6 Common Reasons Your Computer Is Slow & Sluggish

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These days, we rely on computers for just about anything and everything. Some of you may spend your days working from home, meaning you depend on a laptop or desktop computer to do all your work. Similarly, some homeschooling parents out there use computers to teach their kids. Regardless, the last thing you need is a slow and sluggish PC. 

Unfortunately, this happens way more often than you’d like to think. Every task becomes longer and harder to do when your computer slows down. You’ll be overjoyed to know that it is easy to make a slow computer fast again. Sure, this sometimes means you have to throw it out and get a new one – but not always! Here are some common reasons your computer is slow, and how to fix them:

Not enough storage space

All computers will have built-in storage space that holds things like applications, programs, files, etc. As you know, storage space can fill up quite quickly on a PC nowadays. If your hard drive is around 80% full, you’ve got a problem. The power required to save all of these files means your entire computer is going to start running slowly. Put simply, there is too much stuff in there. 

Think of it like a car that’s full of junk. The trunk is packed, the back seats are full, and it slows down the car’s performance. As such, you need to get rid of as much of this crap as you can! 

Luckily, there are three things you can do to make an instant difference: 

  • Delete old programs or applications
  • Remove temporary files through the disk cleanup utility
  • Move files to the cloud

Deleting old programs is relatively easy on a Windows PC as you just have to search for programs and there will be a menu that lets you add or remove them. Click on it and you can see a list of everything installed, deleting the things you no longer use. It’s slightly harder on a Mac, but there are some ways you can do this without much stress. 

Again, simply search for the disk cleanup utility to use it, and it will run for you and get rid of so much junk – including files in your recycling bin. 

To move things to the cloud, simply choose a cloud provider and you can usually upload files/documents with ease. This gets them off your PC without deleting the file completely – you can still access it whenever you want. 

Your computer hasn’t restarted for ages

Do you get into the habit of letting your PC go to sleep instead of turning it off? A lot of people do this, particularly if you have a laptop or Macbook. You simply close the laptop, and the PC goes to sleep, making it feel like it’s turned off. 

Realistically, when a PC is sleeping, all the programs and processes continue to run in the background. Every time you use the PC, more processes are added to this list. All of this takes up processing power, which makes your computer or laptop feel incredibly slow. 

If you restart your PC and turn it off whenever you’ve finished using it, these processes shut down. Effectively, you let your computer return to its normal state without loads of things running in the background. It should make things much faster when you turn the PC back on again. 

Too many things are open at once

This can refer to a couple of different things, such as: 

  • Apps/programs on your computer
  • Tabs/windows in your web browser

You see, the first thing is an issue because many apps will automatically start when you turn your computer on. There is a way to change this, and it’s usually in the application’s settings. If you stop things from automatically loading up, your PC will use less processing power. Therefore, it will run a lot faster. 

Similarly, if you actively open loads of apps at once, you’re going to have a slow PC. Especially if it doesn’t have the processing power to deal with so many applications in one go. Learn the limits – notice when your computer/laptop starts slowing down, and you’ll see when you should stop opening loads of apps. Also, consider only having things open that you’re using. If you no longer need a program or app, close it completely – ensure it isn’t still active in the system tray. You can do this by opening Task Manager and seeing if the program is still actively running. If it is, simply click End Task. 

Next, you have the tabs/windows in your web browser. We’re all a bit guilty of opening dozens of tabs while browsing the web. Truthfully, this will slow down your PC because it has to use lots of processing power to keep every single page loaded up and ready for you. A very simple fix is to keep your tabs/windows as low as possible. There is no need to constantly have hundreds of tabs and multiple windows open – it is going to make your PC very slow. 

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You’re in power-saving mode

Plenty of modern devices come with a power-saving mode – especially laptops. These modes exist to keep your PC running when you want to limit the power used. It’s a way of conserving the battery and can be extremely useful in certain situations. 

However, you have to recognize that power-saving modes will make your laptop run a lot slower than usual. This is simply because the PC uses less power in all departments, so it doesn’t use the optimal processing speeds. In short, your battery lasts for longer, but everything will feel much slower. 

If you switch this setting on by mistake, you should turn it off – especially if your device is already plugged in. Usually, you can do this by clicking on the battery icon and tweaking the settings. 

There’s a virus on your PC

After reading through the previous sections, you might be shaking your head in disbelief. You’ve checked your PC and there are no issues with storage, you turn it off regularly, there aren’t too many things running at once, and you don’t use the power-saving mode. 

So, why is your computer extremely slow? 

You won’t like hearing this, but the chances are you have a virus. Especially if your PC is relatively new and you’ve got good specs. A virus could’ve found its way onto your PC, where it starts attacking your data and mining it for resources. This is happening without your knowledge, and it’s often hard to discover a virus through the usual methods of checking programs/files. 

The only solution is to get good antivirus software that scans your PC and identifies any threats. There are plenty around these days, so take your pick of the best options before installing one. As well as removing any existing threats, antivirus software will prevent future viruses from sneaking onto your computer. If you have a virus and it gets removed, you should witness performance improvements right away. 

Your computer is old

Lastly, your slow-running computer might face issues because it’s old and outdated. Components will wear down over time, so if you’ve been using the same PC with the same internal components for 10 years, there’s a high chance it is now old and slow. Unfortunately, the only way to fix this is by either upgrading the inner components – like the processor – or buying a new laptop/desktop computer. 

Which one of these reasons is the cause of your slow PC? It could be one problem, or it could be many. Go through the list and tick each issue off until you discover why your computer is slow. 

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