One of the most frustrating things in the world is trying to get work done on a slow computer. We live in a world that now requires us to not only multi-task during our work day, but multi-task really quickly and efficiently. In order to do that, we need our technology to keep up with how quickly our brains work. Unfortunately, it rarely does.
So before you throw your laptop out the window or take a sledgehammer to your server, read through these reasons that your computer might be running slowly, and learn how to help speed it up.
1. My computer takes a long time to start up in the morning.
The most common reason this happens is because you have too many programs that are set to start automatically when your computer starts up.
It is a fantastic feature to use. You don’t have to click on your Outlook or Skype every morning because you have them automatically programmed to start up as soon as you log in to your profile. How efficient!
But the more your computer needs to start up automatically, the longer it will take to start up at all.
Think about it this way: When you wake up in the morning what are all of the things you need to do? Take a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush your teeth, etc. Okay, now let’s add to that. What if you get a dog? All of the sudden you also need to take the dog out, feed the dog, maybe drop the dog off at puppy day care…and all of that has to happen on top of your regular morning routine. You now need to work extra time into your morning.
Well, this is not unlike your computer. When you tell your computer to run something automatically when the computer starts, you are adding to it’s morning routine. If you want your computer to turn on a little faster, make sure you only have the essentials running at the start-up, and start all the other programs by hand. You might think it takes longer, but it will probably end up saving you time.
2. Not enough RAM
Think of RAM as the middle man between you and your hard drive. When you tell your computer to bring something up, like a Word document, it’s the RAM that goes and gets it for you.
But, if you don’t have enough RAM on your computer, your computer will start to slow down the more you use it.
To learn more about how RAM works, you can download this e-book “What You Need to Know Before Buying a New Computer.”
3. Too many processes/programs running at once
When you open a program or process on your computer, that means the computer is doing work. It uses system resources to start up the program, keep it open, and follow all the commands within that program that you tell it to do.
When you only have a few programs running, your computer can work very quickly because it doesn’t have a huge amount of things that it needs to pay attention to. However, the more programs and processes you run at once, the more system resources are needed. That means that the system resources are going to be stretched pretty thin, and your computer performance will suffer.
If your computer starts acting slow, check and see how many different things you have running. If you have 10 Word documents and 12 Excel spreadsheets along with your mail and maybe even PowerPoint running, try closing a number of things you aren’t using at the moment and see if that helps.
4. Hard Drive is Fragmented
When you hear people say that the hard drive on your computer is fragmented, that is really just a fancy way of saying it is disorganized.
In this particular way, a computer is like a messy teenager. They may have a whole bunch of things going on at once, so instead of making sure everything is in it’s proper place, your computer just piles things up in different corners. Then, when it comes time to find that one particular pair of jeans, they have to search through the stacks of laundry and homework in order to find what they’re looking for.
This is why you want to make sure to regularly de-fragment your hard drive. There is a tool on your computer that will do this for you, and you can learn about it in this e-book.
Basically, de-fragmenting is your computer’s way of organizing and cleaning up the messy teenage room your hard drive can become.
While not one of the most common reasons for a computer running slow, a virus will absolutely cause your computer to act strange. If you notice your computer is extremely slow, and you have ruled out possibilities 1-4, it is probable that a virus is the cause. If this happens, you should call up your IT support professionals as soon as possible. The longer a virus is on your computer, the more damage it can do.
Of course these are not the only reasons a computer is slow, just the top 5. So if you feel like pulling your hair out because you can run a mile while your computer is loading, make sure to check these 5 things. And if all else fails and you still don’t know what’s wrong, we’re here to help.