Why is my Computer So Slow? Part 2

by CyberBITS for Advice
Why is my Computer So Slow? Part 2

Part 1 of this two part blog focussed on the Hardware of a computer and how to pick the right machine to do the job that you need it to do.

Part 2 looks at the software (programs) running on your computer.

Software – Over time your computer will likely become slower than it was when it was box fresh.  Software you install over time clogs up the system as it creates temporary files all over the place, has to load things into memory etc. etc.  Removing unwanted software is the first place to look when trying to sort out a slow machine.

In Windows 10 Apps and Features is you friend here.  On a Mac you can see the list of Applications in Finder.

Take a look through the lists of applications on your machine to see if you can spot anything you no longer use.  You may also see things that you don’t recognise.  I recommend you Google the software name if you don’t recognise it just to make sure it’s not something required.  To delete an App on a Mac just Send it to Trash.  In Windows 10 Uninstall it from Apps and Features.

Resource Hungry Apps – Let’s take a look at what applications are using the most resources on your computer right now.  It’s best to do this when you see the spinning wheel in Windows 10.

On a Mac you have Activity Monitor which is a great utility.  For Windows 10 there is Task Manager.  Below we can see 2 screenshots.  The first is Activity Monitor on the Mac.  This shows the current CPU.  The different tabs across the top allow you to see details of Memory, Energy, Disk and Network.  You will notice on mine that VirtualBox is at the top, this tells me it’s consuming the most CPU.  In this case this is what I expect, but if you see an Application at the top that you don’t recognise it could be a sign of a faulting application or something more sinister.  The same goes in Windows 10’s Task Manager,  After clicking More Details you will see much more information similar to that found in Activity Monitor on the Mac.  If you don’t recognise the program at the top that consuming 99% of your CPU Google the name to see if it is something nasty.  If it is, in Activity Monitor select the application and click the Stop Cross in the top left corner.  In Task Manager Highlight the App and select End Task bottom right.  Do some research into the program, if it is something nasty, check out MalwareBytes.  They offer a free scan to remove any malware running on your machine.

Disk Space – This section is predominantly for Windows users.  MacOS has built-in maintenance tasks to keep your drive clean.  Windows 10 has a utility called Disk Clean-up which I recommend you run every now and then.  Disk Clean-up has been around for a very long time and continues to be included in all of the new versions of Windows 10.  It’s a great way of spring cleaning your boot disk.  From the Start Menu just type “cleanmgr” in the Search Bar and press enter.  It goes through a quick calculation to find out how much space you could free up, then presents you with a list of items it has found.  Tick the boxes on the left next to the large numbers on the right.  All of this stuff you will most likely never need to use again.  Over time Temporary Internet files build up if you use Internet Explorer or Edge.  Other browsers don’t appear here.  There’s all sorts of rubbish here just waiting to be cleared out.  The Description is useful in determining whether you should clear this stuff out.  If you’re running low on space though, especially if you bought a 128Gb SSD then just do it.

Clicking “Clean up system files” shows you this screen where you can clear out things like Windows Update cache.  This is quite useful as lots of updates get downloaded over time, this will help clear them out and release some space.

All of the information above should help to speed up your computer.  If you’re still struggling there’s a great resource for Windows Users from the guys at HowToGeek that show you 10 ways to speed up a slow Windows Computer.  For Mac users check out 15 Steps to Improve Macbook Performance at MacPaw.

Of course, you could always contact CyberBITS.  Over on our Facebook page we offer a Free 30 Minute Consultation in which we could cover all of this for you.  We also offer Managed Services, for a low monthly fee we will take care of all of this for you, so your computer keeps running smoothly for years to come.

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