Causes for a slow computer and how to fix them

December 14, 2023

[avatar user="Jamie Poindexter" size="thumbnail" align="left" link="attachment" /]byJamie Poindexter|Jul 11, 2021|Jamie's Tech Corner,Our blogThere are many reasons for a slow computer. Both software and hardware problems could be the cause. It's good to do regular maintenance on your computer to keep it at tip-top speed. I will go over a couple of common fixes and causes that could be keeping your PC from running at its best.Hardware:If the PC has started acting out of the normal the first step to eliminating hardware as being the cause. A failing hard drive for example can cause degrading speed or lockups. If ignored it could cause complete data loss if the drive fails completely. Most manufactures come with pre-installed diagnostics that can be run before boot to detect any problems. Dell for example allows you to press F12 on startup to initiate the onboard tests.

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HP has this feature as well - with the computer manufacturer to see if they have this feature and how to access it. If a hardware component is detected it will need to be replaced before bothering with any of the other steps. Running other fixes could stress the hardware further and cause more problems.Viruses:With the advancements in Anti-virus, this is less and less common as a problem but this could still be a cause for lockups and slowness. Viruses are also bad news as they could mean your confidential information could be leaked. Windows 10 comes with Windows Defender which is good but doesn’t always catch everything. Getting 2nd opinion is always good to mark this as being a cause off the list. Malware Bytes is a free tool that is great for detecting viruses and malware that other programs miss.

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If the scan comes up with issues they should be removed and another scan run after a restart to confirm everything is clean.Drivers:Drivers are the software that interfaces with the hardware in a computer. Manufacturers are always releasing updates to fix bugs and security holes in the software. BIOS updates are the firmware that runs on the motherboard of the computer and could address stability problems. Video or network drivers could address performance or stability as well. Most systems just like with the diagnostics have preinstalled software to detect and install updates for you. Dell Command comes with Dell systems to do all the work for you. Of course, you can always check the manufactures support site and manually install any updates.

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Cleanup Junk files:As we use our computers junk files build up over time and cause slowness and other problems. Luckily these temp files can be removed without causing any problems. Disk Cleanup comes with Windows and is the easiest way to clean up leftover temp files and system files that are no longer needed. Simply search for it under the start menu to get started.

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Another easy to use 3rd party tool is called Ccleaner. It cleans up temp files for 3rd party browsers such as Chrome and Firefox. It’s free and can also be used to edit start-up items to speed up the startup of the PC.

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Last steps:If all else fails things are not completely lost. It could be the PC is no longer up to snuff for what you are using it for. That i3 processor might have worked great for school work but now you are working with 3d software or working from home so it's no longer able to handle the workload. Lower-end PCs commonly come with mechanical hard drives while SSD (solid-state drives) are far superior and provide a huge performance boost even to older computers. If the hardware is sufficient and none of the above fixes helped you also have the option of reinstalling Windows and starting from scratch. A good backup is recommended so you can retrieve any files you need. Windows comes with this feature under the reset menu to reinstall Windows and either leave your files intact or remove everything.

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