Most of us know the feeling: that annoying frustration that builds as you try to open documents and pages that seem to take years to finally appear. It is even more maddening when you realise you have no idea what to do to make your machine go faster.
There is no need to curse your computer however—check out our Top 8 Reasons Your Computer Is Slow, and do something about it! Often it is not a complicated or expensive fix.
1. Your browser has too many add-ons
Not all browser extensions are helpful. Most of us assume a slow computer is because of a virus, but a lot of the time, we find that it is a browser add-on or plugin bundled with a free software download. These add-ons may say they are pop up blockers or search protectors, but they are actually browser adware that can slow your computer down by downloading / popping up ads every time you open your internet browser.
2. Your hard drive is failing
Hard drives fail eventually. Solid state drives (SSDs), which don't have moving parts, are theoretically less likely to break down but in reality all hard drives break down at some point – even if is just that their data becomes corrupted. If your computer is slow it may be that your hard drive is on its last legs.
3. Running too many programmes at once
We love computers because they can do tons of things at once. But if your computer is trying to do too many things at once, it may be lethargic. Your computer's ability to run multiple programmes at the same time hinges in part on its RAM (random access memory), which allows it to switch from processing one programme to another with seeming fluidity. And if the demands of the open programmes are outstripping your computer’s RAM capabilities, you will notice a slowdown.
4. Too many browser tabs are open
Once of the most common RAM-stealers is browser tabs. If you have dozens of browser tabs open because you think you may need that page later, you could very well feel an impact in your computer’s speed. This is particularly true if any of those tabs are auto-refreshing. We suggest bookmarking tabs you want to come back to, rather than leaving them all open.
5. Certain programmes are using all the processing power
Most of us will think to shut down a video or music application if our computer is really slow. But it isn’t just media apps that hog processing power. Sometimes normal applications may be stuck in a loop or have encountered an error. To check to see how much processing power your programmes are using, go to your Task Manager in Windows by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete, or the Activity Monitor on your Mac in Applications > Utilities.
6. You have an overzealous antivirus programme
Having an active anti-malware programme is important, but yours may be running regular background scans at the worst possible times. Virus scans slow everything down as they use a lot of processing power, and can take hours. Go to your antivirus settings and make sure that they are set to scan during hours you are not using your computer. A good IT company will ensure this is the case on your work computer, but it may not be the case at home.
7. You have a virus
If it is not the antivirus, it could be a virus! Viruses, spyware and other malware can slow down your computer for a variety of reasons—from hijacking your browser to pushing advertising or phishing sites, to crashing your computer. If you think this is what is happening to you, run a malware scan, or ask your IT provider to.
8. Your room is too dusty
Sometimes the problem is not internal but external. For example, is the back of your computer covered in dust? Or are the vents of your laptop covered? If so, this can prevent ventilation which in turn will heat up your computer. And if your computer is too hot, it will begin to affect its speed - or worse!
Most of these things are fairly easily fixed, and virtually any IT expert will be able to tell you the most likely reason why your computer is slow, if you decide you don’t want to try to diagnose the issue yourself.
BTA is a manged services provider based in London providing comprehensive IT services to businesses across the UK. Offering everything from a first-rate Help Desk to complex network design, BTA has been the managed services provider of choice for businesses looking to gain a competitive edge through IT since 1994. For more information, email email@example.com.