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Why is My Computer So Slow?

When your computer starts to feel slow, it can be hard to figure out what's going on. Here are some common reasons your computer might be running slowly, and how you can fix them!

Updated: June 30th, 2023

Why is My Computer So Slow?

A computer that is slow is a cause of concern for all. When your computer takes forever to startup, load documents, and perform other mundane tasks, it means that is some underlying issue.

It can be very difficult to get your work done when your computer is running slow.

However, you can try and find out the probable causes behind this and maybe, try to fix it. Here is a quick guide that will be able to tell you what exactly is wrong with your PC.

Why is my computer so slow all of a sudden?

There may be several reasons why your computer is suddenly so slow. Here are a few to consider.

Programs that take up a lot of memory

The number one reason your computer may be slowing down is because of programs that take a lot of your system’s memory.

If you have these programs, you need to see whether you need them or not. These programs may be using resources that can be utilized elsewhere. These programs may also be the ones that start up automatically when you start your PC.

Removing these programs may help speed up your computer.

Additional Reading: Do It Yourself Tune-Up Guide

Programs that run in the background

There are certain programs that remain active in the background. This is especially true for programs that use the internet for updates or if they are working on tasks. Since these programs use most of the resources, not much is available for other programs. If you do not need these programs, you can stop them, so they do not slow down your system.

Antivirus scans

Another reason your system may be slowing down is because of antivirus scans happening continuously.

Antivirus scans can slow down your computer due to several reasons:

  1. Resource Usage: Antivirus software typically consumes significant system resources, such as CPU power, memory, and disk I/O, during a scan. When the scan is running, it competes with other processes and applications for these resources, which can lead to a noticeable slowdown in your computer’s performance. The more intensive the scan, such as a deep or full system scan, the greater the impact on system resources.
  2. File Access: During a scan, antivirus software needs to access and examine every file on your computer’s storage devices. This involves reading and analyzing file contents, checking them against a database of known malware signatures, and performing heuristic analysis to detect potential threats. As the number and size of files increase, the time taken for scanning also increases, which can contribute to a slower computer.
  3. Background Scans: Many antivirus programs are designed to run scheduled or automatic background scans to ensure real-time protection. These scans occur while you use your computer, and they prioritize system resources to perform their tasks. If you’re engaging in resource-intensive activities like gaming or video editing, the antivirus scan may consume resources that would otherwise be used by those applications, resulting in decreased performance.
  4. System Impact: Some antivirus software integrates additional features like firewall protection, web filtering, or email scanning, which run continuously in the background to monitor incoming and outgoing network traffic. These features add extra layers of security but also consume system resources, potentially leading to a slowdown.

To mitigate the impact of antivirus scans on your computer’s performance, you can take the following steps:

  1. Schedule Scans: Set up scans during periods when you’re less likely to use your computer intensively, such as overnight or when you’re away from your desk.
  2. Optimize Scan Settings: Check your antivirus software’s settings and choose scan options that strike a balance between security and performance. For example, you can opt for quick scans that focus on critical areas instead of performing deep or full system scans every time.
  3. Exclude Trusted Files: Configure your antivirus software to exclude trusted files, folders, or applications from scans. This can help reduce unnecessary scanning of known safe items, improving scan times and overall performance.
  4. Keep Software Updated: Ensure that both your antivirus software and operating system are up to date. Developers often release updates to optimize performance, fix bugs, and enhance compatibility, reducing the chances of conflicts and improving overall efficiency.

By being mindful of these factors and optimizing your antivirus settings, you can strike a balance between system security and performance.

Additional Reading: How to Tell if Your Computer Has a Virus

Certain web browsers

There are also certain web browsers that can cause your computer to slow down. This happens especially when you have a lot of windows and tabs open. These tabs and windows take a lot of memory and processing power, which is a reason behind your PC slowing down.

Web browsers can slow down your computer due to various reasons:

  1. Memory usage: Browsers consume memory as you open more tabs, straining system resources and causing slower performance.
  2. CPU usage: Complex websites and inefficient code can overload the CPU, leading to decreased performance.
  3. Extensions and plugins: Poorly designed or outdated extensions can consume resources and slow down the browser.
  4. Background processes: Browser processes running in the background can consume CPU and memory, impacting performance.
  5. Hardware and compatibility: Certain browsers may not be optimized for your system, affecting performance.

To improve browser performance, close unnecessary tabs, manage extensions, clear the cache, keep the browser updated, and consider using lightweight browsers.

Why is my computer slow on startup?

Is your computer slow to startup? There could be several reasons:

Startup programs

The number one reason for a slow startup of your computer is because of all the programs running on startup. These programs run automatically when you turn on your PC. Some of these programs are useful, whereas, others are those programs that you do not use.

These programs can seriously slow down your computer’s startup time. These also reduce the system’s performance as they keep running in the background.

Lack of storage

Lack of storage on your system is also a big reason for your computer slowing down during startup. It is because your computer needs storage for all the activities that it needs to perform.

Lack of available storage on a computer can slow it down due to the following reasons:

  1. Virtual Memory: Insufficient RAM leads to increased disk activity for virtual memory, slowing performance.
  2. Fragmentation: Limited storage space causes files to become fragmented, resulting in longer access times.
  3. Cache Space: Inadequate storage reduces cache capacity, leading to more cache misses and slower performance.
  4. Operating System Functions: Low storage hampers essential system operations, causing delays.
  5. Background Processes: Limited space disrupts background tasks, increasing resource usage and slowing the system.

To address these issues, regularly free up storage space, remove unnecessary files, uninstall unused applications, and optimize storage through defragmentation or disk cleanup utilities. This ensures optimal computer performance.

Additional Reading: SSDs vs HDDs: Why You Need to Upgrade to Solid State Drive

Why is my computer slow during startup, it takes forever?

The major reasons your computer takes forever to startup may be:

Hard Drive

One of the reasons why your system may be taking forever to startup is because of the hard drive. If your hard drive is running out of space, it can seriously impact the boot-up time of your computer.

You may also try to defragment your hard disk. Doing this may speed up your computer during startup.

Additional Reading: Signs Your Computer Hard Drive is Failing, and if You Need a Replacement (And What to Do)


If your computer is low on RAM space, this can also cause your computer to slow down during startup. It is because RAM is required for almost every activity that you perform. You are using RAM space when you perform these tasks, out of many more:

    • Move your mouse
    • Open multiple tabs when you surf the internet
    • Write an email
    • Organize your data in a spreadsheet
    • Edit photos and videos
    • Play a game
    • Listen to music
    • Watch a video

These are only some of the ways you are using the RAM space. Being low on space can thus, slow down computer speed when it is booting up.

Why is my computer slow all the time, everything takes forever?

It’s possible that your computer is slow all the time, and everything takes forever because of these reasons:

Programs that use up all resources

Your computer has a lot of programs. There are many of these programs that run automatically in the background. These programs could be using the internet to continuously check for updates. They could also be working on background tasks.

While some of these programs are important for you to work on your computer, others only use valuable resources. By taking up resources and running in the background, these programs can slow down your computer.

When these programs keep running, they can make it impossible for you to open documents, files, and folders without the system lagging.

Startup programs

There are some programs that are built in such a way that they always run when you start your computer. Some of these programs are such that they are no longer required during the initial startup of the computer. It is also because of these startup programs that your computer may be slowing down.

Outdated Hardware

Having outdated hardware can also slow down your computer. You may need to upgrade your hardware to solve the problem of a slow computer. The two major pieces of hardware that can slow down your computer are your RAM space and storage space. Running low on these can cause your computer to lag.

Not shutting down computer

Your computer may also be running slow because you are not properly shutting it down. Do not just restart your PC.

You need to power it off and if you need to use it, do it only after a few minutes. Doing this can allow your computer to clear out all memory and start fresh.

Not shutting down your computer frequently enough can lead to slow performance due to:

  1. Memory leaks: Running processes can gradually consume memory, causing slowdowns over time.
  2. Resource exhaustion: Continuous usage depletes system resources, affecting overall responsiveness.
  3. Missed updates: Failure to restart means missing out on crucial software updates and patches.
  4. Lingering background processes: Accumulated processes and services can hinder performance.
  5. Fragmentation and disk usage: Continuous operation leads to fragmented files and increased disk usage, slowing down access times.

Regular computer restarts are important to clear memory leaks, free up resources, install updates, terminate unnecessary processes, and alleviate fragmentation for optimal performance.

OneDrive Syncing

OneDrive is another program that can cause a slow down of your computer. This is because OneDrive continuously syncs the files from your computer. Since it keeps running in the background, it can slow down your computer’s processing abilities.

The bottom line

These were some of the reasons why your computer may be slowing down. You can try working on these problems and see if there is an improvement in your computer’s speed.

However, if you still believe you will not be able to fix this, you can always take professional help.

You can reach out to Gophermods for solutions to speed up your computer or diagnose any other computer repairs you may need.

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