Little is more frustrating than having a slow computer at home or at work. Slow boot up, long file searches, and slowly loading programs are all things that can impact productivity and enjoyment when using your computer. Fortunately, often a computer can be returned to its original, quick operation without replacement. Computers are a machine like any other, and so performance issues often result from identifiable causes. By looking at the cause of poor performance, it’s possible to extend the operating life of your PC and improve your computing experience.
One of the main causes of computer slow-downs is the presence of unwanted spyware, viruses, or malicious programs. These often come bundled with other software, and so are installed without your awareness. Spyware constantly monitors your computer activity in order to sell information about what you do and where you do it with advertisers or other interested parties. Viruses and other malicious software (“malware”) can take over your email client or steal personal information. Often, these programs run in the background and use your computer’s resources, so removing them not only solves computer problems caused by the programs, but can also speed up your computer.
Similarly, daily operation can cause the buildup of junk data on your hard drive, temporary files that are not always cleared by the programs that created them. When enough of these accumulate, it can slow down your computer’s indexing and searches. Internet browsers also save files in a temporary cache to decrease long load times on graphic-intensive websites, but often these files will remain long after you’ve finished reading. Clearing out these temporary files can show significant decreases in load times.
As new updates for software or even operating systems come out, often the requirements can exceed hardware demands. When simple solutions fail to improve load times and computer performance, sometimes it is necessary to upgrade the computer without replacing it, by installing or replacing outdated components.
Many times, slow computing results from poor networking. Increasingly, businesses and even homes run networks that share the computing load between multiple machines, or store information on a computer other than the one you’re using. In these cases, having a properly set up network can dramatically improve performance. Upgrading usually overlooked devices like a wireless network router can often improve the download speeds of computers, tablets, and phones.
Finally, sometimes it can be difficult to assess for yourself the cause of a slow computer. In this case, it may still be more cost effective to hire a professional to diagnose the issues and propose solutions before simply replacing the machine. With expert help, it’s possible to improve your computer’s performance without an expensive replacement.