We know how frustrating a device that does not respond fast can be, but sometimes the technology needs our help to function properly. Is your computer slow? The possible reasons are many, let us see together the most common and how to solve them.
1. Malware and Viruses
One of the most common causes of slowing down a computer, Windows or Mac, is the presence of viruses that infect the system by occupying its memory and resources. Remove the doubt: Try a free antivirus and run a full scan of your computer for viruses. The software will eliminate them, improving your computer performance and your security.
2. System Startup
By default, many programs launch when the operating system starts, slowing it down and creating that general feeling of heaviness. We recommend that you go through the list of such programs and disable any that you do not think are necessary:
- Windows. Press Ctrl + Alt + Del, choose Task Manager and click on the Startup tab to see the list of programs that are launched at system startup. To disable a program, click on it and in the drop-down menu choose Disable.
- Mac. Go to System Preferences and click on Users and Groups. In the window that opens, select your username, go to the Login Items tab, select the programs to disable and click the “-” button to apply the changes.
3. Defragmenting your Hard Drive (Windows only)
The system saves the new files optimizing the space on the hard disk, but over the months the processes of writing, rewriting, and removing the files fragment the physical memory of the computer, which at this point must try harder and longer to recover. all the bits needed to run your applications.
Try defragmenting your hard drive to see if your computer gets faster. On Windows, go to Control Panel> Administrative Tools> Defragment and Optimize Drives.
We recommend that you perform disk defragmentation at least once a year. On Mac it is not necessary because the system handles data differently than Windows.
Alternately, you can also replace your slow Windows OS with the super-fast Linux OS. To do so, you need Xtra-PC, a handy flash drive that can be easily plugged into your system’s USB port. Read these Xtra-PC USB reviews to know more about the device.
4. Clean up the Registry
Another common cause of slowing down a PC is the accumulation of unnecessary entries in the registry. When you uninstall a program, many entries are not deleted from the registry, requiring an extra effort from the system each time it is accessed, that is, continuously.
Cleaning the registry is a complicated procedure, so we recommend that you: Make a backup copy of your system and registry before starting the cleanup and use specific software, such as a registry cleaner, to get rid of unwanted registries.
5. Update OS and Drivers
Sometimes the computer becomes slower as we install new applications that interact in new ways with the operating system. Periodically, software developers respond to these problems by releasing updates to drivers and the operating system itself. Always keep Windows or macOS up to date to prevent incompatibility issues and slowdowns and take advantage of all the latest security patches to protect yourself from new cyber threats.
6. Optimize Energy Savings
Your computer may be slow because you have unknowingly set your energy savings to maximum. To save energy, for example to make a laptop battery last longer, the system disables certain functions or reduces their power, unfortunately at the expense of performance and the speed of execution of services and programs.
On Windows, click the Battery icon in the lower right corner and drag the slider according to the performance level you need. As always, the intermediate option is best for most users, but if you want to dramatically improve your computer’s performance, try selecting the corresponding option and see how it goes. If you are using a laptop, keep in mind that higher performance means more battery consumption.
7. Improve the Hardware
Finally, sometimes a computer seems slow simply because it is. If your PC, Mac, or laptop is more than 3 or 4 years old and especially if it was not top of the range when you bought it, it is quite possible that the new programs and the latest version of the operating system have higher requirements than the capacity of your current system. If we add to this that computer hardware “ages” like any other object or device, it is evident that after a few years our computer is not as fast and powerful as it was when we bought it.
If after exploring all the previous options your computer continues to run slow, you may need more powerful hardware. To verify this, we recommend that you consult the system requirements of the OS and applications you use frequently, both through the software help material and on the Internet (sometimes experienced users know more than developers).
Once you have confirmed the need for more powerful hardware, we recommend that you evaluate the following options in the order we propose them (for cost reasons and potential improvements):
- Add / Change RAM: With more RAM, your computer can launch heavier programs and keep more open at the same time. You can order it online, it is cheap and easy to install, but most of all you will notice a big performance improvement. If you have a laptop, check that the RAM is not soldered to the motherboard, otherwise you will not be able to change it or add sticks.
- Buy a solid state drive (SSD) and migrate your system – solid state hard drives allow you to access information much faster. A traditional (non-NVMe) SSD hard drive is at least 5 times faster than a normal 7200 RPM one, while the latest generation models are on average 50 times faster.
8. The Drastic Solution: Format
If none of these remedies work and you think that it does not depend on the power of the hardware, there is one last, extreme solution: format the hard drive and reinstall it all over again. Formatting the drive and reinstalling the operating system and applications will delete all unnecessary files, information, programs, services, registry entries, and, in general, all unnecessary from your computer.
This operation gives most computer owners the creeps, but today it is much easier than in the past. Our advice is to use the format and restore function of the operating system or create a copy in the cloud. Otherwise, you can always contact a professional.
We hope we have helped you speed up your computer and fix any problems. For the future, we recommend that you install cleanup software to automate the most important system maintenance procedures: startup management, disk, and registry cleaning.