Windows computers don’t need to get slower over time. There could be a number of causes for your PC’s slowness, whether it has slowed down over time or just stopped working recently.

As with any PC issue, if something isn’t operating properly, don’t be scared to restart your computer. This is quicker and more effective than trying to manually troubleshoot and resolve the issue. It can solve a variety of issues.

Program hungry for resources

Something is utilizing those resources, which is why your computer is operating slowly. A runaway process, for instance, can be consuming 99% of your CPU resources if it starts to operate slowly. Or, your computer could need to swap to disk because a program is utilizing a lot of memory due to a memory leak. Alternately, a program may be heavily utilizing the disk, slowing down other programs when they need to load data from or save it to the drive.

How to Speed Up a Slow PC

Open the Task Manager to find out. To open the task manager, either right-click your taskbar and choose “Task Manager,” or press Ctrl+Shift+Escape. The new Task Manager has an improved interface that color-codes programs utilizing a lot of resources on Windows 8, 8.1, 10, and 11. To order the list by the programs utilizing the greatest resources, click the “CPU,” “Memory,” and “Disk” headers. If an application is consuming excessive amounts of resources, you may wish to force it to close by selecting it here and clicking “End Task.”

Programs in the system tray should be closed

Most programs often operate on the system tray, also known as the notification area. These programs frequently begin operating shortly after your computer starts up and remain hidden behind the up arrow symbol in the lower-right corner of your screen. To free up resources, click the up arrow icon next to the system tray, right-click any running background programs, and then close them.

Turn Off Startup Programs

Better yet, disable those applications from starting up at all to save memory and CPU time and hasten login time.

There is now a startup manager in the Task Manager that you can use to manage your startup apps on Windows 8, 8.1, 10, and 11. To launch it, either right-click the taskbar and choose “Task Manager,” or press Ctrl+Shift+Escape. Disable startup programs you don’t require by clicking the Startup tab. Windows will kindly let you know which programs slow down your starting the most.

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Reduce Animations

Windows makes extensive use of animations, which might give the impression that your computer is running slowly. If you turn off the corresponding animations, Windows, for instance, can minimize and maximize windows immediately.

Press Windows Key + X or choose “System” from the context menu when you right-click the Start button to stop animations. Under Performance, click the “Settings” option under “Advanced System Settings” on the left. To disable all animations, pick “Adjust for best performance” under Visual Effects; alternatively, select “Custom” to only disable the specific animations you don’t want to see. For instance, to turn off the minimize and maximize animations, uncheck “Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing.”


Make Your Web Browser Lighter

It’s likely that you use your web browser frequently, so it might just be a little slow. Use as few browser add-ons or extensions as you can because these slow down your web browser and consume more RAM.

Remove any add-ons you don’t need by going to the Extensions or Add-ons management in your web browser. Additionally, you want to think about activating click-to-play plug-ins. Flash and other content that isn’t necessary will not consume CPU time if it is prevented from loading.



Run a malware and adware scan

Your computer may also be sluggish as a result of malicious software that is active in the background and slows it down. It’s possible that this isn’t malicious software at all, but rather software that tracks your web browsing and displays more adverts, for example.

Scan your PC with an antivirus application to be extra safe. Malwarebytes should also be used to scan it because it finds many “potentially unwanted applications” (PUPs) that regular antivirus software tends to miss. You almost likely don’t want these apps, which try to install themselves when you install other software, on your computer.


Increase Disk Space

Your computer could operate noticeably slower if your hard drive is nearly full. You should give your computer some space so it can work on the hard drive. To make space on your Windows computer, follow these instructions. You don’t even need any additional software; simply using the built-in Windows Disk Cleanup tool can make a significant difference.


Clean Up Your Hard Drive

In reality, modern Windows versions shouldn’t require you to defragment your hard drive. Mechanical hard drives will be automatically defragmented in the background. Traditional defragmentation isn’t actually necessary for solid-state drives, although recent Windows versions will “optimize” them, which is great.

Most of the time, defragmentation is not a problem. However, if you do have a mechanical hard drive and you’ve just added a large number of files to the disk—for instance, copying terabytes of PC game files or a large database—those files may already be defragmented because Windows hasn’t yet gotten around to defragmenting them. In this case, you may want to run a disk defragmenter tool scan to see whether you need to use a manual defragmentation application.



Remove Programs You Never Use

Find the list of installed programs in the Control Panel, open it, and remove any apps from your computer that you don’t use or require. As those programs may contain background processes, autostart entries, system services, context menu items, and other things that can slow down your PC, this can make it run faster. Additionally, it will increase system security and free up space on your hard drive. For instance, if you aren’t using Java, you should uninstall it immediately.

Reinstall Windows and reset your computer

Apart from rebooting your computer, of course, the one tried-and-true method to cure Windows issues if the other suggestions below didn’t work is to install Windows from scratch.

It’s now simpler than ever to get a new Windows installation on newer versions of Windows, such as Windows 8, 8.1, 10, and 11. Get Windows installation media and reinstall Windows are not required. Instead, you may simply use Windows’ built-in “Reset your PC” feature to install a brand-new copy of Windows. This will remove all installed programs and system settings while keeping your files, much as when you reinstall Windows.

If your computer still has a mechanical hard drive, switching to a solid-state drive can significantly increase performance, as will simply making sure your next computer has an SSD. Solid-state storage will provide the single biggest improvement in overall system performance for the majority of people in an era where newer CPUs and graphics processors won’t be noticed by most users.


Jeff Bosset is a computer technician with more than 25 years experience. Tech Jeff provides online computer help to home users and small business.
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