Slow Computers are Frustrating! Read my Top 7 Reasons for a Slow Computer.
1. Too many programs running. Having too many running programs uses up valuable system resources. The reason you may have a lot of programs running is a lot of software, when installed, like to feel special and run when your system starts so you can access it quickly and easily. The problem is, you may not use the software frequently enough to warrant having running all the time. You can check how many programs are running a couple different ways.
A: look at the right side of the task bar (where the clock is) and see how many little icons are present. Each icon is a program running. Typically you will have your virus scanner, spyware scanner, a volume icon, etc. Too many of these can slow down your computer.
B: press CRTL+SHIFT+ESCAPE on your keyboard. This will bring up the Task Manager. Select the Processes Tab. This lists each process (most are programs) running on the computer. It also tells you how much processor and RAM these processes are using. The longer the list, the more stuff is running - the more stuff running, the slower your computer.
Reno Computer Remedy: Go to Start -> Run and type msconfig. If you're using Vista/7 and don't see Run, type msconfig into the search box. When you have the System Configuration window open, go to the Startup tab. This lists all of the programs that are set to run when your computer boots up. You can clear the check box next to any of these to stop them from starting from the computer. One other place to check would be to go to Start -> All Programs -> Startup. If there's anything in this folder it will also start with the computer. You can delete anything you don't want there as well.
2. Hard Drive Fragmentation. As you use your computer to save documents, surf the web, view photos, install software, etc. your computer is busy opening, closing and saving various files (some you are unaware of). As it does this, it causes what's known as fragmentation which is files being saved in various places on the hard drive instead of in a systematic order. What ends up happening is when you go to open a file the system has to go looking for that file. Keep in mind that when you go to open a document there's a lot more going on than just opening that document. With the disk fragmentation, it will take longer for the system to find all the files needed to do various things - in turn, slowing your system down.
Reno Computer Remedy: Go to Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Disk Defragmenter. Try not to interrupt the scanner while it's operating. I recommend setting it to run when you go to sleep, that way it can run while you won't be using it. Turn off screen savers and system standby as well to prevent interruption from them. You can run Disk Defragmenter once a week if you use your system a lot, otherwise once a month will do.
3. Spyware. Although not always malicious in intent, can bog down your computer and breach your privacy. It can be anything from a cookie that monitors your web surfing habits in order to deliver more targeted advertising to you, or can be something as malicious as a key logger that detects every keystroke you make on your computer with the intent of giving someone else your passwords, credit card numbers, etc. One way or another, you don't need any of these on your system.
Reno Computer Remedy: I recommend Malware Bytes, it's FREE. It can be found at http://www.malwarebytes.org. This software will detect and remove any Spyware threats with a quick scan feature that is much faster than any other scanner I've found. The only down side to the free version is it does not provide you with the ability to schedule scans, nor does it have live monitoring to prevent threats from getting onto your computer in the first place. I recommend you also install Windows Security Essentials, which can be founds at http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials. Here at Reno Computer Services, I run both of these every night while I'm asleep, but once a week will suffice.
4. Viruses. We all know what viruses are. We hear about them every day. You don't want these nasty bugs on your computer. They come in many forms, and you don't want any of them on your machine.
Reno Computer Remedy: I recommend Windows Security Essentials. Besides being one of the best Virus removers I've found, it's also FREE. It also provides you with LIVE monitoring to help prevent threats from getting onto your computer. You can find it at http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/ . As mentioned above in the spyware section, I run this, along with Malware Bytes, every day while I'm asleep, but once a week will do fine.
5. Registry Errors. Your Windows Registry is the backbone of your system. It stores file locations for needed Windows processes, paths to documents and other files, shortcut paths, etc. Occasionally, when something gets changed within Windows, the registry doesn't get modified correctly. When this happens it causes error messages and slow performance. This may be the culprit behind your slow computer. Reno Computer Remedy: I recommend CCleaner. It is free, and will scan your registry, as well as fix any problems it finds. You can find it at http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner.
6. Insufficient RAM. RAM (Random Access Memory) is the type of memory your computer uses when you load software. It's called Random Access Memory because nothing gets stored there permanently (like with your hard drive). Instead, programs are loaded to your RAM until you are done with them. At which point, they get removed from your RAM. As your computer gets older we all tend to put more software on our computers. Also, as time progresses, newer software requires more system resources to run, causing your system to get slower and slower as time goes on.
Reno Computer Remedy: First off, check number one in this list. It may help remedy how much RAM is constantly being used. RAM is a very quick, inexpensive and easy way to speed up a slow computer. Although it's easy, I wouldn't recommend installing it yourself unless you know what you're doing. I will be happy to install it for you, click here to see how I can help you.
7. Full Hard Drive. If your Hard Drive is starting to fill up you may also start noticing your system slowing down. As well as utilizing RAM when programs start, they also create temporary files on your hard drive. If you are lacking hard drive space, this can cause your computer to crawl at snail pace. To check how much hard drive space you have available, go to My Computer and right click on your hard drive -> Properties. This will give you a pretty pie chart that shows your hard drive utilization.
Reno Computer Remedy: Adding a second hard drive to your computer may be the answer. This can be done this very easily and inexpensively. Alternatively, you can go through your downloads folder, music files, pictures and videos to see if anything can be deleted to free up space. This is a service I frequently provide, click here to see how I can help you. I hope you found this article useful.