How to fix a slow computer (speed up your PC)

In today’s guide, we will discuss in detail how to fix a slow computer.

If you have been suffering from hellishly slow boot times or long loading times on your computer, you might have been wondering when and how did your computer become so slow.  

Well, there are many causes for this.  

Sometimes it may be a software issue and sometimes a hardware one, and it can definitely be an amalgamation of both. And we are here to diagnose that.  

How to fix a slow computer

Firstly, you have to figure out the root issue of your problem. Let’s start with a few issues that are more on the software side of things and can be commonly diagnosed. We will list those issues along with their corresponding fixes.  

Software issues

There are many software issues that can be the cause of your sudden system slowdowns. Nevertheless, we will teach you how to fix a slow computer if the cause is any one of these issues.

List of known software issues – How to fix a slow computer

  • Malware
  • Too many programs running on startup
  • Too many unused programs
  • Fragmented files on your hard drive
  • Too many junk files
  • Outdated drivers

How to fix a slow computer for the following software issues

1. Malware  

If you have been surfing the internet and clicked on some popups or went to some malicious website and downloaded any suspicious files then I have some bad news for you. Your PC is most probably infected.  

Fix– Scanning your computer using strong antivirus software should do the trick. Make sure you choose the full scan option and not a quick scan one. Give it some time and it will find the virus and your PC will start working smoothly again.  

If your PC wasn’t infected then continue reading for the next common issue.  

2. Too many programs running on startup

 

There are many programs that love to take up your computer’s resources. This can have a significant impact on your PCs’ performance. Slowing it down right at startup.  

Fix– An easy fix for this is to open startup manager on your windows device and restrict these programs to start on startup.  

3. Too many unused programs 

There are many users who love to stuff their computers with a lot of applications. Most of the time, a large majority of these applications remain unused and are forgotten. Over time this process can accumulate and fill up your storage devices and clog your PC. This puts a lot of pressure on your drives making your load times much slower. Many of these programs also have a nasty habit of running in the background even though you never use them. 

Fix– A simple fix can be uninstalling those applications from your control panel. Just go to your control panel and select ‘Uninstall a Program’ then proceed to identify the applications that you have never used and start uninstalling them. 

Another fix can be using an external hard drive to store all of your unused applications or files and only use your PC storage for important applications. 

4. Fragmented files on your disk.  

If you are still using a hard disk, you may have fragmentation taking place. This can hamper the life of your hard drive as well as put pressure on it. 

Fix- Run the windows disk optimization tool and defragment your disk. There is a more comprehensive guide to this here

5. Too many junk files on your Computer 

Many applications produce junk files, temp files etc. And these files can cause some major slow downs on your computer. This may be one of the main reasons why your computer has slowed down and if you ask me how to fix a slow computer. One of my first suggestions would be to clean the junk files.

Fix– Use the inbuilt tool provided by windows called disk cleaner and clean up your PC  or use a third party disk cleaning software like cc cleaner. 

6. Outdated drivers 

If you havent done a driver update in a long time then that may cause some problems on your performance. Many driver versions can be incompatible with new versions of windows.  

Fix– Update your drivers. You can either manually update your drivers by searching for them manually with respect to your computer’s hardware specifications or use a tool like Driver easy.  

These were some of the known software issues that can cause slowdowns on your computer. If you believe any of these were a cause to your plight then following the fix should resolve your slowdown issues. 

These were some of the fixes on how to fix a slow computer when you face software issues.

Now, if following all of the above didn’t fix your problem then the most likely culprit to your computer slowing down is a hardware issue. 

Hardware issues

  

If all of the fixes mentioned in the first half did not do the trick for you. Then the most probable fault would be an underlying hardware issue. These can come in many different shapes and sizes and depending on them, fixes may come with some expenses.

List of known hardware issues – How to fix a slow computer

  • Low RAM 
  • Old/Outdated Hardware 
  • Accumulation of dust 
  • Thermal Throttling 

So let’s look into more detail about these common issues and what you can do to fix them.  

How to fix a slow computer for the following hardware issues

1. Low RAM 

If you are having atleast 8 GB of RAM then you should be set for most normal day to day tasks and a few games. If you are having a smaller sized RAM stick or a low frequency one then that can definitely be a problem for your PC running slow.  

You see, more RAM allows your computer to stretch its arms a bit. And memory management will only take you so far until you reach a point where multi-tasking is straight up a pain to execute if not impossible.  

Fix-Fairly enough, it is very simple to upgrade your RAM. If you want to know how to fix a slow computer then I can definitely suggest you buy a compatible stick of RAM and you should be good to go. Remember that as of 2020, 8 GB is the bare minimum but that is only for normal tasks. 16 GB is a necessity if you plan to play modern games on your system.  

2. Old/Outdated Hardware 

If you are running an old system that has outdated hardware then chances are that most of the time, your computer isn’t able to keep up with today’s heavily demanding applications. Having a lower RPM Harddrive may also cause slowdowns.  

Fix- Consider upgrading your PC and keep up with the times or at least add an SSD and some extra RAM which will boost your PC performance in terms of load times and make it feel more responsive.  

3. Accumulation Of Dust 

Dust is the arch-enemy of our friendly neighborhood computers. It seems, no matter how clean you keep your room or how tidy the surroundings of your PC are, dust will still find the way. This leads to many issues that your PC suffers later on. For example, thermal issues and clogging of important slots on your system which can lead to abnormal behavior on your PC and in worst-case scenarios can lead to a dead motherboard. 

Fix- Clean your PC. And do that at least once in a month or two as good practice if you are paranoid enough. If you are a laptop user, strictly avoid using it on your bed.  

4. Thermal Throttling

  

Thermal throttling is also one of the major issues that many gamers face. If you have been getting major framerate issues and feel like your PC is suddenly unstable and slows down after a while of using then you are definitely having thermal issues on your system. This is especially common in laptops and can be a real pain in the rear(of your laptop).  

Fix -There are a bunch of fixes to this.  

  • Get a better cooling system.  
    • Most slowdowns are caused by overheating, if your current cooling system is not working out, consider getting a better one.
  • Thermal repasting
    • If your PC is a couple of years old then it is time to reapply the thermal paste for your CPU. Thermal paste is a compound that is used as a layer between the surface of your processor and the heatsink. Over time this layer can degrade and lead to CPU overheating. Simply applying a new paste should do the job for you.  
  • Clean out your fans
    • If you are using a laptop, consider getting its exhaust fans cleaned out as well as a thermal repaste along with it. To prevent future dust accumulation, consider buying a cooling pad that will filter out the dust in the future.  
  • Consider under-volting your CPU 
    • Undervolting, in layman terms, is the process of reducing the voltage of your CPU. This makes it consume less power which as we know is directly proportional to the heat produced. It is a handy method if all other methods fail for you and should be used as a last resort.  

These were some of the fixes on how to fix a slow computer when you face hardware issues.

Conclusion – How to fix a slow computer

If you followed this guide properly you should be able to diagnose the underlying issue regarding your slow pc as well as fixes for those issues.  

If you are still facing problems regarding a slow computer then you can try to reinstall your windows and start fresh again. But for the majority of the users, any one of those fixes above or a combination of fixes should have done the job.  

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