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Why is my computer so slow? Here’s how to fix a slow PC

Why is my computer so slow all of a sudden? If you are frequently asking yourself this question, you have come to the right place

Updated: Mar 27, 2023 9:47 am
Why is my computer so slow? Here’s how to fix a slow PC

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Whether you wanted to do a bit of shopping, complete some work, or jump into a game, a slow computer can make the simplest of tasks a real pain in the backside. There are loads of different reasons why your PC may be running slower than you’d like. This is quite a common issue and there are just as many ways to tackle the problem, so don’t sit there scratching your head wondering ‘why is my computer slow?’, do something about it.

Why is my computer so slow all of a sudden?

Before we start trying to speed up your sluggish PC, let’s run through several reasons why it could be slow in the first place. A slow system could be suffering from viruses or just simply need a clean.

Don’t forget, your operating system is connecting your system’s resources and dishing out the power for various applications you run on a daily basis. There are huge amounts of background processes going on all the time with a PC and sometimes this can slow us down. That being said, this only tends to be noticeable on an aging or low-powered computer.

Why is my computer so slow all of a sudden

Main causes for a slow computer:

  • Aging system
  • Entry-level specs
  • CPU overheating
  • Malware or virus
  • Insufficient amount of RAM
  • Insufficient amount of storage space
  • Too many background processes running
  • Too many applications open
  • Leaving your PC on 24/7

How to speed up your computer 

Speeding up your system could come from updating a driver, stopping background processes, or even the removal of dust. 

Restart your PC

Whether you have been running your PC 24/7 or not, a quick reboot could kick your computer back into life. Of course, when your PC is running slow, closing programs can help but restarting your PC will allow everything to be refreshed. It closes down unused programs in the background that are no longer needed and allows Windows updates to be installed. This in itself can fix quite a few bugs, fix memory leaks, and generally speed things up.

You can just close down applications from your taskbar, however, restarting can be more beneficial. When you restart pay attention to what programs are starting up automatically. Programs that open up on startup can slow down the boot processes, so if you don’t use them, stop this from happening.

Free up some storage

A full hard drive can actually slow down your PC. If there isn’t enough space for your operating system to work properly, you may start to notice performance issues. To help prevent a slow computer, try and keep around 500MB of space free. Even if you have multiple drives, it is best practice to leave this amount of space on your main drive that stores your operating system.

  • Empty your recycle bin
  • Clear your download folder
  • Clear your web browser cache
  • Delete temp files
  • Find and remove old/ unused programs

Once done, it may also be worthwhile defragmenting your hard drive. After removing programs and other files to create space, your hard drive holds on to fragments of deleted data. Clearing these fragments may take a while but will assist in organaizing your drive and increasing performance.

Stop background processes

Even though you have restarted, you may still have plenty of background processes running that are taking up some of your CPU or memory’s power. Background processes can run even when a program has been closed down, so it is always worth checking out what is running in your Task Manager.

Before you end any task, make sure you know what it is or research exactly what the process does, so you don’t accidentally close something important.

Have you got a virus?

Aside from being incredibly annoying a virus or malware can actually slow down your performance. These bog down your background processes, so perform a virus scan every now and then, clean up and spot any threats lurking in your hard drive.

Dust that dirty PC

Dust and other grime are your PCs and accompanying fan’s worst nightmare. A regular clean/ dusting with compressed air can help improve airflow and your internal temperatures. This in turn can help performance and keep your components healthier for longer.

Update your drivers

If your PC is struggling in-game, check and see if your graphics drivers are up to date. Sometimes, a driver can be the difference between choppy and smooth gameplay. The latest drivers from the GPU manufacturer ensure the card is working as efficiently as possible and irons out any bugs that may exist.

Set Windows power options to High

If on a laptop, changing your Windows power settings to high will ensure you’re CPU only uses the necessary power to run the tasks that are open. This setting is set to balance by default and will save overall power consumption or lower battery usage.

Is it time for an upgrade?

One of the most common causes for a slow PC’s performance is an aging system or entry-level specifications. The same can be said for a computer with an inadequate amount of memory or storage too. The steps above should help you towards a faster experience on your PC but if they offer no relief, consider doubling up your RAM, especially for gaming. RAM is used to store information from your operating system and programs that are running. Programs that use a large amount of memory, such as games or video editing, can severely slow your PC down. It is best to aim for a minimum of 8GB RAM but this depends on what you use your computer for. 

If you are running everything (operating system/ programs) off a hard drive still, have you considered upgrading to an SSD? SSDs are a much faster, affordable way to give your PC a new lease of life, with snappy boot times, and some in-game performance boosts. 

Final word

If your computer has started running slow all of a sudden it isn’t necessarily the end of the world. On some occasions, your PC running slow may mean it’s the end of the line, however, some of the tips above can help you push your system further and get more for your money. Upgrades are expensive and with the current stock issues the world of computers is facing, it is understandable why some are looking to squeeze every bit of performance out of their components.

If the initial steps don’t speed up your desktop or laptop, a complete reformat (start from scratch) or upgrade may be on the cards. Reformatting is a last resort and upgrades are expensive but we hope this article can relieve some of the stress, for now at least.

Shaun, with a computer science degree and 15 years of computer experience, has been passionate about competitive FPS gaming since the mid-2000s.

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