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Slow computer? Try These steps

By Ryan Lee • Dec 12, 2018 at 4:00 PM

I recently had a relative ask me about some computer issues he is having. He said that the computer was a few years old, and lately, it's started slowing down. He explained that it had 16GB of Ram and a 500GB SSD HD that is about 50 percent full. He runs Norton Antivirus, and, as far as he knows, it is virus free.

This is an issue that many people encounter and over time, and if you never re-install Windows on your PC, it will likely happen to you.

For Mac users, this does not seem to happen.

When I first get a question regarding the computer running slowly, I generally make sure the person has up-to-date antivirus software and that they do a scan for Malware with Malware bytes. After this is done, if any malware was found and removed, the problem might be solved. If there was no malware, then I like to find out about the percentage of hard drive space they've utilized. In my relative’s case, he's only using 50 percent, so it's not a concern.

The next step in trying to speed up an older computer would be to look for any old programs that are not in use or not needed anymore and uninstall them. My relative indicated that at times with CPU would spike for no apparent reason. I would investigate what program is causing the spike, and, if it is something that is no longer needed, I would remove it. In fact, I would remove anything that I didn’t use in the past couple of months. If you need a program that you uninstall, you can always reinstall it.

The next thing that I would do is use a tool such as MSConfig to disable any unneeded programs from automatically starting up with your computer. After all these steps are completed, the computer should be running better.

If not, it is time to look at the hardware.

I would go to http://memtest.org and download the latest version in ISO format and then use that to burn to a bootable disk. You can then boot your computer from the disk and run tests to check out your computer memory to see if any is damaged. If it is, replacing the damaged memory should help fix the problem. I would finally check out the hard drive to make sure it isn’t starting to fail. You can usually go to your hard drive manufacturer’s site and download software to test it there.

If the computer still isn’t running as quickly as you remembered, then it might be time to reformat the computer and re-install Windows. This is something that needs to be done every now and then and can really make your computer run like it did when it was brand new.


Ryan Lee is the IT director for the Norwalk Reflector and Sandusky Register. He can be reached at [email protected]

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