How to Troubleshoot a Slow Running Computer

By Erin McManaway

Many issues can cause your computer to run more slowly. Most often, your computer may be trying to run too many programs at once or may have a software conflict. The issue may also stem from lack of RAM or malware that is using up your system's resources. You can perform troubleshooting and basic maintenance to help speed up a computer that is running slowly.

Reduce Programs Running on Startup

Step 1

Click the "Start" button and type "msconfig" in the text box.

Step 2

Press the "Enter" key on your keyboard to launch the computer's System Configuration tool.

Step 3

Navigate to the "Startup" tab. This tab displays the programs that launch when your computer first turns on. Each program consumes some of your computer's resources, so the more programs that are running as background processes, the slower your computer will run.

Step 4

Remove the check in the box next to programs you do not need to launch each time your computer turns on. If you are unsure of what a certain program is, it is better to leave the box checked.

Step 5

Click "OK" to save the changes and reboot your computer when prompted. When your computer boots, it will only launch the programs you allow, which will help it run faster.

Basic Computer Maintenance

Step 1

Update and run your computer's virus scanner to remove any viruses or malware that might be infecting your system. Malware can significantly slow down your computer as well as damage your system files.

Step 2

Uninstall programs that you don't need or rarely use on your computer to free up space on your hard drive.

Step 3

Click the "Start" button, type "Disk Cleanup" in the text box, then press the "Enter" key to launch the Disk Cleanup utility. Run this utility to remove old and unneeded files from your computer.

Step 4

Click the "Start" button, type "Disk Defragmenter" in the text box, then press the "Enter" key to launch the Defragmenter utility. Defragment your computer to help it run faster.

Step 5

Press the "Ctrl," "Alt" and "Del" keys on your keyboard at the same time, then launch the "Task Manager." Navigate to the "Performance" tab to view your memory usage. If your computer consistently uses close to 100 percent of your memory, you may need to add more RAM memory to your computer to help it run faster.