There are plenty of reasons why a computer loses speed. Some are associated with how the user has treated the system’s hardware and software while others are more concerned with the general upkeep and life expectancy of your PC:
Why is My Computer Running Slow
- Cluttered Registry
The Windows Registry is a place where all configuration settings for the installed software are stored and processed from. It also holds user preferences, hardware information and system settings. As the installed operating system gets older, entries in the registry increase. Some of the data consists of broken files, files from programs that have been uninstalled, missing links and redundant data. All these factors contribute in building up a cluttered registry. As the memory has to go through the registry to access each and every program and file, this jumble will reduce the processing speed and increase the time taken in opening new programs. As more broken links consume in the registry, they cause frequent system crashes and errors.
For tips on how to solve the problem please read, Manual Hacks and Tweaks for Registry and Top Registry Cleaner Software.
- Fragmented Hard Drive
A computer is likely to lose valuable processing speed if the data is stored in patches in the hard drive. Cutting/deleting files, uninstalling programs has its benefits, but as we are removing data from the HDD, the existing data on the drive becomes fragmented. When the memory has to access a certain file, it does that by piecing together information from various sectors and this takes longer time. The issue of slow speed in reading and writing data from a fragmented hard drive is vital in old hard disks that have either low storage space or they are partially full. In case of latest hard drives with immense amount of data storage capability, there are lesser chances of fragmentation in the disk drive.
- Errors and Missing Files
When your PC shuts down accidentally due to power outage, viruses or a system error, what basically happens is that it cultivates more errors in system files. Sometimes Windows can also have missing or corrupt files in installation and this will keep posting annoyingly encrypted errors of the like, ‘ 0x800XXXX’. You should try to prevent these accidental shutdowns and check for disk errors regularly.
Solution: The use of registry cleaners can prevent these errors from piling up in your PC. With regular maintenance of registry files, the chances of errors reduce.
- Abundance of Installations
A common cause that ails a slow computer is stocking multiple programs in your Windows. As the storage space on hard drives and RAMs is increasing, users are paying less attention to performing smart installations. Almost every system has multiple readers, media players, photo-editors and instant messengers these days. A machine will process slowly when a number of programs, that perform the same function, are activated as soon as you try to open a file. Similarly almost every installation comes with its own baggage nowadays. The vendors will ask you to pin their add-ons to your web browsers, attach quick-launch icons in the taskbar and system tray. All the colours and multiple toolbars might look flashy, but in truth they add no value. They will reduce the quality of your browsing experience and will also slow down the start-up.
Solution: Use the Startup Boost feature integrated in many good registry cleaners. This option will let you pick and choose the programs that you want to enable with Windows Startup. Read Top Registry Cleaner Software to get a review of the best software.
- Bulky Programs and Windows
In an old computer or one which has limited hardware capacity, a leading cause of performance loss is the use of bulky programs. A heavy program is the one that takes considerable virtual memory when it is opened and active. With latest RAMs and processors, hefty installations are possible but they are not suitable for every system. Following the same argument, the choice of operating system also plays a significant role in how well your system performs. For instance, when we are talking about Windows, the 2000, Me and Vista versions are not efficient builds in terms of processing. If you have the option, Linux is the fastest operating system but it is not so user friendly. If you have a computer with good hardware specifications, install Windows 7 or else Windows XP is a good choice as well. In the article Tips and Tweaks to Speed up System’s Performance, the alternatives to bulky installations are covered.
- High-end Graphics
Just like heavy installations can take their toll on the system, graphics and animations that come with Windows Vista and 7 can also put load on the memory and reduce its availability for the actual work. Effects like Aero Peek, Aero Transparency, menu animations and theme-based wallpapers take some memory to run and it can be a considerable amount of memory if you have a RAM of 512 MB or less.
- Outdated Hardware
This should not come as a news to anyone, old hardware is incapable to handle the latest versions of software. Outdated hardware is a major reason that slows down a computer. In today’s age, where technology changes every day and updates of software are released one after the other, winning the race of an updated system can be tough. It is even tougher for the users who install new programs but the RAM and CPU is too weak to take the load.
- Viruses and Malware
This is perhaps the most lethal type of error that a computer can have. Viruses that come bundled up with downloaded software or gain access from opening links in emails, can bring about a shakedown of the whole system. While viruses tend to take up space and memory by uselessly executing every time a certain program is opened, malware tends to spy on your personal data and surfing habits. Both of these culprits will put load on the memory and slow down the system.
Solution: There is a special and lethal brand of viruses that buries itself so deep in the registry that they get beyond the scope of Antivirus and AntiMalware. For more information read Six Reasons Registry Cleaners are Good for your System.
- Dusty Hardware
As mentioned in the article, Danger signs of a slow computer, an overheated processor and a malfunctioning fan can also slow down the computer. The cause of these disorders can be the dust and dirt that accumulates over time and damages the hardware, resulting in the loss of processor’s ability to dissipate heat.
- Outdated BIOS
In some cases, a slow computer can be the result of an outdated BIOS. For those who are not familiar with what function BIOS performs, it is the Basic Input Output System that carries instructions for the boot sequence and checks the input/output devices. The BIOS manufacturers occasionally release updates, it might be a good idea to install these but with proper understanding and expertise of the process. Any mistake in the installation can turn the system into a box with useless chips.
- Search Indexing
Windows indexing is a utility that speeds up the process of finding files and folders. It maintains indexes on frequently used folders and thus improves the search experience. In drastic circumstances, indexing can also lower the performance of a system, where a system is already on track of losing speed and the indexing process simply puts additional pressure while it is working in the background.
For tips to alleviate the issues of a slow computer, read the article Speed up a slow computer with Windows Utilities and Tips and Tweaks to Speed up System’s Performance.