How To Solve the “PC Running Slow” Issue?

This is one of the most common issues that many computer users face. There are a number of different reasons for a computer to run slow. Hence, diagnosing the exact cause could be really difficult at times. Yet, there are some basic troubleshooting steps that one can follow to resolve this issue of “PC running slow”.

1.       Perform a Scan Disk or Disk Defrag process

To perform a Scan Disk on your computer:

  • Open Windows Explorer
  • Select a local drive right click on it and click Properties
  • Select the Tools tab and click “Check Now”.
  • The system will have to restart to perform a complete Scan disk process. It could take significantly more time for the process to complete.

To perform a Disk Defrag process on your computer:

  • Follow the first 2 points as described in the Scan Disk process
  • Select the Tools tab and click “Defragment Now”


2.       Check the Free Space on the hard drive

This is the most basic step and should be checked first as less amount of free space on the hard disk lessens the room for temporary files. Also, it restricts the paging file to increase and thus overloading the RAM, which could slow down your computer. Ensure that you have at least 200-500 MB of free space on your local drive.


3.       Modify the Startup Items

A number of unknown applications running in the background can also slow down the computer significantly. To check for the unnecessary applications that load upon startup:

  • Open Command Prompt
  • Type “start msconfig” and press Enter
  • In the dialog that opens up, go to the “Startup” tab
  • Uncheck the unnecessary applications that load upon startup. Click Apply and then OK.
  • Restart the system for the changes to take effect.


4.       Check the RAM size

RAM size, to some extent matters in the performance of your system. It is because it defines the memory capacity of your system and on this depends, the ease with which the system will be able to perform complicated or heavy tasks. Minimum memory size required in modern day computers is 1GB.


5.       Check for Overheating of the system

With a number of processes running on the system, the computer is bound to get heated. If the system temperature is rising significantly, your computer will automatically become slow to compensate for the rising heat. Hence, it is necessary to run the computer in cool conditions, have the system fan working smoothly, and avoid dust particles blocking or piling up the fan or its case.


6.       Re-deploy the OS

This should ideally be considered as the last option as you do not re-deploy the entire Operating System for every minor issue getting created in your system.


7.       Faulty hardware

If none of the above solutions work, then there are high chances that there is some hardware problem in your computer. It could be a problem with your Motherboard, Hard disk, RAM or some other component.


For Users with an IDE Hard disk

  • Apart from above troubleshooting steps, one more option can be checked for and this one should be checked especially in case you have an IDE Hard disk.
  • Right Click My Computer
  • Select Manage
  • Go to Device Manager
  • Under IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers, Right click on Primary IDE Channel and click on Properties
  • In Advance Settings tab, change the Transfer Mode from PIO to DMA.


All the troubleshooting steps listed above, covers most of the scenarios in which a computer runs slow or the scenarios that causes a computer to run slow. Apart from these, if there are any more useful steps, do post your suggestions.

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Sagi says October 11, 2012

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