Problem: Do computers slow down when they get older?
Question: My computer seems to be slower. Like
I'll click on the defrag function, and it thinks about it for 15 -
20 seconds before the dialog box comes on.
This is why I did the reformat from hell a month or so ago. It didn't
help at all.
InfoHQ.com Answer: Some classic reasons a computer slows
1. It's possible that your computer may have so many
background programs running that there is not enough main memory to
run your main programs. All icons in your computer's system tray
are background programs using memory.
To see and remove all running background programs:
a. Press the Ctrl + Alt + Delete keys at the same time.
b. Click any program or task except Explorer or Systray.
c. Then click End Task.
Repeat steps b and c to quit all programs except Explorer and Systray
which are necessary components of Microsoft Windows.
You should now have a clean system, however you have just removed the programs from your computer's memory, they will all return the next time you start Windows.
If you don't want
certain background programs starting when you boot, use the Start/Search
function to find the program and either configure it not to run at startup, remove
it from Programs/Startup, or delete it from your system.
Additionally, there are many free and paid system utility programs like PC Cleaner that will let you designate which programs will be allowed to run at startup. See our review of PC Cleaner for more information.
2. Your hard drive could be too full of data to function
efficiently. There should be at least 300MB-500MBs of free space to allow for disk file chores. Note that this
mostly applies to the C: drive or whatever drive your Window's cache
If your C: drive is too full, delete unused programs on the C: drive
to make space. PC Cleaner and other similar programs, can and should be used to clean uneeded files, internet caches, and other junk from your hard drive.
3. Your computer could have a fragmented hard drive.
This results from programs being loaded and deleted. To avoid this problem, run the Window's
hard drive defragmenter (Defrag) once a month.
4. If you have 256 MB of free system memory or less, or you like
to play games, you may not have enough system memory to run your software
efficiently. You should probably upgrade to 512 MB or more of system
memory. Newer systems running Windows 7 should have 1-2 GB of system memory as a minimum.
5. You could have old or conflicting Windows device
drivers. An example would be you might actually have two entirely
different video drivers on your system and Windows could actually
be alternately using both of them.
To prevent this problem, First boot the computer in Safe Mode by pressing
and holding the F8 key during startup, after the DOS memory check
While in Safe Mode select Start/Settings/Control Panel/System/Devices.
Click on all the devices and see if the various drivers have any yellow
or red exclamation marks (which indicates a driver conflict) and also
determine if there are any duplicate drivers that can be eliminated.
You may have to delete and reload a driver to correct these problems.
Duplicate drivers can and should be deleted. (See our article, How Do I Update Drivers? for more information on managing Windows device drivers.)
6. As each new Windows program is installed and uninstalled,
it leaves behind parts of itself that can slow down or crash your
computer. These are mostly .dlls and other shared files.
It's also very possible when uninstalling a program that needed Windows
system files can be deleted. When your computer asks if you want to
uninstall shared files it's usually safest to say no -- even if your
uninstall program claims the files are not being used.
Old Windows drivers can be found by booting into Safe Mode, then opening
Control Panel/System/Devices and ridding your system of old drivers.
Otherwise, the only real answer to getting all the old junk off your computer is to
reload Windows into a new directory which eliminates all old junk
and leftover files. This is something to do last, as you will also
have to reload all your Windows settings, drivers, and programs. See Microsoft's web page for reinstalling windows.
7. Your computer could be full of adware, spyware, viruses, or trojans. These are all nasty programs that will not only slow down your computer, they will literally take over the functioning of your computer. You definitely don't want any of these parasite programs on your computer. To get rid of these parasite programs, and to prevent them from installing in the first place, you need up-to-date firewall, anti-virus, and spyware removal programs.
These are three separate software programs that must be running at all times except for when you are not plugged into the Internet. It is very important that these programs continuously update themselves or they will become out-dated and will no longer be useful.
These programs can be purchased together or from separate manufacturers or free programs can be used.
We recommend the full featured antivirus program Panda AntiVirus Pro. Panda AntiVirus Pro features a first rate antivirus checker, malware remover, and firewall, and even lets you make a rescue CD for when your computer can't boot Windows.
8. Questions about your slow PC? Use the form below.
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