COMPUTER RUNNING SLOW -- SOME SUGGESTIONS
I often get people asking me about their computer running slow. There are things that can cause this. This is for PC users.
BOOTING It takes a computer between 2 minutes (minimum) to 5 minutes to completely load all the drivers, and background programs. WAIT AT LEAST 5 MINUTES BEFORE DOING ANYTHING ON THE COMPUTER.
PROGRAMS IN MEMORY There are many programs that load into memory all the time. Most of these programs are needed and you cant see them. There are some that are unnecessary to be on all the time. Look in the lower left corner and identify each icon by putting the cursor on it. Things like Quicktime and Messenger programs will start when you need them -- they dont need to take room waiting for when/if you want them. YOU CAN USUALLY RIGHT CLICK AND STOP THEM. TO STOP THEM FROM LOADING EVERYTIME YOU NEED TO RUN MSCONFIG AND UNCHECK THE STARTUP FILE.
PROGRAMS THAT RUN THEMSELVES SLOWING THE COMPUTER AND YOUR INTERNET CONNECTION. There are programs that run at their scheduled times (you cant change some) and decide to go to the internet and see if they need any updates. During the checking and possibly download and updating you computer can run slow or almost not at all. TO SEE WHAT IS HAPPENING ON YOUR COMPUTER, DO A CCONTROL-ALT-DELETE KEYS ARE THE SAME TIME, THIS WILL BRING UP WINDOWS TASKMASTER. A BOX IN THE LOWER LEFT CORNER WILL SOME USAGE, ALL GREEN MEANS COMPUTER IT RUNNING A LOT, EMPTY BOX COMPUTER IS AVAILABLE FOR YOUR USE. ALSO THE POPUP, GO TO PROCESSES AND CLICK THE % COLUME TO GO FROM MAX TO MIN. IF THE SYSTEM SHOWS 95% YOU CAN USE IT, IF SOMETHING ELSE IS ON TOP, YOU HAVE TO WAIT.
WINDOWS UPDATE Look in the lower left corner for a yellow shield. Put your cursor over it. It may show downloading with a %, or windows needs to be updated. If downloading, your computer will run slow. If it needs updating, it will update when you shut it down, or click and do it while you are working. If you wait until shutdown, the program reminding you is still running using resources. Microsoft updating doesnt monopolize all your power. Windows usually updates every Tues evening or Wednesday.
ANTIVIRUS UPDATES These are the most frustrating. They usually update daily and these usually take all your computer power so you really cant do anything while they are updating. For McAffe, there will appear a box in the lower left corner. It will look like an arrow chasing around a circle. JUST WAIT UNTIL IT DOWNLOADS AND INSTALLS. Most of the time they update during booting adding a few minutes of wait time, othertimes, right in the middle of you doing something they take over the computer.
OTHER PROGRAMS. Unfortunately some programs will check for updates. Some will update, others will ask about updating, some will download and wait for you to install. HP PRINTER PROGRAMS, ADOBE READER, ADOBE FLASH used for animation), JAVA used for animation, OFFICE, PHOTOSHOP, SPYWARE, DEFENDER, and others besides the regular antivirus and windows updating. The checking and updating will cause temporary slowdown of the computer and you dont know when they are checking or updating most of the time!
SCAN IN PROGRESS Your antivirus program may decide for itself that you are overdue for a scan and it will start a scan. For McAfee, in the lower left corner a box with circles pulsating will appear, putting the cursor over it will identify a scan. This will slow your computer extremely. Right click the icon and cancel the scan. You might have to do this a few times to cancel the scan.
WEBSITE Every website is designed differently. Some load a lot of graphics and ads and some read cookies and some access data like email. These take time to load. If one site loads slow and another is fast, there is nothing you can do, it is the sites fault.
THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP
UPDATE SIGNAL Sometimes your cable company updates the signal. If you unplug the power from your router (if you have one) and modem, wait 30 seconds then plug the modem in first, after the lights come on, plug in the router and in about a minute you should be ready to go.
MODEM LIGHTS When you computer is working fine, notice what light are lit on the modem. If you cant get to the internet, see if the same lights are on, if not, your cable company is having problems.
TRY AGAIN If you are on the internet and it is running slow, close the internet and try again. Like long distance telephone calls, your connection goes through many routes to get to what you want, trying again will reroute the signal.
COOKIES These are not all bad but slow your internet a little . A cookie can tell what version of CNN (national or local) you want, or other personal information you have entered. If you are searching for shoes and a different website starts advertising for shoes, it read your cookies that you are interested in shoes, or came from a shoe site. Some claim that airline prices increase if they read that you are shopping around to different airlines. Sometimes that is why you go back the the price is different! Other time they change them themselves minute by minute. While the cookies only slow the access to the site very little, if you have many cookies, it will take a little time while your computer searches to see if you have a cookie for a particular site. CCleaner will clean your cookies.
TEMPORARY INTERNET FILES. When you were paying per minute for internet connections, Windows was designed to save parts of sites so that when you returned to the site you didnt have to download all the graphics every time. It saved these graphics on your computer. Nice but if you only went to the site once, you dont need these graphics saved. Also if you have many temporary files, each time you go to a website, your computer first searches all the files to see if they are needed. With high speed connections, you dont need this service. Ccleaner will remove your temporary files, speeding your computer a little.
CCLEANER This is a FREE program you should run once a month. The main section of the program cleans (better than you can do) temporary internet files. First analyze then run cleaner. The other part of the program is a registry repair. Dont run this unless you are having big problems, messing with the registry can destroy your computer.
RUN A SCAN WITH YOUR ANTIVIRUS AND SPYWARE PROGRAM. You need both antivirus and spyware protection. For spyware there are several programs, I use Microsoft Defender (Free) but do not have it running all the time. I manually do it about every other month. During a scan your computer is busy so you might not be able to use the computer. A full scan for my computer takes 12 hours so I dont do it often if your antivirus is working properly, you should get a virus in the first place.
MSCONFIG From start, then run then msconfig, you will bring up a popup. The start up section shows what is loading during bootup. Looking at the location column you might be able to interput the function of the program. You can uncheck a program to stop it from loading, BUT BECAREFUL, MANY PROGRAMS ARE NECESSARY TO LOAD TO RUN MONITOR, MOUSE, ETC. Only make changes if you know what you are doing. See the page on how to use MSCONFIG from the computer help page.
ACCESS TO PROGRAMS OR DATA Some programs are large and take time to load. If it is slow to load data your files might be fragmented. When you save a file, it breaks the file into pieces and stores them all over your hard drive where ever there is room. When you ask for the file, the computer knows where the pieces are and puts them together. MOST PEOPLE DONT HAVE THE PROBLEM OF FRAGMENTATION. IT IS WHEN YOU CREATE, SAVE AND DELETE VERY LARGE FILES VERY OFTEN. The you might consider degragging. Most teenagers impress adults with the degrag language and run a defrag which can take hours. Usually it doesnt help. This is my own opinion and some may disagree with this. Engineering companies defrag often because of the very large file they save and delete. Home users rarely have this large files.
HOW MANY PROGRAMS ARE RUNNING While you can open several programs at a time, each take resources and memory.
TURN OFF YOU COMPUTER VIA SHUTDOWN. Again there are differences of opinions. I recommend if you are not using your computer for 4+ hours, turn it off. My reasoning are shutting down empties temporary memory usage, prevents heat buildup which can slow the internals, your fan is continuously bring in air and dust, the dust builds up on the parts causing increase heat, prevents damage by electrical interruptions, etc.
REGISTRY This is a file that runs everything all th time! As your computer ages, the file gets larger and sometimes confused. Over time all computer will start to slow a little. DONT PLAY WITH REGISTRY CLEANERS unless you are advanced.