Think of a moment when you are working on a computer and suddenly it all gets stuck somewhere and you have to start it again, you could not save your work. I think this is the most frustrating moment and you feel like – why? Why is my computer so slow?
Let’s do it:
Reasons for a slow Computer System
• Too many startup programs
• Running out of disk space (SSD or HDD)
• Animations and special visual effects
• Unwanted temporary files
• Running multiple programs simultaneously
• Unnecessary background processes
• Browser has too many add-ons/ plugins
• Using several tabs on a browser
• Malware or Virus Attacks
• An overzealous antivirus
• Computer system overheated
• Running in power saver mode
• Computer needs to be rebooted
• Running out of RAM (Random Access Memory)
• Disk drive is failing
• Old or fragmented hard drive
• Processor is outdated
Technically, an operating system decides or sequences tasks or processes on any computer system. It is also responsible for controlling drive space, controlling memory and processing power, etc. in all running programs. Although operating systems are developed in such a way that they can handle computer performance, there are some factors listed above that can reduce performance.
Usually, when we buy or setup a new system, it works very fast. But, as time passes, we begin to notice that the performance is decreasing dramatically. So, what has changed now? This question always bothers the mind and makes any simple task very specific or complex. Let’s learn more about the reasons:
Too many startup programs
If your computer is taking longer booting time than before, there may be a lot of startup programs. As soon as you start your computer, these programs start automatically and keep running in the background reducing the overall performance of your computer system.
Typically, when you purchase or setup a computer system, there are only system apps and services with permission to run automatically at startup. But, many programs you install come with the option to run automatically on startup. Over time, you have a lot of programs at startup, which reduces overall performance and booting time.
However, some programs such as antivirus and firewall, etc. are required to run at startup.
Running out of disk space (SSD or HDD)
When the disk (hard disk drive or solid-state drive) memory is getting full, the system slows down. This is because a computer system needs a significant amount of free space to use swap files or virtual memory, prevent fragmentation, create temporary files, and many other things.
To ensure that your computer is not slow due to full drive storage, make sure that you do not fill it more than 95%.
Also Read: Difference between SSD and HDD
Animations and special visual effects
Windows and many other operating systems come with special visual effects such as animations and shadows, which slow down processing. However, you can use accordingly whether you like smooth performance or best appearance.
Unwanted temporary files
A computer can create many temporary files when you run a program. It also includes files that programs and operating systems use to store temporary data, such as programs that download files when installing software updates. These temporary files can be removed from the computer to free up space and improve performance.
Running multiple programs simultaneously
One of the biggest advantages of a computer is multitasking, which means that you can do multiple tasks at once. But, at some point, it can slow down your system performance. Depending on the amount of RAM you have, you can run many programs as long as there is free RAM. As soon as the RAM is full, your system will slow down considerably.
Apart from this, running multiple programs at the same time can also increase your CPU load. Because the operating system works harder and uses more CPU for memory management which results in a reduction in processing power.
Unnecessary background processes
This is one of the biggest factors slowing down your computer performance. As we discussed above, your system may contain unnecessary startup programs and activities that can slow down the overall speed of the system.
Besides, some programs are also developed in such a way that they continue to run in the background even after being closed. They continue to use the RAM and processing power of computer systems unnecessarily.
Browser has too many add-ons/ plugins
If you install too many add-ons with your browser, you can slow down the overall browsing experience. Because the more add-ons you install, the more amount of RAM will be used. Some extensions can usefully enhance your web experience, but keeping too many of them will be a culprit in slowing down your system performance by consuming processing power and memory.
Also, many programs you install secretly install unwanted extensions. This may include search engines, ad-blockers, popup blockers, etc.
Using several tabs on browser
Sometimes, this can also be a reason why your computer is so slow. When you open multiple tabs in a browser, it is saved in RAM. If you do not have a sufficient amount of free RAM, you run out of room to process anything, resulting in a decrease in overall system performance.
Malware or Virus Attacks
Computer viruses can be another reason that can slow down your PC. Viruses, malware, and spyware can mess everything up, from deleting your files to opening your browser, taking you to phishing sites, hijacking your system, etc.
If your system is affected, you may notice some unusual activities such as auto advertisements, popups, auto launches of programs, etc. Such unwanted activities can lead to poor system performance as well as misuse of your data.
Also Read: Types of Computer Viruses
An overzealous antivirus
Your antivirus can run in the background and take a large amount of RAM and CPU. It is not recommended to shut down or stop running in the background as it is an important program to protect your privacy and data. However, the scheduling system scans overnight or when your computer is ideal may be a good option.
Computer system overheated
Make sure that your computer and processor do not heat too much. Because, when you use your system longer with heavy usage, it can overheat. When the heat level reaches its maximum level, the computer system slows down. This tends to reduce processor speed to help compensate for heat-related issues automatically. Sometimes, your system can reboot automatically due to overheating.
Besides, dust, dirt, or hair blockage can prevent air vents, resulting in an increase in system temperature. Make sure that you keep your system and its surroundings clean.
Running in power saver mode
Most laptops include the option to adjust power settings to control system performance and battery usage. It usually includes three features, such as “Balanced, Power Saver and High Performance”. If your system is running in power saver mode, you may encounter problems with performance because your operating system reduces the speed of system components to provide increased battery backup rather than focusing on performance.
To maximize system performance, it is recommended to use a “high performance” mode with charging.
Computer needs to be rebooted
Sometimes, your computer system may simply ask to restart. This usually happens when the system has installed Windows Update or you have uninstalled any software and the system needs a restart to remove residual files or unnecessary registry files. If you use without restarting the system, you may notice a performance decrease.
In addition, there may be many system activities or background processes that are hung up for a myriad of reasons. Instead of searching and shutting down all processes one by one, it is better to restart the system to easily fix all of them. Rebooting a system fixes most problems.
Running out of RAM (Random Access Memory)
In most cases, your system slows down due to low RAM. If your system has less RAM, it is likely to work slowly as programs and system activities will not get the required amount of RAM. When RAM runs out, the system becomes too slow. In this situation, the computer system starts using disk space as virtual memory (swap memory) to balance performance.
Note: However, you can use disk space as virtual memory but upgrading RAM would be a better option as disk drives (HDD or SSD) are not as fast as RAM.
Also Read: Types of Computer Memory
Disk drive is failing
Disk drives have a lifetime. Slow working of a disk drive is a common problem at the end of its lifetime. The reason for this in most hard drives is because there are moving components inside the HDDs. If you leave them by mistake or they fall within the range of strong magnetic fields, it can lead to hard disk failure.
Besides, solid-state drives do not face such issues as there are no moving parts inside them. However, it is stated that they have a lower number of R/W, resulting in shorter lifetimes than HDDs.
Read Detailed Guide: Difference between SSD and HDD
Old or fragmented hard drive
Outdated or fragmented hard drives are also important factors that can significantly reduce the overall performance of your computer system. This is actually a disk condition in which files are stored in pieces scattered around the disk. In this case, the data is accessed from different parts of the disk (memory location) to be combined as a single file. At some point, it reduces the speed of the system as the overall time increases while reading the data.
Processor is outdated
Most programs receive frequent updates with more features included with them. The minimum requirements also change with each major update. But, you are trying to use programs with your old CPU that are no longer suitable to achieve smooth performance. It can perform at a slower rate with the same programs that worked properly before the update. In such situations, it is recommended to overclock or upgrade the processor.
How to fix a slow computer?
Now, you should already know the reason why your computer is so slow. The next thing you need to do is to fix those specific problems.
• If your computer has too many startup programs, you can disable them accordingly.
• If your computer is running out of disk space, simply delete unwanted files. Disk cleanup may also be a good option.
• Try to use minimal animations and visual effects.
• Delete temporary files regularly.
• Check background processes using Task Manager and disable third-party programs or software accordingly. Avoid making changes to system processes.
• Keep browser plugins to a minimum and prefer a limited number of tabs at a time.
• Use good quality anti-virus with real-time protection. But make sure that it is not taking too much RAM or CPU. If this happens, better change your anti-virus.
• Make sure your computer does not heat up so much. If it does, check out its air vents.
Sometimes, it is easy to fix problems and speed up your computer. But this is possible only when there is a problem with settings or some other software related problem. But sometimes, you have no other option than to update the components/hardware of your computer system or go for whole new setup.