Why Your Computer Runs So Slowly

April 9, 2008 – 1:02 PM

The first thing I suspect when someone tells me that their PC is running slowly is that they may be dealing with adware or spyware. Typically, a computer infected with this type of malware will display other symptoms as well. Odd behavior such as pop-up ads, your internet home page changing, sudden closing of your browser or even system crashes are all symptomatic of a Spyware/adware infestation. Whether or not you are experiencing any of these additional symptoms, you should scan your PC with a good antivirus/antispyware program. My personal favorite is AVG Internet Security and I highly recommend it. Whichever program you use though, just make sure it has a good reputation.

Another common source of system slowdowns is a highly fragmented hard disk. Disk fragmentation happens over a period of time and may happen so gradually that you don’t even realize how poorly your computer is performing. Fragmentation usually doesn’t cause other symptoms, so if your PC is otherwise acting OK then fragmentation may be the problem. Windows has a built in defrag utility, however it will not defragment especially large files and some system files such as your Paging File (sometimes called the Swap File) or the Master File Table. To run at peak performance you should use a third party defrag utility such as Diskeeper. Third party programs ‘one-up’ the built in Windows utility because they have the advanced features that allow you to defrag the entire drive.

Lastly, another reason many PC’s start to lose performance over time is that too many programs are running in the background. This happens over time because software developers assume that you want to run their application every time you’re at your computer. So for your “convenience” they helpfully add their app to the startup group. That’s fine except by the time you’ve added 30 or 40 new programs to your computer, you’ve got 30 or 40 programs starting up automatically every time you boot your computer. With all these programs hogging precious resources from your system, there isn’t much left to do the things that you want to do. Here’s the fix for that:

Click on ‘Start’ > ‘Run’. In the dialog box type “msconfig” (without the quotes). Press enter. This launches the Windows Configuration Utility. At the far right is a tab labeled ‘Startup’. Click this tab. Every program that starts automatically is listed with a checkmark beside it. Most people are surprised by the number of auto-starting programs that are listed. All of these programs can be safely disabled by un-checking the tick boxes. Don’t worry, this doesn’t remove or disable the program. It merely prevents the program from starting automatically just because you turn on your PC. All of the programs are still readily available from the start menu or from your desktop shortcuts. A word of caution, though. There are some programs that you do want to run automatically such as your antivirus and antispyware. Just leave the check in the box for any of these programs. When you’re finished, click ‘Apply’ and ‘OK’. You will see a message informing you that your computer must be restarted for the changes to take effect. After your PC has been restarted, you will be presented with a dialog telling you that you have used the System Configuration Utility. Just put a check in the box that says “Do not display this message on startup” and click OK. You won’t see that dialog again (until next time you use the msconfig utility).

Source: Data Stronghold

  1. 2 Responses to “Why Your Computer Runs So Slowly”

  2. I’d recommend AVG too, its a very efficient program which does not hog system resources.
    For defrag i prefer to automate is as i feel manual defrags are time consuming for todays large drives, and the real time defragmentation is a step ahead of scheduling as well.
    Along with this i also use CCleaner for cleanups.

    By tyrer on Apr 10, 2008

  3. tyrer,

    You are right about CCleaner. It’s a must-have for any toolbox. Thanks for your comment.

    By manunkind on Apr 10, 2008

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