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What Can a Slow Laptop Mean?

Laptops are one of the most powerful mobile devices we use at home and in the office. We fill it with programs, apps, games, and media to turn it into a customized fit for purpose machine. In the beginning, it will run smoothly, but after some time, it will start to be sluggish. It won’t make sense because we invested in high-end specs and had it customized.

Eventually, we will begin to ask, why is my laptop so slow? The good news is, your computer can be fixed and made to operate at optimum levels again. A lot of the fixes you can conduct yourself, but there are a few that need expertise and a proper workshop.

Viruses and Malware

Viruses and other malware can make your laptop run slow by design or because they are running in the background. To get rid of malware, you start by updating your antivirus software. You can purchase a top-notch service or settle with the free option that comes with the operating system. Once updated, run a full scan of your laptop. This may take a while, so be patient.

Low Disk Space

Somewhere down the line, you, or most likely people that used your laptop, probably downloaded programs that are no longer in use. These programs take up space on your hard drive, and they also take up RAM if they are active when you start your laptop.

You will have to find these programs and uninstall them (remove them forever). To uninstall programs:

  1. Click the Start button, type “add or remove programs” and press the “Enter” key to launch the Add or Remove Programs screen.
  2. Click unneeded programs and then click “Uninstall.”

If you want to add more disk space to your laptop’s hard drive, then you have the following options:

  • Replace your current hard drive with a larger one. This is a straightforward process, but if you have never done it before, then get a technician to do it for you.
  • Attach an external hard drive to your laptop. All your big files can be transferred to the external hard drive. The downside to this is that an external hard drive is easy to forget.

Your laptop creates temporary files from programs it runs and websites it has visited, among other reasons. These temporary files eventually take up a lot of disk space, to free up your disk space try the following:

  • Launch the Disk Cleanup by clicking the Start button, typing “disk cleanup” and pressing enter. In the program, check the items you want to delete, then press “OK.”
  • Disk Cleanup does not delete all temporary files, so you may have to do it yourself manually. So, click the Start button, type “%temp%” and press the “Enter” key. Select all the files, then delete them all. If you receive a prompt about files still being in use and can’t be deleted, then skip them and continue.

Low Memory

Your RAM determines how much memory you have. RAM determines which programs can be installed in your laptop, how well they run, and, most importantly, how many can be run simultaneously. So if your device is slow, it could be because your RAM is low. You could upgrade your RAM by simply buying a bigger one, but some laptops cannot change the RAM.

To free up the number of programs that launch at startup, you:

  1. Click the Start button,
  2. Launch the System Configuration panel by typing “msconfig” and pressing the “Enter” key.
  3. Navigate to the “Startup” tab and remove the check in the box next to every item you don’t need running on your laptop.

When you reboot your laptop, only the selected programs will start up, freeing up space on your device.

Programs running in the background also take up RAM while you are using your laptop. To view all running programs and how much memory and CPU they are using, you can launch the Task Manager.

An antivirus could be running in the background and hence slowing your laptop. You should let it complete its work. Once it’s done, the laptop’s performance will be back to normal.

It’s usual for us to multitask on our laptops, this results in us opening too many windows, programs, and browser tabs. All of this can slow down a laptop, so close unnecessary programs, Windows and tabs.

Damaged or Fragmented Hard Drive

To check the hard drive for errors, run ScanDisk, chkdsk, or something equivalent. They will notify you if there is anything physically wrong with the laptop’s hard drive.

Sometimes program files are scattered across your hard drive and making them slower. Running Defrag will organize the data, make it easier to read, and make it run faster. Here’s how:

  1. Click the “Start” button, type “defrag” and open the Disk Defragment program.
  2. Click “Defragment and Optimize Drives,” find your hard drive, it’s usually “OS (C)” with the Windows logo on its left.
  3. Click “Optimize” to start the defrag process.

After the process is done, you will see zero percent fragmented. There may be temporary files created, so delete those (as shown above) when you are done.

Optimize Your Laptop’s Performance

A lot of the processes above can also be done regularly to keep your machine optimum, like cleaning your disk, running antivirus, reducing the number of open programs etc. So adopt smart habits and keep your laptop at its optimum.


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