PC running slow: common problems and solutions
It’s one of the most frustrating feelings. Your PC is ticking over trying to load a web page or even just struggling to boot up. It’s taking far too long.
Fortunately, there are ways to speed up your PC that can be done with a minimal amount of effort, and we can help you. Let’s take a look at some causes of why your computer is running so slowly, and we will explore the options available to help get your PC working faster again.
Why is the computer running slow?
Running out of RAM
As mentioned in our previous blog, RAM is important for short term memory use in your computer. Without it, your PC would need to retrieve information every time from its long-term storage. If your computer is running slow, then it’s possible your RAM capacity is struggling to keep up with the demands of the programs your computer is running.
Running out of storage
When your hard drive is almost full, it slows down your computer because your OS (operating system) can’t allocate itself enough space to run properly. To ensure your OS can run effectively, always ensure there is at least 500MB of space available. To check on your PC’s storage, you can open the file explorer (found by searching for “file explorer” in the search bar on your task bar). Your main storage is most often called “Windows (C:)”, but you may have other storage devices so ensure you are looking at the right one.
Old hard drive
Technology eventually gets old, and even though some can be refurbished and used for a long time, some components struggle to keep up the speed and efficiency of their faster and newer alternatives. Unfortunately, wear, tear and time will inevitably lead to a natural decline in components, and eventually, they will need to be replaced.
Too many background programs
Your PC can get gummed up with trying to run too many programs than its RAM is capable of. Being aware of exactly what is running in the background is essential to check the health of your PC.
Too many start up programs
Often, when you install a program or a piece of software, it will ask to be active at start up. Sometimes this will be something you want, and sometimes not. Too many start up programs can lead to a decline in speed, so be aware of what you need to be running on boot up to prevent causing more slow down
Windows updates out of date
We all know it’s a pain, but having out of date drivers for Windows can really hinder your PC. Windows encourages updates not only for keeping your PC up to date, but it also protects against viruses and malware. Leading us nicely into:
Viruses or Malware
Viruses and malware are notorious for causing slow down in PCs. Often, these malicious pieces of software work in the background, stealing your memory and generally causing a lot of trouble.
Acquire more RAM
Of course, the simplest solution to many of these reasons is to simply buy more RAM! Fortunately, RAM is designed to be easy to install in most gaming cases and systems. You can find our helpful guide on how all the different kinds of RAM here, but just bear in mind some machines may have a warranty that may be voided if you open up the machine. Some businesses such as ourselves can help you purchase and install more RAM if you’re looking to upgrade.
Clean your storage
Another reasonably simple solution you can do. There are several ways to clear out your space without immediately upgrading to better hardware:
- Empty your recycle bin. As you use your computer and delete files, your recycling bin will fill. Clearing it occasionally will help upkeep the performance of your computer. Empty your recycling bin by either right clicking on it and select “empty recycle bin” or double click the icon, right click anywhere in the window and select “empty recycle bin.”
- Remove unwanted programs. Some programs you install, you may stop using for various reasons, so clear up your storage by removing unwanted programs. Open your control panel using the Windows search bar and click “uninstall a program” under the Programs header and find programs to uninstall that you no longer need or use.
- Clean up downloads. Search for File Explorer in the Windows search bar and select “Downloads” from the left bar after opening File explorer. You can organise your downloads by either moving them to where they are required or by simply deleting them.
- Delete temporary files. Temporary files are ones that your operating system and programs use to store temporary data. Over time these temporary files can build up and start slowing down your PC. (WORD OF WARNING. Temporary files can include files that are still in use and shouldn’t be removed. If you are unsure what to delete, please seek expert advice) Fortunately, there are free versions of programs available that can safely remove your temporary files such as CCleaner.
- Defrag your hard drive. On modern versions of Windows, you can simply search for “defrag” and Windows will be able to find the right program for you. A defrag takes a bit of time, but it allows your OS to categorise and reconfigure all the data floating around and find it easier for the future.
Upgrade your storage
Of course, this is one of the more simpler solutions, and naturally it comes with a price tag. Buying a new SSD (Solid State Drive) and getting it installed by a professional technician can aid with the speed of your PC. In fact, we are currently offering this very service with our DCRenew service, where we will refurbish, clean and upgrade your sluggish tech. Check out this service here.
Disable background programs
By pressing Ctrl, Alt and Delete at the same time, it will take you to a blue screen and from there you can access the Task Manager. The Task Manager will tell you exactly what is running on your PC in that moment and by closing programs you aren’t using, you can help lighten your PC’s load a little.
Disable start up programs
Whilst you’re in Task Manager, you can also check to see what programs have been instructed to always start upon boot up. Click the “start up” tab in task manager and you can see how they impact your PC’s overall performance. If you don’t need a program to start up when you boot up your PC, simply right click it and click “disable”.
Another one that’s easy to put off, but an important one to do. Keeping Windows updated will keep your drivers up to date and allow programs to protect themselves from new threats such as viruses.
Scan for viruses and malware
If your PC is connected to the internet, which most PCs are, then you will need adequate protection from malware and viruses. Virus removal services exist, but these malicious programs can cause a lot of trouble before you’ve even noticed them, and prevention is always cheaper than the cure. There are lots of virus and malware removal programs available for free, and we offer a 30 day free trial with the antivirus software that we use for our business, Avast. Windows even has its own built in antivirus software called Windows defender, so there are plenty of options available to keep you and your files protected and prevent your PC from slowing down.
We hope we’ve helped you bring your PC back up to scratch! If it’s still chugging a bit, then maybe it’s either time for a refurb or something a little new? Give us a call on 0114 296 0035 or chat to one of our team on Livechat and see what we can do for you.