Monday, June 6, 2011

Reasons Why a Computer Is Running Slow

If your computer seemed to run a lot faster when you first bought it, don't worry, you're probably right. A computer that runs slow is not only frustrating, but it can lead to decreased productivity, creativity and ultimately time spent using it all together. If you depend on a smooth-running computer for work or communication purposes, it's important to be able to recognize common symptoms of a slow computer.

Program Overload
Having too many applications or programs running at the same time can easily disrupt performance and cause slow response times for everything you try to do. It's too easy to open several things at once, especially if you're used to running a variety of programs for work. This can include common office applications as well as too many browser windows while you're on the Internet. Pay attention to how many programs you currently have open (to see a full list, press "Ctrl-Alt-Del" to bring up your task manager, and then click on the "Applications" tab), and close the ones that you aren't currently using.

Spyware is a major problem for most computer users today. Spyware consists of sneaky programs that are downloaded to your computer through everyday web surfing without your knowledge. These malicious programs embed into your existing software and hard drive, and leech sensitive information back to their creators, which not only slows down your computer, but also puts you at risk for identity theft and more. According to research from LavaSoft, maker of the popular antispyware program Ad-Aware, nearly 90 percent of computers in American households have been infected with spyware at some point in time. The best way to eradicate spyware threats is by using a free antispyware software like Ad-Aware.

Like spyware, viruses usually sneak into your computer without any knowledge on your part. The intent of a virus is typically malicious, and while some do heavy damage, most are geared toward stealing information and bogging down your system. Many of today's computers are equipped with antivirus tools that you can activate and let scan your computer for threats. Once the program finds a virus on your computer, it will quarantine and destroy it, so that it can no longer harm your system. AVG Free is a highly popular and free antivirus option, which you can find online at

Low Hard Disk Space
Another reason for slow computer performance is a near-full hard drive. It's reasonable that over the course of time, as you add more and more files to your computer (such as pictures and video), you will eventually fill up your hard drive. If you store a large amount of pictures and videos on your drive, it may be wise to invest in an USB flash drive that can hold all of your extra media. This will save your internal drive from being clogged up (which will increase performance), and will provide extra portability if you need to use your files elsewhere.

One of the most common causes of slow system performance is the lack of RAM (random access memory). This is usually due to manufacturers cutting corners to produce lower-price computer systems, or it may simply be that your computer is a few years old and isn't up to current specifications. Upgrading your RAM (which stores temporary data for your computer's CPU) is easy and typically inexpensive. According to Kirk Steers of PC World, adding more RAM to your computer is the most cost-effective upgrade you can make.

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