Stop suffering from a slow PC. 8 surefire ways to speed it up yourself
I don't know about you, but I find dealing with a slow or problematic computer incredibly frustrating, no matter what it is I'm trying to do. If you're working from home like I am and don't readily have access to an IT department to help troubleshoot and fix a sluggish PC, these skills come in handy.
The next time your Windows machine crawls to a halt when you open an app, or takes forever to turn on, take a deep breath and have confidence in yourself that you can fix it on your own, with a little guidance.
Below I'll walk you through how to troubleshoot your slow PC, fix issues in Task Manager, restrict which apps open at startup and carry out a few other quick fixes for common problems.
Task Manager is your BFF
Think of Task Manager as a window into your PC's health. The app gives you insight into what's taxing the processor, how much memory something is taking up and even how much network data a program has used.
An easy way to open Task Manager is to right-click on the Taskbar and select Task Manager from the list of options.
Task Manager's default view doesn't show a lot of information beyond which apps are currently running (handy if you already know if you want to close one out). Click More Details in the bottom left corner to open up the view that really matters.
By default, the list is broken down into Apps and Background Processes. It's refreshed constantly, with the various columns constantly updating. My advice is to let Task Manager run for a few minutes and just watch it. Watch for apps that shoot up to the top of the list, then disappear a few seconds later. Look for processes that stay at the top of the list with high memory or CPU use. Not sure what a process is? Google its name to find out more.
To close an app or process that you suspect may be partly responsible for slow performance, click on the listing then click End Task.
3 common reasons for a slow PC
There are far too many apps and services to create a succinct list of what's likely slowing down a PC, but that doesn't mean there aren't likely culprits. Here are some of the top issues that we all experience on a PC.
After watching your system running slow with Task Manager open, you may have noticed that your antivirus software is routinely near the top of the list. Antivirus software can slow down your system while it's actively scanning your computer for malware and viruses.
Instead of letting your antivirus program scan whenever it sees fit, schedule it to run at times when you're not likely to be using your PC, such as overnight or during your lunch hour.
Too many startup apps
If your PC is taking forever to boot up, then you probably have far too many apps trying to run at startup. You can edit the list of apps and services that begin running when you log in to your computer by opening Task Manager and clicking on the Startup tab.
Go through the list and remove anything that you don't need to have loaded and ready the moment your PC turns on by clicking the app name, followed by Disable.
Your web browser could be the culprit, especially if you've lost count of the number of windows and tabs you have open. Each window and tab takes up memory and processing power and over time that will begin to slow down your PC.
You can view a breakdown of extensions and tabs that could be to blame in Task Manager by clicking on the arrow next to your browser's name. Alternatively, if you use Chrome, it has a built-in task manager of its own. Launch it by pressing Shift+Esc while using Chrome, or click on the menu button > More Tools > Task manager.
If you find that your browser is often causing your PC to slow to a crawl, try a different browser or just becoming more aware of how many tabs or windows you have open at a given time.
There's a wide range of methods available for troubleshooting and speeding up your PC. Below are some steps to take that should, at the very least, temporarily speed up your slow computer:
If none of the above suggestions speeds up your computer to a level that you're happy with, you can try reducing animations, changing themes and toggling other Windows 10-specific settings. If you're trying to get remote help, make sure you know the best way to take screenshots on Windows 10. Or if you've been putting off upgrading to Windows 10, don't forget you can still get it for free. And if you're more of an Apple household, you're in luck: We have recommendations for speeding up a slow Mac, too.