Why is my computer running slowly and how can I fix it?
One of the most unfortunate (and frustrating) realities about the technology that we rely on every day is that it does not always age well. This is particularly true with our laptops and computers. Every day our computers and laptops help us run businesses, do schoolwork, and keep us connected. That everyday use means it’s easy to notice when they show signs of aging and subsequent slowing down.
We’re going to take a look at the reasons why computers slow down with age and what you can do to prevent it.
If you’ve been fortunate enough to never deal with a slow computer, you may be wondering what the signs of a slow laptop or computer are. Ask yourself:
- Does your computer take a long time to power up?
- Do your web pages take a long time to load completely?
- Does downloading photos or videos take longer than it used to?
- Are your streaming services often interrupted by buffering?
So, what causes a computer to slow down over time?
Experts say that the three most common reasons that our computers slow down over time are:
- Corruption in the software and hard drive of the computer
- Not having enough RAM or memory space
- Running out of hard disk space
If you don’t have a clue what one or more of those terms means, don’t worry—that’s where we come in. Understanding the way that your computer saves things is much simpler than it may seem.
When you bring home a brand new computer and take it out of the box, everything it does seems lightning fast. Well, that’s because a new computer is a blank slate—there’s nothing taking up any memory space yet. But over time, you start to download files, create documents, upload photos, and install apps and games. All of these tasks—even just surfing the web—begin to take up space in the computer’s memory. When you surf the web and visit your favorite sites, your computer remembers and takes notes in the background allowing you to access your favorite sites more easily the next time. They call this data ‘cookies’.
All this data is stored in your computer’s storage system which is broken into two buckets: the RAM (or memory) and the Hard Drive.
What’s the difference between the RAM and the Hard Drive?
The easiest way to compare the RAM and the hard drive is to compare it to the way that the human brain works. The RAM is like short-term memory. It contains everything that your computer anticipates that you might need soon, so that when you need it, you’ll get it fast. The hard drive is like long-term memory. It keeps track of essential and important data like how to run your programs and operating system. When the RAM starts to run out of space, it will begin to funnel data to your hard drive. While the hard drive can store a lot of data, it has its limits and as it gets full, you will start to see the signs that your computer is slowing down.
How do you prevent your computer from slowing down?
The good news is that there are several steps that you can take to ensure that your computer stays faster for longer.
- Clear your cache and browsing history
- Empty your computer’s trash can
- Delete unused files and programs (especially in your downloads folder)
- Upgrade your computer’s memory
Getting a computer memory upgrade
Remember when we said that the RAM can run out of space? That’s true, but you can also give it a boost allowing you more space and making your computer run faster. Upgrading your RAM is one of the quickest and easiest ways to make your computer run faster, but it does have a steep learning curve.
How to upgrade your computer’s memory
- Check how much RAM is currently installed on your computer and check how much it can support.
- Check what RAM format your motherboard supports. (This info can be found online or through the documentation that came with the computer).
- Purchase a pair of RAM modules.
- Take the computer apart and install the RAM.
See what we mean by a learning curve? We never suggest that a computer be taken apart by someone without a high level of repair knowledge. But luckily, we know some top-notch repair professionals who would love to help you upgrade your computer’s memory.
The helpful techs at uBreakiFix are offering a deal on RAM upgrades until August 30th! Bring your slow laptop or computer to uBreakiFix, and if they determine that the speed could be improved with a RAM upgrade, you’ll receive 10% off that upgrade service.
This promotion is valid until 8/31/2020 and is eligible in the US and Canada. Visit or call your local store for more details.