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Here’s what you should check if your computer is running slow

Oct 12, 2021

Outline

Here you will know what is causing your Windows computer to run slow, and how you can fix it.
slow computer
Your computer is running slow, and you have no idea why.
Here you will know what can cause a computer to run slow and how to fix it.

A computer runs slow cause of either Hardware or Software.

Many people get confused between a slow internet and a slow computer.

If webpages are loading slow, it’s the internet speed you need to work on, and if the browser itself is loading slowly you got a slow computer.

To make sure the internet speed is fine check your Internet Speed here.

FIXING A SLOW COMPUTER

The article is divided into two categories, Hardware and Software. In the Hardware section, you will know which Hardware part can cause a slow PC and in the Software section, you will learn what to work on.

Hardware

Computer hardware is the physical components required to form a computer. Computer hardware can be distinguished into two categories, external components, and internal components.

External computer components are the parts that can be easily touched and seen such as keyboard, mouse/touchpad, display screen, and case.

Internal computer components can be seen if you open up the computer case using the screwdriver, these parts are Motherboard, Hard Disk, CPU, Power Supply, Cables, RAM, etc.  

When we talk about Hardware causing a slow computer, you should remember that your computer is running slow from day one and has not gradually decreased the speed, this means you got a computer that doesn’t have a good hardware build. In this case, the best you can do is don’t run multiple applications simultaneously, don’t open multiple tabs in a browser, don’t run applications in the background that are not needed, stop programs from startups, and keep the computer updated.

 

Hardware Parts that can cause a slow computer, are

CPU

Also and most commonly known as the “Processor“. As the name says, the processor is responsible to process the data, taking the input, and processing the output.

Intel CPU

If the processor isn’t efficient enough to process the data, your computer will run slow. Hence it’s always recommended to buy the computer as per your need.

You can’t expect a basic computer to process high-end games, or to run heavy applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Autodesk, etc.

Earlier processors weren’t good at processing multiple applications simultaneously, but now it’s not a problem anymore with Intel’s I Series processors or similar in AMD. Intel has now launched a new series, the Intel Evo™ Processor series which is a successor to the I series of processors.

To find if the CPU is causing a slow computer, open Task manager or equivalent in Mac. Look for CPU utilization if it’s high or in red, the CPU is either processing too many processes at the same time, or the CPU itself isn’t good enough to handle the required processes.


Ctrl + Shift + ESC is the key shortcut to open up the Task Manager in Windows.

In this case, close all the unnecessary applications currently running, including browser tabs, disable startup items, kill the irrelevant services running, scan the PC for viruses, and update the computer, or buy a computer with a good processor.

RAM

It’s the storage component that first loads user input and required data from the Hard Disk and then sends them to the CPU in a queue. Known as Random Access Memory, and stores data only till the machine is powered down, or you kill that specific process. Know more about Memory here.

RAM

RAM has to be efficient enough too to load and send data to the CPU. If you are working with too many applications simultaneously or working on a heavy application, or have opened up too many tabs in a browser then the RAM should be good in size and fast enough. It’s recommended that even a normal computer should have at least 8GB of RAM nowadays.

Again, to check if RAM is causing a slow computer, open the task manager and analyze if RAM usage is high.
 

In case your computer is low on RAM, you could try setting up virtual memory.
 

RAM is one powerful storage device that doesn’t go bad that easily, but yes it can too. In rare cases, a problem with RAM known as Memory Leak can slow down the computer or even cause a crash.

HDD

Hard disk drives are the main storage devices, that store all your data, all application’s data, all Windows OS files. It keeps all the files even if the computer is powered down unless you delete them.

HDD

Through time Hard disks have really evolved, as they are the main storage devices and if gone bad all user data could be gone too, so HDD really has to be trustworthy and fast.

Your computer can run slow if the hard disk drive is almost full or has read and write errors. SMART Error in a hard disk drive slows it down and causes computer crashes too.

So if the computer is running slow, analyze the hard disk usage through the task manager, if it’s high update your computer, run a virus scan, and diagnose the drive for errors.

Software

Software is what we use to accomplish our tasks on a computer, such as Adobe Photoshop, Quickbook, Google Chrome, etc. It can be seen but can’t be touched. Windows 10, Windows 7, macOS, drivers, Windows update, everything that is not hardware is a piece of software on a computer.

Windows unnecessary settings, unwanted applications running in the background, virus or malware, outdated drivers, outdated OS, unnecessary startup items outdated applications, etc. can cause a slow computer.

We recommend coming to the software troubleshooting for a slow computer only if your PC’s performance has decreased gradually.

 

Checking software, OS, and drivers for a slow computer

  • Clean up junk files
  • Clear browser cache
  • Optimize OS settings
  • Update your computer
  • Stop background applications
  • Update drivers
  • Stop unnecessary startup items
  • Scan PC for viruses & malware

Extra steps to fix a slow computer

You have really read the article and followed all the steps to fix it, and yet PC runs slow, here are two pro tips that you should follow next.

  • Clean the dust

If your computer is old and you have never cleaned the dust out of it, you should do it now with a help of a blower. Gradually dust makes a computer slow as it makes the cooling fan hard to cool down the computer, and the computer starts overheating.

If it’s a desktop you can open the case, after disconnecting it from the wall socket and clean it from inside.
If a laptop, and you don’t want to open it up, just use the blower to clean it from the vents.

 

  • Update BIOS

This is the last resort, update the BIOS.

One of BIOS’s functions is to manage the data flow between the OS and the attached devices, so if your BIOS is really really old, you should update it.

Update BIOS at your own risk, it can make your computer’s motherboard dead.

More support articles on   Windows 10 | Windows 11

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