Top 10: Why is My Computer Running Slow?

10. Hard drives should have at least 20% unused space.  Anything less can greatly affect performance especially when working with larger files such as videos.  A failing Hard drive can also cause a slowdown in performance.

9. Shortage of RAM resources: My Minimum RAM recommendations:
2 G for a 32 bit system
4 G for a 64 bit system.

8. If you haven’t turned off your computer for several days, sometimes a fresh reboot can help.  I recommend a “Shut Down”; wait for 20 seconds, then power on.  Give the machine plenty of time to get itself up & running.  Watch the HD activity LED.  Wait until it stays off most of the time before proceeding.  This can sometimes take 5 minutes or more if updates have recently been installed

7. Programs automatically installing updates:  Java, Adobe Reader, browsers and others seem to have a never-ending update cycle.  I like to set these to NOT update automatically, but instead to “Notify Me” when updates are available.  This way I can initiate the updates when I’m not in the middle of trying to use the machine.

6. Windows Updates or Anti Virus/Malware scans running.  Schedule these programs to automatically scan during off hours; ensuring they do so at different times without overlapping.  I like to schedule them to run as follows:
Windows Updates 01:00
Anti-Virus Scan 03:00
Malwarebytes Scan 05:00
Windows Defender Scan 23:00

5. Too many “things” running at the same time.  Background programs, gadgets, extras like photo viewers, WeatherBug, etc.. can all use up system resources.  Check the “Start” menu “Startup” folder for unnecessary programs.

4. Processor Overheating can greatly affect performance.  This can be caused by a failed fan; or a build up of dirt/dust in the processor heatsink.  You can sometimes hear a fan working harder than normal.  I recommend a good vacuuming of the inside of the computer once a year.  If you feel you must use an air hose instead: Remove all floppy and CD/DVD drives first, as optical drives & dirt don’t mix well. Cleaning  your computer with an air hose can force dust into the drives, rendering them unusable.

3. Browsing History & Temporary Internet Files can have a big impact on performance if left to accumulate without being deleted regularly. From the “Start” button, type  “%temp%”  in the search box and hit return; when the Explorer window opens, delete all files in the “YourUserID”\AppData\Local\TEMP directory.  Using a tool like “CCleaner” can also help with gunk removal.

2. Viruses or Malware may have comprimised your machine.  Often you will see unrecognized activity, blocked or redirected web searches.  Run a manual scan with Malwarebytes AntiMalware (w/ most recent definitions) to check for problems.  Run a manual full-scan (w/ most recent definitions) with your Anti-Virus program and again with Windows Defender.

1. If your machine is more than 18 months old, there is a good chance Windows needs to be completely reinstalled.  Checking/fixing all the other possibilities can help, but when you get past the 2 year mark, it’s best just to do a clean reinstall of Windows. (which takes care of most of the rest)  The most telling sign of this: Machine consistently reboots much slower than before.  You might also notice it takes longer for programs to start.  Machine can appear to lockup temporarily when starting a task, program, or opening a file.

While there are many other issues that could be affecting performance, the above are what we see most often.  Please contact us to discuss how we can help get your desktop or notebook PC operating properly again!

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