Windows PCs shouldn’t slow down over time. Whether your computer has gradually become slower or it suddenly stopped a few minutes ago, there can be quite a few reasons for this slowness.
As with all PC problems, don’t be afraid to restart your computer if something isn’t working properly. This can solve quite a few problems and is faster than trying to manually troubleshoot and fix the problem.
Find resource-hungry programs
Your computer is slow because something is using these resources. If it suddenly becomes slower, for example, an unmanaged process can use 99% of your CPU resources. Or, the application may experience a memory leak and use a large amount of memory, causing the computer to switch to disk. On the other hand, an application can use the disk a lot, causing other applications to slow down when they need to download data or save it to disk.
To find out, open Task Manager. You can right-click the taskbar and select the “Task Manager” option or press Ctrl+Shift+Escape to open it. In Windows 8, 8.1, 10, and 11, the new Task Manager provides an updated interface that highlights colors for applications that use a lot of resources. Click the CPU, Memory, and Disk headings to sort the list by application using the most resources. If any app is using too many resources, you can close it normally – if you can’t, select it here and click “End Task” to force close it.
Close programs in the system tray
Many applications tend to run in the system tray or notification area. These apps often start at startup and continue to run in the background but remain hidden behind the up arrow icon in the bottom right corner of the screen. Click the up arrow icon next to the taskbar, right-click on any apps you don’t need running in the background, and close them to free up resources.
Disable autoload programs
Even better, prevent these applications from running at startup to save memory and CPU cycles, as well as speed up the login process.
Windows 8, 8.1, 10, and 11 now have a Startup Manager in Task Manager that you can use to manage startup programs. Right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager or press Ctrl+Shift+Escape to launch it. Go to the “Startup” tab and disable startup applications that you do not need. Windows will helpfully tell you which applications slow down the startup process the most.
Windows uses quite a few animations, and these animations can make your computer feel a little slower. For example, Windows can instantly minimize and maximize windows if you turn off the corresponding animations.
To turn off the animation, press the Windows key + X or right-click the Start button and select System. Click “Advanced system settings” on the left and click the “Settings” button under “Performance”. Select “Adjust for best performance” under “Visual Effects” to turn off all animations, or select “Custom” and turn off individual animations you don’t want to see. For example, uncheck “Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing” to disable the animation of minimizing and maximizing.
Lighten your web browser
There is a good chance that you use your web browser a lot, so your web browser might be a bit slow. It is recommended to use as few browser extensions or add-ons as possible – they slow down your web browser and make it use more memory.
Go to your web browser’s extension or add-on manager and remove the add-ons you don’t need. You should also consider enabling click-to-play plugins. Preventing Flash and other content from loading will prevent unimportant Flash content from using CPU time.
Scan for malware and adware
There is also a chance that your computer is slow due to malware slowing it down and running in the background. It might not just be malware – it might be software that interferes with your web browsing in order to track it and add additional ads, for example.
For added security, scan your computer with an antivirus program. You should also scan it with Malwarebytes , which catches a lot of “Potentially Unwanted Programs” (PUPs) that most antivirus programs tend to ignore. These programs try to sneak into your computer when you install other software, and you almost certainly don’t need them.
Free up disk space
If your hard drive is almost full, your computer may run noticeably slower. You want to give your computer space to work on your hard drive. Follow our guide to free up space on your Windows PC to free up space. You don’t need any third party software – just running the Disk Cleanup tool included with Windows can help a little.
Defragment your hard drive
In modern versions of Windows, hard disk defragmentation is not required. It automatically defragments mechanical hard drives in the background. Solid state drives don’t need traditional defragmentation, although modern versions of Windows “optimize” them – and that’s fine.
You don’t have to worry about defragmenting most of the time. However, if you have a mechanical hard drive and you’ve just placed a lot of files on it – like copying a huge database or gigabytes of PC game files – those files may be defragmented because Windows didn’t handle the task. defrag them some more. In this situation, you can open the disk defrag tool and run a scan to see if you need to run a manual defrag program.
Remove programs you don’t use
Open the Control Panel, find the list of installed programs and uninstall the programs you don’t use or need from your PC. This can help speed up your PC as these programs can include background processes, auto-start entries, system services, context menu entries, and other things that can slow down your PC. It will also save space on your hard drive and improve system security – for example, you definitely shouldn’t install Java if you’re not using it.
Restart your computer / reinstall Windows
If the other tips given here didn’t solve your problem, the only permanent solution to fix Windows problems – other than restarting your computer, of course – is to install a new Windows.
In modern versions of Windows, i.e. Windows 8, 8.1, 10, and 11, it’s easier than ever to get a fresh install of Windows. You don’t need to get Windows installation media and reinstall Windows. Instead, you can simply use the “Restart Computer” feature built into Windows to get a new, fresh Windows system. This is similar to reinstalling Windows and will remove your installed programs and system settings while keeping your files.
If your PC is still using a mechanical hard drive, switching to an SSD – or just adding an SSD to your next PC – will also greatly improve performance. In an age where most people won’t notice faster CPUs and GPUs, SSDs will provide the biggest boost to overall system performance for most people.