The problem: Computer is slow. Windows is slow to start up and programs are slow to open. It should take less than a minute for any modern computer to start up.
This usually leads people to think one of two things:
a) This computer is getting old – time for a new one.
b) If I had a Mac like all my friends, this wouldn’t happen to me. Windows computers are no good.
Why computer is slow?
The computer is clogged up with programs and data you or your kids have installed. For example, Torrent or other movie/music downloading software is a common source of issues which is often forgotten and left running in the background. Besides the fact that it may be illegal, this software will likely also slow down your internet connection. And if you’re paying for a limited quantity of data with a provider such as BigPond, you could be paying more to download free stuff than you’d pay for purchased copyrighted material.
Solution #1 – most popular solution to all computer problems – get a new one!
Expense: $500 – $3,000
Time: 1 – 14 days (including shopping, delivery time, installation of programs and data transferring)
Positive results: New computers do run faster. Moore’s law states that CPU’s speed increases approximately twice every 2 years. Unfortunately, other computer components such as hard disks do not get faster at this rate.
Negative results: While it’s relatively easy to transfer your data yourself, setting up a new computer from scratch means that most programs and preferred settings will be lost and you’ll need to spend extra time putting everything back as it was on your old machine. A computer technician can help you transfer everything exactly as it was before.
– Your new PC will get slow again after some time if you keep up the old habits that got you into trouble in the first place. Mac is no exception to this, however you might love it so much you’d never admit it has a flaw.
– Some data can be lost while transferring to a new PC or Mac.
– Viruses can be transferred along with the data from your old computer bringing along with them all your old problems onto your new machine.
It’s really worth investing in a new PC when:
a) The computer breaks due to hardware failure, typically after 4 years.
b) You’re obsessed with new technology with the fastest speed and total reliability.
c) You’re not paying for it.
Solution #2 – Clean up (and speed up) your computer by yourself
Time: 30 minutes – 1 day
Positive results: You will save money and learn something new.
Negative results: It takes time and patience. There is a chance you will not fix the issue completely or you might even make problem worse. Then you will have to pay more for professional help.
Use Google to find computer clean-up software. One of the few I use is Ccleaner (formally known as Crap Cleaner). The free version will install bundles containing Google Chrome or other additional software, but you can disable the bundles during installation. The other option is to buy the professional version that comes without unwanted additions.
Ccleaner will delete temporary files left on your computer from internet browsing and other activities which could have been piling up for up to a few years (!).
Warning: This software can delete saved passwords and other useful data if you don’t know what you’re doing.
After temporary files are cleaned up, uninstall unnecessary software by going to Start – Control Panel – Programs and Features. You can sort installed programs by installation date by clicking on the column header ‘Installed on’. Start from programs installed last. If you recall when your computer started getting slower, you might actually be able to single out the program that caused the trouble.
Pay attention to the program’s ‘Publisher’ column – who made the program? Programs without a ‘Publisher’ are generally less trusted. If you cannot remember downloading a program, you can search the net for program or publisher name to decide whether or not you need this program.
Be aware that programs sometimes come in packages; you might recognise one program but not other necessary components or drivers that came with it. In this case, you need to consult a computer technician before you delete potentially important program files.
One of the most common programs that cause problems and slowdowns of PC computers are Apple iTunes and Apple QuickTime. Try uninstalling it and note the difference. Often people install iTunes and use it only once or twice to set up their iPhone or other Apple devices and then forget about it. Unused iTunes programs get outdated and can cause issues. Uninstalling a program does not usually remove your personal data. So uninstalling iTunes does not remove your mp3 music. You can download and install the latest iTunes fresh or use another music player such as Media Player built in to Windows.
Don’t get too excited. Sometimes people download and install a bunch of ‘speed optimisers’ ‘system cleaners’ and even two or more antiviruses at the same time! This does nothing but harm. These programs can start interfering with each other and the computer could get stuck. Also beware of false ‘system optimisers’ which are on the net. They claim to catch and fix a lot of errors and bugs on your system but their only purpose is to either squeeze money out of you or worse, bug your computer.
The other most common problem with slow computer speed is not in the computer itself but is instead linked to network related issues. Try using the computer without the network cable being plugged in, or with the Wi-Fi modem turned off. If the issue persists, it’s a computer problem. If something changes, there’s a good chance the problem is in the network. Computers connected to each other on the same network can slow each other down dramatically. At the office or at home, whether or not you’re using local networks, the different devices in your environment may be communicating with each other. A network setup relevant to your needs can boost computer speed without having to buy a new one. Other issues could be related to your internet provider or the distance of your connection from the telephone exchange.
Solution #3 – Call a professional computer repair service.
All you have to worry about then is my name and phone number. Depending on the problem, the cost could be as low as $45 and range up to $300 and the work can be done within a few hours or the next day. I can do it remotely no matter where you are.