Reasons Your Computer is Slow and How to Fix It

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A lagging computer is a familiar problem that slows down many employee’s work.

There are many reasons why your computer may be slow. The important thing to do is first identify the problem quickly so that you can get back to your productive day.

Here are the most common causes for slow performing computers – personal or work:

Bottlenecked CPU

A CPU (central processing unit) bottleneck is when the computer’s processor is not powerful enough to handle the tasks being ran. This happens when a low-end CPU is partnered with a high-end hardware or device. The CPU will be the weak leak that causes the overall lag.

Software dependent on the CPU can also cause bottlenecks. This happens when demands of the software outpace the capabilities of the processor. Software that may cause this lag are such as 3D modeling or video editing.

How to Fix a Bottlenecked CPU

To adequately address any bottleneck, you first need to identify what is causing it. Once you determine the root cause, you will know how to remedy the issue.

Typically replacing an aged or low-end processor with a newer version helps. Downgrading, or uninstalling the software or devices will also eliminate the bottleneck. However, that may develop other computer issues. Most users will choose to upgrade their computer as the best option for the bottlenecked CPU slowing down their computer.

Hard Disk Drive is Old

A slow computer is a tell-tale sign of an aged hard disk. Hard drives only have a life cycle between 3 and 5 years, same as most technology now.

There are other signs of your hard disk drive getting old, such as weird sounds or periodic operating system freezes.

How to Fix an Old Hard Disk Drive

It is recommended to replace your hard drive before the blue screen of death. For obvious reasons, it is much easier to manage a planned transition to the new drive than in an emergency.

If the rest of your computer hardware is as old as the hard disk drive, it would be better to purchase a new computer. It is time consuming and costly to upgrade various pieces of the computer over a relatively short period of time. A new computer will save time and money overall.

Not Enough Storage Space

There are different ways to store data on your computer. In computers, purchased within the last two years, the storage drive is typically a solid-state drive (SSD).

When you storage is filled to the brim, it will slow your computer down. The computer requires an allotted amount of space in the storage drive, allowing for storage of temporary files. When this isn’t possible, the operating system will start lagging trying to manage with the limited space.

Your computer needs at least 200MB of free space on the storage drive. Ideally, you would have more to operate safely.

How to Fix Storage Space

The computer you are using may have small storage space given its age. Older devices were not equipped with the much more powerful hard drives and storage drives we have now. But, new machines come with small devices by default. By upgrading to a 1TB or more storage drives, you will resolve your storage issue. There are also external hard drives that will store your files in a removable drive, as an alternative.

Shortage of RAM Memory

RAM memory is the temporary memory of your computer. The RAM works when your computer is turned on, unlike the stored memory. The operating system will lag when your device doesn’t have enough RAM processing power to rely on.

Over the past twenty years, the need for RAM capacity has doubled. Today, a 64-bit system needs at least 4GB, with 8GB for devices used for simple office work.

How to Fix a Shortage of RAM Memory

Upgrading your RAM is a great way to improve your computer’s performance and is quite easily managed. First, get confirmation that the RAM is causing your slow computer. Then, select the correct upgrade you need to resolve said issue.

Background Programs

Your computer may be running programs in the background that you are unaware of. Some programs are necessary, such as anti-virus software, but there are others that can be closed or uninstalled.

To see all the programs running on your computer, use the Task Manager feature. (Alt + Ctr + Delete)

How to Fix Background Programs

Under the Processes tab in the Task Manager, you will see the list of the programming running in the foreground and background. You will not want to close or uninstall certain programs without proper guidance. Certain programs need to run periodically, and some continually.

Malware or Viruses

A virus or malware can cause an array of problems on your computer. Anti-virus, protecting you from viruses, can also cause a lag on your computer if not managed properly.

With that said, anti-virus software is necessary on all devices to negate dangerous files or programs from damaging your data and computer. However, there are ways to layer your anti-virus software without slowing down your system.

How to Fix Malware or Viruses

If you believe a virus or your anti-virus (malware) protection software is slowing down your computer, it is best contact your IT team or technology partner. This needs to be evaluated by a professional, as it is not as simple as deleting the virus or uninstalling the anti-virus software.

Generally speaking, it is always best to contact your IT team or technology partner when your computer is slow or lagging. Don’t suffer in silence or try to fix it alone. That may results in unnecessary expenses, further damage or worse.

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