Computer a Little Slow?
Computers tend to slow down over time. A lethargic computer can indicate other problems within the machine.
What can you do? First check the simple things. Reboot the computer. If the machine hasn’t been restarted recently that can slow things down. Remember that many modern devices do not actually turn off they just go to sleep. They wake up but that is not the same as a shutdown and restart.
Other things to check before you just junk the machine:
One of the most common problems is programs running in the background. Remove or disable any TSR’s and startup programs that start each time the computer boots up. You can use “Task Manager” to see what is running on your machine. If you are Windows 7 or higher you can use “resmon” from the command prompt instead.
If you have an antivirus or other security programs make sure that it isn’t currently scanning. Scans and backup can slow the computer down. If that is the case just wait for the scan to complete and the computers performance should return. While you waiting check and make sure the computer is not overheating. Is there any blockage of the air vents on the machine?
As a computer runs programs temporary files are stored on the hard drive. After a while they can become quite numerous and actually slow down the computer. Click the start button and type Disk Cleanup in the search box. Click on the icon and select the drive you want to scan. After it checks the drive you can select the files you want to delete, probably all of them.
If the system is really loaded up with temp files and other junk you may have to run Disk Cleanup several times. Sometimes this does not get all the files in the temp folder. You can manually remove them by clicking the start button and typing %temp% and Enter. This will bring up the temp folder. You can delete all the files in this folder. I any of the files are in use it won’t let you delete them. You can just leave them in place.
Hard Drive Free Space!
It is best to have at least 200MB of free space on your hard drive. If you have less than 200MB (or even anything under 500 MB) you should move some files off that drive to free up space. To see how much free space is available on your hard drive open My Computer, (Windows Explorer), right click on the drive in question and click Properties. You should see both text description and a pie chart showing available drive space.
What other steps can you take?
Corrupted, Fragmented or just plain Bad Hard Drives!
There are several ways to check your hard drive on of the easiest is Scandisk. To run Scandisk follow these steps;
- Double-click My Computer
- Highlight a local hard drive by clicking on it once
- Right-click the highlighted local drive
- Click Properties
- Click the Tools tab and click check now to check the drive for errors.
- The computer needs to restart to run Scandisk without getting interrupted.
It is usually best to have Scandisk automatically find and fix any errors found. The next step is defragmenting the drive. To “defrag” a drive follow the same steps as for Scandisk but in step 5 click Defragment now.
Make sure you have the latest updates for your computer.
Scan for malware!
You should be doing this anyway but just to be sure run a full virus scan. In many cases it is necessary to scan in Safe Mode.
Unless something in the system has changed this shouldn’t be a problem. Just to be sure verify that Device Manager has no conflicts. In Control Panel double click the Device Manager icon and make sure there are no red x’s or yellow exclamation marks.
Erase the computer and restore to original condition. This is usually an act of severe desperation but is all else fails re-install windows, run the updates, reload your programs and start over.
Before you go upgrading memory, hard drives and other system components consider just getting a new machine. By the time you are to that point a new machine is usually your best option.
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