Below are steps for Microsoft Windows users that can help speed up the computer or at least to determine why the computer is running slow.

Reboot

If your computer has not been rebooted recently, make sure to reboot it before following any other step.

Background Programs

  • One of the most common reasons for a slow computer are programs running in the background. Remove or disable any startup programsthat automatically start each time the computer boots.
  • If you have an antivirus scanner on the computer, spyware protection program, or another security utility, make sure it is not scanning your computer in the background. If a scan is in progress, it will decrease the overall performance of your computer.

Delete Temporary Files

As a computer runs programs, temporary files are stored on the hard drive. Deleting these temporary files can help improve computer performance.

Free Hard Drive Space

Make sure that there is at least 200-500MB of free hard drive space. This available space allows the computer to have room for the swap file to increase in size, as well as room for temporary files.

Bad, Corrupted or Fragmented Hard Drive

Run ScanDisk, chkdsk, or something equivalent to verify there is nothing physically wrong with the computer’s hard drive.

Scan for Viruses

If your computer is infected with one or more viruses, it may run more slowly. It is recommended that you install an antivirus program for active protection against viruses.

Scan for Malware

Spyware and other malware is a big cause of many computer problems, including slower performance. Even if an antivirus scanner is installed on the computer, we recommend running a malware scan as well.

Hardware Conflicts

Verify that the Device Manager has no conflicts. If any exist, resolve these issues as they could be the cause of your problem.

Update Windows

Make sure you have all the latest Windows updates installed.

Update your Drivers

Make sure you have the latest drivers for your computer hardware, especially the latest video drivers. Having out-of-date drivers can cause an assortment of issues, including slow performance.

Reboot the Computer Again

After making any of the changes above, be sure to reboot your machine.

Memory Upgrade

If you have had your computer for more than two years, you may need more memory. We suggest computers have a minimum of 2 GB of memory (RAM) for a 32-bit system and 4 GB for a 64-bit system. By having enough memory for programs to run within memory, your computer will not need to swap information stored in memory to the swap file.

Hard Drive Upgrade

One of the biggest tailbacks of a computer is the hard disk drive. Upgrading from a standard hard drive to a Solid State Drive (SSD) will drastically improve the performance of a computer.

Computer or Processor Is Overheating

  • Make sure your computer and processor are not overheating. Excessive heat can cause a decrease in computer performance because most operating systems automatically reduce the speed of the processor to help compensate for heat-related issues.
  • Dust, dirt, and hair can also constrict proper airflow inside your computer, which can cause a computer to overheat. Make sure your computer case is clean, and that the fans are not obstructed.

Increase or Upgrade Processor Speed

Increasing the speed of the processor, or CPU, can help improve your computer’s performance. There are two options for increasing processor speed: overclocking or upgrading:

  • Overclocking a processor means increasing its speed beyond what it’s designed to stably run. Furthermore, the processor itself must be capable of being overclocked.
  • A safer alternative to overclocking is upgrading the processor in your computer. You can then install the new processor in place of the existing processor.

Reinstall Windows and Start Over

If none of the above solutions resolve your issues, another option is to either reinstall Windows or erase everything and then start over. Erasing everything on your computer and reinstalling the operating system can increase performance by getting rid of old software or drivers.

Hardware Issues

If your computer is still slow after trying all of the above recommendations, there may have a more serious hardware related issue, such as a failing component in the computer. Examples of failing hardware could include the hard drive, CPU, RAM, motherboard or other components.

Old Computer

If your computer is more than five years old, it will have slower performance than a new one. As more advanced software programs are released, they are optimized to run more efficiently on newer computers. Older computers are not able to run these new programs as well, which can cause them to perform more slowly.