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Non-Enviro Post: Top Tips for Fixing a Slow Computer

One of the most common issues computer users experience is that the system is running "slowly". That is, less responsive, it seems, than ordinarily would be the case. Clearly, at some point, all systems need to be replaced; our demand for computing resources only increases over time (think multimedia, engaging websites, higher quality video, and so on). Yet, there are a number of measures just about anyone can take to identify the cause and then address performance issues.

Below, we include some of our top tips for addressing such problems. We cannot present the how-to on each of these here, but needless to say your favorite search engine (such as Google. We recommend Ecosia so you can plant trees at the same time!) will generally be your friend in this regard. Only: do not make any changes unless you know the repercussions. Please seek advice otherwise. With great power comes great responsibility ...

Consider if you installed any new software recently. Is this adequate for your computer hardware? Check the system requirements.

  • Is the "slowness" specifically related to accessing the Internet? If so, check your access speed with a known-good device.

  • When did problems start occurring? What, if any, changes did you notice - actions taken or any unusual behavior (such as pop-up messages).

  • Is your Anti-Virus or security software running and up-to-date; it's critically important to exclude malicious software as a cause.

  • Is Windows installing updates? Did updates recently fail? This may need to be resolved before typical conditions return.

  • How many programs are loading on system startup? Are all of these necessary -- that is, do they need to be immediately available?

  • Though less important nowadays, when was the last time your hard disk drive was defragmented? Use down-time to complete the process.

  • Have any error messages appeared? We may find that malfunctioning or "dying" hardware is the cause.

  • If you are connected to a wireless network, compare speed using a cable connection.

  • Is there anyone else using your Internet connection, known or unknown. Who knows your password? Is it a good one. When was it last changed?

And, finally, could it be that only your perception has changed? Perhaps the demands on your time are too great... leading to stress.

You deserve some screen-free time: perhaps step outside and enjoy the sunshine!


In a world where our privacy is continually called into question, check out this great title: "Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World", By Schneier B.


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