Digitalk: Why is my computer so slow?

Ross Tibbles
Ross Tibbles

Please! Stop slamming your keyboards and punching your monitors in frustration! It’s not their fault that your computer is running slow.

A slow computer can be one of the most aggravating tools to work with, especially if you are busy, as it can slow your day right down. Oh, I just need to print this document that I need to post…. And the computer is still booting up 5 minutes later. I’ll just open this program… well I might as well go make a coffee and get comfortable.

There are hundreds of things that can slow your computer down, from malware to just plain old age, and I’ll cover a few of these in this article.

Proper Maintenance

One of the main things you can do to keep your computer up to speed is regular maintenance. Regular disc clean, defragging and malware scans will prevent temporary files clogging up the memory of your computer.

And memory is the key here. The RAM your computer has is essentially your computer’s thinking room. The processor controls the thinking, but it uses the memory space in the RAM to do that thinking in.

You can set your computer to schedule these processes automatically at set times. Usually people schedule it for late night, where unless you’re a night owl like me, you’re less likely to need to use your computer.

Ideally schedule it for once a week and just remember to leave your computer on at that time. There are 1001 different anti malware softwares out there to choose from, I recommend either Spybot Search & Destroy or Malwarebyte. Many premium virus protection softwares such as Norton, McAvee and AVG have anti malware scanners too, but if you use free ones like I do these will fill the gaps in your defences.

Background Processes

It is amazing how much memory background processes can take up. A lot of the time it’s not even for stuff you are using.

I recently had a purge on my home PC and saved nearly 2GB of RAM from decluttering the background processes.
Often, when you install a new program it’ll add something into the programs that launch when you turn your computer on, such as an update checker or file manager for that program.

These are not necessary for when the program isn’t open and when you do open that program it will check for updates and such anyway.

You can see which processes are the hungry ones in the task manager, but if you’re not confident enough to remove these processes without accidentally taking away something essential, just ask your local computer repair shop to sort it for you. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.


Keeping your drivers up to date makes a big difference, especially graphics drivers, as it essentially tells your computer how to handle the information it needs to process.

It’s like when you play a game without knowing the rules. Something will go wrong, you’ll lose half your loot and somehow Jerry is on fire.
Regularly check in the control panel for new system updates and if your computer has a graphics card it’ll likely have its own program for finding and installing the most up to date drivers so check that too.

Old Age

Computers go out of date quicker than a car loses value when you take it off the forecourt. Every year computers nearly double in speed. And new software gets more and more power hungry as the average speed of new computers goes up, allowing them to do more with the extra power available to them.

This means that as your computer ages, software you may use daily will eventually require more powerful hardware as they update to the new version as you go along.

Which means that your computer won’t be able to run them as quickly or smoothly as before.

This will generally take years to happen, but you’ll notice the gradual decline in performance, and I’m afraid at that point you need to warm up the credit card and go shopping.