Why is my computer running slowly?

A tortoise walking on sand

Thursday, 5 December, 2019

Like people, the peak performance of desktop computers tends to diminish with age.

A shiny new PC or Mac won’t have years’ worth of software and documents installed on it, or be loaded with cookies and bookmarks.

There’ll be no saved files on the hard drive to dull its performance, no internet histories cluttering up its web browsers, and no software updates weighing down its operating system.

Inevitably, daily use takes its toll on any computer’s overall speed, as it would on a smartphone or tablet.

However, there are instances where a computer running slowly could indicate something more problematic.

Malicious software might be hogging available resources, web browsers could be drowning in user history data, or the computer may be overloaded with unused programs and apps.

There may be trouble ahead

If the deterioration in your computer’s performance happens suddenly, there are tell-tale signs that normal daily use can’t be blamed for the computer running slowly…

Tackling a computer running slowly

In some cases, your computer might require the services of a professional to restore its normal operating performance.

Web-based IT companies can remotely take control of your computer for an hourly fee, checking for hardware issues or software conflicts and resolving any issues they uncover.

Before calling in the experts, however, these steps could help to improve a sluggish computer’s performance:

We’d also recommend thinking back to when the performance deterioration first became evident.

It might coincide with a new software installation, system update or other event – which could potentially be rolled back to restore previous performance levels.

Neil Cumins author picture


Neil is our resident tech expert. He's written guides on loads of broadband head-scratchers and is determined to solve all your technology problems!