A slow-running computer can be hugely frustrating when you’re trying to get important work done. Let’s review some reasons why this might be, and what you can do about it.

1. Antivirus

While its critical to have a good quality antivirus program on your computer, this may sometimes be the cause of slow performance. When slow computerit works correctly, this software intelligently guards against potential viruses, while allowing programs you trust to operate unhindered by repeated security checks. However, it can also be a bottleneck if it is preventing a safe program from working effectively. In addition, if more than 1 antivirus program is installed, this can play mayhem, as both agents check the same programs repeatedly, which can really slow things down.

HOW TO FIX: If antivirus repeatedly warns about a program you believe to be safe, select the option to ‘add to safe/trusted list’. Also, ensure only 1 good antivirus program is installed.


2. Too Many Browser Windows

It’s very easy to open multiple browser windows or tabs, which can make it easier to get work done. However, bear in mind that some websites use a lot of processor speed/memory. This can then throttle computer performance; causing everything on your computer to slow down.

HOW TO FIX: Minimise the number of browser windows/tabs you have open at any time to consume the least amount of computing resources.


3. Too Many Applications Running Simultaneously

Like having too many browser windows open, having too many programs running can significantly hamper your computer’s performance.

HOW TO FIX: Try to limit the number of applications you have open at any one time, and fully close all programs as you no longer need them.


4. Not Enough RAM

Most computers come with 4Gb of RAM as standard. This is sufficient up to a certain point. However, if you are using software which requires more RAM to run effectively, you may find that your computer is slower. This is becoming more commonplace, as new updates to software tend to use more and more RAM.

HOW TO FIX: Install additional RAM. This is relatively inexpensive and is a fairly quick operation. It can be easy to get wrong however, so best to leave this to an expert IT person.


5. Programs Hogging Processing Power

Some programs which do not appear to be open (i.e. running in the background) may actually be using a Task Managerlot of computing resources, which drains your processor’s power for other programs.

HOW TO FIX: Open Task Manager on your Windows computer by pressing the Ctrl, Alt, and Delete keys simultaneously. Select Task Manager from this list, and look in the Background Processes section. You can sort the list by Memory or CPU, to identify the culprits consuming the most resources, then click ‘End Task’.


6. Hard Drive Nearly Full

Regular readers of this blog are probably aware of our aversion to storing data on your computer’s hard drive. Hard drives can fail at any time, so storing files ONLY here is asking for trouble, which is why we recommend a cloud storage service like Google Drive or similar as your primary storage. Therefore, your hard drive should remain mostly empty. As it approaches capacity, this can cause performance problems, so the visual graphic of your hard drive should always be blue as shown here. (As it approaches capacity, the bar turns from blue to red).

HOW TO FIX: Try not to store any files on your computer by using a remote storage service to keep your hard drive as empty as possible (which will also save you from heartache if your computer becomes damaged or stolen).


7. Processor Too Slow

The speed of the processor at the heart of your computer’s hardware is a major factor on overall speed. The processor on a computer at least 5 years old are well behind today’s new machines.

HOW TO FIX: If your computer/laptop is over 5 years old, the best recommendation is to replace your machine, as replacing the processor would still result in a older machine with an increasingly likelihood of other performance issues.


8. Virus or Malware Infection

Even if you have a good antivirus program installed, it is still possible to get a virus or malware on your computer. Think of it this way: Even a good security guard may be tricked by someone who requests access to a building with fake credentials. By the same token, we are all capable of being fooled by an email which requests we click on a specific link which ends up being harmful. Some of this harm is done without the user being aware, and a virus may slow down your computer without any other outward signs that it is there.

HOW TO FIX: Run a scan of your computer using antivirus or malware detection software to rule this possibility out.


In addition to the above, there may be other reasons why a computer is slow, which may not be related to the computer itself, such as network or broadband connectivity issues. If IT performance is an issue for your organisation, call us today for a free IT audit at 091 395413.