Is your computer running slow?
Before you attempt any diagnosis, save all running programs.
Some simple things to check:
Your system needs free disk space to allow for housekeeping. It uses the disk as a memory overspill and if it has to hunt around it is going to slow you down.
As a hard disk fills up, files are deleted and new software added, the disk becomes fragmented and the data on the drive is scattered rather than being organized into discrete areas. This causes the PC to slow down because it has to gather the data. Defragmenting might be the answer. This is just like sorting out paper in your office.
Empty your Recycle Bin. (Right click on the Recycle Bin icon on your Desktop and select Empty before doing any defragmenting.)
Low virtual memory: When a PC gets low on memory, pages of memory not
currently being used are moved from physical RAM to a swap file on disk
called virtual memory. The page is moved back to the RAM when it
This might happen if your computer is connected to broadband and some malicious virus is using your machine to propagate itself while covering its tracks.
Install and run a virus checker. Follow any installation instructions carefully as some viruses can hide behind a newly installed checker.
If you are feeling confident with the technology you could investigate these:
It's possible that your computer may have programs running in the background. This limits the memory available and the processor might be doing unnecessary work. Programs will often set the Load on start-up feature automatically when installing so deselect this option during the installation to take control.
Check the icons in your computer's ‘system tray’ (normally bottom right hand corner of the screen on a PC) to see background programs. You will find that your printer, audio software and numerous other bits are sitting waiting to spring into action. This is fine if you have a powerful machine but annoying on an old machine or a laptop. If you can reduce a few programs running in the background.
If you don't want background programs to start next time you boot:
You will find that there is a built-in part of this suite called FindFast
running all the time in the background. You will see an icon in the Control
Panel for FindFast if your system is running it. This is a
resource-hungry but can disabled by following the instructions in this Microsoft
If you have had your computer for more than about 4 years it could have old or conflicting device drivers.
To diagnose this problem, boot the computer in Safe Mode by pressing and holding the F8 key during start-up (Sometime you have to select Safe Mode). When the boot is complete select Start/Settings/Control Panel/System/Devices.
There are some dll files that are shared between programs. Over time
these change and old software might not work with the modern version of the
file, so take care with mixing software of different ‘generations’.
If you are getting crashes and software conflicts, think about a re-build of you computer hard disk. Consult an expert before attempting this. You might have to abandon some old software to prevent the problem recurring.
It has been known for hot processors to cut their operating speed. If you think this might be a problem, give your machine a spring clean inside. An overheating process will age and fail faster than one that is operating inside its operating parameters.