Sometimes it happens in a gradual and “natural” way, so much so that you hardly realize what is happening. Other times, however, it happens so suddenly that it is impossible not to notice. The fact is that, after some time from when you bought it or from the last formatting, the computer starts to slow down and hang. If at first the system took a few seconds to turn on, after a few months of use the few seconds become a few dozen, approaching a minute after a year of use.
There are several causes that can affect computer performance. In most cases, however, a slow computer is the result of poor software optimization: the programs installed on the hard drive and the operating system contribute to burdening the hardware peripherals that, for one reason or another, are unable to dispose of the accumulated work.
Fortunately, the tricks to make PC faster are basic and can be easily applied by anyone, even by users without any computer knowledge.
Fragmented hard disk
One of the most common causes of slow Windows computer is an excessively fragmented hard drive. In this case, the file system is directly responsible for managing the allocation of files within the various memory cells that make up the electromechanical hard disks. To save immediate time, large files and programs are not saved in consecutive spaces, but occupy memory cells that are separate and even far from each other. In this way, when you have to search for a file or software, the operating system will take longer to find all the pieces of the “computer puzzle” and will slow down computer performance.
Doing disk defragmentation is a simple operation that takes, at best, a few minutes. From My Computer right click on C: (the hard disk or main partition of your computer system) and from the context menu select Properties. Then, click on the Tools tab and finally start the defragmentation.
If you are short of working memory (RAM, so to speak), your computer system will react by using the so-called virtual memory (a portion of the hard disk that houses the processes and files intended to be executed by the CPU in a few moments).
This trick saves money (hard disk storage is cheaper than RAM memory space), but has a heavy impact on computer performance: the read and write speed on hard drives (even SSDs) is a lot higher than that of RAM. The files stored in virtual memory, therefore, will require a longer period of time to be processed by the CPU, thus making the computer slow. The solution, in this case, is obvious: add RAM memory to the PC.
Programs at startup
The slow computer startup is not due to the operating system that is too heavy, but to the programs that the various Windows and macOS are forced to load in the moments immediately following the turning on of the PC. In this case, to speed up PC start-up you will have to disable the automatic start of the programs: the procedure changes depending on the operating system installed on the hard disk, but the basic concepts remain the same.
To disable programs at Windows startup, click in the search field of the start menu and write “msconfig” and press “Enter”: The System Configuration software will start and will allow you to manage some of the basic options of your computer. By clicking on the “Start” tab you will be able to consult the list of programs that start at startup. From here you can choose which ones to keep (the antivirus, for example) and which ones, on the other hand, to delete (unused cloud storage services). Those using Windows 10, on the other hand, will have to start Task Manager (right click on the Start button and, from the contextual menu, choose the relative item) and click on the “Start” tab: from here the procedure is the same as described above.
If you are using an iMac or a MacBook and wondering how to disable programs on Mac startup, you don’t have to worry. Also, in this case the procedure is simple and within the reach of any user. Enter the System Preferences, select the Users & Groups item and access the section dedicated to programs. Here you can see the list of Mac AutoStart programs and disable them.
Too many software programs
When uninstalling software and programs from a Windows computer, cleaning will never be complete. In fact, Microsoft’s operating system usually retains some system and configuration files that may come in handy later (or that, perhaps, are used by other applications). It goes without saying that the installation of dozens of software will negatively affect computer performance in the long run. The more “isolated” files there are on the hard drive, the worse the disk fragmentation situation will be.
In addition to starting the disk defragmentation, in these cases it is necessary to use ad hoc software capable of carrying out thorough cleaning of the computer system. CCleaner is among the best known and used, but it is not the only one to optimize Windows and speed up the PC.
Another way to speed up your PC is to bypass your slow operating system and replace it with a fast and efficient Linux system. For this you need Xtra PC – a tiny but effective USB drive. To know more about the functionalities of this useful flash drive, read Xtra-PC reviews here.
Viruses and Malware
Sometimes a slow computer is a computer infected with viruses, spybots, trojan horses, and malware of all kinds. In this case it is necessary, first of all, to understand if the computer has viruses and eventually to counterattack. Therefore, it is essential to have an antivirus installed to defend your computer system: it will not only identify and delete any infected files, but it will help prevent intrusions from the Net and recognize spam and phishing emails.
Proper ventilation inside your computer is essential to keep computer performance at optimal levels. If the hardware components were to overheat, in fact, they would activate the “self-defense” systems necessary to keep their functionality intact. The operating frequency of the CPU would be considerably reduced in order to avoid fusing the internal components. If your computer performance drops suddenly in the summer, then you should take a look at the fans and make sure there is no dust obstructing the normal flow of air – your PC will thank you.
Last but not least, there is the time factor to consider. Over the years, operating systems (and software in general) have seen their operational capabilities and the functions offered to users grow exponentially. If you are hoping to run Windows 10 (or macOS Sierra) on a 5 or 6-year-old computer, you will have to deal with very long loading times (regardless of which programs start automatically when you turn on) and software runs longer than normal.
Over time, computer performance drops dramatically. Mentioned above are the causes and possible solutions.