Try These Slow Computer Fixes
Paul Watson, PC Technician Friday, April 15th 2011
Start With The Basics And Move On From There
One good tip that few people think about when they’re trying to deal with a slow computer is rebooting. Rebooting the computer is one of the easiest things to do, and it will help you determine whether you have a real problem or are just being affected by a transient performance issue. Rebooting the computer will reset your computer’s RAM and video memory, and will clear out some temporary files, kill all processes and give you a fresh start.
Before you reach for the power button, remember to restart the computer normally. Just hitting the power button or unplugging the computer can cause damage to the file system. Windows computers have gotten better at recognizing and fixing file system damage, so being careless about how you shut down and restart can actually increase the amount of time you’ll have to wait to get back to work.
This approach is particularly important if you don’t usually turn off your computer. If you’ve restarted your computer, and it’s still slow, then you’re probably looking at a more significant problem. The next question is where to look for trouble.
If you’re working with a fresh reboot, check the Task Manager to see what’s running immediately after you’ve rebooted your computer. To access the Task Manager, press Ctrl+Alt+Del. Once the Task Manager is open, you can look at the processes that are running. Note any applications that are running. They’re files that end with .exe. Don’t get too excited about .exe files you don’t recognize; some of them are parts of the operating system that are required.
Look for applications whose names you recognize. If these applications are running and you didn’t start them, it means that you’ve configured these applications to start automatically. Don’t worry if you don’t remember doing this. A lot of installation routines are set up to configure the application to start automatically. You can go into your startup configuration and deselect the applications you don’t need to auto-start. That will save you a certain amount of memory and improve your computer’s overall performance.
Remove any toolbars that may have been loaded onto your computer or into your browsers. Toolbars are notorious avenues for spyware, malware and slow computer performance. If your computer is slow, try removing the toolbars you’ve installed.
You may also want to look for plug-ins and other little applets in your browser or on your computer that generate pop-up ads. If your browser blocks pop-up windows, you can activate this option, but it doesn’t stop the adware from taking up computer resources. Get rid of the adware. You’ll improve your computer performance and give yourself a better operating environment.
Photo Credit: Doc Groove, via Flickr