There are quite a few things that can cause your computer to run slow, but they can be categorized into two broad groups. Hardware and software. Let’s take a look at each category.
The primary items in this category that can slow down your computer includes Malware & PUP’s, a fragmented hard drive, runaway processes, and Windows may need a tune-up.
- Malware and PUP’s
Malware includes viruses, spyware, and basically any program that has malicious intent. The term Malware comes from combining the term malicious and software. a PUP is a potentially unwanted program. These are programs that are not malicious by nature, but tend to cause problems like slowing down your computer, changing your browser settings, and so forth. Many of these can be prevented or cleaned up with your security software assuming you have good security software.
- Fragmented Hard Drive
Some may consider this to be hardware and not software, but its software because you can fix it by running a defrag program. Let’s say you want to take your rifle down to the shooting range to practice. But all of the pieces of your rifle are in different parts of your house so you have to go find each piece of your rifle and put it together before you can head out to the rifle range. In this example, your rifle is fragmented. Having to get all of the pieces and put it together takes time. If your gun was all assembled and in one spot, you could just grab it and go. This is how it is when files on your hard drive are fragmented. When files are fragmented and your computer accesses that file, it takes a lot longer to read that file than if the file was assembled and in one spot. Fragmented files can dramatically slow down your computer. The fix is to defrag your hard drive.
- Runaway Processes
A runaway process is when a program running on your computer takes a large amount of resources thus causing other processes to run slowly. A process may hog the processor or the hard drive or memory. The only way to handle this is to use Task Manager to figure out which process is causing the problem and then based on the program, figure out how to resolve the problem. The program could be a part of Windows or some software you installed.
- Windows Needs a Tune-up
Over time, as Windows runs, it gets dirty and needs to be cleaned from time to time. The list of things we do during a tune-up is very long, but some of the actions we take include cleaning up old temporary files, removing un-needed/un-wanted software, stopping programs from running automatically if they don’t need to, and more. When we do a tune-up, that service includes all of the software related items in this list plus many more.
The primary items in this category that can slow down your computer include Processor, Memory, and Hard Drive. Let’s take a look at each one.
The processor is the brain of your computer. A faster processor with more cores may speed up your computer depending on what processor you currently have and how you use your computer. This is not a cheap upgrade and you have to be very careful to get the right processor. But it really doesn’t matter because it is not possible to upgrade the processor in most manufactured computers from the main manufacturers like Dell, HP, etc. It’s possible on some desktops, but not a lot. And it’s generally not possible in most laptops. The processor can be upgraded in most custom built computers but for most people, upgrading is not an option and not something you should attempt on your own.
Memory can be upgraded in all desktops and most laptops if memory is not already maxed out and it’s not an ultralight type laptop. Will adding memory speed up your computer? That depends on how much memory you have now and how you use your computer. If your computer has 2GB of memory, upgrading will help it run faster. If you have 6GB of memory, it may not make much difference. Upgrading memory is fairly easy in most desktops and easy in many laptops. However, some laptops have be disassembled for a memory upgrade. The cost of the upgrade depends on the type of memory needed and how much you need.
- Hard Drive
The hard drive can be upgraded in all computers. PC’s are generally fairly easy. Laptops vary. Some are very easy while others require you to completely disassemble the laptop. Upgrading a hard drive isn’t as simple as removing the old hard drive and installing the new one. The hard drive is where Windows is installed and where all of the programs and files are stored. What you have to do is clone your old hard drive to the new one, then remove the old one and install the new one.In years past, a hard drive upgrade meant replacing a small hard drive with a larger hard drive. But today, it means upgrading from a mechanical hard drive to a solid state drive (SSD). If your computer has a mechanical hard drive, upgrading to an SSD will make a huge difference in performance. Upgrading an old system with an SSD will bring an old computer back to life. Why? Because SSD’s are so much faster than mechanical hard drives. In addition, fragmentation is not an issue on SSD’s so you don’t have to worry about de-fragmenting your SSD.
Now that you know all of that, you may be wondering what you should do on your computer to help speed it up. We can look at your computer and evaluate it and give you a recommendation. However, for most computers, you’ll want to address all of the items on the software list, and item 3 on the hardware list.
If you aren’t inclined to do any of these things yourself, we can, of course, do it for you. Our tune-up service addresses all 4 of the software items listed and much more. This service is $120 to $150 depending on if the tune up is done remotely or in person.
An SSD upgrade cost will vary depending on the size drive you need, but the range is $250 – $350.
If you have us do a tune-up and an SSD upgrade at the same time, the tune-up will be discounted to $90.
Many people have a computer that is 3-4 years old that is running slow and are thinking about getting a new computer. A new (good) computer will cost $500-$600. If you have us transfer everything over from the old computer to the new one, that costs $150, bringing the total cost of a new computer to $650-$750.
If we take your old computer and do a tune up and an SSD upgrade, that will most likely cost $340. The upgraded old computer will be faster than that new computer would have been and you saved hundreds of dollars.