Why Is My Computer So Slow? Tips And Tricks to Solve the Issue

Are you irritated by how unproductive and frustratingly slow your computer has become? A lagging computer is a disappointment because it affects everything you do.

There could be any number of reasons why your computer performance has tanked: hardware problems, software issues, or just that thing's plain worn out.

In this post, we'll discuss some common causes of a slow computer and show you ways to speed things up.

Hopefully, by the time you've finished reading, you'll know what's slowing down your PC and how to give it a rocket boost for faster performance all around.

Short Summary

Why My Computer May Be Running Slow?

Portrait of young pretty woman with socked face expression, sitting at table working on laptop in co-working office, wearing glasses, stress at work, funny emotion, student in class room, frustration
Image by marymarkevich on Freepik

There are numerous reasons for a slow computer, and understanding them can help you troubleshoot the problem.

Insufficient storage space available on your hard drive is one frequent cause. When nearly full or completely full, a hard drive can hinder performance because there's little room for it to operate efficiently; think of it like trying to cook in a cluttered kitchen.

Outdated hardware could also be slowing down your computer. This might include an old or failing hard drive (or one too small to hold all your files), needing more RAM for efficient multitasking, or a low-power processor that struggles with demanding software.

Slow computer speed can also result from software problems. Things like malware infections, useless background processes, and having too many programs set up to run on startup can all take-up resources and slow down performance.

For instance, if you have several programs running in the background at once, they might compete for resources and make your computer run slowly.

Additionally, if you still need to install updates for your operating system (OS), it could lead to compatibility issues that reduce efficiency.

By addressing these common causes of a slow-running computer—such as those listed above—you may be able to boost both its speed and overall performance substantially.

How to Fix a Slow Computer

When you understand the reasons behind your computer's sluggishness, rectifying the issue becomes possible.

Improving your computer's speed and performance to enjoy smooth use is possible by addressing storage space, upgrading hardware, optimizing software, and managing system resources well. Let's take a look at potential fixes:

Restart Your PC

Front view office worker behind office desk talking
Image by mdjaff on Freepik

Restarting your computer is a primary troubleshooting step that can fix many problems, such as software malfunctions, sluggish performance, and system errors.

It resets the state of your computer's system processes, clears its memory, and reloads drivers and hardware interfaces without deleting any personal data.

On Windows computers, you can restart by clicking the Start button, then clicking the power icon, and then choosing Restart. This will close your open programs and apps before safely restarting the system, which ensures that any recent changes from Windows Update are correctly installed.

Mac users can find Restart under the Apple menu at the top-left corner of the screen. When you select this option, macOS closes any open documents you haven't saved yet asks if you want to do so) and then reboots itself. After a moment, your Mac starts back up - refreshed.

Delete Temporary Files Regularly

When it comes to keeping your computer healthy and running efficiently, regularly deleting temporary files is essential.

These files are created by your operating system and various applications as they carry out tasks. But over time, they can build up and take up space on your disk drive, potentially slowing down your computer or causing software to misbehave.

By removing them, you can free up valuable storage and help boost performance. Plus, systems with less clutter start faster.

On Windows, you can do this via the Disk Cleanup utility: just search for it in the Start menu, then choose the types of file you'd like to remove – such as temporary files – before selecting which disk drive to clean.

Temporary files are more hidden on macOS, but you can access them by opening Finder and then using Shift+Cmd+G (or from the Go drop-down menu picking Go to Folder) followed by typing in ~/Library/Caches.

You'll then see folders containing transient data from various apps/system processes. Feel free to delete everything within those folders manually!

Utilize Task Manager for Performance Insights

If you want to see how well your computer is doing - whether its memory, CPU power, disk usage or Wi-Fi activity – one quick way to find out is by opening the Task Manager on a PC or the Activity Monitor on a Mac.

These built-in system tools show what apps and background processes are gobbling up resources (which might be why your machine feels slow). You can also use them to quit tasks that aren't responding, among other things.

On Windows, select Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc. It's there you'll be able to see currently running applications alongside background processes, close down anything that's not responding as well and monitor how well hardware components are chugging along.

On Mac, Activity Monitor can be found in the Utilities folder within Applications. Once open, it provides detailed information about all processes currently running on your machine and their impact on system resources.

Ensure Adequate Free Space

Young businessman using computer at the office
Image by master1305 on Freepik

Ensuring that you have enough free space available on your computer's storage drive is essential for several reasons. For example, it helps keep the system running smoothly and stably.

Besides, it enables the operating system to use disk space for functions such as caching and virtual memory (which can seriously slow things down or cause crashes if there isn't enough room) and permits important updates to be installed (sometimes they won't go in unless sufficient free space is available).

Experts suggest you aim to keep at least 15-20% of your drive's total capacity free.

On Windows computers this can be managed via the Storage area within System Settings. Here you can see how disk space is being used and remove things like redundant temporary files using features such as Storage Sense.

For Mac users, check out Manage Storage, which is accessed via the Apple menu > About This Mac > Storage. Among its recommendations for ways to optimize storage are storing files in iCloud, going through large items and deleting any that are no longer needed, plus getting rid of any apps that have fallen into disuse.

Upgrade Your RAM

One of the most efficient methods for improving your computer's performance is to upgrade its random access memory (RAM). When you increase the amount of RAM in your computer, the machine can handle more processes at once.

This means you can multitask more efficiently, enjoy speedier software performance, and experience better overall responsiveness from the system as a whole.

To upgrade the RAM in a Windows computer, you will generally need to buy compatible memory modules and install them physically in your motherboard's DIMM slots, following the manufacturer's guidelines.

In Mac computers, check whether or not your particular model allows an upgrade: many newer machines have RAM that is soldered in place, meaning it cannot be changed.

For those Apple desktops and laptops that do permit RAM upgrades – such as some versions of the iMac – you can usually gain access to the memory slots by opening up the computer.

Consult Apple's guidelines and double-check compatibility before purchasing new RAM modules.

Install Quality Antivirus Software

If you want to shield your computer from cyber threats such as malware, viruses, ransomware, and hacking tools that could compromise or slow down your data, then it's important to install good-quality antivirus software.

This type of program doesn't just sit there waiting for something nasty to turn up. It actively scans files you download or copy onto your machine, programs you run (including websites), any online surfing you do, and email attachments.

It tries to identify anything wrong before it can cause trouble – which often includes removing the infected file altogether. Antivirus software also automatically checks for and downloads newer versions of virus databases that help recognize new threats.

If you use Windows, the operating system comes with a program called Windows Defender that works fine for most people. But if you want extra features and more thorough security tools, it is worth installing something else.

MacOS also has some useful security features built in. However, because Apple computers are becoming increasingly popular with hackers, it makes sense to consider adding antivirus software from a third party.

Disable Unnecessary Startup Programs

By disabling startup programs that are not necessary, you can make your computer start up faster and overall perform better because you will have more memory and processing power available.

Lots of applications configure themselves so they launch when you start up your computer – this can slow down boot time as well as reduce how efficiently your system runs.

If you're using Windows, open Task Manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc), then go to the Startup tab: this gives you a simple list of everything that starts on bootup and lets you disable things one by one to see if it makes a difference.

For Mac users, click the Apple logo in the top-left corner of your screen, then select System Preferences > Users & Groups. In the window that opens, you'll see a list of all 'Login items' on the right-hand side.

To stop programs from opening automatically when you log in, highlight them (by clicking them), then hit the "-" button.

Adjust Advanced System Settings for Performance

Young entrepreneur working at night
Image by freepik on Freepik

If you have an older computer that you want to run faster and more efficiently, one way to do so could be by adjusting its advanced system settings for performance. This means changing your computer's preferences so that it prioritizes how well it works over how good it looks.

On Windows computers, go to "This PC" (you can find this by searching in the taskbar), then select Properties. Next, click on "Advanced system settings."

Under the Performance tab, click on Settings and choose "Adjust for best performance." This will get rid of a lot of fancy effects like animations and shadows, which can slow down an older machine.

If you have a Mac computer, things are a bit different - but don't worry! You can still make sure your computer is running as well as possible by checking some boxes.

Open up System Preferences from the Apple menu icon and head into Accessibility > Display. Here you'll find options to "Reduce motion" along with "Reduce transparency" – ticking both of these may help increase system responsiveness, especially if you're using an older Mac.

Clear Disk Space of Unnecessary Files

To keep your computer running well, it's important to get rid of files and programs you don't need. These can build up over time and take up space on your hard drive – which might slow down your system.

Windows has a tool called Disk Cleanup that deletes temporary files, system files (such as those left over from a previous Windows installation), and other things that aren't necessary.

To open it, just type "Disk Cleanup" into the search bar next to the Windows icon at the bottom left. Once open, select which drive you'd like to clean up; then choose the types of file you want deleted.

On a Mac, click on the Apple logo at the top left of the screen > About This Mac > Storage tab > Manage.

Here, among other recommendations for how best to use your storage (such as automatically emptying trash after 30 days), are ways to help refine what's taking up space, such as reviewing large files and deleting any you no longer need or moving them to iCloud.

Disable Windows Search Indexing on Older Systems

Disabling Windows search indexing can boost performance on older systems by reducing the background processing power needed to index files for quick search. This is especially useful for low-resource systems, where indexing might otherwise noticeably affect how quickly things happen.

To turn off search indexing in Windows, go to Control Panel > Indexing Options. Click Modify, followed by Show all locations. Then, you can deselect places or entire drives that you don't want indexed.

For a more extreme option, completely turn off the Windows Search service by typing "services.msc" into the Start menu search box, find Windows Search from the list, double-click it, and change its startup type to Disabled.

This stops indexing entirely – freeing up resources such as CPU usage and disk space – but makes file searches take longer.

Uninstall Unnecessary Programs

Front view young man in elegant classic suit using his laptop on white background
Image by KamranAydinov on Freepik

Removing unnecessary software programs is an effective way to improve system performance and free up disk space. Over time, accumulated software that you no longer use or need can take up valuable storage space and even run background processes that slow down your computer.

On Windows, one can uninstall programs by going to Control Panel > Programs > Uninstall a Program. Here you will see a list of installed applications. Choose the program you wish to remove, click on "Uninstall" then follow the prompts on screen to complete the process.

For Mac users, getting rid of an application is usually as simple as opening Finder, navigating to the Applications folder, and dragging the unwanted app into the Trash.

However, some applications might leave residual files behind. For a more thorough removal, you could use a third-party app designed to completely uninstall Mac apps.

Manage Virtual Memory Settings

Virtual memory is an integral part of your computer's operating system. It allows your computer to use space on your hard disk as if it were RAM when it runs out of actual RAM. By managing virtual memory settings, you can improve performance – particularly if you have limited RAM.

On Windows, you can adjust virtual memory by going to Control Panel > System and Security > System > Advanced system settings.

In the Performance section, click on Settings, then go to the Advanced tab and click Change under Virtual Memory. Here, you can alter the size of your paging file; increasing it may help boost performance.

Virtual memory management in macOS is automatic – you don't need to manually adjust anything. However, keeping your system and applications streamlined and ensuring your hard drive has enough free space will help maintain optimal virtual memory usage as well as overall system performance.

Keep Your Operating System Up-to-Date

Your operating system needs regular updates to run correctly and securely. Updates can fix bugs, improve performance, and add new features.

On Windows, go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update or type "Windows update" into the search bar and click on the matching result.

On Macs, open the Apple menu and select System Preferences > Software Update—this will show you whether any updates are available for your system.

If you have a recent version of macOS (Apple's operating system), you can tick a box to allow your computer to install future updates automatically. Otherwise, click "Install" to proceed with any available updates.

Monitor Programs Running in the Background

Portrait very busy young businesswoman in formal suit with laptop talking on phone, looking at watch. Being late, job, managment, meetings, working, profession
Image by lookstudio on Freepik

Efficiently controlling and overseeing background programs is crucial for keeping your computer running smoothly. These applications might use essential system resources like disk space, memory, or processing power – potentially slowing down your machine.

On Windows computers, this activity can be observed via the Task Manager (press Ctrl+Shift+Esc). Opened programs and processes appear here, along with how much CPU, memory, and other resources each is using. You can close anything hogging resources to free them up right then and there.

Mac users have a similar function called Activity Monitor (it lives in Applications/Utilities). Want to see what's going on behind the scenes? Open Activity Monitor! If you spot an application using too many resources and don't need it open, select it, then click the "x" button in the toolbar.

Optimize Your Computer Hardware

Optimizing your computer hardware can significantly improve performance and increase its lifespan. Upgrades such as increasing RAM, switching to a solid-state drive (SSD), or updating your graphics card can provide substantial improvements in speed, responsiveness, and the ability to run modern software efficiently.

Hardware upgrades on Windows PCs are generally straightforward. Before buying new components, make sure they're compatible with your motherboard and power supply. Installation often involves opening the case, removing or adding hardware, and possibly updating drivers via Device Manager.

Mac users have fewer options for hardware optimization because Apple's design is proprietary. However, some models allow you to upgrade the RAM or add external devices like eGPUs (external graphics processing units) for better performance.

Check what upgrades your specific model can handle, and if you're not comfortable doing them yourself, consider professional help.


It is indeed annoying when your computer runs slowly. However, you can make a big difference by discovering what's wrong and trying solutions.

You can do many things to speed up your computer – from checking how storage space is used to updating hardware or using software and system resources better.

By taking care of these issues yourself, you can prevent them from becoming bigger problems down the line—and ensure that your computer continues to run efficiently, too. That way, you'll be able to work productively and enjoy using your computer more!

Remember: regular maintenance matters! Keep an eye on things (or automate where possible) so that future slowdowns don't creep up on you unexpectedly – meaning that you will continue getting excellent performance from your machine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is My Computer Suddenly So Slow?

There are several possible reasons for a sudden slowdown. Insufficient RAM, software problems, malware infection, or even overheating could slow down your system. Consider any recent changes or updates that may have caused the situation and take steps to fix them if necessary.

How Can I Fix My Slow Computer?

To speed up a sluggish computer, try clearing disk space, updating software and drivers, running virus scans regularly, paring down startup programs, and optimizing your system settings. Also, consider regular hardware upgrades and maintenance checks.

What Are Two Possible Causes of a Computer Running Slowly?

Two potential causes of a slow computer are needing more free storage space on your hard drive or having out-of-date hardware components such as too little RAM memory installed or an older processor chip (CPU). If either situation applies in your case, they can definitely affect overall performance—but there are ways to deal with these issues.

How Can You Tell What Is Slowing Down Your PC?

Use Task Manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc) to identify high-resource-using processes and check for error messages in Event Logs. To pinpoint which applications may be causing problems, use performance monitoring tools like Resource Monitor and troubleshoot those ones accordingly.