You never know how slow a PC is till you need to do something really urgent on it. From the 15-minute boot time and the ‘Explorer stopped working’ error to the ‘Not responding’ error, a slow PC could be literally life force draining. So the question you might have is “How did my once very fast PC become so slow”? Its actually a very gradual process which is really difficult to spot until the PC starts misbehaving. In this guide, we shall discuss some common causes of a slow, hanging or crashing PC and how to resolve them.
What could cause a PC to become slow, start hanging or crashing?
- Virus / Malware: Virus / Malware which are resource intensive could cause a fast PC to become slow, hang or crash frequently
- Auto-start items: Auto-start items are applications / processes which run whenever a PC starts up or boots e.g Wallpapers and animations. Having too many auto-start items consumes system resources, resulting in a slow PC
- Heavily fragmented / corrupted hard drive: Applications frequently Read / Write to the hard drive. A heavily fragmented or corrupt hard drive slows down the Read-Write process. A fragmented hard drive is like a travelling bag with all its contents just dumped and scattered inside while a defragmented hard drive is like a travelling bag with its content neatly folded and arranged. Defragmentation saves space and makes items easier to locate.
- Registry errors: Registry errors and Invalid registry items like residual components of incompletely uninstalled software could dramatically slow down a PC
- Corrupt system files: Corrupted or outdated system files could result in frequent hanging / crashing of a PC
- Too many software installed: Installing too many software is bad for system resources and could result in lagging / slowness of a PC
- Low RAM: If the RAM of the PC in question is too low for the ongoing task then its is bound to be slow, hang or even crash.
- Low available space on Hard drive: If the Hard drive becomes too full and has insufficient free space then you have a slow PC around the corner
- Problematic / troublesome software: A buggy, problematic or troublesome application could result in memory leaks or errors that could slow down or lag a PC
- Driver error: Running outdated / incompatible drivers is a common cause of PC crashes
- Too many browser Add-ons and toolbars: Using too many toolbars or add-ons could result in a slower browsing experience and even frequent crashes.
- Over-heating: An improperly ventilated PC could result in an over-heating processor; thereby, slowing performance
- Too many running applications: Running too many applications at a time tends to result in slower performance
- Running an incompatible OS: Installing an OS on hardware which barely meet the minimum requirements of the OS is a disaster waiting to happen.
- Hardware error: Using an incompatible or damaged hardware could result in frequent crashes and Blue Screens of Death (See: https://journal.hovatek.com/the-blue-screen-of-death-bsod/ )
- Running for too long without reboot: Using a PC for too long without shutting down or restarting is bad practice. If you hibernate / sleep your PC for days or even weeks because you don’t wish to experience the lengthy boot time then you’re doing the direct opposite and killing your PC
How do I fix a slow, hanging or crashing PC?
- Soft reboot: Use the reboot function from within Windows
- Force shutdown: Keep holding down the power button till the PC shuts down then power it on again
- System restore: A system restore is an easy was to fix such an issue by reverting the PC to a time it was a lot faster. Sstem restore doesn’t affect personal files like documents, media, etc (See: https://journal.hovatek.com/how-to-do-a-system-restore-on-a-pc/ )
- Scan the PC with a reliable and up-to-date Antivirus. We recommend Norton Internet Security ( Download Norton Internet Security)
- System maintenance: Carr y out some system maintenance tasks like Registry cleaning, hard disk defragmentation, log clearing etc. We recommend Advance System Care ( Download Advanced System Care)
- Format the PC: In extreme cases, formatting might be the best approach ( See https://journal.hovatek.com/how-to-format-a-pc/ )
- Terminate lagging process / software: Enter Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Del then terminate the troublesome application or process by right-clicking on it and selecting ‘End task’
- Disconnect faulty hardware: If the Blue Screen of Death occurs a lot then ensure to disconnect faulty hardware
- Safe Mode: Boot into safe mode to temporarily disable all non-core processes(keep tapping F8 on boot). If the PC performs fast in safe mode then its either a buggy process or an auto-start item that is the cause of the problem
- Auto-start: Disable auto start items.To do this, Press the windows button > Search for msconfig.exe > Run msconfig.exe > Go to the General tab > Tick ‘Selective Startup > Untick ‘Load startup items’ > Click ‘Apply’ then ‘OK’
- Disable faulty process(es): If Disabling auto-start items still doesn’t solve it then try manually disabling the faulty process. To do this, Press the windows button > Search for msconfig.exe > Run msconfig.exe > Under the Services tab, tick an item then click ‘Disable’ > Disable one process at a time, save and restart > Repeat till you get the faulty process
- SFC Scannow: Press the Window button > Search for cmd.exe > Right-click cmd.exe and run as Administrator > Type SFC /SCANNOW then press Enter > Wait for the process to complete
- Add RAM: Consider adding more RAM to the PC
- Free up the Hard drive: Those movies have to go so your hard drive has sufficient free space. Consider leaving at least 5GB free.
- Ensure the PC is well ventilated and the fans are not clogged up with dust
- Uninstall problematic drivers and applications
- Create a new user account: Press the Windows button > Search for Control panel and launch it > Click on User Accounts and Family Safety > Click User Accounts > Click Manage another account > Click Add a user account > fill in the details then click Create > Logoff the current account and login to the newly created user account > Move your files to the new account if its stable.
How can I prevent my PC from becoming slow / slugging?
- Scan the PC regularly with a good and updated Antivirus
- Disable unneeded auto-start items
- Run regular system maintenance like defragmentation, registry cleaning, checking system file(s)integrity etc using recommended tools
- Avoid installing too many applications and ensure to uninstall unneeded ones.
- Add to the PCs existing RAM if you need to do very heavy tasks
- Uninstall troublesome / problematic applications
- Ensure to always use the correct drivers. Updating your PCs drivers is good practice
- Ensure the PC is well ventilated and remove dust accumulation inside to avoid overheating
- Avoid hibernating / sleeping the PC for more that 24 hours. Ensure to shutdown / reboot regularly
- Disconnect hardware causing the Blue Screen of Death
See the video tutorial below or @ http://youtu.be/PQb-N7NcN90 :
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