14 Reasons Why Your Laptop is Running Slow

14 Reasons Why Your Laptop is Running Slow and How to Fix It.

A slow laptop can be frustrating as hell.  Here is my list of common issues and how to fix them.

#1. Windows Updates and Application Updates
Microsoft issue updates and bug fixes almost every month.  If you fall behind the updates get bigger and bigger.  Your bandwidth gets kidnapped as the update service checks in the background to see if there are updates available.  Try to update at least once a month.

FIX:
Windows 10: I wrote a guide on updating here
Windows 7: Open Windows Control Panel > click System and Security > click Windows update > in the left pane > click Check for Updates > click the link for any updates that you wish to install > select the updates that you want to install and click OK > click Install Updates.

#2. Virus and Malware
Viruses and Malware can really slow your machine down.  They can corrupt your files and hog resources.

FIX: There is a LOT of anti-virus software available.  Windows 10 comes with Windows Defender – try and get into the habit of scanning ALL files that you download via your browser or from emails.  There are some good FREE alternatives that I recommend, which are Malwarebytes and Avast  If you do have a nasty virus you may need to speak to an IT Engineer.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions

#3. Start-up Software
Laptops often get clogged up with unnecessary software that start-up when your machine starts. They hog memory and your CPU. Slowing your machine down.

This is the Windows Key 

FIX: Open the software from the taskbar and check settings or options and look for something like “Load on Start-up” and untick. You can select what programs startup via the Task Manager
Windows 10: Windows key + X / Task Manager / Startup tab, then right-click on the programs you want to remove and select Disable. Windows 7 and older: Start button, then search for System Configuration. Go to Startup tab, then uncheck each of the programs if you don’t want to start when the system boots up.

#4. Third Party Software
When you install software it often comes bundled with other unnecessary software.

FIX When you install software, select Custom and make sure that no other software gets installed alongside the software you wanted.

#5. Defrag Your Hard Drive
Files and programs that are stored on your hard drive become fragmented over time.  This means that different parts of the files are stored in separate areas of the drive instead of next to each other.  When this happens, it can take longer for files to opened and programs that are opened.

FIX: It’s a good idea to have a backup of your important files which is recommended no matter what.

I have created a post here, how to Defrag your Hard Drive

#6.Clear Cache and Cookies
Each time you visit a webpage, your browser stores or ‘caches’ it as a small file in your Temporary Internet Files folder. It also stores small files called ‘cookies’, which contain information about your browsing history and personal details.  Over a period, time, the volume of these files can build up.

FIX: Clearing out your browser’s cache once a month should help it to work faster when loading pages and reduce the amount of disk space that these temporary files take up. In most browsers, these settings can be found within the Settings menu, labelled something along the lines of Clear browsing data or Clear cache & cookies.
For instance, in Chrome, click on the 3 dots in the top right-hand corner. Click on More tools, then “Clear browsing Data” or press CTRL+SHIFT+DEL

#7. Remove Unwanted Programs
Removing programs from your start-up is not the only fix to speed up your computer.  You’ll want to make sure that your computer is running fast when you’re using it, too. Free up space and precious memory by uninstalling programs that you don’t use. These may include demo versions of software that came with the computer when you bought it, out-of-date antivirus programs, old software or games that you no longer play.

FIX: Click Start > Control Panel > Uninstall a program. From the list of programs that appears, click the program you want to uninstall, then click Uninstall.

#8. Remove Temporary Files
Windows’ Disk Cleanup utility can help boost your computer’s performance by removing temporary files and unnecessary system files.

FIX: Click Start. In the search box, type disk clean up and, from the list of results that appears, click Disk Clean-up. In the list of Drives, click the hard disk drive that you want to clean. For most people, this will be the C: drive. Click OK. In the Disk Clean-up box, select the type of files that you want to delete and then click OK and then click Delete files

#9. Remove Browser Extensions
Some Browser extensions can be useful but they can also slow down your computer by eating up processing power and memory.

FIX: Disable or remove the extensions and toolbars you don’t really need:
Firefox: Hit the menu button on the far right, select Add-ons / Extensions, then select disable or remove for each item on the list.
Chrome: Right-click on any extension button / Manage Extensions, then uncheck the box to disable a particular item, or click the trash can to wave it goodbye. You can also check how much memory each extension is using by hitting the top-right menu button (three vertical dots) then More Tools / Task Manager / Memory where you can sort all browser processes by memory used. The extensions will be preceded by a puzzle piece icon.
Internet Explorer: Tools / Manage add-ons / Show All add-ons, then select the offender(s), and click disable or remove.
Edge: Setting and More / Extensions, then remove any you don’t need.

#10. Too Many Applications Open
Your computer’s ability to run lots of programs at the same time hinges in part on its RAM (random access memory) and CPU, which allows it to switch from processing one program to another without any impact, but if the demands of the open programs are beyond your computer’s memory and processing power, you’ll notice a slowdown.

FIX: Open to Task Manager (Windows; Ctrl+Alt+Del) to see which programs are open and sucking up processing power: Then shut down those you don’t need. For Windows 10, Windows 7 and earlier versions of Windows, you can close the programs from the file menu or Click the X in the top-right corner.  

#11. Install SSD
Solid State Drives used to be expensive but due to demand, the prices have dropped.  Most new laptops come with SSD drives and the difference is ten-fold.  Your bootup time can improve from 3 minutes to 30 seconds. There is still hope for your old laptop.

FIX: You can replace your hard-drive with a solid-state drive.  I recommend this website www.crucial.com. You can download a tool that will check your machine and see what is compatible.  They also provide instructions on installing the hard-drive.  This can be slightly difficult and maybe worth speaking to an IT professional.  If you need any help please feel free to contact me.

#12. Install RAM
Similar to SSD hard-drives adding additional RAM can greatly improve the performance of your laptop.  Again, I would fully recommend www.crucial.com  

#13. Your Hard Drive is Full
When your hard drive gets to 95 per cent full, computers can slow down by 50 per cent.  There is no space to save the temporary files required for operating programs, so your machine fails to run properly. Hard drive space is taken up by programs, updates to programs, and downloads, as well as temporary files and associated files of deleted programs, so you may be able to clear a good amount of space just by emptying your trash. Check your hard drive situation by hitting Start / Computer and right-clicking the primary hard drive (usually C:), then go to Properties.

FIX: Uninstall programs that you no longer need. Transfer files to an external hard-drive.  Empty your recycle bin.  I would recommend using https://www.ccleaner.com/ccleaner/download

#14. Your hard drive is failing
Hard drive nearing the end of its lifespan is a common fault.  They are made of moving parts that spin thousands of times a day and they do wear down

FIX: Run a hard drive check:
Windows 7 – Open Windows Explorer / Computer / right-click on drive / Properties / Tools / Check Now. You can select “Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors” which will prevent your computer from accessing any “bad” areas of the hard
drive but can also increase the scan time to a few hours.
Windows 10 – Press Windows Key and E / Right Click on Drive C drive / Properties / Tools / Check

#15. Restart your machine
When your Outlook crashes or Excel throws a wobbler.  You can close the application, but it can still leave system files open which can slow your machine down.  A lot of people put their laptops in sleep mode without shutting down.  There is no harm in doing this but you will need to shut down at some point.

FIX: Its a classic fix but when you shut down your laptop it closes all running processes. Leave it off for a few minutes to cool down. Then start back up.

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5 thoughts to “14 Reasons Why Your Laptop is Running Slow”

  1. very very timely. I feel so bad for my laptop now that I needed to do a lot of work and it’s running very slowly. I have taken notes of these tips and will be applying ASAP. Thank you. =)

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