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Prev Page <-- Introduction: Why is my computer so slow?

7 Possible Causes for Your Slow PC Performance

The first step is to eliminate some obvious roadblocks which could interfere with your efforts to fix a slow computer.  So let's start by answering the following questions: 

  1. When was the last time your computer was restarted?
  2. How old is your computer?
  3. What version of Windows is running on your computer?
  4. How much physical memory does your computer have?
  5. How much free memory is available to applications?
  6. How much free disk space is on drive C:?
  7. What types of applications are installed on your computer?

In the following sections, we'll try to come up with some possible reasons for your slow PC. The best way to proceed is to elimiante those which do not apply.

Remember, these are POSSIBLE roadblocks. They're NOT BARRIERS. That said, I would highly suggest you take the recommendations here to heart. Your problems will only get worse as time goes by if you aren't willing to solve some of these problems now. If you're confused at any point, or have questions, please feel free to email me, and I'll do my best to provide you with some guidance.

When was the last time your computer was restarted?

The first question I always ask is, when was the last time you restart your computer. It's a good idea to restart your machine, at least once every week or so.

Some people turn off the computer when they're done with it. This is okay practice however it does actually cause additional wear and tear to the power supply, because it's a mechanical part in turning off and on frequently can reduce its life span. Some would argue though that by turning it off. The fan is running 24/7, which are smart and less wear and tear on the power supply. Whichever you decide is fine, but I recommend leaving on all the time, unless you go away for an extended period of time.

With that in mind, if you leave it on all time. I recommend restarting it, not necessarily powering it down, but simply restarting Windows periodically.

This clears out any old stuck processes or additional applications of them voted and are using up memory that is no longer required, and essentially ensures that its Windows operating from a known good state.

Recommendation:  As part of a regular maintenance program for your PC, be sure and reboot your PC on a regular basis. At least once every other week.

How old is your computer?

When did you buy this PC? Here are a couple of suggetions on how to determine this:

  • If you bought it from a small computer shop, they may be able to tell you when you bought it.
  • Look on the back of you PC to determine if there are any stickers indicating the date of install or setup (some manufacturers use these for quality control purposes)
  • Look up your computer's model number or one of it's parts (like the video card) on the internet for things like firmware revisions or the likes
  • When you purchased your computer, it likely came with computer manuals and/or CDs, which may have a copyright year on them
  • Worst case, you can always try and dig up the old sales receipt.

Chances are, if it's more than 4 or 5 years old, this might explain why you're having troubles. There are several of possible reasons:

  • you may have upgraded or installed a newer version of some applications which require more memory than your system supply, so the operating system is constantly swapping to disk
  • it's likely that you haven't reinstalled or restored Windows since you bought the PC, in which case there's probably a lot of unnecessary clutter on the box
  • your hard drive may need to be defragmented
  • you may not have enough free space on your hard drive

In the next section we'll try and determine if any of the above possibilies exist.

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