests that some computer slowness problems may not even be the result of computer issues, but from others. If your computer is slow only when accessing the Web and your Wi-Fi network is public, somebody may be mooching your bandwidth. Always lock down your wireless network — it will stop unauthorized use and is smart for security reasons, too.
7. Too little RAM
If you bought a budget PC, or it’s getting up there in age, your problem could be the result of insufficient RAM, Business Insider suggests. These days, it seems almost necessary to have at least 4GB of RAM or so to make things run smoothly. However, if you can, max out your computer’s RAM. It will not only allow you to run more programs at the same time smoothyl but also future-proof your system.
8. Hardware conflicts
If you have recently installed any new hardware — or more specifically replaced old hardware — make sure the drivers for the replaced equipment are removed. Hardware conflicts can cause your PC to become unstable. Your PC has to spend extra time finding the correct hardware, and this can lead to slowdowns.
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