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How to stop your computer running so slowly

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  • June 22, 2021
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With so many of us working more from home this past year and a bit, the likelihood is that you’ve probably been putting your computer through its paces. It is normal for computers to get a bit slower and temperamental as they get older (don’t we all?), but there are a few things that you can do that will help to ensure that they have a useful longevity.

Below, we’ve split this into sections on what to do if your PC or Mac is slow – and then, how to know if it’s time for a new machine.

What to do if your PC is slow

Firstly let’s get something out of the way quickly that will help regardless of if you’re using a Mac or PC. Try switching your computer off and on again. We have explained this in more detail here, but in a nutshell – this will get rid of all of the temporary data on your machine which may be a reason why it is running slowly.

If that doesn’t work, then try the following for a PC.

  • Clean and defrag your hard drive. As you use your computer it will accumulate files whilst it runs programs. Cleaning up your hard drive will get rid of temporary files and files that you don’t need so that things run more smoothly. If you haven’t done a clean-up in a while you might also want to defrag your hard drive. Fragmentation occurs over time and is a result of your machine working harder to find files. Its recommended to run a hard drive clean-up program once a week, and defrag approximately once a month.
  • Scan for viruses. A slow-running computer is often (but not always) caused by viruses. A very easy way to get to the bottom of what is causing your slow down would be to do a quick virus scan.

What to do if your Mac is slow

  • Clean up the clutter and scan for viruses. There is a myth that perpetuates that Macs don’t get viruses. This isn’t the case, so much like if you’re a PC user it makes sense to scan for viruses and clear up the general clutter on the Mac before other reasons as to why the machine may be running slow.
  • Permissions repair. This is a good idea if you’re running OS X Yosemite or an earlier operating system. It will ensure that file permissions are set correctly which will smooth the running of software.
  • Activity Monitor. This is a really useful tool to look at as a Mac user. It will show you what memory, network and disk processes are using up resources. You can then make a decision as to whether you need those programs running.

In both instances, you might benefit from doing a little Spring Cleaning of your machine.

How to know if it’s time for a new machine?

First, ask yourself how old the computer is. If it’s over the age of five, it’s really had a decent innings and it might be time to upgrade.

This won’t be for slowness alone. Older machines usually can’t support newer operating systems – which can end up creating interruptions in productivity when having to deal with IT issues. Just the other day it was announced that Windows 10 is scheduled for retirement, so if you’ve got a machine still operating that it might be time to start thinking about replacing it.

What to do next?

Think that you’ve come to the end of the useful life of your machine?

Now might be a great time to think about the IT in your business as a whole, and potentially make savings. Learn more about how Webby Tech can help you on that journey here.