Do you have a slow computer? Have you found your staff wasting time trying to resolve trivial computer problems or staring at loading screens? Unsurprisingly, slow computers are commonly to blame for low productivity, a lack of motivation, and lax cybersecurity practices. All these factors translate into reduced profits. If you are dealing with a slow computer or if you think your computers aren’t operating optimally, here are 10 common reasons, along with the easiest ways to fix them:
#1. It’s loaded with Bloatware
New laptops, smartphones, and tablets often come with what manufacturers describe as ‘preinstalled software.’ In reality, what this means is junk software that often runs automatically at start-up and hogs system resources. That’s why it’s always best to start with a blank hard drive and install your own operating system and software. But if your system came with a glut of bloatware, make sure to ask an IT professional which programs to remove and uninstall them.
#2. It’s Overheating
It’s not just people who play video games who have to worry about overheating PCs. In fact, workplace computers are often just as susceptible because they end up with dust-ridden interiors. An excessive build-up of dust acts like an insulated blanket and can even increase the risk of a short circuit causing permanent damage to the hardware.
That’s why you should regularly clean a computer’s internals using cans of compressed air. As for laptops, the process might be a little more complicated since you’ll have to carefully remove the casing, but managed services providers should be able to help you.
#3. Your Software Is Out of Date
Outdated software is among the most common reasons behind hackers and malicious software managing to exploit system vulnerabilities. However, aside from critical security patches, software updates often add usability and performance enhancements too. For example, with its shift towards a service-based model; Windows 10 gets regularly updated for security, performance, and features. That’s why you should get in the habit of updating the operating system, drivers, and any other software on your machine.
#4. It’s running out of Storage Space
Given the enormous size of conventional hard drives, running out of storage space might not seem like a problem. However, when storage usage is over 70% you’ll begin to notice significant drops in performance. This means you need to remove old, unused applications. Though Disk Clean-up can help, you should still regularly review your list of installed applications in the Control Panel. Also, don’t forget to check software licenses and see whether there are newer versions of software you can install. Ultimately, good software asset management will allow you to ensure peak performance.
#5. The Hard Drive Is Corrupted
Hard drives have a finite lifespan, especially in the case of solid-state drives, which can fail without any warning once they’ve reached maximum capacity. Aside from illustrating the obvious need to keep everything backed up, a corrupted hard drive can point to an inevitable complete failure. If it suddenly starts taking ages for your computer to boot or for applications to load, chances are the hard drive is to blame. Check the Event Log, run a full scan, and replace the hard drive if you see any disk-related errors.
#6. It Never Gets Rebooted
Many people have developed the habit of leaving their computers on overnight. But believe it or not, many everyday computing frustrations can be easily fixed simply by rebooting your computer. This will flush the memory, prevent memory leaks, and enable performance-boosting operating system updates to be properly installed. While PCs automatically reset when there are major updates, it’s always a good habit to keep the office computers turned off outside of working hours to keep hardware components at peak condition.
#7. It’s infected with Malware
While malware is just one of many cybersecurity threats facing businesses today, it remains a common problem, especially in BYOD environments where companies often have little control over the devices their employees use for work. Some malware may do a good job at keeping hidden, but there are a few things that could point to an infection. If your computer is inexplicably and suddenly running slow, malware could be using up computing resources.
For example, ransomware takes time to encrypt the hard drive contents, slowing down the computer in the process. When you experience significant performance drops, disconnect from the internet right away to stop the malware from spreading to your network and run an antivirus scan to detect and stop it. For more complex malware, you’ll need to bring in an expert to remove the infection.
#8. It Doesn’t Have Enough RAM
Computer memory modules might be bigger and more affordable than ever before, but modern software is also becoming exponentially more demanding. As such, a low-cost tablet or netbook, which might have as little as 2 GB of RAM, will likely be painfully slow to use. In fact 4 GB is barely enough for today’s workplace computing demands; even if the bulk of your computing workloads are handled in a remote data centre or a cloud-hosted environment. For most office applications, 8GB is the sweet spot; though you’ll want 16 or even 32GB to run demanding applications.
#9. Apps Using Up All the Bandwidth
These days, many applications heavily rely on the internet, and a lot of business apps require an always-on connection. That means having applications consuming more bandwidth than they should can slow down the whole computing experience enormously.
You must check the Task Manager to find out where your bandwidth is going. Downloading huge files and running VoIP software often consume the most bandwidth, so make sure you prioritise one task over the other if you don’t want bottlenecks.
#10. It’s Old
Sometimes, poor computer performance is simply down to the machine being too old to run modern applications. This is also one of the main drivers behind the rapid adoption of cloud computing in the workplace. Rather than having to invest in expensive upgrades every second year or so, cloud computing effectively outsources your digital workloads to an off-site data centre with cutting-edge hardware. All you need on your end is a barebones machine and reliable internet connection.
Empower IT Solutions helps Australian businesses keep their computers fast and healthy. We offer regular IT health checks to ensure optimal performance. Drop us a line today to get started!