What Causes Computer Performance Issues?
Picture this: you’re ready to start your workday and sit down at your laptop, coffee in hand. You’re halfway through your morning cup before your computer finishes its boot-up process, and you finish your drink in the time it takes Outlook to run. Then, when you’ve clicked on your first email and switched over to your calendar to see what meetings you have in store, the whole application crashes. You switch to the web browser version, only to find the pages there are taking an age to load, too! Frustrated, you restart your laptop, and head off to the break room for a second cup of coffee while you wait for it to reboot.
If this sounds like your usual morning routine, you may be suffering from computer performance issues. Slow boot processes, program crashes, computer freezes, and other performance issues may make you want to tear your hair out if your computer doesn’t start working faster soon. Luckily, many performance issues are easily solved—and we can help you tackle the ones that aren’t as simple.
What affects performance speed on my computer?
When a computer is out-of-the-box brand new, it runs like a well-oiled machine. And it should! Programs open quickly, boot processes are near-instant, and glitches are few and far between. Over time, however, computer performance starts to slow. We fill our download folders with large files, install massive programs, and pick up the occasional malware hangers-on as we surf the web.
There are a large number of things that can affect computer performance over time. Luckily, there are just as many potential solutions to computer performance issues as well.
So, why is my computer so slow?
- You need a reboot. One of the simplest issues that can clog computer performance is forgetting to reboot your computer. Computers use the reboot process as a final step in installing new updates. If your computer’s been on for 90 days straight, it hasn’t been able to update its firmware or drivers in that time. “Turn it off and back on again” is a running IT joke, but that’s because it’s often all your computer needs to get back up to speed!
- Your storage is full. Large files, redundant programs, and temporary files stored in your web browser can take up a lot of precious storage space on your device. Deleting or moving some of those files to an external storage option (such as cloud storage or an external hard drive) will help you clean up storage and give your PC more room to work with. Pro tip: Your computer probably has a built-in “Disk Cleanup” program that can go through and take care of some of this process for you.
- You’ve picked up a hitchhiker. Malware and viruses, especially programs like keyloggers and spyware, often wreak havoc by slowing down your PC to the point where it’s barely usable. If you’re having performance issues, run a check on your anti-malware and antivirus programs to remove any unwanted programs.
- Your startup process is too cluttered. When you boot up your computer, how many programs open automatically? If you use a Windows PC, you might not be surprised to see Outlook, Teams, and your chosen web browser already open when you boot up. However, opening these programs drastically lengthens the time it takes for your computer to boot up all the way. Changing your startup procedures can help mitigate some of this time crunch.
- You’re missing critical updates. Your computer and your often-used programs need updates to continue running at top speed. Often, missing drivers or firmware updates can drastically slow down your processing speed. Check to see if any need installed, and be sure to reboot your computer so they can finish installing!
- You’re using too many tabs at the same time. We get it—we all love to multi-task. However, computers reach a multi-tasking limit when it comes to having too many windows open all at the same time. If you’ve got thirty browser tabs, Photoshop, InDesign, AND Outlook open while you watch YouTube videos and play a video game on your second monitor, your computer’s going to struggle to catch up.
- Your computer needs a hardware update. Sometimes, normal wear and tear leads to the need for a hardware update. You can install a new component like RAM, a new processor, or an upgraded hard drive without shelling out for an entirely new system. If you’re not sure where to start, ask your managed service provider to assess your hardware and processing speed. While you’re at it, check to make sure all of your computer’s components are compatible with each other. Generally, if you installed a new component that’s incompatible with another, your computer’s support system will tell you as soon as you run a device check.
- Your computer is too old. Often, computers over five years old simply can’t keep up with the new services and programs available to newer machines. In general, newfangled programs tend to demand more from processors than older, less complicated software. Because of this, it’s important to upgrade your old machines when you see the writing on the wall. Again, check in with your managed service provider. At GTS, we help our clients tread the line between upgrading components and upgrading entire systems—and we can do the same for you!