Why is a new computer blazing fast today, but in a few months slows down to a crawl?  Is it wearing out?  Did I do something wrong?  Is there any way to prevent it?

There is a reason people joke that computers are obsolete the second you open the box.  Whether your computer is only newly-obsolete, or you bought it used from Fred Flintstone, here are some things that slow down your computer & tips to avoid them.


1) Too Many Programs- Your computer has limited resources, and unless you have a computer repair technician help you with an upgrade, you have to stay within the bounds of those resources.  To use a car as an example, there is a limit to how much horsepower a particular engine can produce, and no matter how hard you push on the gas pedal, your poor car can’t accelerate any faster.  Filling your trunk with a ton of bricks certainly isn’t going to help matters.

Your computer is the same as the car in the example.  The more “bricks” that you put in the “trunk”, the slower your computer can “accelerate.”  While most programs only use resources during active use, many programs like to run in the background and steal your “horsepower” without you knowing.  For some programs this is necessary, such as security programs, but for many others, this is a huge waste.  One of the best ways to speed up your computer is to stop programs from starting automatically.

2) Operating System Rot- Your operating system (Windows for most readers) is like your computer’s foundation.  Over time, the foundation wears-out making your computer unstable.  This will happen eventually no matter what you do, but some common habits speed up this process.  Whenever you install and uninstall a program, it is like drilling a hole into the foundation.  A few holes won’t hurt, but if it gets excessive, the foundation will crumble.  Before you download that cool smiley program, ask yourself if you really need it.  For people with young kids, make sure they don’t have administrative access so that they can’t install anything without you entering a password.

3) Malware (Virus) Infections – We have beat this to death in other articles, but just to reinforce the idea, MALWARE IS BAD!  Not only do computer viruses rob your computer of resources, but can often rob you of your identity.  Also, paying a computer repair technician for virus removal can be expensive.  Even if properly removed, viruses are another big cause of operating system rot mentioned in #2 above.

4) Software Bloat – Programs are designed with the average power of computers at that time in mind.  Every time you get a new program, it was probably designed for a computer slightly more powerful than the one you have.  Over time, whenever you update Windows, or any other program, they take up more and more of your “horsepower.”

5) Heat Buildup – Again, this is a topic that we have beaten to death, but fits in again here.  Heat is bad for electronics and cool electronics run faster.  Clean dust build-up regularly and make sure your computer can breathe.

One final note: stay away from programs promising to speed up your computer.  At best, these programs are worthless, at worst, they can damage your computer or contain viruses.  Your best bet is to properly maintain your computer from the get-go, or take it to a competent computer repair shop for a tune-up.

For questions, comments, or article topics, send an email to readermailbag@compuclinic.us.


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