Many Things Can Slow Down Computer
Paul Watson, PC Technician Friday, August 5th 2011
Networking Can Slow Things Down
One of the real valuable parts of modern computing is network access. You can do a lot with a standalone computer, but you can do a lot more with a computer that’s attached to the network. Most people don’t realize that some of the basic protocols on which a modern network operates were designed before NASA went to the Moon for the first time, but it’s true.
Network protocols were designed to take unreliable network connections into account, so there’s a lot of chatter that happens between computers before any real work gets done. This chatter, which is absolutely necessary, does tend to slow down network operations, and can make your computer seem slower.
Small office/home office (SOHO) functions are also a welcome addition to some computing environments. These functions allow computers on small networks to share networked devices like printers and Internet connections, but it places one computer in the role of server. Back in the day, servers didn’t look much different than regular computers, and you could do on a server what you could do on a regular computer.
Today’s production servers are rack-mounted devices that don’t look anything like a computer you’d put on your desktop. I say this because SOHO functions can make a regular desktop (or laptop) computer behave like a server – except in some very critical ways! True servers have improved input-output (I/O) capabilities, a lot of working memory, faster processors and use a more robust operating system that can manage multiple connections. Desktop computers that are used as a server for other computers on the same network don’t have any of these advantages, so naturally their performance suffers – sometimes greatly.
If you are considering using a desktop computer as a server on your home network, be sure that it doesn’t bring along any existing performance problems before you put it into service. In other words, make sure your computer has sufficient memory, sufficient hard disk space and a clean registry before you put it into services as a “server.” Sometimes otherwise unused computers can perform admirably as servers, depending upon the task(s) you give them, but make sure they’re not also coping with undiagnosed performance killers.
Photo Credit: Docklandsboy, via Flickr