Why Is My Computer Running Slow?

by Rod Dunne on July 19, 2010

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

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If you find yourself pondering “why is my computer running slow?” and “what actually causes computer freezes?”, then the following checklist will cover the bulk of issues that can be causing you problems. They can be attempted in any order you wish, but checking the disk space and scanning for viruses would be highly advised as two to start out with.

Disk Space

Open a file explorer window and check the properties for each of your disk drives. The pie chart for the disk usage should never show more than 90% full. Over this mark and the Windows operating system struggles to do regular processing, let alone run third party applications. Free up some space by clearing out unused software, cached data and temporary browser files.

Check For Viruses

Run an anti-virus scan of your full system (including external drives that may be connected). Viruses have a tendency of taking up bandwidth and processing power causing a slow running computer. They can also cause computer freezes on startup by corrupting operating system files.

Defragment All Disk Drives

Over time, the hard drives contain increasingly fragmented blocks of data which increases the number of disk access calls and memory requirements for caching data. Run the Windows Disk Defragmentation tool or Regtool to defragment drives. For best results, run this with Windows in safe-mode when no background services are running.

Applications And Services

There is a natural limit to how many applications your computer’s CPU and RAM is capable of running. Even when software is running in the background they consume resources. Open the task manager to establish the memory usage of each running application.

If your computer is slow at startup then use the Microsoft System Configuration utility (Start > Run > MSConfig) to disable some of these services. Improve slow startup performance by first choosing the Selective Startup option and then disable services (on the Startup tab) which you don’t want to run on startup. Reducing the number of services can greatly improve a slow computer boot-up. Do not disable anti-virus software services. Alternatively, tools like XP Repair Pro or RegCure guide you through choosing which startup services and applications you can do without.

Be sure to note which items you disable in case they need to be reactivated – it is only through trial and error will you be able to establish which services are making the computer so slow.

Performance Options

Windows also has Performance Options (Control Panel > System > Advanced Tab) that you can tune for your own specific requirements. Why is my computer running slow? It could well be that these performance options have been incorrectly set for your specific setup and the way you use your computer.

There are default configurations used on any new computer but the options for visual effects, processor scheduling, memory usage and virtual memory may not be right for you. In particular, reducing the number of visual effects can provide a huge gain in performance.

Related posts:
- Why is my computer so slow all of a sudden? Solutions to rapidly worsening performance issues.

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