Argh! 5 reasons your computer is slow—and how to fix them

·5-min read
Portrait of excited dog looking at laptop screen while online shopping in pet store with owner, copy space
Frustrated by a slow PC? We have some fixes (Getty Images)

Computers aren't cheap, and it's more than fair to expect that it will do what it's supposed to do within a reasonable amount of time. But, if your computer is suddenly moving at a sluggish pace, you'll be left mulling over the reasons your computer is slow.

For the record, having a slow computer isn't normal. It's usually a sign that something <gestures broadly> is off, whether it has to do with malware or just needing to get some stuff off your hard drive, tech and cybersecurity expert Chuck Brooks, president of Brooks Consulting International, tells Yahoo Life.

Just know this: You're not alone in your struggle. More people are dealing with slow computers right now.

Internet services have seen increases anywhere from 40 to 100 percent since the pandemic began, and video conferencing services have seen a 10-fold jump since pre-pandemic times. All of that, along with checking out an online streaming service or doing online shopping on your computer after hours, is making your computer work extra-hard, too.

Of course, your computer should be able to keep up with you, and there are things that can help. System Mechanic, for example, is a software package that improves PC performance by finding and troubleshooting many of the root causes of your computer troubles—over 30,000 of them. The software, which has won awards, can also help clear out much of the junk from your computer, checks for internet connectivity issues and opens up some storage space so your computer can get back to running efficiently again.

For just £3.90 a month, System Mechanic will keep tabs on what's happening inside your computer, to help it run more smoothly going forward.

A slow computer is not something you need to just live with. Here are some of the biggest reasons your computer is so slow, and how System Mechanic could help.

Shop now: System Mechanic | try for 30 days free*, then £3.90 a month

*to avoid being charged the recurring subscription fee, cancel before your free trial ends

5 Reasons your computer is slow

Brooks says there are plenty of different things that can be messing up your computer's speed. Here are some of the biggies.

Reason your computer is slow No. 1: You have malware

"In terms of ranking reasons, usually spyware or malware is the most common culprit" for a slow computer, Brooks says. In case you're not familiar with it, malware is any software that's designed to intentionally damage or gain unauthorised access to your computer.

There's a wide range of malware out there, and you can unintentionally pick it up just by being online or downloading apps.

Regular cleanings are important to keep your computer bug-free and operating at maximum speed, Brooks says.

Reason your computer is slow No. 2: You're working from home

Bored student doing homework on line with a laptop blowing with a notebook on the head in a table at home
Working from home? Make sure you're optimising your computer's speed. (Getty Images)

Your computer works hard to keep up with instant messaging, constant emails, and more. And that—along with the fact that your neighbours are likely doing the same—can weigh down your broadband connection. The end result: a slow computer.

While you can't ask everyone else to cool it with their computer usage, you can use System Mechanic. It has a feature that works to optimise your internet connection and help to speed things up.

Once you install it, restart your computer and connect to WiFi.

Reason your computer is slow No. 3: You have too many downloads

Having apps on your computer can be handy, but you can overdo it.

"Overload on the individual computing capacity because of too many apps...can slow down operations on computers," Brooks says.

Sure, it's never a bad thing to hunt down and delete apps you don't use anymore, but System Mechanic can also help. The software helps find clutter and locate apps that are a drain on your computer's resources. If you still use a particular app, no problem. If not, you can ditch it—and unleash more speed in the process.

Reason your computer is slow No. 4: You're doing a lot of video conferencing

Businessman video conferencing with team on computer. Young man discussing project details with team via video call.
Lots of video conferencing can be a problem if your connection isn't great. (Getty Images)

Video conferencing has been vital during the pandemic for doing everything from hosting meetings to connecting with your friends. But the software can also suck up a lot of your Internet's bandwidth. That's not a worry if you have a top-tier Internet connection, but if yours is already slogging along or tends to have bad days, it can be a huge issue.

To solve the problem, you can disable the video feature and close other applications while you use. But System Mechanic has a junk deletion feature that automatically runs in the background, which can also help give you a boost.

Reason your computer is slow No. 5: You haven't cleared your cache in ages

While you're checking out things online, your computer is accumulating cookies to help websites remember who you are and track your activity. These little digital files embed in your system and can slow the whole thing down.

"You may want to review your privacy settings to see who can send notifications and pop-ups that can be both intrusive and slow down web searches," Brooks says.

Shop now: System Mechanic | try for 30 days free*, then £3.90 a month

*to avoid being charged the recurring subscription fee, cancel before your free trial ends

Watch: Watch: 5 easy ways to improve your WiFi