There are many reasons your computer might start running slowly. Here are 7 quick checks that may resolve the issue or lead to more clues about the underlying causes.
- Reboot your computer. If it has been a long time since you have powered off your computer and turned it back on now would be the time. This will clear the computer’s cache and memory. It will also force a new registry load which basically tunes up your computer just a bit.
- Hard drive space. As a rule of thumb, it is good to keep 20% of your hard drive space free for the computer to operate at an optimal level. You may think of the hard drive as just being a place to store your documents, pictures, files, etc. The operating system and other programs require some space on your hard drive to act as temporary storage.
- Hard drive corrupted or fragmented. When you lose power suddenly or shut the system down improperly, files on the hard disk can get corrupted. Try running ScanDisk (aka Error Checking) from the disk properties – tools menu to verify and hopefully repair any issues with the drive. Next, from the command prompt, run SFC /scannow to check and repair damaged system files. Also, running Defrag will rearrange the files on the drive allowing you to access the files quicker. (Defrag does not apply to Solid State Drives)
- Too many Background Programs Running. Normally your security software and other utility programs will be running in the background constantly monitoring your system. In addition, they also perform scheduled system scans which can cause significant sluggishness if you are trying to use the computer at the same time. You should be able to reschedule these programs to run at a time when your computer is normally not in use. Reboot your computer and run Task Manager to see what programs are running.
- Infected with Virus or Malware. Any time you open a new email, visit a new website, or download a file from the internet you are vulnerable to a virus or malware. Visit our Think I have a Virus page for links to free virus scan sites if you suspect this may be causing your system slowdowns.
- Outdated Drivers. A driver is a small computer program that translates between a specific hardware device and the operating system. It may be time to update some of your device drivers to get your system running properly again. Please visit our System Doesn’t Recognize a Device page for further help with driver updates.
- Hardware Problems. Please visit our Blue Screen page for recommended troubleshooting ideas for hardware failures that may cause system slowdowns.
If you are still having problems it may be time to contact a professional computer repair technician.