I’ve written on the topic of slow computers before and even created a nifty infographic to illustrate why it happens. But there are a few new things that are causing computers to be slow right now and I wanted to bring them up and offer some thoughts on what you can do about it.
We’ve Recently Crossed a Tipping Point With Memory – The amount of RAM that’s in your computer has an impact on how fast your computer feels. Not enough memory will make your computer slow. Most Windows 7 computers came with 4GB of RAM, many of them came with only 3GB of RAM (typically ones with a label that says, “Intel Pentium Inside”), this used to be plenty of RAM for most people, it isn’t any more. 4GB is just barely enough RAM to run Windows 7, Vista or Windows 10. We’ve upgraded a number of machines from 3GB to 4GB lately which has helped these relatively low-spec computers get another year of life out of them. But if you have a higher-spec machine that seems to be slowing down, an upgrade to 8GB will probably help a lot and buy you several more years of use.
Windows Update is Hurting the Performance of Computers – Go ahead, call me a conspiracy theorist, but I think Microsoft has degraded the performance of Windows Update on Windows 7 computers in its drive to coerce people to upgrade to Windows 10 (don’t fall for it). Regardless of the reason, it is objectively clear that a machine that is not fully up-to-date will be slowed down considerably by the Windows Update framework programs. Windows Update will swallow-up literally all of your RAM until it is satisfied. It will also eat into your CPU. If your computer seems suddenly slow, open Windows Update and make sure your computer updates will ALL of the important or recommended updates (stay away from the optional updates unless you know what you are doing).
Accessing the Hard Drive is Killing Your Performance – This is particularly evident in Windows 8 and Windows 10 installations but it applies to Windows 7 users as well. The slowest part of most computers is the hard drive. It’s a mechanical device that gets slower with time for a number of reasons. Most people know that “defragmenting” a hard drive can speed it up, and if your computer is a few years old, this may be worth trying, but if you want to see a magical transformation of your computer experience, upgrade to a Solid State Drive (SSD). SSD drives are getting really cheap now, the price of them has dropped by more than 50% in the last year. I’ve converted my own laptop and I’m telling you, it makes it feel like a brand new computer. I’ll get years more use out of this machine.
There you go. I’ve covered at least 90% of the cases of slow computers between these two articles. There’s no reason for you to suffer any longer!