Why is my computer so slow, and how do I speed it up?

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So why is my computer so slow and sluggish? How do I fix it? Some people will try to tell you that you just need to upgrade your machine to fix a slow pc.  Get more memory or just get a newer computer. While that might be true in some instances it won’t be the right advice for everyone.

To fix this problem you have to understand that your pc is pretty much like a file cabinet. You download things, install programs and over time you collect a lot of crap. Sometimes its stuff you don’t even use anymore. A big part of getting your slow computer to run faster is cleaning off all the unnecessary junk, removing programs the proper way, and getting your file system in order (otherwise known as defragmenting).

We’ll run through a couple of the most common areas of cleanup first and I’ll explain as we go along.

Startup Programs Can Slow Down Your PC

If your computer is taking a really long time to startup, we need to target the startup programs first. These are programs start and run in the background once your computer starts up.

Because some of these steps will differ depending on the operating system you have, I’m going to install a small program to help facilitate this process which would otherwise be a very manual task.

Download the Following Applications (They’re Free!)

  1. CCleaner
  2. WinDirStats

Download and install CCleaner and run the application.

Once you open CCleaner, select tools on the left, then startup.

why is my computer so slow. Use ccleaner to make it run faster
Here you simply enable or disable programs you want to run when the computer starts. I would recommend taking caution here and not disable any key programs like antivirus software. Disabling does not uninstall or remove the program, it merely will not let it run on startup, which will help your machine finish its boot sequence faster. Restart the machine to have the settings take effect.

We’ll come back to CCleaner in a second, but first you will need to look at the files that you have on your machine that you don’t use anymore and delete them. Uninstall programs that you don’t need.

Never delete anything from the ProgramFiles folder. That won’t uninstall a program, to properly remove it you must run an uninstaller. You can do this by using CCleaner as well, or simply click the windows icon. Start typing ‘remove’ and select the add or remove programs, and then select programs you’d like to uninstall.

Remove Unnecessary Files

The other thing you should do is try and keep as many unnecessary files off your operating system drive as possible. I’ll have a more advanced tutorial talking about partitioning your drive and what other things, hardware wise, you can do to speed up your machines performance, but for now Ill skip that to keep this short.

If you don’t have that many files on your machine just glance at your folders and find large files you can delete. A more efficient way of going about this is to use a program that will highlight be biggest offenders. You can then decide if you want to delete those based on the disk space they are taking up.

Download and install WinDirStats and then run it. This is a great little tool that will pretty much list your entire directory structure of the drive/folder. It sorts the file sizes from largest to smallest so you can see at a glance which files are taking up the most space. Then make your decision and delete files as needed.

Ok, once you’ve cleaned or removed files you don’t need, let’s get back to CCleaner.

Whether you know it or not, you amass a lot of junk you don’t need by just surfing the web. I have cleaned peoples machines who have literally collected many gigabytes of garbage on their machine through browsing the internet alone. So that’s what we’re going to clean next.

Click the cleaner tab on left, select analyze..

Clean-old-cache-and-temp-filesThis step can take longer depending on how filthy some of your machines are. Don’t be surprised if this takes a long time, especially if this is the first time you’re doing this. There are other options here but the defaults selected are fine. You can check more or less of these if you choose. Once its analyzed all that needs cleaning, it will give you a report of the files to be removed and the approximate space. It would be good to close your browser when you do this.

Hopefully, you should notice now after you restart that your machine is running a little faster. If it is still sluggish you’ll want to take a look at my other tutorial which goes into more detail on other steps you can take to improve speed.