How To Fix A Computer Running Slow

Is your computer running slow? I have good news; there are several easy fixes which work on most computers and one not-so-easy fix which works on almost all computers.

Computer Running Slow Cure #1: Delete Viruses

Many computers running slow have one or more computer viruses installed on them. It’s possible to get a virus even if you have anti-virus software, so don’t automatically skip this section.

Viruses most often come from programs you download on the Internet or files you receive in your email and then open. Although anti-virus programs are designed to scan these programs and files, they can’t detect novel new viruses, so they let them through.

But, after a few days, new viruses have spread to other computers and the people who make anti-virus software have updated their scanners. Now the anti-virus program can detect that virus on your computer.

If you have a computer running slow, open up your anti-virus program and run a full disk scan of your computer to detect any viruses which sneaked through your defenses.

Computer Running Slow Cure #2: Delete Old Programs

In the old days, unused programs just took up a little extra space on your hard drive. They didn’t affect the speed of your computer, so there was no point in deleting them unless you needed that extra disk space.

These days it seems every program needs to install a little helper applet—especially free programs which make their money begging you for a donation or by spying on you.

Individually, each of those little applets uses a small bit of your computer processing power (CPU) and another small bit of your computer memory (RAM). But, together, dozens of those small applets use as much processing power and memory as a large program, so now you have a computer running slow.

The solution is easy: uninstall programs you aren’t using. Go into Add And Remove Programs, click on a program you aren’t using, and click the Uninstall button. This should remove both the program and its applet. (Sometimes the applet won’t go away until you reboot the computer.)

In Windows Seven and Vista it is no longer called “Add and Remove programs”, it is called “Programs and features”.

remove programs

Most of these steps to fix a computer that is running slow are mentioned on this computer maintenance task list.

Computer Running Slow Cure #3: Fast Startup, Fast Computer

Sometimes you want to keep a program, but you don’t need its annoying or useless applet. In that case, you can get all the advantage of uninstalling the program without actually losing access to it.

To do this step, you’ll want a startup manager—this is a program which helps you choose which programs you want Windows to start when your computer boots.

Right now, Windows automatically starts all of those little applets plus some programs of its own. But if you install a free startup manager, you can get your computer running slow to speed up by telling Windows not to start specific applets which you don’t need.

Computer Running Slow Cure #4: Reinstall Windows

If all else fails to fix your computer running slow, you need to start from scratch. If your computer works, you probably don’t have any hardware problems. Instead you have a software problem, so you need to get rid of all your software and reinstall it piece by piece—starting with Windows.

First, before you do anything else, make a complete backup. To be extra safe, consider making two complete backups and then installing one of them on another computer to make sure it works.

After you backup, use the Windows disk which came with your computer or the special menu which appears when you boot your computer to start formatting your hard drive to reinstall Windows. Although reinstalling Windows is a huge pain, it should fix your computer running slow.