Why Your Computer Slows Down Over Time

Why Your Computer Slows Down Over Time

KEVIN SMITH AUG. 11, 2013, 9:14 AM 31,478 37

One of the biggest computer annoyances is when your machine gets slow over time. This can start to happen years after you get a PC, but sometimes it happens in just a few short months. Since we all use our computers for different tasks and activities, there isn’t one single reason that pinpoints why this happens. The thing is, when you first get a new computer and boot it up it works lightning fast. That’s because it doesn’t have anything on it. Regardless of whether you have a PC or Mac, over time as you download files, install software, and surf the Internet, your computer gets bloated with files that hog system resources. In addition, there are many other things that contribute to a slowdown. We explored some of the major causes. We started by speaking with Rachel, a tech expert who works at New York City authorized Apple repair shop Tekserve. Rachel told us that software and hard drive corruption are two reasons why your computer may slow down over time. Corruption can be caused by a host of things but it’s mostly bugs in the operating system, corrupted RAM data, static electricity (from carpet or other fabrics), power surges, failing hardware, and for Windows users, normal operating system decomposition with age. Two other huge culprits are not having enough RAM (memory to run programs) and simply running out of hard disk space. Not having enough RAM causes your hard drive to try to compensate for a lack of memory. The computer will constantly seek more RAM taking away resources from other tasks. Another thing users fall victim to is installing unnecessary software. This will fill up your hard drive, causing you to run out of space at the price of speed. There are useful free programs that help you easily identify what is taking up space on your hard drive: For Mac users try: OmniDiskSweeper, a free program that breaks down exactly which files take up the most space. For PC users try WinDirStat, a disk usage statistics viewer and cleanup tool. But what if you don’t have a lot of apps or programs on your computer and it’s still going slow?If you’re updating your software regularly, that can contribute to a slowdown because the updates themselves take up more space and require more system resources. Whitson Gordon of Lifehacker points out that, “in theory, if you did a clean install and never updated any of your software, everything would run as fast in year four as it did on day one. But that’s not exactly a feasible—or secure—way to use your computer.”

If you have a spinning hard drive, once they get older they simply start to slow down as they reach the end of life.

It’s important to note that all spinning hard drives will die eventually, it could be tomorrow but it could also happen 10 years from now. It’s just the nature of their design.

A simple solution to prevent slowdowns caused by the hard drive is to install a solid state hard drive (SSD) in your current computer or buy a new computer with one. Solid state hard drives take advantage of flash memory, which is found primarily in tablets and smartphones. Without going too deep, a SSD’s flash memory doesn’t have an arm like the above hard drive to write data, instead it relies on a processor making it much more reliable. You can read more about the difference between a SSD and HDD here.

We also can’t ignore that fact that for PC users malware and viruses can also contribute to a computer slowing down.

A huge misconception with PC users is that you need to load up on antivirus software to keep your computer fast. This is simply a myth that was debunked by Whitson Gordon too.

Gordon recommends that before you run out and buy pricey antivirus software you should first:

Start by learning a bit more about viruses and what they do … Your first line of defense should be safe browsing. If you’re downloading shady files, clicking on internet pop-ups, or opening links from unknown email, you’ll greatly increase your chances of getting one. But if you’re even mildly responsible, it’s unlikely you’ll ever get an infection.

Besides checking what is taking up space on your hard drive and practicing safe browsing you should also:

Regularly clear your cache, internet browsing history, and temporary Internet files.

Empty the trash can.

Check which programs are running at start up and also see what background services you are having load after a set amount of time.

We have to face the fact that as time goes on, our computers will get slow. It’s a natural progression. The Internet and software capabilities evolve by the minute. These new innovations require more power and space to keep up with the pace. Sometimes it might not even be your fault that your once zippy computer is now crawling but its just a sign of the times.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: