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Why is my PC So Slow?

Geoff Roy - Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A slow computer is just about the most common issue out there. Your web browser just takes an age to upload or maybe you go to open an application such as Microsoft Word and the computer seems to just stop, have a good think about what to do and then, in fact, not do it – leaving you with a whirly wheel going around on your screen and a (NOT RESPONDING) message.

We’ve tried everything we can think of:

  • Pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete
  • Staring at the screen for an indeterminate amount of time
  • Talking nicely to it
  • Screaming and shouting abuse at it
  • Turning the whole thing off and on again
  • Threatening it with a swift swipe of a sledgehammer!

And yet, nothing seems to be helping.

So what’s the problem?

Too Many Temporary Files

Whenever you are online or opening up an application to carry out one of the many tasks for which you use your computer, a temporary file is created which is stored to your hard drive. As the volume of these files amass, so they can have a drain on your memory and subsequently the speed of your computer.

To ease this and potentially speed your PC up you can go into your C: drive and find the Windows folder. Within here you should be able to find a folder called ‘Temp’. Open this folder and select the files within (press and hold Ctrl + A to select all files) sending them to the recycle bin.

Too Many Applications Opening on Start-Up

Like us humans, our computers can multi-task but the more they’re asked to do at once, the longer it takes them to do it.

Over time it’s pretty common to find that as we start up our PCs certain applications open and begin to run automatically. In many cases these are unnecessary and will drain the computer’s resources, slowing down its overall operation.

To reduce the number of applications opening on start-up you can open your task manager file (Ctrl+Alt-Delete, yes that old favourite) and click on the tab which says ‘Start-Up’. On older versions of Windows you can find this by going into ‘Start’ then typing ‘Run’. Once in ‘Run’ type ‘msconfig’ which will open the start-up tab.

Once here you will see listed all applications which automatically run. To stop those which you consider unnecessary simply click to disable them.  A word of caution however, some apps are important and worth keeping enabled (anti-virus software etc). Other apps, such as entertainment type programmes such as music software should be fine. A rule of thumb, if in doubt, leave it on.

Low Memory

Eventually, if you’ve had your PC for a few years, you are likely to use up a good proportion of the memory on your PC. The more memory being used, the slower that your system is going to operate. Why not therefore, consider giving yourself more memory and storage?

You could potentially increase the internal memory by adding extra to the hard drive. However, an alternative to this is to consider an external hard drive upon which you can store files and media, relieving the burden on your internal memory.

Too Many Unnecessary Programmes

 Another strain and drain on your PC and a cause of speed issues is the fact that you may have a lot of programmes installed onto your system that are simply unnecessary.

Often, particularly as we use the internet, we might download – inadvertently or otherwise – certain programmes or pieces of software that we either don’t need or only required one time. Of course, once on the system there they remain, often harmless but a drain on performance just by their presence, until you do something about it.

You can uninstall such programmes by heading into your control panel and finding the list of programmes on your system. In here you have the ability, by a simple click, of uninstalling any programme you don’t need.

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