Slow Computer Fix

by Rod Dunne on July 30, 2010

in Articles, Performance, Registry Cleaners Articles, Tips and Tools

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Sometimes the easiest slow computer fix is the simplest. Here, we’ll look at some of the easiest things to do in order to give you a faster PC, along with software options for tuning a slow PC.

Understanding how to fix a slow computer is not rocket science. What it boils down to is understanding what is causing an undue strain on the computer’s CPU (central processor unit) and memory.

The first tool to use for assessing the cause of the problem is the Task Manager (right-click on the Start bar to open this Windows tool).

Task Manager Performance tab shows that CPU usage is high

Close down applications that are using up a lot of processing power. Use the Applications tab to see which software is using up all the CPU and causing your computer problems.You may have to fix PC errors relating to poorly performing applications by checking for product updates or resorting to using another application instead. See also our post on slow boot up performance for how to disable applications from initializing during start up.

You may find that the browser application is using a lot of resources and this may be due to the application caching Flash based pages (adverts & video streams). The only option is to restart the browser to clear down this cached data.

If you find your computer running very slow before you even start opening applications then it could be due to disk space problems (see below).

Task Manager Performance tab shows that page file (PF) usage is high

The page file is used by Windows as virtual memory for storing data used in the processing of commands for all applications. First check the PF settings that have been defined for your computer (using Control Panel > System > Advanced > Performance > Advanced tab > Virtual Memory – Change button).

For the majority of users leaving virtual memory set to the ‘System Managed’ option is the ideal solution. If you do wish to alter this then select the custom size. As a starting point, the recommended setting for the minimum size is 1.5 times your computers RAM, and the maximum is 3 times your RAM. So if you have 1000MB of RAM then set minimum to 1500MB and the maximum to 3000MB.

The other potential issue with paging file is the amount of free disk space. If your hard disk drive is over 90% full then Windows will begin to run slow and the paging file may be getting constrained as there is insufficient disk space.

  • Open a File Explorer window (or My Documents from the Start menu)
  • Check each of the drives have enough free space by selecting a drive (C:/D:/etc.), right clicking the folder and choosing ‘Properties’.
  • Uninstall old unused applications to free up some disk space if necessary.

Disk Fragmentation

One key trick for how to fix slow computer problems is to defragment the hard drives. The software administering the hard drive will break up data into segments to fit the free block space it finds on the drive.

While this administration helps fill the hard drive quickly, it unfortunately makes reading the many segments use up more CPU and RAM causing a slow PC. Disk defragmentation can be done using Windows own tool or third party software like Regtool.

Other Solutions

Some other slow computer fix options to consider include:

  • Run Windows Update to get the latest device drivers. These usually include performance improvements.
  • Scan for trojan viruses on your PC as these can use up CPU and RAM if running in the background.
  • Optimize the registry settings using registry cleaners. For example
    Registry Easy
    : A registry cleaner that also repairs and optimizes the file (Registry Easy Review).
    RegCure: A popular registry and system optimizer (RegCure Review)
    XP Repair Pro
    : Registry and system repair and optimization that scans for over 60,000 common computer errors. (XP Repair Pro Review).

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