A common problem our users face is a slowdown in computer performance. Perhaps you’ve noticed it takes longer for your PC or laptop to start up, or maybe it grinds to a halt when loading demanding programs. Before you decide to wipe your hard drive or even plump for a new machine altogether, take a look at some of the causes of a slowdown in performance and you may be able to speed things back up with just a few simple changes.

Low Hard Drive Space

When your hard drive is almost full your machine slows down. This is because there is limited space to store virtual memory. To improve this, you will need to create space on your hard drive by deleting files or programs, or buy an extra hard drive for added room. If you think that a full hard drive may be causing your machine to slow down, you can check how much room you have left by going to your “Computer” icon, right clicking on your hard drive and selecting “Properties”.

Autostart Programs

Some programs will start automatically when you boot up your machine. Quite often, you won’t actually need all of these programs to operate as soon as you turn on your computer, but they will run in the background regardless. Find your “System Configuration” icon, click it, then click the “Startup” tab. A list of programs will be displayed where you can check or uncheck the programs you need on startup.

Data Fragmentation

Your hard drive accesses data quickly when it is bunched into groups or clusters. As you add and delete data on your hard drive, the existing data fragments, meaning it takes longer for your hard drive to access it. To fix this, you can use the built in defragmentation tool on your Windows operating system. Go to “Computer”, right click your hard drive, select “Properties”, then go to the “Tools” tab. Here you can choose the “Defrag Now” option to start the process. Depending on how much data you have and how fragmented it is, this can take a long time – potentially hours! Make sure you start defragging  when you are not using your machine to work.

Viruses and Malware

Viruses and malicious programs installed on your computer could be slowing you down. To check whether you have viruses, you will need to run a scan using an up-to-date antivirus program. If you don’t have one, we highly recommend installing one as soon as possible. Not only can you scan for viruses using the software, but you will also be protected from future attacks. We list our favourite free pieces of antivirus software here.

Outdated software

Software that hasn’t been updated or old drivers could be causing performance issues. You should update your operating system as soon as new patches and updates are released. To check you’re running the most recent version of Windows, click the Windows (or “Start”) button, and type “Windows Update” into the text box. You can then select “Check for Updates” or “Install Updates” if there are some available. Not only will this help your machine to run as fast as possible, but updates also protect you from the latest viruses and security vulnerabilities.

While these fixes will give your machine the best chance of performing efficiently, it may be that you are ready for a hardware upgrade. If you would like to talk to us about upgrading your business’s hardware or are having performance issues, please get in touch.

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