PC pages: Things that slow my PC down

Things that slow your PC down

by Maryanne Lee

It’s one thing to boot up a computer brand new from the store, and to revel in the galactic superspeed in which it loads. It’s another to keep it running at that same speed, especially after some months have passed.

There are many reasons why your computer isn’t running at its optimum. Fortunately, they’re all very easy to solve. Read on to find out what slows your PC down, and what you can do about it.

An overloaded startup

Most applications you install usually add themselves automatically to your Start Up folder. This results in a slower startup because of the time needed to load them all. If your computer used to boot at the speed of light, but now moves slower than an old lady at the zebra crossing, this might be your problem.

SOLVE THIS: by accessing the MSCONFIG command through your search bar or run application, heading to the Startup tab at the top, and unchecking all unnecessary programmes. Seriously, do you really need iTunes to boot whenever you start your computer?

Too many temporary files

Whenever you look at webpages, watch videos, look at photos or even type on Microsoft Word, your computer stores temporary files so that it can load up faster the next time round. These files build up over time and may slow your computer down, especially since they’re usually located in your OS drive.

SOLVE THIS: By running Windows Disk Cleanup, found in Accessories, regularly.

A fragmented disk

A very old school problem, but still a very real one. Disk fragmentation occurs when the file system can’t or won’t allocate enough continuous space to store a complete file. This results in gaps within that file, and can make that file run slower than it usually would. Sometimes, those gaps occur when the OS deletes a file it doesn’t need any more. (This is safe though, your OS is smarter than you think).

SOLVE THIS: By running the Disk Defragmenter, also found in Accessories, regularly. We suggest not using the computer whilst the Defragmenter runs so as to minimise more fragmentation 

Programs uninstalled improperly

What a mouthful this header is. A PC does not work like a MAC – simply deleting the application you don’t want won’t cut it, and leaves behind remaining files that may cause your computer to slow down.

SOLVE THIS: By always uninstalling programs with the proper uninstall.exe, or remove them via the Control Panel. Go one step further to delete leftover files from the folder manually after uninstallation. This could include save games, 3rd party add ons, screenshots and etc.

A full OS disk

Many people make the mistake of saving everything possible into their C:/ drive, and that usually hosts their OS, or operating system. Once that drive gets too full, it slows down, thereby slowing down your entire computer’s processing speed.

SOLVE THIS: by partitioning your drive into C:/ and D:/ and saving your data in D:/. The lack of strain on your OS drive will let it run faster. You might be pleasantly amazed at the difference this can make.

Background anti-viruses

Anti-viruses are always helpful, but can sometimes do more harm than good. Since they’re always running and usually boot together with your computer, they can slow down processes considerably. Strangely enough, it’s always the ones you’ve got to pay for that wreak the most havoc.

SOLVE THIS: By disabling auto scans and updates, or by switching to a more lightweight, freeware anti-virus. Some have suggested Avira and AVG Antivirus, but it’s your job to ask your trusted geek friend what he’s using.

Spyware and viruses

Malicious software often heads straight for your Windows Registry or core file system, slowing down your computer. They can sneak in with applications you download online and install, and can also hop in from less-than-savoury websites you visit. SOLVE THIS: While spyware and viruses can be removed manually by deleting them from your registry, some can be more persistent. In this case, use an automatic spyware remover – tons are available if you do a Google search. One of the more popular one is Ad-Aware Spyware Remover.

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