So you’ve spent all this hard-earned cash on a computer that boasts some impressive specs on paper. Your heart sinks while you notice that performance is lacking, or you have to wait when you shouldn’t for things to happen. But maybe you can fix the problem if you know why it keeps happening.
When your high-end computer is running slow, you should do a malware scan, declutter the computer’s storage, and stop temporary files. Other causes include a possible bottlenecked CPU, corrupted hard drive, and a loaded browser cache (especially Internet Explorer or Google Chrome).
Please Note: This article addresses performance problems with computers and not speed related to your internet connection.
Reasons why your computer is running slow and how to fix it
All the reasons that we will discuss boil down to one thing: how you use the machine. When installing extensions, browsing the web, downloading apps, creating different types of files, and downloading all your movies and music, your computer will inevitably build up virtual detritus that eventually affects its performance.
Here are some issues that might make your computer slow.
Background programs and applications
When you click the start button on your computer, many computer programs automatically start running and getting ready for use.
But, unfortunately, when you get to work on the computer, all these background programs are already running and using up resources.
Some programs even continue running in the background after closing their windows, and you need to end their process manually.
All these programs running in the background siphon on your processing power and eventually slow down the programs that are actually in use.
Aaron Schoeffler, a computer repair doctor at LaptopMD, says the most common disease slowing down your laptop is the startup programs that are competing for resources and end up ruining your computer’s speed.
To solve this problem and improve performance, you need to disable auto-start for unnecessary apps on your Mac or PC. Here is what to do depending on the machine you are using:
Use Windows Task Manager to close all programs running in the background. To do this, hit Ctrl + Alt + Delete on the keyboard and select Task Manager.
Then click on more details in the left-hand bottom corner. You will then see a list of all the running programs using up your RAM and memory.
For startup programs, click on the startup tab at the end of the task manager window. Then, close all the running startup programs that are not necessary.
Too many startup programs are one of the most common things to cause slow boot times and the poor running speed of the system.
From here, you can check which programs are resource-intensive and affect the computer’s performance if left running. Now sort out the programs to be closed and click on the end task to complete them.
Watch this video if you would like to see a demonstration of how to do this:
You might need to configure login items in the machine’s system preferences. For example, go to Applications, then click on Systems Preferences, then User Groups, then Login Items.
This will show you a list of all the programs that affect the computer’s speed use. Now you need to uncheck unneeded programs.
If you have desktop icons, you don’t use, delete or move them to trash. You can also move the files on your desktop to their appropriate folders if you still need them. Here’s a video on how to do just that:
Note that some programs running in the background are necessary for your laptop to work correctly. Therefore, when ending potentially unnecessary processes, make sure you know what the program is before you disable it.
Viruses and spyware can mess with your computer performance. They can hijack your browser, push advertising or phishing sites and even completely crash your system.
Your computer can be infected from something as simple as opening emails from unknown or suspicious senders or downloading files from weird and suspicious websites.
Some malware only affects your computer performance by showing you unwanted ads or hijacking your hardware resources, while others can allow hackers to steal valuable information from your computer.
We highly recommend having a reliable antimalware and antivirus program on your machine.
Besides, avoid opening emails from sources you do not trust or visiting sites that are not safe.
To remove malware, open the search bar on your computer and then type Security into the search box and click Open. Next, select Virus & Threat Protection and then click Quick Scan.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to scan for malware on your Mac.
If all else fails, back up your most important files and start fresh with a complete format of your HDD or SSD and reinstall your operating system from scratch.
Problems with your hard drive
The hard drive is the temporal lobe of your computer/laptop. It is the spinning disk that stores your data in binary code using magnetism. If it is not in top condition, your computer is most likely going to slow down.
Sometimes it might be the hard drive is nearing the end of its lifespan, or maybe there is no space left, or perhaps it is just outdated and needs to be updated.
Either way, any of these problems can be the reason your processor is getting slowed down.
The first step is to run a hard drive check. Check how much space is remaining in the hard drive. If the storage is not the issue, then proceed to check for any other hard disk issues.
Go to Computer, right-click on the drive, select Properties, then Tools / Check Now. You can then select “Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors”.
This will prevent your computer from accessing the “bad” areas on the hard drive. Wait patiently for the computer to finish scanning.
This video gives you all the details for scanning your mac hard drive:
To extend the lifespan of your hard disk, avoid any form of impact on the hard drive. Consider upgrading from a hard disk drive to an SSD as well.
Too many temporary files taking up storage
When you create or modify a file, the computer automatically stores a copy (a temporary file). Temporary file extensions usually end with “temp.”
Unfortunately, some computers do not delete these files even after closing the program. As a result, these files take up a lot of storage and eventually slow down your machine.
To prevent this, you need to delete these files manually. First, go to the search bar on your computer, then type Disk Cleanup and click Open.
In the window that appears, click on the drive you intend to clean, then click on the Temporary Files box. A list of files will pop up.
From here, you can delete all the temporary files in storage that are taking up memory.
Even if you are not into gaming, your computer can experience a CPU bottleneck. This happens when the computer processor is not strong enough to keep up with certain program demands.
In addition, a CPU bottleneck can occur if you pair a low-grade CPU with high-end devices.
For example, using a super-fast graphics card on an entry-level desktop processor is highly likely not working very well.
Likewise, you may notice lower performance with CPU-intensive games even though your GPU is more than capable.
To address the CPU bottleneck adequately, you should first understand what is causing it. If you are using new hardware, then it is easier to identify.
But if it’s an installed program causing the bottleneck, you will need to check to know which software is the problem.
Ensuring that the programs you run on the computer and the processor match the high-end equipment could solve the problem.
At the very least, try and reduce the gap in performance between your system and the CPU by performing an upgrade that is compatible with your motherboard and suits your budget.
Clear browser cache and cookies
Caches are created and stored every time you visit a webpage. These files are kept as small files in your Temporary Internet Files folder.
Your personal information and browsing history are also stored as cookies, and over time, this information piles up and ends up taking up a lot of memory space.
Ensure that you regularly clear out your browser cache and cookies to allow your browser to work faster when loading pages and reduce the amount of storage they could eat up.
Depending on which browser you are using, you may find these settings under the Settings menu, History, then click on Clear Browsing Data (some browsers label it Clear Cache & Cookies). Finally, click on confirm to delete the cache and cookies.
High-end laptop running slow
Whether your high-end laptop is new or old, you can corrupt the hard drive or make it run slow by making a few rookie mistakes. Fortunately, these mistakes are often reversible.
If your high-end laptop runs too slow, run a malware scan to see any malicious viruses downloaded.
Another solution is to ensure that your laptop meets all of the requirements of the games and other programs you’re running (RAM, storage, graphics cards, etc.).
Laptops are often outdated within a few years, so it’s best to run one RAM-intensive program at a time—close old files when you’re not using them.
High-end PC running slow
High-end PCs are often favored over laptops because you can remove and replace parts. Your computer won’t become outdated if you’re always adding upgraded components.
As with a high-end laptop, ensure your PC meets all of the program requirements, then check for malware.
You should also check the compatibility of the parts if you built them at home. Many PC parts aren’t compatible, which could cause them to overheat or slow down.
How to prevent your computer from getting slow
As the saying goes, prevention is always better than cure. There are very few things that are as annoying as a slow computer.
A slow computer processor goes hand in hand with slow internet. These two can make you pluck out your hair in frustration.
So to help you avoid getting a taste of this frustration, here are tips and tricks that have proven helpful in preventing computers from slowing down.
Do not install unnecessary software
Installing random software messes with your computer’s performance and leaves it with the risk of slowing down or even worse.
It also helps to peruse your apps constantly and uninstall ones you have not used in a while. Avoid keeping programs that you do not use, as these will only take up space without adding any value to your computer.
Pay attention when you are installing a new program. Unfortunately, some software sources include random toolbars and other unnecessary resource-hogging programs on their apps to make a quick buck.
Instead of just running through the install process without much thought, take your time and pay attention to what you are installing.
Ensure to uncheck boxes for anything extra that is added to the app.
Upgrade computer RAM and install a fast SSD
RAM is in charge of holding all the programs that you are actively using. It is known as a computer’s short-term memory. 4 GB RAM should be the minimum amount to run a computer for everyday use.
But if you are using your computer for gaming or other resource-intensive purposes like video editing or programming, you should consider increasing your RAM before your computer’s performance starts to suffer.
The good old hard disk is one of the limiting factors of your long-term computer memory.
When you open a program, the hard disk has to look for those files one byte at a time before transferring them to the RAM.
As such, it is expected that this method is not very efficient and can be painfully slow. Therefore, switching to SSD (solid-state drive) is advisable if you want your computer to work more efficiently.
Although your high-end computer most likely comes with an SSD, you should think about getting one if you don’t have it.
An SSD is a digital successor to the hard disk with more spank and does the job more efficiently. In addition, it is faster by at least ten times.
So, your files will process and open much faster compared to the hard disk.
Install OS updates and reboot regularly
Whether you use Mac or Windows, it helps your computer performance install operating system updates as soon as they are released.
These updates discover and patch any new security holes that would otherwise let malware into your system.
You can set your computer to install updates automatically or ensure to update when you get a prompt.
Reboot your computer regularly as well. Rebooting gives the system a chance to install and update programs that would otherwise not update when the computer is on.
It also cleans up the computer and frees up RAM that is sometimes taken up by poorly coded programs.
Run a disk defragment
A fragmented disk essentially ends up working a lot harder and therefore slows down your computer. Disk defragmentation will help rearrange the fragmented data and store it in one place.
It also ensures that all programs are in one place and that any unused space on the drive is also in one place. This will allow your disk to work more efficiently, and your computer will be much faster.
You can schedule a disk defragmentation, but you can do it manually by clicking on My Computer (or This PC), right-clicking on the Hard Drive, and then select Properties. Then, under the Tools tab, click on Defragment Now.
Note: While this suggestion works for HDDs, it’s not the best for SSDs. If your high-end computer uses a solid-state drive, don’t run disk defragmentation because it can ruin the hard drive.
Do not let your boot drive fill up
Monitor the storage space of the main and do not wait until it is filled up. To run smoothly, your computer needs free space on drive C—the drive that holds the Operating system.
If this space is 90 percent full, the system won’t have enough space to create temporary files and has to constantly delete and recreate files, which takes time, and you’ll feel your system has become slower.
Always ensure that there are at least a few gigabytes of free space on the boot drive. Keep track of your apps and constantly uninstall anything unnecessary. This will ensure that there is always free space on this drive.
Use CCleaner frequently on Windows machines to clean up temporary files
Please do not wait until piles of junk affect your computer’s performance before you clean them up. Instead, run CCleaner at least once a month to help get rid of the junk.
It can also scan the size and trim any untidy register codes and notify you of programs set to run on startup. This will help you know which programs are unnecessary and uninstall them.
Mac is very efficient with self-maintenance and will probably not need you to do this manually.
A fast and efficient computer ensures that time is spent efficiently and you are as productive as possible.
If you notice that your high-end computer is running slow, use the tips above to find the problem’s cause and try to mitigate it.
Remember to regularly run malware scanning software to ensure your computer is safe to use. This simple step can save you time, money, and frustration on any high-end computer setup.