Tips for Diagnosing Why Your Computer Runs Slowly

Unless you’re a real computer enthusiast, your PC is probably a means to an end. You use it every day, but you’re not overly concerned with knowing it inside out. So when something starts to go amiss, it’s only natural to assume the worst and call out for a professional computer repair. Of course computer repair professionals in New Jersey and around the world are happy to fix even the smallest problem, but naturally it costs you money.

You don’t actually have to have a great deal of technical knowledge to diagnose many of the problems that might afflict your computer. For example, if your computer begins to run more slowly than you are used to, it may not need a computer repair. There are a few things which can cause your PC to slow down and some of them you can easily address yourself.

Computer Running Slowly

It’s quite common for clients to call on New Jersey computer support services because their system is running slowly. Upon further investigation, this often means that the user is having problems with web pages loading slowly, or streaming videos which just keep buffering. If you are experiencing slow performance, the first thing to check is whether it’s a computer fault, or a problem with your internet connection.

If the slow performance seems only to be when you are accessing the internet, it’s probably your broadband connection which is at fault. On the other hand, if your computer is very slow to open files or run programs which don’t use the internet, it’s probably a computer issue. If so, the first thing to do is take a look how much free space remains on your hard drive. If the local drive is full or nearly full, your computer’s speed will be negatively affected. You will really need to identify some files that you can delete or move off your local drive onto an external device.

The next thing you can check is whether you have a lot of unnecessary applications launching each time you start your computer. It’s quite common for programs like Skype to run as soon as you start your computer up. You can actually disable them from doing this with the system configuration tool on your Windows PC. To open the tool, hold down the Windows key on your keyboard while hitting the “R” key. In the dialog box that pops up, type “msconfig”. This will open the configuration tool. Now choose the tab marked “Startup” and you’ll see all the programs configured to run when you start your computer.

By checking amongst the listed applications for ones which you obviously don’t need running all the time, you can identify some applications to disable. This will improve the speed at which your computer boots and should improve overall speed too. If in doubt about any of the programs in the list, don’t risk disabling them. If you’re not sure whether you can disable a program, ask a computer support professional for advice.

Once you have finished disabling any applications not required on startup, click the “OK” button. You will need to restart your computer for the changes to take effect. If you disable a program and your computer subsequently starts to misbehave, just go back into the configuration tool and check the box to re-enable it. Then restart your computer and you should find the computer runs normally.

Slow Internet Speed

If as previously mentioned, the slow performance relates to your internet connection, you can run a simple speed test. To do this, open your web browser and navigate to You will see that it’s very easy to run the test. Once you start the test running, wait a few moments and the test will return a result showing your upload and download speeds. If your internet service is running normally, these speeds will be at least 50% of the advertised speed for which you pay your service provider.

If these speeds seem to be OK, the next thing is to check that you aren’t downloading files without realizing it. This can happen if you use download torrent programs. Sometimes the torrent program runs in the background without showing any indication in your windows taskbar. If you do find a download program that’s running, follow the earlier steps for disabling the download program on startup. You can always start and stop the torrent program manually, instead of having it start automatically.

The last thing to try is resetting your modem or router. Many routers and modems have reset buttons, but if you can’t find this, just pull the power cable and leave it disconnected for a few seconds. After resetting, your modem or router will take a few minutes to get reconnected to the internet. Sometimes a simple reset like this can get your internet speed back to normal.

If you’ve tried all the tricks above and still find your connection is very slow, you will need to contact your internet service provider. They will look into the problem and possibly reset the master connection supplying your home.

When to Call for Computer Support

If your speed problem is not internet related and you’ve tried the tips above without success, it’s probably time to call in the professionals. If your computer hard drive has plenty of space and you don’t have lots of unnecessary applications running, the speed reduction could be the result of malware or even a virus on your computer. Even if you have good antivirus software enable, viruses can sometimes get around the protection to infect your computer. As a last resort before contacting your New Jersey computer repair service, try running a scan with your antivirus application to see if it identifies anything.

Other reasons for poor speed performance could be related to your computer’s memory or hard drive. It’s not advisable to try and deal with drive or memory issues yourself. Your computer’s hard drive in particular should only be looked at by a professional due to the risk of data loss.

If you’re located in New Jersey and have an unresolved problem with your computer’s speed, Dave’s Computers can help. The team is ready to take your call on 908-428-9558.

by David Molnar

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