Whether you use a PC or Mac, everyone’s computer slows down eventually. Here are a 10 possible reasons your machine isn’t running as fast as it used to, and how you can fix the problem.
1. Too much in the trash bin.
You can never underestimate how important it is to take out the trash. When you delete files, they aren’t immediately wiped from your hard drive. It puts them in holding area of the hard drive. They are left there and not deleted so that they can be restored, just in case they were deleted by mistake.
You always want to check the contents for anything important before you empty it. Emptying your recycle bin can speed up the computer's performance and add room to your hard drive.
2. A dirty desktop.
A cluttered desktop makes things disorganized and hard to find, but it can also slow computers down. The purpose of the desktop is to be interactive, not to store files. Its job is makes it easy for you to navigate your computer and give you information.
If you have a large amount of files on your desktop, it is slowing down your computer. Those files need to be reorganized in your other folders. If you have multiple widgets running on your desktop or dashboard, they could be slowing your computer down also.
3. Too much in cache.
Caches helps make things faster and easier to get to, but too much in your cache could be slowing your computer down. The same goes for temporary Internet files.
If you do a lot of web browsing, this is probably the main reason your computer is slow. In Windows, close all the Internet browsers, open up “Internet Options” and click delete in the “Browsing History” section.
4. Old software.
Keeping your computer updated could be a greater part of its health than you think. When companies update the software, this software is meant to work better with your operating system.
You want to make sure your hardware, your operating system, and your software are all on the same page. Sometimes new updates have bug fixes that can improve the overall operating speed of your computer.
5. Too many programs.
Unneeded programs may be slowing your computer down. Take a look at how many programs you use and how often you use them. The more programs you have, the more connections they make to your OS, and the more it bogs down your computer.
When you remove them, make sure they are fully uninstalled. Application leftovers can use up a lot of space and slow your system down. If you have a Mac, “AppCleaner” is a great application to make sure you have all the corresponding files deleted.
6. Too little space.
Because of the way “Virtual Memory” works, RAM files get swapped out onto the hard disk. If the hard disk doesn’t have very much space, it will slow the process down. If your computer has less than 10 percent of the total hard drive space free, it will begin to slow down.
7. Too many fragments.
Fragmented data can cause the read/write function of your hard drive to slow down. Set up a schedule to defragment your hard disk regularly. In Mac OS X, it is also helpful to verify and repair the disk and disk permissions.
A computer’s RAM makes all the difference in the world. It can determine a great deal regarding the speed of your computer. If you have made other improvements to speed up your computer and it doesn’t seem to make a difference, your RAM may be the problem.
First, try resetting it. On a Mac, hold down command-option-P-R right after it’s powered on. It should go black and restart normally, but a whole lot faster. Windows users will have to download a program like “RAM Def 2.6 Xtreme” to reset your RAM.
If resetting it doesn’t work, you will need to buy more RAM. Check with the machine’s manufacturer and the tech specs to make sure what you intend to get is compatible with your machine.
9. Bad fonts.
Not all fonts are good. Fonts downloaded from the web could be fine, but some are bad. Font errors can slow down your computer. Make sure all of your fonts are valid, as some of them may be harming your computer.
10. Too many processes.
Computers can slow down from low CPU performance. Check what processes are running, as some of them may not be needed. Editing the startup items can also speed up your computer.
You can do many other things to speed up your computer, but try these first. They may work for you.
About this Angie’s List Expert: David Molnar is the owner of Dave’s Computers, providing computer service in Hillsborough, N.J. Since 2012, Dave’s Computers has specialized in computer repairs, keyboard replacement, data backup, virus and spyware removal and more. You can follow this #ALExpertscontributor on Twitter @DaveComputers and on Google+.
As of March 11, 2014, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.