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Slow Computer – How to Speed Up Your Slow Computer

Friday, April 4th, 2008

Why is My Computer Slow?

The main causes of a slow computer are:

  • Spyware
  • Corrupt and Erroneous Registry Entries
  • A Combination of too many Memory-Intensive Programs and Insufficient Memory (RAM)
  • Fragmented and/or Cluttered Hard Drive

Random pop-up windows or error messages from unknown sources are usually an indication of either errors in the system registry or the presence of spyware. Over time software components can get scattered and it is necessary to defrag your hard drive in order to decrease the time it takes to locate and access important files. Another cause of a slow system can be insufficient memory (RAM) or too many programs running at once and subsequently using too much memory.

Step One: Remove & Block Spyware with Anti-Malware Software

Because of the prevalence of malicious programs, one of the most important things to have on a computer is spyware protecion software. If you regularly receive popup advertisements or error messages, you could be infected with spyware that could intend to steal your personal information or divert your web surfing activity to unwanted sites.

Leading antivirus software that includes comprehensive real-time spyware and virus protection includes McAfee VirusScan and Norton Antivirus. It is essential to do full system scans for spyware on a regular basis in addition to enabling real-time spyware protection. This will ensure that you remove any current spyware and proactively block spyware from downloading and infecting your PC.

Step Two: Repair Your Registry

Another major cause of a slow computer is a mismanaged Windows registry. When programs are uninstalled improperly, they leave corrupt entries in the system registry.

Even if the user removes programs correctly by using the Add/Remove Programs function of the Control Panel, the Windows registry can still become cluttered over time with unnecessary or corrupt entries because applications constantly make changes but don’t always clean up their mistakes. If a user does not maintain their registry it can become bloated and decrease startup times as well as overall system performance.

Manually editing registry entries is only recommended for advanced users as changing the wrong registry entry can cause serious damage to your PC that can be nearly impossible to fix. Luckily, registry cleaning software will do the work for you.

Step Three: Optimize Your System Resources

The previously mentioned causes of a slow computer are software related; however, hardware components within a system also contribute to its performance. A lack of either sufficient memory (RAM) or hard drive space will decrease the speed of a computer. If a system already has an adequate amount of these components, and is still sluggish, it is likely these resources are not being used efficiently.

In order to make the most of a system, users must maintain and carefully manage their system resources. Too many memory-intensive programs running at once can seriously bog down your PC so that it feels like its moving at a snail’s pace. If this is the problem, it is more likely that too many programs are configured to run at startup on your PC.

Oftentimes when you install new programs, they are configured to automatically run every time you start your computer. Unnecessary startup programs can cause:

  • Slow computer startup
  • Decreased system performance (slow computer)
  • Compatibility issues between programs

For more information on how to optimize your system resources by disabling unnecessary startup programs, see Startup Programs Slowing Down Your PC.

Step Four: Defrag Your Hard Drive

Over time, your hard drive can become fragmented. A fragmented hard drive means that storage space is allocated inefficiently, reducing storage capacity and slowing down your system. Defraging your hard drive is the process of physically reorganizing the contents of the disk closer together, freeing up more space and in turn, increasing the performance of your PC.

For more information on how to defrag your drive, see Microsoft’s How to Defragment Your Disk Drive.

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