Geek’s Blog

Slow and Steady Computers Don’t Win the Race

Is there anything worse than a slow computer? Not for the hundreds of thousands of people all over the world looking for ways to fix their slow computers, fast! A slow PC happens to be the most common complaint from people in Auckland to Hamilton to Wellington, and it’s not hard to understand why slow computers are the bane of modern existence. They’re so frustrating!

We know you’ve got work to do and you’ve got to get it done now, without the possibility of a slow computer, well, slowing you down.

Don’t even bother Googling how to fix it as you’ll come up with millions of tips and tricks to fix your slow computer, but many of these sites use complicated language or require the installation of dodgy software. As master computer repairers (yep, that’s a thing), we’ve learned a lot over the years and we know the all of the best ways to speed up your PC. If you use the following techniques, you’ll be able to ramp up the speed of your computer and keep it running fast for ages!


When in Doubt, Clean it Out

Out of the hundreds of reasons why your computer is running slow, most of them have one thing in common: you. It’s a vicious cycle: the more you use your computer, the slower it goes. All of those downloaded programs, extensions, music downloads and everything in between builds up like plaque on the inside of your computer. With a little computer hygiene, your computer can be repaired easily.

Let’s start with your environment, AKA, your study or wherever it is that you’re using your computer. If your room is covered in dust then you can be sure that the back of your CPU casing is covered in dust too. Poor ventilation leads to a hot computer which will inevitably result in an increase of malfunctions and worse, crashes. The fix is easy: clean your room and keep your computer clean and tidy too! As for the insides…

…it’s time to scan for malware.

There’s a very good chance that your computer is slow because of malicious software. This malware could be running in the background is often imperceptible. Even certain downloaded software that you got from a trusty source could be interfering with your web browsing. Just to be on the safe side, scan your computer with an antivirus program as soon as you see your computer starting to slow down. Scanning it with Malwarebytes will also help reveal any PUPS – potentially unwanted programs – that many antivirus programs miss. These sneaky guys creep into your computer uninvited during the installation of other software. It’s time to kick them out!

Last but not least, be sure to uninstall any programs you’re not using. Simply open your Control Panel and have a look at all of your glorious programs. Then start culling! A lot of these programs have hidden background process, auto starts, and system services that will most definitely slow down your PC. By cleaning out your computer you’ll also be amping up your system security as well as making more room on your hard drive.


Hard Drive 101

As you know, your computer’s hard drive is where you store your files. The hard drive itself is mechanical and therefore a lot slower than the electronic elements of your computer. A healthy hard drive keeps your computer running smoothly, but a failing one can cripple the performance of your PC. Worst case scenario: your computer will be impossible to start up. Lucky for you your slow computer is giving you a head’s up with its poor performance. Sometimes a simple defragmentation process can cure what ails your computer. Fragmentation is an indication that all of your hard drive files are split up and spread out on your drive resulting in a longer process to load them. Modern computers defrag automatically so it would be harmful to manually defrag your hard drive, however if your computer is over 10 years old it could be worth speaking to an expert about running a scan to see if any defragging is necessary.

Hard drive space is taken up by the usual suspects: programs, updates to programs, and downloads, as well as any temporary files and associated files of deleted programs. You can clear a good amount of space just by emptying your trash! A full hard drive is going to slow down your computer so you want to do a hard drive scan. Ideally, you want 10% of the total space free.

The age of your hard drive has a lot to answer for too. Newer and therefore bigger hard drives are faster because they store data in a smaller area so when your computer tries to read this data it gets more access to it in one go, which makes it faster to load. As a mechanical part of your computer, hard drives will eventually fail so make sure you back up your files to avoid any data loss disasters or massive computer repairs!


Know When to Upgrade

We know that you spent a lot of money on your computer, and because of this, you might expect it to last a long time. Unfortunately, your PC isn’t like the other equipment you have around your house. Software is getting more complex and is constantly being updated – meaning every new version gets better but also takes up more room. There will come a point where your computer simply won’t be able to keep up with the latest software. This happens around the 3-5 year period if you buy value computers. It’s at this point when shopping around for a new, faster and more efficient computer becomes a necessity. However, if you’re unwilling to let go just yet, we can always help you out with a simple RAM upgrade. For a modern computer, 4GB is considered the minimum of RAM, so if you have 2GB or less you should seriously consider a RAM upgrade.


Smarter, Better, Faster, Stronger

Remember how we said you’re the reason why your computer is running slowly?! Well, we weren’t kidding. The way you use your computer could very well be the main cause of its inefficiency. Don’t worry, mate! Follow these tips and she’ll be right!

  1. Tidy that Browser: Your browser has too many add-ons and this is a bad thing! Browser add-ons and plugins are often bundled with free software downloads. They often tout themselves as ‘search protectors’ or ‘pop-up blockers’ but they’re actually adware which serves only to slow down your computer by downloading ads every time you open your browser! The best way to tackle this problem is by removing any browser extensions and toolbars that you don’t need. If you’re using Chrome, just right click on the extension button and uncheck the box to disable an item. Better yet send it to the trash and say sayonara to slowness!
  1. Tidy those Tabs: Do you really need 20 tabs open on your browser at once? Probably not. If you’re worried about forgetting important links, you can bookmark any pages you want to read later. Want something faster? Use One Tab for Chrome and Firefox. It’ll compile all your open tabs into a simple list on a gasp, SINGLE TAB, and then you access it when you’ve got the time. Easy peasy.
  1. Stop Multi-tasking: Hey there Mr Busy. You’re running too many programs at once and even your computer can’t keep up which is why it’s running super slow. If the demands of all your open programs are greater than your RAM, you’ll notice a very frustrating downturn in speed. Shut down any windows you’re not using, and we mean close them completely, don’t just minimise them as they’ll continue running in the background sucking up that sweet processing juice.
  1. Ew, Virus: So, you’ve let a virus in. That’s ok, because you have excellent anti-malware, right? RIGHT?! These pesky viruses can hijack your browser or worse, ruin it completely. Be wise when downloading software – make sure you know where it’s coming from, and research reviews on the web before saying ‘Welcome!’

If you’ve already done all that you can to get your computer running faster you might have to do a complete reboot. Don’t be scared – it’s not as traumatic as it sounds. Rebooting can fix a lot of problems if you don’t have the time to troubleshoot your computer problems yourself.

On modern versions of Windows such as Windows 8, 8.1, and 10, it’s easy to get a fresh Windows installation. You simply use the “Reset your PC” feature built into Windows to get a new, fresh Windows system. This is similar to reinstalling Windows and will wipe all of your installed programs and system settings while keeping your precious files. Still scared? Fair enough – fixing a slow computer on your own can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not overly confident with computer repairs. That’s why we’re here for you. Let us help you get your computer back on track. We’re the PC and MAC experts – so the easiest way for you to fix your computer is to call us today.


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