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Common Causes of a Slow Computer?

The most common causes of slow computers are often related to each other. For example, most slow computers are slow because the lack enough system resources to carry out its tasks.

Whether this lack of resources is because the computer doesn’t have enough RAM and CPU power to start with or because too many programs are running at once, the solution is to increase the amount of resources available. Let’s take a look at the most common causes of a slow computer as well as how to address each cause.

Computer Viruses and Spyware

Computer viruses and spyware are horrid little programs that damage your computer or steal personal information. Regardless of their intent, they are also resource eaters. Since you don’t know that your computer is infected, these malicious programs are allowed to run freely, gobbling your computer’s RAM and CPU power as they carry out their dastardly deeds. Plus, some forms of malware actually invite other malware to the party. Downloading Trojans open a door for other malicious programs to enter your computer. The more malware running, the worse your computer will run. Solution: Real-time protection against computer viruses and spyware. Look for a reputable antivirus/antispyware program that offers real-time protection and frequent live updates.

Too Many Programs Running

Just as having dozens of malicious programs running at once can cause a slow computer, so can having too many legitimate programs running at once. After all, each program needs resources in order to run. Solution: Get out of the multitasking habit and run just a few programs at once. In addition, change the startup options in msconfig.exe so that only necessary programs (like antivirus programs) are launched automatically when Windows boots. To run msconfig.exe, go to Start > Run and type: msconfig. Once loaded, click the Startup tab and make your choices. Use the Internet to research unfamiliar items because some startup items are required by the operating system.

Invalid Registry Entries

The Windows registry may contain invalid instructions that cause Windows to go on a wild goose chase as it tries to follow the directions. Not only does this lead to error messages (such as if Windows is sent looking for a file that no longer exists), it takes time and resources. A single invalid entry may be an annoyance, but multiple entries are downright crippling to the operating system. Solution: Use a reputable registry cleaning product once per week to keep the registry clean and free of invalid registry entries.

Overburdened Hard Disk

A nearly full hard disk will also cause system slowdowns because Windows relies on free disk space for temporary “virtual” memory. In addition, a fragmented hard disk causes Windows to work far harder than necessary to serve up files. This is because it must search for fragments and reassemble them. Solution: Run the Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmenter tools once a week to keep the hard drive from becoming overburdened with junk and fragmented with files.

Lack of Resources

As the examples above show, a lack of resources is behind most cases of slow computers. While installing more RAM, upgrading the motherboard, and installing a larger hard drive can certainly solve that, taking steps to address what’s gobbling up the available resources in the first place will allow you to squeeze more performance out of your current system.


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