My computer is running slow what steps can I do to fix it?

Slow computerTip: This page only cover an overall slow computer and not a computer that has a slow boot up or slow Internet.

Below are steps for Microsoft Windows users that should help speed up the computer or determine why the computer is running slow.

Reboot

If your computer has not been rebooted recently make sure to reboot it before following any of the steps below.

Background programs

One of the most common reasons for a slow computer are programs running in the background. Remove or disable any TSRs and startup programs that automatically start each time the computer boots.

Tip: To see what programs are running in the background and how much memory and CPU they are using open Task Manager. If you are running Windows 7 or higher run Resmon to get a better understanding of how your computer is being used.

If you've got an antivirus scanner on the computer, spyware protection program, or other security utility make sure it's not scanning your computer in the background. If a scan is in progress it can decrease the overall performance of your computer.

Free hard drive space

Verify that there is at least 200-500MB of free hard drive space. This available space allows the computer to have room for the swap file to increase in size as well as room for temporary files.

Bad, corrupted or fragmented hard drive

Scan for malware

Today, spyware and other malware is a big cause of many computer problems including a slow computer. Even if an antivirus scanner is installed on the computer we recommend running a malware scan on the computer. Use the free version of Malwarebytes to scan your computer for malware.

Hardware conflicts

Update Windows

Update your drivers

Make sure you've got the latest drivers for your computer, especially the latest video drivers. Having out-of-date drivers can cause an assortment of issues.

Memory upgrade

If you've had your computer for more than two years it's likely you're computer is not meeting the memory requirements for today. Today, we suggest a minimum of 1GB of memory (RAM) for 32-bit system and 2GB for a 64-bit system. By having enough memory for programs to run within memory your computer will not need to swap information stored within memory to the swap file. If your computer hard drive light is constantly active, its a good indication of your computer is swapping information between your memory and hard drive because of the lack of space in memory.

Hard drive upgrade

One of the biggest bottlenecks of a computer is the hard disk drive. For anyone with a slow computer or just looking for something to upgrade in the computer to improve overall system performance going from a traditional HDD to a Solid State Drive (SSD) will significantly improve the overall system performance.

Run registry cleaner

We normally do not recommend registry cleaners. However, if you have followed all of the above steps and your computer is still slow try running a registry cleaner on the computer.

Computer or processor is overheating

Make sure your computer and processor is not overheating. Excessive heat can cause a significant decrease in computer performance since most processors automatically step the speed of the processor down to help compensate for the heat related issues.

Dust, dirt, and hair can also constrict a proper air flow on your computer, which can also cause a computer to overheat. Make sure your computer case is clean and fans are not obstructed.

Erase computer and start over

If none of the above solutions resolve your issues, it is recommended that you either reinstall Windows or erase everything and then start over.

Erasing everything and starting over can increase performance by getting rid of any old software or drivers that may be on the computer and causing the computer to be slow. Installing a fresh copy of Windows, software programs, and the latest drivers help verify there is no software related issues causing your computer to be slow.

Old computer

If your computer is older than five years come to terms that it is likely the age of the computer that is causing it to be slow. Computers progress at an alarming rate as new programs and updates for programs come out their minimum requirements can increase and cause older computers to slow down. If your computer is older than five years we suggest purchasing a new computer or just realize after following the above steps it is going to run slower than a newer computer.

Hardware issues

Finally, if your computer continues to be slower than normal after going over each of the above recommendations (including erasing and starting over) it's possible that your computer is experiencing a more serious hardware related issue such as a failing component in the computer. This could be a failing or bad hard drive, CPU, RAM, motherboard, or other component.