Technology

Why Is My Computer So Slow? A Detailed Guide

Did you know that in 2016, 89% of American households had computers? Today, that number’s probably over 90%!

Despite the widespread prevalence of computer usage, many people still don’t understand many of the basics when it comes to these devices.

For example, are you scratching your head, wondering: why is my computer so slow? If so, then you’re in the right place! In this article, we’ll go over possible reasons why your computer is slow and what to do about it.

You’re Running Out of RAM

“RAM” stands for “random access memory.” Every time you open programs up, it eats up more RAM in your operating system (OS). At some point, your computer will stop using RAM and will use the swap file instead.

What’s the swap file? This is like a backup system for when you run out of RAM. It’s located on your disk drive.

When your computer starts using the swap file, you’ll get a noticeable slowdown on your computer.

To fix this, you can simply just close out as many programs as you can. But for the best results possible, you should restart your computer. This gets rid of programs running in the background.

Plus, restarting allows your computer to make some necessary updates (which can help speed up your computer). This can help fix any bugs that made your computer eat up more RAM than normal.

You Have Too Many Background Programs

As we’ve briefly mentioned above, having too many background programs open can take up a good deal of RAM on your computer. You might have some running after you reboot, and rebooting your computer isn’t something you want to keep doing.

What you’ll want to do is go into your Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Delete. This will then show you all the programs that are open and how much CPU, memory, disk, network, and GPU they’re taking up.

Go through the list and click on End task for any that you don’t need to use. If your memory usage is near 100%, then you definitely need to close out some tasks.

Don’t just go closing any programs though. Some are crucial for your computer to run correctly. If you aren’t sure what a program is, do a quick Google search before hitting that End task button.

You Have Too Many Startup Programs

In addition to background programs, startup ones will cause you to have a slow computer too. This is most likely your culprit if it takes forever for your computer to get going when you turn it on.

Like with the background programs, you can disable some startup programs by accessing Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Delete. Go to the Startup tab and take a look at the list.

Chances are, you have tons of startup programs listed, many of which you don’t actually need upon booting up. For the ones you don’t want on startup, hit Disable on the bottom right.

Your Hard Drive Memory Is Full (or Close to It)

This problem is similar to the full RAM one. In general, you’ll want to have at least 500 MB of disk space available at all times.

To check, you can open File Explorer and then click on This PC. Check the hard drive space for Windows (C:), as well as any other hard drives you might have.

To fix this issue, you want to free up as much space as you can. This means emptying your Recycle Bin, uninstalling unused programs, and cleaning out your Downloads folder, as well as your temporary files.

If you’re using a browser like Chrome, just go to the Settings tab. Under Privacy and Security, you’ll see Clear Browsing Data. By clicking on that and then Clear Data, this can free up some hard drive space.

For Chrome running slow on a Mac, you can follow the same steps. Chrome should function the same, regardless of which OS you’re using.

For very old computers, you might want to consider reinstalling Windows. This can basically restore your settings and drivers to default and wipe all the unused software off. It’s much quicker than going through every single program and uninstalling them.

You Have a Virus

If you’ve tried everything above and your computer is running slow still, then there’s a chance that you might have a virus. You should already have a good antivirus program and firewall running, but there’s a small probability that something might slip through.

Make sure your antivirus and firewall are both updated, then run another virus scan. This should find any viruses or malware, should you have any on your computer.

Your Windows Is Out of Date

If you’re guilty of not installing Windows updates, then you need to get on that pronto. This will give you up-to-date drivers, which is necessary for your computer running smoothly.

If you keep putting off updates, your computer will inevitably get slower and slower.

Your Computer Parts Are Outdated

Let’s say you tried everything above, including an up-to-date virus scan. Then you might have outdated computer parts.

In this case, you can easily upgrade both your RAM and hard drive. You’ll want to aim for over 4 GB of RAM; at least 6 GB if possible.

And if you want to upgrade your hard drive, a good choice is an SSD. There are many online tutorials to help you install one easily.

Stop Wondering, “Why Is My Computer So Slow?” With Our Solutions

The next time you think, “why is my computer so slow,” you’ll have a few solutions to try. So don’t panic, as it might not be just time yet for you to be on the lookout for a new computer. Try to keep calm and test out some of these fixes before you worry about an unexpected expense.

If you found this article on computer issues helpful, then browse the rest of our blog page for more insights.

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