Why is my PC so slow?!

Slow PC snail on keyboard

Question – how many times have you mumble “why is my PC so slow”? Rest assured, you are not the first or last person to mention this. This is one of the most common questions we receive when working with customers. Let’s dive into some of the most common issues and fixes in the PC/Windows world. If you are a MAC user, stay tuned, that will be coming in a later post. If you are on the edge of the never ending PC or MAC debate – check out our last post! Enough chalk talk, let’s get down to it!

Slow PC?
Slow PC?

When did the issue start happening?

Was it yesterday or three weeks ago? Try and narrow down the time frame of when the slowness occurred. Did you install a new piece of software? What about a new piece of hardware? Many times a change such as hardware or software can cause a major slowdown or instability. Unfortunately, kids and accounting software in our experience are the two major culprits on the software side. For hardware – wireless network cards, external drives and wireless keyboards/mice can be a great starting point! If the issue is hardware related – try and remove the device, restart and see how your machine operates. Software can be a bit more tricky – get in touch and we can certainly work out a solution!

Has your PC “always been slow” or “super old”?

It might be time to think about a replacement! Did you buy the bargain basement desktop or laptop from Costco or Amazon three or four years ago? The machine might just not be up to snuff for today’s multimedia rich environment and tasks. In order to produce a inexpensive computer, corners have to be cut to meet price points. Many times the processor can be weak, the amount of RAM or quality of hardware can be limited.

Manufactures also bundle a lot of additional, non essential, pieces of software on their machines in order to up sell customers after the purchase. Many times in the IT industry this is referred to as bloatware and can normally be removed easily. Word of caution, be mindful of what type of software you start removing! One customer accidentally removed software powering their offsite backup and unfortunately learned the hard way down the road when a restore was not possible.

Is your PC slow OR is the “internet” slow?

What exactly is slow on your machine? One customer I worked with their issues were browsing the web, playing videos on YouTube, downloading games and more. Turns out he had a great computer! High end processor, lots of RAM and a smoking fast solid state disk drive. After further diagnostics, he was on the lowest tier of DSL service he could purchase. To add insult, the ISP had massively oversold their service. Switched the customer to a faster and higher capacity connection and fixed his “PC being slow”!

Wireless or bluetooth keyboard/mouse?

I recently had a remote client experience what sounded like a slow and failing PC. After lots of remote diagnostics over the phone and internet, I made a quick service call and discovered that the receiver for the wireless keyboard and mouse were located on the other side of the computer tower. The result – sluggish typing and mouse movement. Moving the receiver under the users monitor completely fixed the issue.

Do you have a lot of pictures/movies/files or “stuff on your desktop”?

Contrary to popular belief – neither of these really impact system performance. Windows will tend to lag if you are low or out of disk space. I recommend a minimum of 20% free disk space. Because of that, once you hit 10% free you should really look at removing some files or moving them elsewhere.

How much RAM and what type of hard drive do you have?

I would like to preface this topic with much caution, this can cause serious damage or data loss to your computer if done incorrectly. Nervous? Get in touch! RAM is one of the key components of a computer. Similar to counter space, if you have limited counter space simple tasks can become cluttered and more labor intensive as you try to maximize usable space. Windows and applications can eat up lots of available RAM, doubling or even tripling system RAM can make a huge improvement. To that end, RAM prices have dropped so much that this upgrade is incredibly affordable on any budget.

One of the final pieces left of modern computers that is still mechanical is the hard drive or your storage space. Because of that, this piece can significantly slow your PC down. Installing a solid state drive which is similar to the storage space in your cell phone will turbo charge your PC in no time. Word of caution – this process is not for the faint of heart, you could cause serious damage or loose data!

Thanks so much for reading! Did anything in here sound interesting? Get in touch!

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