If you’ve had your PC for awhile, and its slow speed is dragging you down, you are probably the cause. That’s right: Most causes of PC slowdowns, delays, errors and crashes are due to something introduced to that PC by the user. It’s almost as if you, yourself, are the PC’s deadliest virus.
There’s good news, though. You can undo all the damage you’ve cause your poor PC and get it running faster and more optimized than ever. Here are several user-inflicted causes of PC slowdown, and what you can do about them.
Too Many Installed Programs
If you have a lot of applications installed, your PC’s mass storage will fill up, causing slowness due to lack of virtual memory space and because Windows needs space to operate. Also, Windows will have a massive number of DLLs, or dynamic link libraries. The more of these there are in your system, the longer it takes Windows to load.
In most Windows versions, you can remove unneeded programs in the Programs and Features tool, located in the Control Panel.
Too Many Apps Loaded on Startup & Resident in Memory
Many installed apps will launch themselves on PC startup, by default, meaning these apps can take up system memory before you’ve even used them. Also, these apps can often install background helper processes that also take up memory and help the app run better.
You can remove apps from launching at startup in Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 by clicking Start, then typing CMD in the box and pressing Enter. Then, type msconfig and press Enter. Click the Startup tab and remove apps that shouldn’t be there, then save and restart.
Windows 8 has moved this functionality to the Task Manager, which you can reach by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
Too Many Browser Add-Ons
Often, installing an app (such as frequent culprit Java) will also install an add-on to your browser. You’ll sometimes have the option to not install this add-on, but if you click through the installation, you might miss the option to deselect in. Browser add-ons like these, such as search toolbars, are rarely useful and can slow your web browser to a crawl.
It’s easy to remove unwanted add-ons from all the major browsers from their respective Settings menu. You may also want to change your browser’s search engine back to what you had intended, as unwanted browser add-ons will often change it to something you don’t want.
Viruses & Malware
Sometimes, the only bad effect that a virus will have is to slow down your PC significantly. All recent versions of Windows have access to Windows Security Essentials. Make sure it’s downloaded and is running. Windows Security Essentials will watch for rogue file downloads and protect you if a virus tries to install itself. Cleaning any existing malware from your PC is a good way to regain PC speed.
Drivers are Out of Date
If you haven’t updated your PC’s drivers in awhile, your PC could run poorly. Newer drivers take advantage of modern Windows versions and newer hardware, fix bugs, use less memory and streamline operations.
Try using Windows Update to find all the updates you need, or update each driver by hand. You may need to look around for alternative software to perform this task, if this process becomes too tedious.
PC Needs Dusting
Over time, your PC’s fans will cease working as effectively because the interior of your PC is clogged with dust. This raises the temperature of your PC and can cause overheating problems. It’s a good idea to unplug your PC from power, then open the case. Using a compressed air canister, remove all the dust from the PC, especially from the surface of the internal fans. When your PC is clean on the inside, it will run at a lower temperature.
Solve one or more of the problems on this list, and your PC slowness should ease up a bit. Anything to put off having to buy a new PC or a new upgrade, right?
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