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Speeding up a Slow Computer

Updated on August 1, 2019

Speeding up a Slow Computer

If you own or have owned a computer, I'm sure you're aware of a small inconvenience than can turn into a huge problem: a slow computer. Computers can be slow for many reasons, some being simple fixes, like cleaning the internals of your computer. Or there can be deeper, more sinister issue, like an infestation of viruses or faulty hardware. I want to teach all of you how to diagnose these issues, then promptly solve them, as cheaply and as efficiently as possible.

The most notorious, the most dangerous of all these issues, is the possibility of an infestation of viruses. In some cases, this is the most easy problem to diagnose. You might notice a change in your browser settings, like additional add-ons or a new homepage. I would consider a virus like this to be the least malicious, but they can get much worse. Obtrusive, obscene pop-ups. Fake offers designed to steal your credit card information. Even ransomware, a type of virus that will wipe your entire hard drive if you don't pay the creators of the virus a set amount of money. Not only do these instances of malware sound obnoxious, they will inevitably slow down your computer. Luckily, we are more protected than ever. With anyone running the operating system Windows 10, you automatically have a copy of Windows Defender, the best free anti-virus software on the market. This software will protect you from all sorts of attacks, by rejecting and quarantining risky software downloads. Windows Defender will also routinely scan your computer, for any viruses that try to sneak up on you. If you don't have Windows 10, I would recommend malwarebytes, a free anti virus software, that is not as safe as Windows Defender, but it does it's job. For paid anti-virus software, I would recommend Mcafee or Norton. Consistently scan your computer for viruses, stay away from shady websites and too-good-to-be-true links, and you'll be more than safe with modern anti virus technology.

Another reason computers can slow down, is the gradual process of the collection of dust and filth on the interior of your computer. An easy way to check if your computer is getting too dusty is to look at the filters of your computer's fans. If they're coated in dust, the internals of your computer are also likely coated in dust. Dust isn't just cosmetic, it can cause your computer to overheat due to an immense amount of dust coating your fans and blocking air flow. Believe it or not, this coating of dust can and will slow down your computer, and can even cause fatal crashes. Now let's talk solutions. A cleaning supply I would recommend to any computer enthusiast is a can of compressed air. Compressed air removes dust out of hard to reach places, like the insides of a fan or underneath a motherboard, by blasting a small stream of air directly where you aim the can. Compressed air is also great at removing small particles inside a keyboard, like dust or crumbs, by shooting air in between the keys, dislodging gunk that would impossible to remove otherwise. If you don't own any compressed air and want an easy way to clean the internals of your computer, you can use a small, low-powered vacuum. I want to emphasize low power, because you may end up breaking some of your parts if your vacuum is too strong. With a low power vacuum you can clear the dust from the inside of a computer with very little fuss, make sure to vacuum out all of your filters and air flow.

Finally, a very common reason to experience slow down in your computer processes, is simply the aging of your computer components. This can happen in two different ways. One: your components have simply been used for too long, and are starting to show their age. Your fans don't spin as fast, your CPU doesn't process information as fast as it used to, you're hard drive's disk reading is far slower than it used to be. Another way that your computer parts can age is at no fault to them, but rather the advancements of computer software. Maybe your components work perfectly fine, but more modern software now requires better components to run than it did before. Either way, you're looking at a problem that won't be solved until you upgrade your current components. Now the hard part is diagnosing what component really needs to be upgraded. You can download software like Speccy, a free system diagnostic program, that can help tell you when a part is under performing. Speccy can also tell you when your computer's temperature gets too high, and if certain parts aren't being recognized. Another way to see if your parts aren't cutting it anymore, simply go to task manager, and click the performance tab. This tab will show how much resources your computer is using. If any tab, like CPU or memory is at or near 100%, consider upgrading those specific parts. You don't need to break the bank to fix broken parts, just find a relatively cheap but modern part that is better than your old part. Most likely the new part will be cheaper and better than your old part, simply because in most cases, newer parts are stronger and cheaper than older parts.


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