It’s a fact: Computers with Windows as its operating system are bound to slow down over time. It’s a subtle reminder that computer repair is in your future, even if it seems unwarranted. Whether your slow-down happened suddenly or over time, there are several reasons why your computer may be running like a turtle. As with all PC issues, don’t be afraid to give your computer a reboot if something’s not working properly. This is faster than attempting to manually troubleshoot and fix the problem yourself—and can actually fix quite a few problems.
Find resource-hungry programs
Your PC is running slow because something is using up its resources. If it’s suddenly running slower, a runaway process might be using 99% of your CPU resources. Or, an application might be experiencing a memory leak and using a large amount of memory, causing your PC to swap to disk. Alternately, an application might be using the disk a lot, causing other applications to slow down when they need to load data from or save it to the disk.
To find out, open the Task Manager. You can right-click your taskbar and select the Task Manager option or press Ctrl+Shift+Escape to open it. On Windows 8, 8.1, and 10, the new Task Manager provides an upgraded interface that color-codes applications using a lot of resources. Click the CPU, Memory, and Disk headers to sort the list by the applications using the most resources. If any application is using too many resources, you might want to close it normally. If you can’t, select it here and click End Task to force it to close.
Close system tray programs
Many applications tend to run in the system tray, or notification area. These applications often launch at startup and stay running in the background but remain hidden behind the up arrow icon at the bottom-right corner of your screen. Click the up arrow icon near the system tray, right-click any applications you don’t need running in the background, and close them to free up resources.
Better yet, prevent those applications from launching at startup. It’ll save memory and CPU cycles, as well as speed up the login process.
On Windows 8, 8.1, and 10, there’s now a startup manager in the Task Manager you can use to manage your startup programs. Right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager or press Ctrl+Shift+Escape to launch it. Click over to the Startup tab and disable startup applications you don’t need. Windows will helpfully tell you which applications slow down your startup process the most.
Windows uses quite a few animations, and those animations can make your PC seem a bit slower. For example, Windows can minimize and maximize windows instantly if you disable the associated animations.
To disable animations, press Windows Key + X or right-click the Start button and select System. Click “Advanced System Settings” on the left and click the Settings button under Performance. Choose “Adjust for best performance” under Visual Effects to disable all the animations, or select Custom and disable the individual animations you don’t want to see. For example, uncheck “Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing” to disable both minimize and maximize animations.
Lighten your web browser
There’s a good chance you use your web browser a lot, so your web browser may just be a bit slow. It’s a good idea to use as few browser extensions, or add-ons, as possible — those slow down your web browser and cause it to use more memory. Go into your web browser’s Extensions or Add-ons manager and remove add-ons you don’t need. You should also consider enabling click-to-play plug-ins. Preventing Flash and other content from loading will prevent unimportant Flash content from using CPU time.
Scan for malware and spyware
There’s also a chance your computer is slow because malicious software is slowing it down and running in the background. This may not be flat-out malware—could simply be software that interferes with your web browsing to track it and add additional advertisements, for example.
To be extra safe, scan your computer with an antivirus program. You should also scan it with Malwarebytes, which catches a lot of potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) that most antivirus programs tend to ignore. These programs try to sneak onto your computer when you install other software, and you almost certainly don’t want them.
Free up disk space
If your computer hard drive is almost completely full, your computer may run noticeably slower. You want to leave your computer some room to work on your hard drive. Follow our guide to freeing up space on your Windows PC to free up room. You don’t need any third-party software—just running the Disk Cleanup tool included in Windows can help quite a bit.
Working on your PC to speed it up can be intimidating. You can try the methods above on your own, or if you’re not feeling quite confident about taking on the task, call Crumbacher in Santa Fe at 820-6007 or in Albuquerque at 275-6866.