This page was last updated on April 16, 2018 for information accuracy and freshness.
Like any old technology, computers will run slow eventually. It doesn't matter what brand you use (HP, Lenovo, Dell, etc.). or what Windows operating system (Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10) your PC is running. But don't worry, there are many easy yet practical tips for you to fix a slow computer.
We've found 6 most common reasons why a PC runs slow, and more importantly we've got 6 quick ways on how to make it faster. Some fixes work better than others depending upon your computer, but we are here to show you all of them, so you decide for yourself which methods to try.
Nothing slows down a computer more than saving too much on a hard drive with limited storage, especially when your computer is a lightweight netbook or laptop. If you can release more free space on your PC, you're sure to see an overall performance increase.
How to fix it: clean up hard drive.
Unfortunately, it isn't as easy as it sounds because it can be hard to find what's taking up most of your disk space. The easy part is to search for old files and large duplicates such as pictures and movies, and transfer them to an external hard drive or simply delete them if these files are unimportant. Also, uninstalling unused programs can save you a good amount of space. The hard part, however, is figuring out all the stuff that can be safely erased, and cleaning junk files that reside in your Windows system.
The best solution is to use a PC cleanup tool, like CleanMyPC. It is the best cleaner utility out there that can scan every corner of your computer hard drive, and remove files that takes up too much valuable disk space thus slow down your PC. Plus, it has several other super useful features to keep your Windows PC in shape.
When you press the start button your computer, a lot of things (applications, services) join the fun and load up in the background. Not only do they increase boot time, but they will continue to use valuable system resources like CPU, RAM the whole time you're on your PC.
How to fix it: disable unneeded startup items.
On Windows 8 and 10, you can rely on the startup manager feature in the Task Manager to manage auto-startup programs and services. Simply right click the taskbar at the bottom, and select Task Manager, click the Startup tab. Now select any items that you don't need to login automatically, and hit "Disable" button. On Windows XP/Vista/7, use the built-in tool called MSConfig to do the same thing. This article has more.
You can also use CleanMyPC to remove auto-run programs in batch for efficiency. In general, the fewer processes on the list, the better. Once you get rid of some items there, you're sure to see a speed gain on your computer.
Malicious software and spyware continues to be one of the main causes of many PC issues, including a slow computer. Also, recently a new kind of malware — adware, tends to slow down your internet surfing by injecting flash ads into web browsers.
How to fix it: scan and remove any malware.
It can be very hard to identify manually which virus or malware is doing harm to your computer unless you are a computer person. The best way is to use a powerful yet lightweight antivirus tool like Norton Security, which catches a lot of spyware and adware that most security protection programs tend to ignore. Also, try to avoid using antivirus software that demands more system resources to run than they should. They slow your down more than they can help.
A computer is like a man. When you are multitasking, your efficiency goes down. When your computer has got too much stuff running in the background, system resources such as CPU and RAM can be used up quickly. If that happens, your PC can't even handle a single task.
How to fix it: find resource-hungry programs.
For Windows 8 and 10, Task Manager shows you what processes are running and how much system resources they are using. You can right click on the taskbar, select Task Manager, under Processes tab, you'll have a clear overview of what's using up the resources. Usually, the first several items are the culprits. For Windows XP, Vista, and 7, you can use a shortcut by pressing Control+Alt+Delete or Control+Shift+Escape to open Task Manager.
There, you can select them and click "End Task" button in the bottom right corner to exit them permanently. Note: for some programs, clicking on red "X" button on the top-right corner of the window is not enough to close them. They might still be running in the background without you being aware of that. Remember: don't remove things you don't know!
If Windows registry gets corrupted, hardware device drivers become outdated, your PC hard drive is over-fragmented during data writing activities, or Windows lacks of updates, etc.; Your computer will run slowly over time.
How to fix: diagnose and fix Windows issues.
Once again, this isn't as easy as it may sound. For example, fixing registry errors is risky as the process requires you to know what you are doing. Updating to latest drivers is tech-savvy and time-consuming. The quickest and safest way is to use a registry cleaner like AVG TuneUp and let it run a full scan of your Windows system. The utility will probably find a lot of potential issues to be fixed, follow the instructions and address those issues accordingly. This method saves time and eliminates mis-operations that could damage your computer system.
Sadly, your computer shows its age and the hardware gets old. Your speed drops dramatically, and you can do little to tune it up unless you take some serious measures such as upgrading the hardware.
How to fix: add more RAM or install a new hard drive.
You've implemented all the techniques above, and still your PC is running sluggishly. It's time to consider retiring old hardware. Unfortunately, this can be pricey, and some PC hardware is beyond upgrade depending on the computer brand you use. You should no problem swapping the old RAM (random access memory) chip with a new large-size one e.g. 4GB even 8GB. Also, if you are serious about boosting your computer performance, you can replace the current hard disk drive (HDD) with a shiny solid state drive (SSD). You're pretty much guaranteed to gain a significant performance boost. However, the price you pay for an SSD is much higher than other hardware. Just a kind note: try to avoid these upgrade mistakes.
Well organize your computer, do not save all stuff on the desktop. Today, images and videos tend to take more space than you thought, better save them to an external HDD or cloud storage services like DropBox or Google Drive (it's more secure, by the way). Pay attention to the programs you install, make sure they do not add themselves to the startup list.
Also, always download third-party programs from their official websites, stay away from illegal download sites or websites that are untrustworthy (well, judge based on your gut). When you work on your PC, try not to open too many apps simultaneously, as they can freeze up your computer. Last but not least, always make sure your hard drive is clean and robust. That's all what we want to share.
Hope you find all the information helpful. Treat your PC well; it will pay you back.