If you’re like many of our clients, at one time or another, you’ve dealt with a slow computer. We all have. There are few things more frustrating than that, right? You sit down, hoping to complete a quick task on your machine, and there you sit waiting. Growing tired of the wait, you decide to get a cup of coffee rather than punch your computer. You brew the coffee, grab a cup, add cream and sugar, of course, and back to your computer. Finally, it boots into windows, and you proceed, only to wait some more. The struggle is real!!
If this is you, you are not alone. Slow computers are one of the most common reasons people find themselves in our shop. Several different things can cause a computer to be slow. Let’s explore the different things our technicians look for when diagnosing a slow computer, and some common solutions to restore its speed and relieve your headache and frustration!
What processor (CPU) is installed?
The CPU is the brain of the computer, and there are many different models. Some are designed for very basic and simple tasks, while others are designed for video editing or gaming. For example, Intel has an extensive line up of CPUs ranging from the Celeron processor on the low end to the i7 on the higher end. The computing capacity of the processor is essential because it will directly affect how many tasks the computer can handle. If you have a desktop, there is a possibility that you can upgrade the processor. However, laptops have much greater limitations.
How much RAM is installed?
Random Access Memory, or RAM, is what allows your computer to multitask. The RAM stores any open file or program. If you are using more than 60% of your RAM, your computer will start to feel sluggish. Computers that came with Windows 7 often have about 4GB of RAM installed. The Windows operating system alone requires about 2GB of RAM to run, leaving only half of the capacity for all other tasks. As with the processors, most computers can have their RAM capacity increased.
What type of storage?
Most computers have a mechanical hard drive for its long-term storage. Think of a record player in a sardine can; all the data is stored on the disk. That disk can spin several thousand times a minute. Over time, the moving parts within a hard drive can wear out. As the components age, the responsiveness of the computer will slow down. Thankfully, replacing hard drives is a breeze. We recommend Solid State Drives because they are 100% circuit based and are much faster and more reliable than their mechanical counterparts.
Is the computer up to date?
Manufacturers issue updates for their software all the time. These updates can contain bug fixes, security patches, or new features. Making sure your computer is current is important because a bug might cause your slow down in an older version of the operating system.
Anti-virus is critical to keeping your computer safe, but some A/V brands can drain your computer’s hardware resources. For example, most A/V will initiate a scan as soon as the computer is turned on. This diverts resources from getting the computer up and running – making the startup process take longer.
How is your network?
Several clients thought their computers were slow but discovered that their network caused their slowness. The easiest way to determine this is to define what is slow: web browsing or general computer function. If your email or Facebook is slow to load, but the computer seems responsive, then you have a networking issue. Modems and routers, especially those provided by your Internet Service Provider, can have problems over time and may need to be replaced.
Check to see if your computer has any programs or processes running in the background. If your computer gets slow all of a sudden, chances are there might be something eating up its resources. For example, if your computer is downloading an update, the CPU might spike to 99% used, bogging down the rest of the computer. To check to see if this is happening open up the Task Manager. Right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager or press Ctrrl+Shift+Escape to open it.
Note: There will be several processes/ applications running at any one time. Some are crucial for the operation of the computer. Only look for the resource hogs. Click on the heading to sort the programs by resource consumption.
Is the computer getting hot?
Your computer might be throttling itself to keep its systems cool, resulting in slower performance. This is usually a factor on older machines, primarily desktops that have had years’ worth of dust built up inside the device. This dust can diminish the cooling capabilities of fans and heat sinks.
Here is the good news: every single one of these issues can be easily remedied. A slow computer does NOT mean you need to get a new one. At Computer Warriors, our team in-store and in-home can find the cause of your frustrations and solve them. Most of the things mentioned are standard maintenance tasks, like changing the oil in your car. If you have a slow computer, bring it to one of our locations, and we will get it back up to speed for you!
If you found this article interesting or helpful, check out our other posts!