10 things that can slow down your computer

If you find yourself wondering why your computer is slow, refer to this list of common causes:

  1. Useless-ware/Malware – Programs may be running in the background that don’t have to be
  2. Too much anti-malware – (Windows only) You should have only one real-time malware scanner, with no “extra features”
  3. Slow hard drive – Caused by type (e.g. 5400 RPM), age (>4 years old), or errors
  4. Insufficient RAM – 4GB is enough in most cases, 8GB is common, more for heavy programs
  5. Updates – These may be running in the background without your knowledge
  6. Cloud backups – These may be running in the background without your knowledge
  7. Processor – Look for CPUs with a benchmark >> 1800 (cpubenchmark.net)
  8. Internet connection – Use speedtest.net to make sure you are <40ms / >4Mbps / >0.4Mbps
  9. Browser plug-ins – Browsers aren’t slow or flakey … browser plug-ins can make them that way
  10. Drivers/BIOS – May be incompatible, out of date, or just broken … fix as necessary

There are other possible reasons for a slow computer, but those are the most common ones. Here are some things you can do to speed up your computer:

  1. Remove programs you don’t use, or that have questionable value … especially ones that are running all the time; scan regularly for malware with a program like Malwarebytes
  2. Use only one real-time anti-malware scanner, and avoid the “extra features” like firewalls and other “protections”; also avoid “cleaners” … most of them fall into the category of useless-ware
  3. Consider upgrading your hard drive to one that is faster (7200RPM or hybrid) or fastest (solid state drive) … but do it before your hard drive completely fails
  4. Upgrading RAM is pretty easy … get the correct type/size and plug it in
  5. Manually update your operating system when it is convenient for you, just to get’r’done
  6. Cloud backups are great, but they can hog your Internet bandwidth … schedule them if possible
  7. You typically can’t upgrade your CPU, so keep that in mind when upgrading your computer
  8. Internet speed is measure by ping (40ms is passable, lower is better), download (4Mbps is passable, higher is better), and upload (0.4Mbps is passable, higher is better)
  9. Browser plug-ins are sometimes called add-ons or extensions; there are very few useful plug-ins, so I tend to remove them
  10. It’s not worth checking/replacing drivers or BIOS unless there is an issue, but that can fix issues … avoid driver updater programs