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Why Is My Computer So Slow: 9 Top Reasons You May Have Speed Issues

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While nationwide polarization has created a sense that a multitude of differences exists between people, there’s one thing that almost everybody in the United States has in common… They own a computer.

By the last count, almost 9 out of 10 people have at least one personal computer in their home. That may not come as a surprise seeing as how computers are used for everything from work to entertainment.

With computer ownership comes managing computer problems and one of the most common issues we see are system slow-downs. Are you asking yourself, “Why is my computer so slow?”

If you are, check out a handful of reasons for performance issues and fixes below to get your machine back on track!

1. You Haven’t Restarted Your Computer in Weeks

When computers hit the scene, people were good about shutting them down after they were done using them. The culture on that practice has shifted dramatically over the last 20-years.

Now, computer users prefer to put their machines into sleep mode rather than turning them off completely. That practice aligns with the way we manage our smartphones which may account for the change.

The issue is that the longer you keep your computer on, the more likely it is to run into process issues, driver crashes, and more that can’t be corrected unless it resets.

2. Too Many Background Tasks

Another common slow computer culprit is multitasking.

Your computer has a set amount of RAM (or Random Access Memory) that allows it to manage multiple programs and processes simultaneously. If you ask your computer to manage more than its RAM allotment allows for, it will cap out and performance will stutter.

To combat that problem, only keep applications you’re using open and watch out for pesky background applications you may have forgotten are running. You can also consider a RAM upgrade to boost your computer’s multitasking capabilities.

3. Your Hard Drive is Slow/Full

While hard drives aren’t often associated with computer performance they do have an impact on your overall experience.

For starters, slow hard drives make it so your computer takes longer to pull up programs and files when compared to faster hard drives. As a general rule, buy into computers that have an SSD as opposed to an HDD. SSDs are considerably faster.

Even with a fast hard drive, if it’s running near full, you’ll notice performance issues. Try to keep your drive below 85% capacity to keep it running its best and to avoid “disk full” errors which you can read more about on this website.

4. A Virus Has Infected Your System

While viruses are becoming increasingly difficult to come by thanks to better safeguards, they can still work their way into your system. When they do, your computer’s performance will almost certainly be stunted.

Your best defense against viruses is to not download files online or open email attachments from sources you don’t trust. Your second-best defense is having a virus monitoring system installed.

If your computer is already infected with a virus, you may need to seek IT services to help you safely remove it.

5. Overheating

Your computer works hard to do the incredible things it does. All of that work can make your machine work up a sweat which can slow it down if its processor is not properly insulated.

Your computer’s processor is usually sitting on its motherboard under a fan and a coat of heat sync. If your processor’s heat sync wares away or its fan fails, it’ll start to heat up which will slow your machine down.

Make sure your CPU fan is functioning and/or replace your processor’s heat sync if you’re noticing problems. Keeping your computer free of dust and in a cool area will also help.

6. Your Startup Permissions Are Out of Control

When you download a new program it’ll occasionally permit itself to run on startup. While that single application booting up won’t derail your machine’s performance alone, multiple programs all trying to do the same thing certainly will.

Take note of which programs boot on your PC upon startup and go into their settings to turn off their ability to do so if desired.

Programs like CCleaner can help automate this process.

7. Hardware/Software Needs an Update

When your computer prompts you to update your OS or drivers, do it. Updates not only protect your machine from viruses but may also boost performance.

Before updating anything, be sure to create a “system restore point” on your machine, if possible, to protect against the unlikely event that updating your computer further stunts its performance.

8. A Piece of Hardware Has Failed

A slow computer could mean a bad stick of RAM or a faulty hard drive. If the tips we’ve shared thus far haven’t sped your system up, see if a professional can diagnose if you have a bad piece of hardware.

If you do, replacing the component that’s causing the bottleneck will fix your issue.

9. It’s Time for an Upgrade

Have you gone through all of our suggestions and are still asking yourself “Why is my computer so slow?” If you are, it may be time to upgrade your machine.

No matter how much you care for your computer, it’ll inevitably become outdated. Rather than spending a bunch of money to fix it, sometimes the best solution is to pick up a new machine.

Your Why Is My Computer so Slow Questions Answered

People all over the world ask themselves every day, “Why is my computer so slow?” Armed with our insight, we hope that you have an answer to that question and can remedy the issue.

Are you still struggling with slowdowns? If you are, browse more of the helpful content in our blog for additional assistance.

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