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Common Sound Card Problems and How to Solve Them
If you’re experiencing sound issues with your computer, it can be a frustrating experience. You might be trying to listen to music, watch a video or even attend an important virtual meeting, but your computer’s audio isn’t working. The first thing you should check is whether your sound card is properly installed and functioning. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common sound card problems and how you can solve them.
No Sound at All
If you’re not hearing any sound whatsoever from your computer, the first thing you should check is whether your speakers are properly plugged in. If they are, then the issue might be with your sound card drivers. Drivers are software that allow devices like your sound card to communicate with your computer’s operating system.
To fix this problem, check if there are any updates available for your sound card drivers. You can usually do this through the manufacturer’s website or through Windows Update. If there are no updates available or updating the drivers doesn’t work, you may need to uninstall and reinstall them.
Another issue that people often experience is distorted audio coming from their speakers or headphones. This can manifest itself in a variety of ways such as crackling noises or static sounds.
The most common cause of distorted audio is outdated drivers or incorrect settings on your computer. Start by checking if there are any updates available for your drivers and make sure that all settings related to audio output are correctly configured.
If updating the drivers doesn’t work, try using different speakers or headphones to see if the issue persists. It could be that the problem lies with your hardware rather than software.
Audio Cutting Out
If you’re experiencing frequent interruptions in audio playback such as sudden cutouts or skips in music tracks, it could be due to an unstable connection between your computer and speakers/headphones.
Try plugging in your audio device to a different USB port or trying a different audio cable. If the problem persists, there could be an issue with your sound card’s hardware or drivers.
No Audio on External Devices
If you’re using external speakers or headphones and there’s no audio coming through them, it could be due to incorrect output settings. Make sure that your computer is set to output audio through the correct device by going into your sound settings and selecting the appropriate device.
If you’re still experiencing issues, try updating your drivers or checking for any available firmware updates for the external device.
In conclusion, sound issues on your computer can be frustrating but they are usually easily solved. By following these troubleshooting steps, you should be able to identify and fix most common sound card problems. If none of these solutions work, it might be time to seek professional help from a computer technician.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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10 ways to fix a slow computer - life-enhancing hacks that improve everything about working from home
Are you typing faster than your hard drive can handle? Here's how to speed up a frustratingly slow computer
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There are so many more ways to fix a slow computer than just turning it on and off again repeatedly. And if your computer goes into meltdown every time you try to open more than one application, you may need to know a few new tricks.
According to research from Sky Broadband , one in ten of us have never given our computer a digital declutter and have years of old files, photos and downloads clogging up devices. But much like a sink full of washing up, your PC needs regular attention. Even if you've invested in something like one of the best mesh wifi systems , it can be the machine, not its connectivity dragging you down.
With a targeted approach, speeding up your computer can be a straightforward task as we have outlined here. So take a tip from the experts on best speed-up tricks to try and be safe in the knowledge that there’s no need for rolling up your sleeves or wearing rubber gloves.
10 ways to fix a slow computer
1. remove unnecessary files and photos .
It can be daunting sifting through files and photos stored on your computer, but by removing those you no longer need, you can speed things up and avoid your computer freezing or crashing. 'Clearing out old photos, deleting files on desktops or uploading large files to online storage, are small and smart ways to help your tech work faster for longer,' says Amber Pine, managing director of Sky Broadband. 'Similarly with your handset and tablet, you can uninstall apps you don’t use to free up space.'
If the task feels too intense, break it down and set aside 30 minutes a day deleting anything you don't need. To easily detect any files or temporary programs guzzling your storage on your PC you can:
1. Select File Explorer from the taskbar and find the files you want to move.
2. Under This PC in the menu on the left, select a folder to see what files are saved in it. The Videos, Music, Pictures, and Downloads folders usually contain the largest files that you’ve saved to your device.
3. To check the size of the files in a folder, select View. Then Details. Right-click in the open space and then select Sort by Size to show the largest files at the top of the list.
4. Next either delete what you no longer need. Alternatively, move them to an online storage account or save them on an external storage device like a USB drive or an SD card.
If you're an avid snapper and have a lot of photographs you may even want to consider fast external storage such as Kingston's XS2000 Portable SSD . It is perfect for quickly securely storing lots of your precious high-resolution video and images.
2. Delete your recycle bin and clear temporary files
Once you’ve deleted unwanted files they will sit in the recycle bin where they are still stored. It's important to regularly clear your recycle bin, which may be taking up unnecessary space on your computer. 'The more space you have on your hard drive the better your PC will perform,' says Dean Kramer, Services Director at Currys Plc. 'Your computer will also horde temporary files, but these are easy to remove. Here's how to do it on Windows 10 and 11:
From the Start menu, select Settings
Click on This PC and choose your hard drive
Select Temporary Files
Under Recycle Bin, select Empty Recycle Bin
Under Temporary Files, select Delete Temporary Files
Under Downloads, select View Downloads and delete any you no longer need.'
Upgrade your set up with the Microsoft Surface Pro X, which is ideal for a range of tasks such as editing photos, streaming a favourite game or powering through emails.
3. Add more RAM
If your computer is showing error messages and files are taking ages to load you may need to add more memory (RAM). Remember that this is different from overall storage space on your hard drive, but by adding more RAM, your computer will be able to multitask better.
'If you regularly run software simultaneously, adding more RAM can help,' says Peter Braithwaite, chief operating officer at Kit Online . 'First check how much RAM you currently have on your computer, and also remember that there is a maximum amount of RAM that PCs can handle.
'Typically, you can choose from 4GB, 8GB, 16GB and 32GB options from manufacturers including HP, Lenovo and Toshiba - all of which are cost-effective ways of boosting system performance, enabling faster start-up, fewer delays and easy switching between apps.'
Alternatively, you can also look into using Windows' built in ReadyBoost feature that allows you to improve your PC's performance without adding more memory (RAM).
4. Install anti-virus software
If your PC becomes infected with malware it may become slower than usual. You also may have unexpected pop-up messages, a noisy computer and programs that randomly start up automatically. Malware won't always be this noticeable, however.
Microsoft advises that the best way to handle viruses and malicious software is by running anti-malware and anti-virus software and keeping it up to date. Windows 11, for example, has Windows Security included, which will scan your PC for viruses or other malicious software.
5. Disable start up programs
Some programs on your computer are set to start automatically when Windows does. It's not always easy to tell which ones are open, but having too many run at the same time can slow things down.
You can disable start up programs to ensure that they don't start automatically, but you will have to do this manually on your computer's settings.
6. Remove bloatware and unused software
If your computer is new, take a close look what files and applications are preinstalled as not all are necessary.
'Branded suppliers are always installing free product trials – known as bloatware – as they make a little extra when you upgrade to a premium subscription,' says Stephen Conlan from Pure Broadband.
'Most of the time, these continue to run in the background and can significantly slow down your device. So go through your applications and hit ‘uninstall’ on the ones you no longer need.'
7. Choose substance over style
While looks are important, special effects can sometimes slow down your PC - especially if it doesn't have enough memory (RAM).
Windows 11 comes with a range of visual effects including animations and shadows effects, for example, but they can be easily adjusted to suit your computer and keep it running smoothly.
8. Upgrade your PC’s storage device from a hard disk to an SSD
If your computer is noticeably noisy, slow and keeps crashing and you’re not ready to buy a new one, try updating your PC’s storage device from a hard disk to an SSD. It will require opening up your PC, so if you don't feel confident ask a technician to do it for you. Many SSDs are sold with disk cloning software so you can copy your entire computer’s operating system before you use it.
‘Switching to SSD will allow faster read and write speeds,’ says Peter Braithwaite. ‘It will also reduce the time it takes to open large files and also improve a computer’s boot time.’
For older desktops or laptop computers, you’ll need a SATA SSD such as Kingston’s A400 SSD. In a newer computer with an M.2 slot, try the Kingston NV1 SSD.
9. Improve your WiFi signal
There are a number of ways you can boost your WiFi. Amber Pine of Sky Broadband recommends simple fixes such as:
'1. Connect via ethernet where and when you can to give you peace of mind for that all-important video call or presentation.
2 . Try to time your big bandwidth tasks not to coincide. Downloading large files, streaming in UHD, streaming music, video calling, and even multi-player online gaming all puts pressure on your connection. Try not to do these tasks all at once if you can help it as it will put extra strain on your WiFi.
3. Make sure your network adapter drivers are up to date and your hub isn't surrounded by clutter as this can interfere with your WiFi signal.'
For more on how to speed up your WiFi, read our feature on how to make WiFi faster .
10. Don't sleep on the job
It may be easy to simply ‘sleep’ your computer at the end of the day, but if you don't switch it off entirely many of the background programs will continue to run. This can slow down the performance. At the end of a busy day, it's good practise to shut down and restart.
‘Making sure you regularly give your computer a proper shut down and restart can fix a range of issues and increase the speed of the device,’ says Stephen Conlan. ‘After all, the first rule of all IT problems is to ask: ' Have you tried turning it off and on again?'.'
Why is my computer very slow?
According to Microsoft one of the main causes of a slow computer is low disk space. You can speed things up with simple fixes:
1. Delete photos and files or moving them to online storage or to an external storage device.
2. Close applications you aren't using.
3. Check for malware and run anti-virus software.
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Choose a different computer, how to fix a slow computer.
It’s a common scenario: your computer slows down, becomes unresponsiveness with long load times, and makes the simplest tasks frustrating. That’s when you ask yourself — how can I fix a slow computer?
Understanding and fixing a slow computer can seem like a daunting task. Happily, it’s not! This guide will show you how to fix a slow PC with six simple steps, so let’s jump straight in!
Why is my computer so slow?
If you notice your computer starting to slow down, it’s likely because you have too many programs running at once. Powering several programs at once takes a lot of processing power, impacting performance and speed. There are two ways to fix this: first, decreasing the number of programs running, and second, increasing your computer’s memory and processing power.
Whether you need to disable some start-up programs, defrag your hard drive, or upgrade your hardware, this article will help you discover why your computer is running slowly and how to fix it.
1. Identify programs that slow down your computer
There are two ways to fix this issue: decrease the number of programs running, or increase your computer’s storage and processing-memory power.
How to find out which programs are slowing down your PC
Your computer might be being bombarded by high-level apps that start automatically and run in the background, or maybe by a program you opened and then forgot to close.
Closing, or even removing unnecessary programs, can instantly speed up a slow computer.
To do this, simultaneously press Ctrl, Alt , and Delete on your keyboard, and select Task Manager . On the Processes tab, you'll see which programs are open, and how much CPU and memory they’re using. You can then close any programs you're not using.
If they're programs you rarely use or no longer need, then also consider uninstalling them.
How to disable start-up programs
Some computer programs automatically open when you start up your device. Disabling these start-up programs is another way to speeding up your computer.
Go back into Task Manager , and the Start-up tab will show you any programs set to open when you start your computer. Consider what you really need to open automatically, then turn off the other programs using the Disable button in the bottom corner.
2. Check your web browser and add-ons
If your computer's running slowly while you surf the internet, you should make sure you're running the latest version of your web browser. If there’s an option to install new versions automatically, then enable it.
Another browser hack is to avoid having unnecessary add-ons and extensions. Depending on your browser, you should be able to find a menu called Add-ons or Extensions to view and delete any you no longer use.
3. Defragment your hard disk drive (HDD)
HDDs save data in small groups across the disk. Over time, different pieces of related data end up spread all over the place. It then takes longer for the system to find each piece of data and bring it back together when you open a program or app.
Defragmenting (or defragging) your HDD will bring related bits of data back together, and speed up your system.
Note: SSDs do not need to be defragmented since their technology is entirely different than HDDs.
To defrag your HDD, click on the Start menu or Windows button, select Control Panel , then System and Security . Under Administrative Tools , click on Defragment your Hard Drive.
You can choose for the process to run on a regular schedule, or you can click Analyze Disk and determine if the process needs to be run immediately.
4. Identify hardware limiting your computer's speed
Identifying and replacing outdated hardware can make an older computer feel brand new! An upgrade can also be significantly less expensive than buying a new computer.
Your storage drive and memory (RAM) are the two key pieces of hardware most related to the speed of your computer. A dated storage drive will slow down your performance, even when defragmented, while too little memory offers limited resources to run multiple programs.
5. Upgrade storage with an SSD
The critical difference between a traditional HDD and an SSD is the technology behind it.
An HDD has moving parts, which mechanically move an actuator arm across a spinning platter to find each data portion. In comparison, an SSD accesses data near instantly using flash memory chips, retrieving things like documents, images, and videos more quickly while using less power.
There are several varieties of SSDs you can explore to boost a slower PC. Crucial offers both internal NVMe SSDs and SATA SSDs ; however, you'll need to consider a variety of factors first, such as compatibility , your system requirements, and your budget.
External SSDs , such as the Crucial X8 , offer all the benefits of internal SSDs without the need to swap out the drive inside your computer. Plus, they can be used with multiple systems and devices via an external USB cable.
Use the Crucial® System Selector or System Scanner to find the right SSD to speed up your system.
6. Add more memory
Unlike the long-term storage of your SSD or hard drive, RAM acts as short-term storage, temporarily holding current data so that it can be quickly accessed.
Think of it as a desktop space where you have laid out the files, notes and tools that you are using right now.
Every time you do one of the following things, you're using RAM memory:
- Moving your mouse
- Opening and switching between internet browser tabs
- Typing an email
- Creating a spreadsheet
- Editing photos or videos
- Playing a game, listening to music, or watching a video
The more RAM you have, the more of these tasks your computer can handle at once. Adding more memory is a straightforward way to fix recurring slowdowns.
Upgrading your memory may sound intimidating, but it's easy. With a screwdriver, your owner's manual and a good how-to-install RAM guide , you’ll have new memory in your computer within just a few minutes. No computer tech or prior knowledge required!
The bottom line — what to do if your computer is running slow
You don't have to make monumental changes to fix a slow computer.
With a few small, manageable changes, you’ll see immediate and lasting results.
These changes and upgrades will make your PC faster, and ultimately save you time, stress and money!
Ready to upgrade but not sure what you need? Let's find out:
3 step system selector.
Fill in your system details below and we'll show you 100% compatible upgrades, guaranteed when you buy from Crucial.
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Does your slow PC need a boost? Millions of customers have trusted the Crucial System Scanner to find memory and storage upgrades. In minutes, learn how much memory and storage your PC or Mac can support, then buy 100% guaranteed compatible upgrades with confidence.
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Crucial how to: installing a crucial® m.2 pcie nvme ssd - part 1, level up with crucial: ddr5 ram explained.
PC running slow? Here's how to speed things up
You don't need to throw the whole computer away. We'll walk you through some easy ways to get your PC back in shape.
There's nothing more frustrating than a sluggish computer.
Whether you're using your PC to get work done or have fun , a slow computer can make life way more frustrating than it needs to be. Laggy performance speed can render your computer pretty much useless -- especially when you can barely open a window, load a website or even start up your system.
If you've been suffering lately, now's the perfect time to take a few minutes to go through some of the tried-and-true troubleshooting steps. You can make it so much easier to use your PC. You can give yourself a temporary reprieve from saying bad things about your computer under your breath. Better yet, you can do all of it for free.
I promise it's doable on your own. Well, technically on your own -- I'll walk you through how to fix your computer's sluggish performance by digging into Task Manager, controlling how many apps open at startup and a few other tips and tricks I've learned along the way.
And if you do end up needing to purchase a whole new computer, these are the best desktop PCs for 2022 and the best laptops for 2022 .
Task Manager is like a magic crystal ball
Think of Task Manager as a window into your PC's health. The app gives you insight into what's taxing the processor, how much memory something is taking up and even how much network data a program has used.
An easy way to open Task Manager in Windows 10 is to right-click on the Taskbar and select Task Manager from the list of options. In Windows 11, click on the magnifying glass on the Taskbar and search for Task Manager .
Task Manager's default view doesn't show a lot of information beyond which apps are currently running (handy if you already know if you want to close one out). To view what really matters, click More Details in the bottom left corner.
Use Task Manager to monitor your system.
By default, this list is broken down into Apps and Background Processes. It's refreshed constantly, with the various columns constantly updating. My advice is to let Task Manager run for a few minutes and watch it. Watch for apps that shoot up to the top of the list, then disappear a few seconds later. Look for processes that stay at the top of the list with high memory or CPU use. Not sure what a process is? Google its name to find out more.
To close an app or process that you suspect may be partly responsible for slow performance, click on the listing then click End Task .
Also read: Want to download Windows 11? You need to do these two things first
Three more common reasons for a slow PC
There are far too many apps and services to create a succinct list of what's likely slowing down a PC, but that doesn't mean there aren't likely culprits. Here are some of the top issues that we all experience on a PC.
After watching your system running slow with Task Manager open, you may have noticed that your antivirus software is routinely near the top of the list. Antivirus software can slow down your system while it's actively scanning your computer for malware and viruses.
Instead of letting your antivirus program scan whenever it sees fit, schedule it to run at times when you're not likely to be using your PC, such as overnight or during your lunch hour. Changing the schedule for scans will depend on the program you use, but generally, you can open the app and go to the settings pane.
Startup apps can slow everything down.
Too many apps are running at login
If your PC takes forever to be responsive after you log into your Windows account, then you probably have far too many apps trying to run at startup. You can edit the list of apps and services that begin running when you log in to your computer by opening Task Manager and clicking on the Startup tab.
Go through the list and remove anything that you don't need to have loaded and ready the moment your PC turns on by clicking the app name, followed by Disable .
That's a whole lot of Chrome in Task Manager.
Some web browsers are resource hogs
Your web browser could be the culprit, especially if you've lost count of the number of windows and tabs you have open. Each browser window and tab takes up memory and processing power and, over time, that will begin to slow down your PC.
You can view a breakdown of extensions and tabs that could be to blame in Task Manager by clicking on the arrow next to your browser's name. Alternatively, if you use Chrome, it has a built-in task manager of its own. Launch it by pressing Shift+Esc while using Chrome, or click on the menu button > More Tools > Task manager .
If you find that your browser is often causing your PC to slow to a crawl, try a different browser or keep an eye on how many tabs or windows you have open at a given time.
Pausing OneDrive sync can speed up your PC.
There's a wide range of methods available for troubleshooting and speeding up your PC. Below are some steps to take that should, at the very least, temporarily speed up your slow computer:
- Close running apps when you're done. Make sure they're not running in the notification tray (next to the volume and Wi-Fi indicators). When you close some apps, such as Slack, they keep running in the background. Usually, you can completely close apps that keep running with a right-click on the app icon and select quit or exit.
- Pause OneDrive syncing . This is something even Microsoft admits can slow down your computer. Pause OneDrive by clicking on the OneDrive icon in the notification tray, select More and then Pause syncing .
- Check available storage space and hard drive health. If your hard drive or SSD is running out of space or is getting old, it could be failing. I use CrystalDisk Info (Standard Edition) to get basic insights into my drives. It's a free app that quickly scans your drives and tells you their current health status. If you aren't comfortable testing your hard drive, take your computer to a technician who can properly diagnose the issue and, if required, upgrade your storage.
- Regularly turn off your computer. Don't just restart it, but completely power it off and walk away for a few minutes. This gives your computer a chance to clear out memory and start fresh the next time it's turned on.
If none of the above suggestions speeds up your computer to a level that you're happy with, you can try reducing animations, changing themes and toggling other Windows 10-specific settings . If you're trying to get remote help, make sure you know the best way to take screenshots on Windows 10 . If you're more of an Apple household, you're in luck: We have recommendations for speeding up a slow Mac , too.
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15 Reasons Your Computer Is Running Slow & What You Can Do to Fix It
Dealing with a slow computer ranks highly amongst the most frustrating things to endure for many people. But before you throw something at your PC or laptop and potentially damage it, ask yourself, “Why is my computer slow?”
There could be numerous reasons behind a computer running slow. Some of them touch on how you use the computer, others relate to software issues, and others stem from the hardware components of the computer.
We’ve compiled 15 of the most common reasons that cause your computer to run slow and what you can do to speed up your computer!
1. Need To Restart
When is the last time you restarted your computer? If your computer is running slow, this could be a sign that it needs to be restarted, especially if it’s been a long time since your last one.
This is mainly because, as you use your computer, many processes run in the background. When too many of these background processes are not ended, they end up using huge amounts of your computer’s resources, causing your computer to slow down over time.
Close all your programs and files, then restart your computer. Also, ensure that any time a software installation or upgrade asks you to either restart now or restart later, always choose to restart your PC at that moment.
2. Too Many Active Programs or Browser tabs
How many programs are you running at the same time? How many tabs are active on your browser?
Every open tab and every open program takes up a certain amount of space on your Random Access Memory (RAM). Having too many of them running at the same time means you are reducing the memory and processing power available for your computer to allow seamless transition from program to program or tab to tab.
Yes, a computer is supposed to allow you to run several processes simultaneously, but that does not mean you should overload the system.
Only open the tabs you need to use at that moment on your browser. If you would like to save pages for future reference, simply bookmark them and close the tab. For further organization and easy access to saved pages, you can group your bookmarks into folders such as for work, recipes, to read, etc.
For programs, have only those you are using at the moment running, and once you are done shut each program down.
3. Rogue Programs Hogging Processing Power
Sometimes, there could be programs running in the background and taking so much of your RAM’s memory and processing power, without your knowledge. These could be programs that encountered an error and did not completely shut down or programs stuck in a loop running in the background.
- For windows: press (Ctrl+Alt+Del) to open the Task Manager.
- For Mac: press (Cmd+Space, type ‘into spotlight bar’) to access the Active Monitor.
Next press the CPU tab. This will allow you to see which programs are running and how much processing power they are consuming. To release the hogged processing power on your RAM end tasks that are running but not being actively used.
4. Hard Drive/Memory Maxed Out
A hard drive that is at least 85% full can reduce the computer’s processing speed by up to 50%.
This is because, at this point, the virtual memory required for saving temporary files that facilitate the seamless running of programs is barely available. The drive space is mainly taken up by programs, updates to applications, downloads, files of deleted programs, and temporary files.
When it comes to RAM, the biggest culprits are programs that require a lot of memory to run. Such include graphic design software like Photoshop or other industry-specific applications.
Start by first knowing the amount of free space on your hard drive.
- For windows: click on My Computer then right-click local disk C and go to properties.
- For Mac: click on the Apple then select About this Mac.
At least 20% of your total disk space should be free, and if it is not, you can increase the free space in the following ways:
i). Empty your trash bin.
ii). Run the disk cleanup utility available to delete temporary files and any other unnecessary files on your computer.
iii). You can also download verified free programs that can effectively delete and clean up any baggage of unnecessary files on your computer.
iv). Find a cloud storage service and store some of the big and necessary files on your computer there.
For maxed out RAM, you will need to install additional RAM hardware to accommodate your needs.
5. Unnecessary Software Updates
Software updates are vital to keeping your installed applications running smoothly and secure.
However, some of these programs come with pre-installed automatic updates that keep running in your background unnecessarily, taking up valuable space on your hard drive and resulting in your computer running slow.
Find a proactive maintenance solution suitable for your computer. Essentially, this solution should be responsible for making the necessary updates and patches for all your software when the machine is not in use.
6. Too Many Apps Open Automatically When PC Starts
Almost every program you download on your computer will come with a prompt requesting for permission to run when your PC starts, known as startup programs. This is how a lot of apps and programs on your computer end up automatically loading and running in the background as soon as you turn your PC on. This overload is what makes your computer slow right from the booting process.
Always be keen when downloading new programs and ensure to uncheck the box giving it permission to run when your PC starts if it is not necessary. You can also revoke the permission granted to existing app or programs through the following ways:
- For windows: Press CTRL+ALT+Delete and then select Task Manager. Go to your Start Up tab, right-click on the program you want to remove then select disable.
- For Mac: go to either Login Items or Applications then uncheck the unnecessary programs.
7. Viruses Or In-Effective Anti Virus
If everything else in your computer is in order, then you should consider the presence of a virus or an in-effective antivirus that fails to detect and prevent viruses from attacking your computer as the reason behind your computer running slow.
Viruses can present themselves in various forms, from random pop-ups to the unauthorized encryption of files. There are also viruses that run in the background stealthily that could be eating up into your resources.
Download a verified and recognized antivirus program as your cybersecurity tool. Use it to run a malware scan on your computer for viruses or malware frequently.
8. Running In Low Power Mode
If you’re running your windows laptop in low power mode (power saver mode), then this may slow it down. Running in low power mode limits the performance of your laptop hence slowing it down.
Click on Control Panel, choose Hardware and Sound, select Power Options, and then click on Create a Power Plan.
There should be 3 options available; High Performance, Power Saver, and Balanced.
Select High Performance or Balanced and enable it as your new power plan.
9.Too Many Browser Add-ons
Do you really need all the add-ons extended on your browser? And do your browser extensions effectively perform their required tasks? Too many inefficient browser extensions could be slowing down your computer instead of enhancing your browsing experience.
Identify all the add-ons on your browser . Keep those that are necessary and efficient and disable those that are not.
10. PC Being Used For Crypto Mining
It is very possible for your PC to be used to mine cryptocurrency without your knowledge or approval.
This mainly occurs through downloaded programs that come with a malware embedded in the background of the program to facilitate crypto mining through your computer.
Also, certain websites contain codes that mine cryptocurrency on computers as long as the site is open.
Shutdown your browser when it is not in use to prevent crypto mining through websites on your PC.
You can also identify if your PC is being used for crypto mining by searching for programs or tasks that are either suspicious or taking up processing power even when not in use on your Task Manager or Activity Monitor. Once you identify the program or task, you should end it.
11. OS Visuals Too High
Enabling visual effects on your computer can make it run slower than normal if your RAM is not big enough to support the effects.
- For windows: go to Performance Settings or Advanced System Settings depending on your windows version, click on Adjust visual effects then select Adjust for best performance.
- For Mac: go to System Preferences and uncheck the Animate Opening Application box.
12. Internal PC Dust
You may be dealing with a slow computer simply because you have forgotten to pay attention to the basic principles of proper ventilation. Accumulated dust in your CPU can prevent your processors from effectively cooling and prevent excessive heat from staying trapped inside your PC. This, in turn, can affect the speed at which your computer performs.
Dust off your computer occasionally to clear its air vents. Also, once in a while have an IT professional clean inside of your PC.
13. Outdated Drivers
Your computer uses drivers to communicate with hardware devices connected to it. If you are using outdated drivers, then the communication will most likely be faulty and take your computer longer than it should to have the connected hardware devices working properly.
Browse the internet for the most recent drivers compatible with your computer hardware, download and install them or install driver updating software to locate and install the drivers for you.
14. Your PC May Be Too Old or out of Date
If your computer has been in use for more than 5 years, then running slow is more of a natural progression rather than a problem.
At some point, due to the frequent releases of updates for programs, your computer will fail to meet the minimum requirements for certain updates leaving you to work with old and outdated programs.
You only have several options. Either purchase a new computer, update your computer’s hardware, or accept working with a slow computer.
15. PC Hardware Failure
Your computer’s hard drive, RAM and CPU are prone to damage. If none of the above issues are the reason behind your computer running slow, then hardware failure could be imminent hence causing a slow down on your machine.
It is advised to seek help from a computer support or IT professional.
At Vintage IT services, we understand how frustrating the speed slump down must be to your productivity and business efficiency. As a leading provider of managed IT services, we can help take the burden away by troubleshooting, installing, and supporting your PC, so that you can focus on your core competencies.
Would you love to learn more about how we can help you manage your IT resources? Contact us today and let us do the legwork for you.
My computer is running slow, what steps can I do to fix it?
Below are recommendations that users can follow to help speed up a computer and make it run faster or determine why it's running slow. It should be noted that this page only covers an overall slow computer and not a computer that starts slow or has a slow Internet connection. To diagnose those issues, visit the following pages:
- What to do if my Windows computer starts slow?
- Why is my Internet connection so slow?
If your computer has not been rebooted recently, reboot it before following the steps below. Rebooting the computer can fix many problems and is an easy first step.
- How to restart Microsoft Windows.
- How to restart a Mac.
One of the most common reasons for a slow computer is programs running in the background . Remove or disable any TSRs and startup programs that automatically start each time the computer boots.
- How to identify what startup programs are safe to disable.
- How to remove TSRs and startup programs.
To see what programs are running in the background and how much memory and CPU (central processing unit) they are using, open Task Manager . If you are running Windows 7 or higher, run Resmon to understand better how your computer resources are used.
If you have an antivirus scanner on the computer, spyware protection program, or another security utility, make sure it's not scanning your computer in the background. If a scan is in progress, it decreases the overall performance of your computer. If this is the case, allow the scan to complete, and the computer's performance should improve.
Disable Windows search indexing
The Windows operating system indexes content, like files and folders, to improve Windows search performance. Windows also caches some file properties to help improve some functionality of other programs. Unfortunately, search indexing and property caching can slow down the performance of Windows and programs running in Windows. Turning off the Windows search indexing can free up valuable system resources and improve overall performance.
To turn off Windows search indexing, follow the steps below.
- In the Windows search box , type services and press Enter , or select the Services app in the search results.
- In the Services window, find the Indexing Service or Windows Search service. Right-click that service and select Stop to turn off the service.
- Right-click that service again and select Properties .
- In the properties window, click the Startup type drop-down menu and select Disabled to prevent the service from starting each time you turn on your computer.
- Click OK to save the settings change.
Delete temp files
As a computer runs programs, temporary files are stored on the hard drive. Deleting these temp files help improve computer performance.
First, we suggest using the Windows Disk Cleanup utility to delete temporary files and other files no longer needed on the computer.
Unfortunately, the Disk Cleanup may not delete every file in the temp directory. Therefore, we also suggest deleting temporary files manually.
- Open the Start menu or press the Windows key , then type %temp% in the Search field.
In Windows XP and prior, click the Run option in the Start menu and enter %temp% in the Run field.
- Press Enter , and a Temp folder should open.
- Delete all files found in this folder, if any files are in use and cannot be deleted, they can be skipped.
Free hard drive space
Verify there is at least 500 MB of free hard drive space. The free space allows the computer to have room for the swap file to increase in size and give room for temporary files .
- How to find how much hard drive space is available.
- How to regain computer hard drive space.
- How to uninstall software in Windows.
Bad, corrupt, or fragmented hard drive
Check the hard drive for errors.
With Windows, run ScanDisk , chkdsk , or something equivalent to verify there is nothing physically wrong with the computer's hard drive .
- How to use Microsoft ScanDisk.
With macOS, access the Disk Utility program, and use the First Aid option to check the hard drive for errors. To open Disk Utility:
- Click the Launchpad icon on the dock.
- Open the Other folder.
- Click Disk Utility to open the program.
Make sure the hard drive is not fragmented
Run Defrag to help ensure that data is arranged in the best possible order.
- How to run Microsoft Defrag.
Test hard drive
Use other software tools to test the hard drive for errors by looking at the drive's SMART (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology).
- How to test a hard drive for failures.
Scan for viruses
If your computer is infected with one or more viruses , it may run more slowly. If your computer doesn't have an antivirus program installed, run Trend Micro's free Housecall online utility to scan and remove viruses on your computer. We also recommend you install an antivirus program for active protection against viruses.
Scan for malware
Spyware and other malware can cause computer problems, including slower performance. Even if an antivirus scanner is installed on the computer, we also recommend running a malware scan. Use the free version of Malwarebytes to scan your computer for malware.
Verify that the Device Manager has no conflicts. If any exist, resolve these issues, as they could be causing your problem.
- How to Identify problems in the Windows Device Manager.
Update the operating system
To update a computer running Microsoft Windows, run Windows Update .
- How to update a Microsoft Windows computer.
To update a macOS computer, run Software Update. To upgrade the operating system, use the App Store.
- How to upgrade your Mac operating system.
Disable browser plug-ins
If your computer runs especially slow when using your web browser, consider turning off any browser plug-ins, add-ons, or extensions.
- How to disable or remove browser extensions.
Update your drivers
Ensure you have the latest drivers for your computer hardware, especially the latest video drivers . Having out-of-date drivers can cause an assortment of issues, including slow performance.
- What hardware device drivers should be updated?
Reboot the computer again
After making any of the changes above, reboot your machine.
Run a registry cleaner
If you have a Mac computer, skip this section, as there is no registry in macOS.
We usually do not recommend registry cleaners. However, if you followed all the steps above and your computer is still slow, try running a registry cleaner on the computer.
- Do I need a Windows registry cleaner?
You may need more memory if you have had your computer for over two years. Today, we suggest computers have a minimum of 4 GB of memory ( RAM ) for a 32-bit system and 8 GB for a 64-bit system. With enough memory for programs to run within memory, your computer doesn't need to swap information stored in memory to the swap file . If the hard drive light is continuously active, the computer is frequently swapping information between your memory and the hard drive.
- How to find how much RAM is installed on a computer.
- How much memory or RAM should my computer have?
- What type of computer memory to use in a memory upgrade.
Hard drive upgrade
One of the biggest bottlenecks of a computer is the hard disk drive . Upgrading from a standard hard drive (e.g., a 5400 RPM (revolutions per minute)) to a solid-state drive ( SSD ) can drastically improve the computer's performance.
- How to find the hard drive type and specifications.
- How to install a hard drive or SSD.
Computer or processor is overheating
Make sure your computer and processor are not overheating. Excessive heat can cause a decrease in the computer's performance because most operating systems automatically reduce the processor's speed to help compensate for heat-related issues.
- What should be the temperature of my computer processor?
Dust, dirt, and hair can also constrict proper airflow inside your computer, which causes a computer to overheat. Ensure your computer case is clean and that the fans are not obstructed.
- Steps on cleaning your computer.
Increase or upgrade the processor speed
Increasing the processor's ( CPU ) speed can improve your computer's performance. There are two options for increasing processor speed: overclocking or upgrading.
Overclocking a processor means increasing its speed beyond what it's designed to run stably. While overclocking can increase the processor speed, the increase is often not significant, resulting in a 10% or 20% speed increase at most. Furthermore, the processor itself must be capable of being overclocked. You would need to find the specifications for the processor in your computer to determine if it can be overclocked. An overclocked processor generates more heat, thus requiring a more powerful heat sink and fan to pull the excess heat away from the processor.
A safer alternative to overclocking is upgrading the processor in your computer. You would need to get the specifications for your motherboard to determine what type of newer processor may be used in it. You can then install the new processor in place of the existing processor.
- How to install a computer processor.
Erase the computer and start over
If none of the solutions above resolve your issues, another option is to reinstall the operating system, or you can erase everything and start over.
- How to erase a hard drive and start over?
Erasing everything on your computer and reinstalling the operating system can increase performance by eliminating old software or drivers. Installing a fresh copy of macOS or Windows, programs, and the latest drivers helps verify no software-related issues are causing your computer to be slow.
Finally, if your computer is still slow after trying the above recommendations, there's likely a more serious hardware-related issue (e.g., a failing component). Examples of failing hardware could include the hard drive , CPU , RAM (random-access memory), motherboard , or other components.
You can run hardware diagnostic tests using the UBCD ( Ultimate Boot CD ) utility. This utility provides information on whether or not your computer has a bad piece of hardware.
If your computer is over five years old, it performs slower than a new one. As more advanced programs are released, they are optimized to run more efficiently on newer computers. Older computers cannot run these new programs as well, which causes them to perform more slowly. Furthermore, new software tends to be more demanding, another problem for old hardware. We recommend you consider purchasing a new computer or upgrading your current one.
- How often should I buy a new computer?
Why Your Computer is So Slow and 16 Ways to Fix It
Bugs, too many open apps, poor Wi-Fi, and much more could be the culprit(s)
- Beloit College
- Wichita Technical Institute
In This Article
Jump to a Section
Why Your Computer is Slow All of a Sudden
- Solutions to Try
My Computer Is Still Slow. Now What?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Does it seem like your computer is slower than it used to be? You're not imagining things; there are many reasons why a computer slows down but, usually, you can get your speed back.
Computer performance issues are a headache and the causes can be mysterious, as there are thousands of software bugs, drive issues, and other issues that might cause a slow computer.
You could have a virus, be downloading multiple large files at once, have too many open apps and programs open, opened too many tabs on your web browsers without closing them, have poor Wi-Fi or internet connections . . . the list goes on and on.
Thankfully, there's some good news. You can root out the cause of a slow computer with comprehensive solutions, narrow down the possible causes, and get back up to speed.
These solutions are generally applicable to Windows 11, 10, 8.1, 8, 7, and even Vista.
How to Fix a Slow Computer
These solutions are arranged from the least to most disruptive, so it's best to follow them in order. There's no need to reinstall Windows if your slow computer is the result of too many open browser tabs. Also, skipping steps might hide the real cause of the problem.
Restart your computer . This step will eliminate any one-time bugs or software conflicts that cause slow performance and provide a clean slate for additional troubleshooting.
You might be tempted to skip this step. Don't! It can solve your problem in a few seconds with minimal effort.
Close browser tabs , and don't open more than a few at once. Browser tabs can begin to tax system resources, especially RAM, as your computer attempts to organize data from numerous websites so you can quickly view it when you return to a tab. Closing tabs can provide an immediate boost on PCs with 4GB of RAM or less.
Open Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc simultaneously, and be sure to click the "more details" drop-down arrow at the bottom of the Task Manager window. Look for tasks that are using more than 50% of your PC's CPU or memory resources. To close a task, right-click the task and then click End Task . Read our advanced Task Manager guide to learn more about this useful utility.
Check your power settings and turn off power-saving mode . Windows PCs typically ship with settings that prioritize performance, but it's possible to change the default settings by mistake. This is particularly true of laptops, which often slip into power-saving mode to conserve battery life.
Improve your Wi-Fi signal . The problem you perceive as a slow PC might be a spotty internet connection. You can check this with an i nternet speed test . Poor Wi-Fi will make websites load slowly, message services lag, and cloud storage services fail.
Search for and halt any large downloads or uploads on your computer. Downloading or uploading a file can consume a surprising amount of processor and storage resources on older PCs. Halting the file transfer should provide an immediate improvement if this is the culprit.
Cloud storage services are the most likely cause of excessive file transfers, as they download and upload files automatically in the background.
Similar to this and tip 5 before it, is to halt simultaneous downloads/uploads elsewhere on your network. Your computer could be fairly fast and not using the network at all, but if three other devices in your house are streaming Netflix and YouTube, or playing online games, the network is still effected and it could make it seem like your computer is to blame.
Turn off Windows' unnecessary visual effects . Windows uses shadows and animations to make the operating system look modern, but these effects can slow down some Windows PCs. Turning them off might give your system the boost it needs.
Enable Windows ReadyBoost . This feature can turn an external USB storage device into a home for temporary storage, which is similar to upgrading your computer's RAM, though not quite as effective. ReadyBoost is a great way to use an old USB thumb drive.
If this solution works, it's a sure sign your computer needs more RAM to perform its best. Consider upgrading your RAM soon.
Free up space on your hard drive . Windows, and other installed programs, use space on the hard drive to store temporary files that they can quickly access later. A packed hard drive makes this onerous or impossible, which reduces performance.
This solution asks you to delete applications and files, which you might not want to do. Moving files to a free cloud storage service is a simple, fast solution that will free up space without deleting files you'd rather keep
Delete temporary files . In some cases, the temporary files Windows uses to improve performance can grow too large, consuming too much hard drive space and slowing performance.
Reduce or change startup programs . Many programs, like online messaging services or cloud storage services, start automatically when your computer boots. These programs often run in the background, so you might forget they're installed.
Don't forget to also check your browser extensions, as having too many of these running at one time can slow you down, too.
Update Windows . A new version of Windows may fix a bug causing your performance problems. Windows Update can also install new drivers for your PC's hardware, which often improves performance.
Install an antivirus program. Malware can cause your computer to slow by using system resources to perform tasks behind the scenes. This usually won't be obvious in Task Manager because malware is often designed to hide from prying eyes.
An antivirus program can find malware that's causing performance issues, but antivirus programs can be demanding on system resources, as well. You may need to uninstall the antivirus program if it seems to worsen performance.
Defragment your hard drive . This is rarely required on a modern PC, which is why it's near the bottom of this list. However, the list of possible solutions is starting to grow slim, so it's worth a shot before trying the final and most dramatic options.
Reset Windows using the operating system's built-in utilities. This option is nearly as effective as a clean reinstall, which is the final solution we'll offer, and much easier to perform. This will fix your performance issues if they're caused by a bug or configuration issue in Windows itself.
Resetting or reinstalling Windows will remove most or all locally stored files on your PC. Be certain that you've backed up files you want to keep.
Perform a clean reinstall of Windows . If all else fails, reinstalling Windows is your final hope. A complete reinstall will remove absolutely everything on your computer, including most (but not all) malware that might've snuck into your hard drive.
The solutions in this guide are exhaustive. If your computer is still slow, then the computer is either too old to run modern software well or has defective hardware causing a performance problem.
You'll need to take your computer to a repair shop for further troubleshooting or consider a newer, faster PC to replace your current machine.
To fix a slow internet connection , stop background programs that hog bandwidth, make sure your router and modem are working, avoid signal interference, and scan for malware. Check your router settings to speed up your connection, or call your internet service provider if the problem persists.
To increase download speeds in Windows , turn off background apps, delete temporary files, switch DNS servers, or try a different web browser. Use a download manager and download one thing at a time. If possible, use an Ethernet cable or move closer to the router.
To make your PC start up faster , disable unnecessary startup programs, clear some space on your boot drive, tweak your BIOS, and scan for malware. If Windows startup is still slow, upgrade your SSD/memory.
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8 Reasons Your Computer Is Slowing Down (& How To Fix Them) **UPDATED 2022**
A slow computer can hurt your bottom line—the minutes spent waiting for the computer to do what it needs to do add up to hours (or even days) each month of unproductive time. Plus, the frustration of these computer issues can add unnecessary stress to your day, which isn’t ideal when there are other tasks to worry about. Finding out why your computer’s performance is slowing down is worth the effort to ensure your time is being spent productively.
Table of Contents
Reasons for slow computer?
If your computer is running slow, there may be a number of causes, ranging from outdated software to insufficient computer hardware. Keep reading to learn about the most common causes of computer lag and what you can do to fix it.
If you’re using an older version of an operating system, application, or driver, it may not be compatible with the newer hardware or software. This compatibility issue can cause your computer to run slowly and even lead to crashes.
One way to combat this issue is to update your software. Make sure you’re using the latest version of your operating system, as well as any applications you frequently use. Many software companies regularly release updates for their products, so checking for updates can help keep your computer running smoothly.
You can also try upgrading your software to the newest version. This may provide better compatibility with newer hardware and software, as well as improve the performance of your computer.
If your computer doesn’t have enough memory (RAM), it may start to run slowly. When your RAM is full, your computer has to use virtual memory, which is stored on your hard drive. This can cause your computer to run slowly because accessing data from your hard drive is slower than accessing data from your RAM.
To fix this issue, you can try upgrading your RAM. This will give your computer more memory to work with, which can help improve its performance.
You can also try closing any programs running in the background and not being used. This will free up some of your RAM so that your computer can use it more effectively.
Too many background programs
Computers can slow down for various reasons, but one of the most common is when there are too many background programs. These background processes are caused by either malware or by legitimate programs that have been left to run indefinitely.
In addition to the reasons for a slow computer listed above, another common cause of slow performance is overheating. When your computer components get too hot, they can start to malfunction. This can lead to freezes, crashes, and general slowdowns.
Fragmented hard drive
If you’re not using a Solid State Drive (SSD), and instead you’re using a traditional Hard Disk Drive (HDD), you may be experiencing performance issues due to fragmentation. Fragmentation occurs when your files are spread out across your hard drive rather than stored in a contiguous location. This can make it harder for your computer to access the data it needs, leading to slower performance.
While HDDs are fit for purpose, SSDs are considerably faster at recovering and transferring data due to their design, so it may be worth investigating whether an upgrade would benefit.
Unnecessary files and programs
One way to clean up your hard drive and improve your computer’s performance is to delete unnecessary files and programs. Manually deleting unnecessary files can be time-consuming and tedious, but it is an excellent way to eliminate any files you no longer need.
Viruses and malware
If you think that your computer may be infected with viruses or malware, you should scan your computer for viruses and malware. There are several different programs that you can use to do this, including Malwarebytes, Webroot, and Microsoft Bitdefender.
Once you’ve scanned your computer for viruses and malware, you should remove any infected files. This will help improve your computer’s performance and protect your data from being compromised.
Drivers are the pieces of software that allow your hardware to communicate with your operating system & hardware. If you have outdated drivers, this can cause problems, including slow performance.
Poorly designed programs
Some programs are poorly designed and can cause your computer to run slowly.
8 Reasons Your Computer Is Slowing Down (& How To Fix Them)
1. you have startup programs and applications running in task manager, the problem: .
If default settings aren’t changed, some programs start automatically when you start your computer. These startup programs can run in the background, using up a significant amount of your computer’s resources.
Open up your task manager (CTRL + ALT + DEL on Windows or Activity Monitor on Mac) and close programs you don’t need running while using your computer.
(Credit: How to perform CTRL+ALT+DEL & open the task manager)
(Credit: How to Use the Activity Monitor App on Mac )
To improve speed performance, even more, disable any programs that automatically open every time your Mac or PC starts:
You will need to configure login items in your system preferences on a Mac.
The process will vary depending on the version of Windows running on your computer on a PC, but it can typically be accessed using the startup tab in the task manager.
How to change startup programs : If you have too many startup programs, refer to this guide from digitaltrends; it’ll run you through using the task manager and fixing any unwanted programs running.
2. Your Computer Is Infected With Malware
Malware (or malicious software) are programs that end up on a user’s computer without consent, inflicting mild to severe damage depending on the type of malware you’re dealing with. These programs can run quietly on your computer and use a large amount of your device’s resources and energy, resulting in significantly slower computer performance.
Ensure you have a reliable anti-malware and anti-virus program installed on your computer and run a malware scan to identify and remove any infected programs. Once any malware is removed, only download programs from trusted sources (like app stores) to avoid accidentally downloading infected programs.
Be careful with the Anti-Virus & Malware you use; not all are built the same.
With worries from Kapersky of spying and Norton Anti-virus using your computer for crypto mining , not all solutions will give you the security and fix any slow computer issues you may have.
At Nerds On Site, we have two recommendations for computer security software:
Nerds On Site has been servicing residential & business Clients with IT needs since 1995. In that time, we’ve served over 100,000 Clients, and we have a long-standing business relationship with both Webroot & MalwareBytes; and we routinely use both to secure our Clients.
If you’d like us to help you secure and speed up your computer, don’t hesitate to contact us .
3. You Have Outdated Software Or Operating System On Your Device
If you regularly ignore or postpone software updates, it can slow down the performance of your computer. Older software versions may have bugs or security loopholes that make them much slower than intended, even if you aren’t infected with any viruses.
Keep up-to-date with software as new versions become available. Software companies regularly release updates to improve how these programs run and patch security holes, improving privacy and performance.
4. You Have Too Many Unnecessary Programs
Having too many games or programs installed on a computer can seriously slow down performance depending on how much processing power you have.
Routinely remove unnecessary programs from your computer (such as expired ‘free trial’ software or programs you no longer use), so they don’t zap your processing power.
Windows 11, and Windows 10: Various methods to uninstall problematic Programs and Apps : This guide from Dell is a little technical but very comprehensive and will help you with uninstalling programs on Windows 10 & 11, saving that precious processing power. How to Uninstall Apps From Windows 7, 8, and 10 : This guide from Lifewire will cover Windows 7 & 8.
If you’re using an even older version of windows, our only advice is to get a new computer. You no longer receive security updates which is not only a privacy risk but also a massive computer security one. Also, systems that run older versions of the Windows operating system, like NT, likely don’t have the memory and processing power to accommodate a computer speed up.
How to uninstall apps on your Mac : This article from Apple will cover what you need to know for Mac.
5. There Is No Space On The Internal Hard Drive
If you have no space left on your internal hard drive, it can hinder your operating system’s performance. You store many data files or applications that can up your internal hard drive storage.
First, see how much space you have on your drive.
How to Check Free Hard Drive Space in Windows : These steps from Lifewire will show you how to check your storage space for Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.
If you’re finding low on space and you’ve removed all unnecessary programs shown in the steps above, you can do one of three things.
Upgrade your Hard Drive: This is the most expensive & time-consuming option and should be done by a professional, but it will deliver the most benefits for your computer.
As mentioned above, an SSD offers considerable performance benefits over an HDD, and you can increase your storage space simultaneously.
Invest in a cloud storage service: Many different solutions are available now, like Google Drive & Dropbox, which offer secure storage available to any device anywhere and are easily shareable. If you don’t need the performance upgrade of an SSD, this would be our recommendation.
An external SSD/HDD: If you need to access your drives without an internet connection and still be portable, this is your best option. You’ll be able to store all of the files you don’t access regularly and just connect to the external HDD when you need them.
Ensure there is at least 5GB of free space on your internal hard drive—this ensures that there is adequate space for the computer’s daily functions. Don’t panic if you have less than this; your computer can operate with as low as 200MB of space left; we like to err on the side of caution.
If your computer is running slow but shows no signs of viruses or issues with the software, then it may be a hardware issue.
** BONUS ** TEMPORARY FILES ** How to Delete Temporary Files in Windows 10, 8, & 7 : Temporary files are created by Windows when you’re working on files, documents, or browsing the web. Windows will not always correctly delete temporary files for various reasons. Every six months or so, we recommend deleting the temporary files; not only will this give you free space, but it may increase solve issues when your computer is running slow.
6. Your Computer Has Less RAM
Your computer doesn’t have enough RAM (Random Access Memory) to load and use applications, work with bigger files, or use programs that require a large amount of memory to process data.
RAM is different than internal hard drive storage. Your computer’s random access memory is used while using your computer. When you run a program, open a document, or watch a video, the RAM is used to store that data temporarily. The internal hard drive can save files and data indefinitely.
If your computer supports RAM upgrades, consider increasing the size. This will help your computer load and use more applications simultaneously without slowing performance.
RAM can be complex to upgrade; some newer devices (particularly Apple computers) do not offer the ability to upgrade RAM. Also, even if you have RAM slots available, it doesn’t mean your motherboard can support more RAM.
How to Check How Much RAM You Have on Your Windows PC or Mac : This guide will cover Mac & Windows 10 & 7. Don’t panic if you have 11 or 8; they are both similar to the ways shown in the guide. How to Find the Maximum RAM Capacity of Your Computer : This next step is a little technical, but it is crucial. Not all motherboards can handle increases in RAM, even if a slot is available. How to Add or Upgrade RAM on Your Mac : This article will detail what Macs can be upgraded and what cannot. Notably, the following Macs CAN NOT be upgraded.
- iMac Pro (All models)
- M1 iMac (2021 and later)
- Mac Mini (2014 and later)
- MacBook Air (All models)
- 12-inch MacBook (All models)
- MacBook Pro with Retina Display (All models)
- MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (All models)
- MacBook Pro 16-inch (All models)
If your computer doesn’t support upgrades, double-check to make sure there isn’t another reason your computer may be running slow before investing in a new computer.
7. Your CPU Is Overheating
If your CPU (Central Processing Unit) is overheating, it can impact your computer’s performance. If overheated, the CPU will cut back on speed to reduce heat. There could be a few reasons why your computer is overheating, like a build-up of dust inside the computer or poor ventilation.
It depends on what device you’re using.
For a Desktop:
You want to ensure that it’s in a well-ventilated area and the sides/top are not blocked or butted up against a table or wall. You can accidentally block the airflow vents needed for the computer, which will cause the desktop to retail the heat it produces instead of expelling it.
If you’re using an older desktop, it can collect dust over time and clog up your CPU & Fans. Investing in a can of compressed air & using this on your internals will fix this issue.
For a laptop:
While laptops are very convenient in size for transport, they are also very thin, and few manufacturers have figured out how to deal with heat and airflow correctly, so they often overheat. This is especially common with gaming laptops.
As with the desktop, they will also get filled with dust. Laptops are difficult to open and clean, so we recommend contacting a professional to do this for you.
You can invest in a ‘Cooling Pad’ that will sit below the device and offer airflow directly to the device, typically fixing any overheating issues.
8. Your Computer No Longer Supports Latest Technology And Software Updates
If your computer is old, it may not be able to support the latest technology and software.
First, double-check the solutions above to make sure there isn’t another problem causing your computer to run slow. If you have done all that you can do to try and solve the issue and your computer is still running slow, it may be time to invest in a new computer.
Help Your Computer Perform The Way It Should
A properly functioning computer is important for ensuring your time is spent as productively as possible. If you notice your computer is beginning to slow down, use the tips above to check for potential causes before it becomes an even bigger issue.
If you can’t figure out why your computer is slowing down on your own or need some extra help fixing the problem, Nerds On Site is always available to help.
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5 Reasons Your Computer Is Running Slow and How to Fix Them
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After a long day of browsing, streaming and switching between multiple applications, even the most loyal computer may exhibit symptoms of fatigue: the fan blows nonstop, applications start to freeze or crash , and everything from loading websites to saving documents slows to an excruciating crawl.
But why is your computer running so slow and what can you do about it? We put a call out to tech experts and serious hobbyists for the top reasons why computers start to bog down and the easiest fixes to get your machine humming again.
- The RAM Is Running Out
- The Hard Drive Is Maxed Out
- The Software Is Outdated
- The Computer Has Viruses or Malware
- The Computer Is Too Hot
1. The RAM Is Running Out
Having enough random access memory (RAM) is super important for a smoothly functioning PC or laptop. RAM is your computer's short-term memory , temporarily storing files that need to be quickly accessed by your computer's processor or central processing unit (CPU).
"Some software and applications require a lot of resources, especially when these programs run in the background and have an auto-update mechanism," says Nick Murphy, co-founder and editor at Techozu , in an email. "If a program is silently updating in the background, it's going to slow down the computer."
Every application that's open on your computer is competing for RAM. That includes individual browser tabs on Chrome or Safari, music being streamed on Spotify and antivirus programs scanning for bugs. When RAM starts to run out, it overwhelms your CPU and programs will slow down, freeze or crash entirely.
The Fix: The first step is to close any unnecessary applications. If you're not sure what's open and running on your computer, there's an easy way to check:
- In Windows, open the Task Manager by typing Ctrl+Alt+Del
- On a Mac, go to your Applications folder > Utilities folder, and then double-click on Activity Monitor
- On a Chromebook, click the three dots in the top right of any browser window > More tools > Task manager
With all three of those tools, you can see which applications are hogging the most RAM and CPU power and close them. If you see a bunch of programs that you don't use very often, make sure that they're not opening automatically each time you start your computer.
"If you have too many programs set to start up automatically when your computer starts, it can slow down the boot process and make your computer run slow," says Jeroen Van Gils, founder of Lifi.co in an email. "To fix this, you can go into your startup settings and disable any programs that you don't need to start automatically."
Also, how many browser tabs do you have open at once? Browser tabs might not seem like a big deal, but each one eats up RAM. If you have 10, 20 or more tabs open at once (which can easily happen with multiple browser windows), that's going to slow your computer down.
Lastly, if your computer is more than four years old or a bargain model, you simply might not have enough RAM to run newer, memory-hungry applications.
"All of the programs, applications, games, etc. are improving all the time, and they require more powerful devices to run smoothly," says Phil Vam, tech expert and owner of Majordroid in an email. "I know that many people think 4GB of RAM is enough, but realistically, smartphones have more RAM nowadays. In my opinion, 8GB of RAM is the minimum, while 16GB of RAM is ideal for 99 percent of users."
2. The Hard Drive Is Maxed Out
We tend to think of the hard drive as the computer's long-term memory, which is true, but the hard drive isn't exclusively used for permanent data storage. Your hard drive also stores temporary files that help applications run smoothly.
One of the most common reasons a computer runs slowly is that the hard drive is nearly full. "Keep at least 20 percent of hard disk drive (HDD) space empty for smooth processing," says Levon Galstyan, a serious computer hobbyist who works for the Oak View Law Group . "Almost-full HDDs cannot work properly."
The Fix: To make room on your computer, uninstall any rarely used applications and consider storing really big files in the cloud. If you have a Mac, for example, you might want to save all your photos and videos in iCloud (you get 5GB of storage for free but can pay for more). Microsoft offers a similar cloud solution for Windows users called OneDrive, and so does Google, which gives you 15GB of free storage.
And then there's the underlying technology of your computer's hard drive. Older hard drives use a spinning disk to write and store data, but over time that can lead to errors and performance issues.
"The term 'fragmentation' refers to the phenomenon in which your files are dispersed over your hard disk rather than being kept in a single, logical location," says Adam Crossling, head of marketing at IT support service Zenzero , in an email. "Your computer's performance may suffer if it has trouble accessing critical data."
If you have one of those disk-based hard drives, you will need to " defrag " it from time to time to reorganize the data, but all of the experts we consulted recommended switching from an old-school disk drive to a solid-state drive (SSD), which doesn't get fragmented.
3. The Software Is Outdated
Every time Apple or Microsoft releases the latest version of their operating systems, all of the marketing hype focuses on cool new features and functionality, but there's far less buzz about all of the updates that come out in between those big releases.
"Those updates, however, are often the most important," says Jeremy Clifford, CEO of RouterCtrl , in an email. "[Operating system updates] feature security patches and performance fixes, all of the things that can make your computer run like molasses in the winter."
The Fix: Here's how to check if you have the latest version of your operating system:
- For a Windows PC or laptop, click on the Start button, and then go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update
- On a Mac, open System Preferences and click on Updates
- On a Chromebook, click on the time, then the settings icon, then About ChromeOS
4. The Computer Has Viruses or Malware
If your computer has been infected with some kind of virus or piece of malware (malicious software), that will definitely slow it down.
The Fix: All of our experts recommended running some kind of antivirus or antimalware software that routinely scans for suspicious files, bots and other unwelcome programs that run in the background and sap your precious RAM and processing power. But make sure to keep your antivirus program updated as well!
"[A] frequent cause for sluggish PCs and Macs is outdated antivirus software," says Abdul Rahim, founder of Software Test Tips in an email. "Unfortunately, these programs often create havoc by severely slowing down your system while trying to clean up after themselves."
5. The Computer Is Too Hot
If your PC's fan is running nonstop or the bottom of your laptop gets warm to the touch, those are signs that your computer is overheating. Not only can overheating damage the circuit boards and other components inside your computer over the long term, but it can also slow down performance.
That's because modern processors are programmed to automatically slow down when internal temperatures get too high, a precaution known as thermal throttling .
The Fix: Your computer's internal fans, vents and heat sinks should be able to keep the temperature down, but there are several things that you can do to avoid overheating. If you use a laptop, don't actually keep it on your lap or on a naturally insulating surface like the comforter of your bed. That will trap in the heat.
A dirty computer is also a hot computer. When dust builds up inside your computer's vents, it can prevent the fans from working properly and trap heat inside.
But you can clean it. If you have a PC, open it up, get a can of compressed air and clean out the fans, ducts, and other components. If necessary, do a deep clean by adding isopropyl alcohol to a cotton swab or cloth for the more delicate parts of the computer.
To keep your computer healthy, invest in an all-in-one PC "cleaner" or "optimizer" program that will scan for viruses, delete temporary and junk files, optimize your hard drive, and automatically update drivers and utility software. Many cleaners are free for the basic version or offer you a free trial.
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