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  3. My Computer is Slow! What Can I Do?

So your computer has slowed down noticeably. Whether it’s all of a sudden or it’s been getting slower for a long time, you’ve decided that something needs to be done. Over the next couple of weeks, we’re going to go through some of the major cause
s behind that sluggish behaviour.

As always, if you have any issue, feel free to contact us. We’re always happy to help.

This week, we’re going to take a look at two areas where you computer might slow down. First off, when you’re browsing the internet and second, when booting up and logging in.

The internet is slow, but only on my computer

This differs from when the internet is slow for everyone on your network. In that case, the issue is more likely to be related to your modem or your internet service provider.

If the internet is only slow for you, and only when you’re using a web browser, (such as Firefox, Chrome, Edge or Internet Explorer,) it’s most like an issue with your computer. The first thing to check is just how many tabs you have open. In conjunction with excess extension and/or toolbars, having too many tabs open at once can slow down your browsing experience.

Firstly, Extensions

Browser extensions (or add-ons for Internet Explorer,) are normally something that you’ve decided to install and activate. They can enhance your browsing experience and generally aid you in surfing the web. The problem comes when they stop enhancing your browsing and start hindering it instead. There are two main reasons for this. First, one or more of your extensions may be malicious. This could be malware that’s actively trying to harm your computer or steal your information; or it could be adware that’s recording information about you and showing excess ads. Secondly, you could simply have too many installed.

Each time you load a new page, all of your extensions are run. Now for one or two extensions, it’s not a big deal, but when every extension you have takes time to load it can really start to add up.

Fortunately, the solution is a simple one. Navigate to your your browser’s settings, then to the extensions/add-ons. From here, simply select and remove all of the unwanted and unneeded extensions.

When trying to decide whether or not to remove an extension, ask you self if you know what it is or where it came from. If you do, great! You can safely remove it if desired. If not, a good rule of thumb is to do a quick search before removing it, just to ensure that nothing depends on it. A good tool for this is, a website dedicated to letting you know if what software is safe and what is not.

Most extensions can be removed without worrying about dependencies. If there is a program on your computer that depends on or uses that extension, it is unlikely that you would be removing the extension in the first place.

A series of extensions and toolbars installed in Firefox

Next, there are the Toolbars

As with extensions, having too many toolbars can slow down your browsing experience. Unlike extensions though, even a single toolbar can slow down your browser. Whilst extension will almost always be something that you’ve installed yourself, toolbars often come bundled up with other software. Unfortunately, it can be quite easy to miss the little check box that will install the toolbar if you fail to clear it. (Or in some cases, it will install the toolbar so long as the box is left unchecked.)

Chrome currently doesn’t support toolbars so you don’t need to worry about them there, but if you’re using Internet Explorer or Firefox, you’ll want to remove any toolbars installed there. Toolbars are removed in the same way as extensions and are found in and removed from the same location.

As with extensions, always make sure that you know where all of your toolbars came from. If you don’t, do a quick search before deciding on if you really need to keep them. Unlike extensions though, almost all toolbars are completely independent of other software. This means that even if you remove them, there shouldn’t be any issues with any of your other software..

Now that you’ve removed all of your toolbars and extensions youshould find that pages are loading faster. If they’re not and you’re finding that your internet is still running slowly, then the cause is most likely elsewhere. That said, in that case, you probably skipped right over this section as its likely that your computer is just running slowly as a whole.

My computer runs fine, it just takes ages to turn on

Your computer runs fine, maybe a little slow, but it’s not the end of the world. When you’re turning it on however, is another story entirely. Maybe you get to work, turn on your computer, go grab a coffee and have a bit of a chat. When you finally get back to your desk and sit down, you find that your computer hasn’t finished loading. Or even if it has, it feels like an age between typing in your password when your computer finally finishes loading. There are two main reasons why this could be happening to you. Either you’ve got too many programs starting with Windows, or there’s an issue with your hard drive.

You’ve got too many programs starting with Windows

This is a rather common issue as a lot of programs will startup with Windows. This may not seem like such a big deal, but when you’re computer is trying to load 10 different programs at the same time it can really slow everything down.

To see what programs run on startup, you need to take a look at the Windows Startup Services.

In Windows 7, all startup programs are displayed in MSConfig. To get there, open the start menu, type MSConfig and click on msconfig.exe. Click on the Startup tab you will see a list of all the items that start when you turn on your computer. To stop a service from running on startup, simply clear the checkbox next to its name. Once you’ve deselected all the services you wish to stop from running on startup, simply click OK. If you’re not sure what program a given service is associated with, it’s probably best to do a quick search before disabling it.

In Windows 8 and 10, the startup services are found in the Startup tab of Task Manager. Task Manager can either be accessed through Ctrl+Alt+Del or from the search feature in the Start Menu. To disable a service, simple select it and click the Disable button. As before, if there’s something you’re unsure about, a quick search can tell you all you need to know about a given service.

There’s an issue with your hard drive

There are two main reasons why your hard drive could slow down the boot time. The first is that the drive could be failing, which is a separate issue entirely. If it is, then it’s time to backup and upgrade it. Give us a call and we can help you upgrade to a new drive quickly and smoothly.

The second possible issue is that your hard drive could simply be full.

Now while this may not seem like the type of thing to slow your computer, it can have a real impact on boot time. Windows requires 10-15% of the drive to be empty in order to boot smoothly. While you could fill up your drive completely, maintaining a minimum of 15% of your hard drive free will give you a faster boot time and smoother experience all round.

Regardless of which drive Windows is installed on, you should try to keep at least 15% of that free. If you have another drive installed on your computer, the best practice is to use it to store all of your documents and other files. The primary drive, where Windows is installed, should only be used to install all of your programs. Storing all of your files on the secondary drive allows you to more easily keep a minimum of 15% of the primary drive free, allowing for faster boot times.

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