Quick Tips For A Slow Computer
Paul Watson, PC Technician Friday, February 3rd 2012
Is The Problem Temporary?
The first step in finding a fix for your slow computer is to figure out whether your problem is temporary or chronic. Temporary problems that can slow down computers include processes that have gone wild or gotten stuck, transient instabilities in the operating system, memory allocation problems, and overload.
All of these problems are the “quick-fix” types, which can be cured with a reboot. Sometimes, rebooting isn’t even necessary to kick your computer back into high gear. This is true when processes get stuck or when you’re simply asking your computer to do more than it can handle.
There are a few ways to find and root out process problems. The Task Manager, which you can access using Ctrl+Alt+Del, will help you view processes that are currently running, those that are stuck and those that are consuming a significant amount of memory.
What’s “significant?” Sustained memory or processor consumption in the range of 80%-90% is definitely a suspicious sign of trouble. Processes can briefly consume a lot of CPU cycles or available memory, especially if they’re doing something heavy-duty, but if the processor or memory usage remains high, try shutting down the offending application. If the application won’t cooperate, that’s a good indication that something’s gone wrong. You can use the End Task function in the Task Manager to shut the errant process off. If your computer operation returns to normal, you’re probably going to notice an improvement in your computer performance.
While you’re looking at your processes, take a look at what’s running. If you notice that you have a lot of applications running that you’re not using, close them and see if that helps your computer performance. Each application takes up a certain amount of RAM. If you open too many applications, or your applications take up too much memory, your computer can slow down noticeably as it tries to accommodate all of your applications.
If you have applications running that you didn’t specifically start, chances are good that you have your computer configured to start your applications automatically. This also can chew up a lot of your RAM.
Next week, I’ll have more suggestions on what you can do to speed up a slow computer.
Photo Credit: denharsh, via Flickr