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10 reasons your computer might be slowing down

There are many reasons computers begin to slow down after a few years. I've listed some correctable ones.

1. Too many programs starting up automatically. Use WinPatrol to see what is running and uninstall or remove or disable unwanted programs that start automatically.

2. Dying hard drive. The hard drive itself can be failing. This will cause it to have to try to read sections 2 or 3 times before actually making a good read.

3. Not enough memory for the amount of stuff running. In general, modern Windows computers need 4 Gigabytes of ram. More if memory intensive applications are run. The computers I sell normally have 8 GB of ram.

4. An antivirus program doing scans or otherwise causing more trouble than it is fixing. Does it run better with the antivirus program disabled? If so, maybe you should change programs. Sometimes people don't leave their computer on, and when they startup, it does a scan, sucking up hard drive performance and CPU cycles. If you leave your computer on all night once a week and schedule a scan then, and defragmentation as well, this can often be prevented.

5. Malware: Try scanning with Malwarebytes as well as your anti-virus.

6. Adware: MalwareBytes and also AdwCleaner can remove those.

7. Old bad drivers. Check for new video and network drivers. Do not use Microsoft, go to your equipment manufacturer or the maker of the video or network card. With laptops it is usually better to go to the laptop maker, for towers, the video or network card maker is usually better.

8. Your old computer may not have enough power for today's tasks

9. On a laptop especially, but any computer, if it gets too hot, it will slow down so as not to overheat. Do a heat check. I currently use Open Hardware Monitor.

10. If the slowdown is only on the Internet, you may need a better Internet connection, or to block advertising. I recommend the browser add-on Adblock Plus. For many common sites, 75% or more of the bandwidth is advertising, not the useful site content. An adblocker can cut site loading time by 80% and keep you safer.

Date: October 2015

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