Why is My Computer Running Slower Than Normal? – Possible Solutions

In Guides, Hardware Guides, PC Optimization, Software Guides by AustinLeave a Comment

Diagnosing what’s wrong with a computer can be a complicated process because it involves a lot of trial and error to figure out what the problem is.

I have had many issues with my gaming computers running slower than normal before and hope you find these solutions useful.

Even if you aren’t a PC gamer and you are looking for solutions you still may find this useful.

So your computer used to be faster than it is as of now and you are wondering, “Why is my computer running slower than normal!”

I have dealt with these problems before and it can be very frustrating. Especially if you have a high end gaming computer with really great parts, it can really be a pain.

While the issues can be complicated to diagnose and require trying different methods, the solutions could range from being very simple to very complicated.

Scanning For Viruses & Malware

Malware is malicious software used by cyber criminals to gather personal information on your system and cause damage to your system.

Viruses are a subset of Malware and can be spread across your computers files almost like a disease.

Sometimes you won’t even realize that you have malware before it’s too late. Some malware can download without you even knowing and it’s usually referred to as a “Drive-by download”.

Malware and viruses can cause your system to run slow so it’s best to check if you have any and to immediately get rid of it. Be sure to have a good antivirus and to do a full system scan with it.

If you don’t have an antivirus try to use Windows 10 built in antivirus known as “Windows Defender”.

Updating My Knowledge

Be sure that you have the latest version of Windows installed.

If you are using a gaming computer with Nvidia graphics be sure that you have NVIDIA GeForce experience drivers installed and up to date only if they need it or you think they are the cause of a graphical issue.

The thing with graphical drivers is that they are a bit different than other drivers because most of the time they will need an update, but just to be sure, I recommend reading one of my posts on Nvidia drivers.

It will not only teach you how to correctly update/install your Nvidia drivers, but some problems you may encounter and how to troubleshoot them.

Try to update whatever drivers you feel need to updated within your “Device Manager”. For example if you think you are having graphics card problems update your “Display adapters >> Your GPU”.

>> Read more about updating other drivers here step by step with photos. <<

Whenever updating something or making changes to your computer always be sure to reboot it afterwards for it to successfully update smoothly.

Getting Cleaned & Organized

Sometimes your computer is running slowly because it isn’t cleaned and optimized.

(1) Startup

Start by opening task manager by holding ctrl + alt + delete and then clicking task manager.

By default it will put you on the “Processes” tab, but you will need to click the “Startup” tab.

A lot of background programs that startup by default when you turn your computer on can cause your computer to slow down.

If you want a faster start up time and your computer to speed up in general while using it, you need to disable whatever startup tasks aren’t needed.

For example if the gaming program “Steam” is there that means it’s automatically starting up and running in the background while you use your computer which can cause it to slow down.

I personally would rather open “Steam” whenever I want to use it instead of having it just start every time I open up my computer.

So right click any programs you don’t want to startup and click disable, but don’t accidentally disable any important programs like your antivirus.

(2) The Clean Up

I have a general rule of thumb when it comes to hard drive storage. Always keep a 100 gigabytes of space free to serve as a cushion.

If you have less than a 100 gigabytes of space left your hard drive will be overwhelmed and your computer will start slowing down.

You can check how much storage your hard drive has by going to your storage settings. If you need more space uninstall any programs that you don’t need anymore.

A great tool for cleaning your computer is CCleaner (not an affiliate link). There are different paid versions of CCleaner, but the free one should suffice and is what I use.

Always be careful when installing programs and don’t instantly hit install when running the installer. Always check if it’s asking to install additional software. Uncheck any of the additional software you don’t want to install.

As you can see in the red texted “Careful!” screenshot, this is an example of the extra software included within the installer. It typically asks you if you want to install this additional software or not. If you don’t want to install the additional software, be sure to uncheck the box.

After you install CCleaner you are almost ready to run the cleaner. Look at all the check boxes marked by default and see if it’s what you want.

Then you can run the cleaner, keep in mind that it’s going to be removing these files before you hit “Run Cleaner” so choose the right check boxes or you can just keep them how it is by default.

(3) Fixing Registry Issues

CCleaner also has a registry cleanup tool and you can choose to use this as well, but use it carefully because it could mess up your registry.

I personally have never had this happen to me and I use it all the time, but just be aware and feel free to back up the files you plan on removing from the registry.

To do this click “Registry” then “Scan for Issues” and after it is finished scanning for issues hit “Fix Selected Issues” then continue the process in whatever way you want from there.

(4) Defragment Your Hard Drive

This step is a really important one because it can really make a difference in your computers performance.

Defragmenting a hard drive is essentially reorganizing all the files and putting related files together to make your computer run more smoothly.

Also there is a lot of confusion of whether you should defrag a SSD or not. So if you are wondering if you should be sure to read my post on it here.

If you are using Windows 10 it comes with a built in program called “Defragment and Optimize Drives” to optimize your drives.

All you need to do is open this program, select the drives you want to optimize then hit “Optimize”.

Sometimes Windows 10 automatically schedules defragments depending on what your settings are.

Also, keep in mind that optimizing a hard drive can take a really long time depending on how big it is, so it could take all day.

If you want to use a different program for optimizing your drives or you aren’t using Windows 10, I recommend the program Defraggler

(not an affiliate link). Remember again when installing new programs never hit install instantly and always check if it’s asking you to install other programs included with it.

Using the Defraggler program is similar to using the Windows 10 Defragment and Optimize Drives program. Click on each drive you want to optimize then hit optimize.

Make sure you are optimizing all your drives and not just one if you have several drives.

Is it Hot in Here?

Heat is a huge enemy for electronics. Heat not only reduces how long your computer lives, but an excessive amount of it can slow it down as well.

When your computer overheats it can decrease your performance or even shut down without letting you know before it does.

There are tools you can use to check how hot your computer is getting, like Speccy (not an affiliate link). You can tell if a certain component is getting hot with this tool depending on how high the chart gets on the graph when it tests your temperature.

Speccy Chart

Not only does it display the temperatures, but it also tells you all the components inside your computer, if you didn’t know already.

You can look these components up and research the average operating temperatures they should be running at too.

Over time, dust can build up in your computer and cause it to slow down from the excessive heat. Make sure your computer case is clean and with proper airflow as well from the fans.

Maybe I’m Getting Too Old…

New technology comes out all the time and is growing at an incredible rate. With new technology comes new drivers and more advanced software.

This new software is usually more demanding and requires better hardware to run it.

If your computer is several years old this could very well be a reason why it has slowed down. It’s hardware is getting old and can’t run all these new programs very well.

I don’t recommend buying a new computer though unless your computer is more than five years old. Even if you bought your computer years ago brand new, it’s hardware could be older than you think.

For example let’s say the graphics card in your computer came out in 2013, but you bought your new computer in 2019.

That means that the graphics card came out over five years ago even though you bought it new recently.

It should be able to run, but it’s probably going to be a lot slower than what it was in 2013 because in 2019 there’s a lot of new software and drivers that support newer graphics cards and not 2013 ones.

In addition, the updated software requires more powerful components and older ones won’t function as well as the newer and more powerful ones.

Self Destructing

If none of this works sometimes it is best to reset your computer.

Windows 10 has an option called “Reset this PC” and it will let you keep personal files or even let you remove everything if you really wanted to.

Keep in mind that you are going to be losing most of your files, if not even all of them depending on the settings you selected and you should back up any important files.

You are essentially going to be freshly installing Windows 10. You should only do this if nothing else seems to work.

Wrapping Things Up

I really hope you found this useful and that you find your computer operating like normal again.

I’m just letting you know what I did based on my own personal experience with computer problems and how I fixed my computer issues.

Whether you are a PC gamer reading this or not, problems like this are not fun to experience at all. So I wish you the best as always and feel free to let me know if this helped you or not.


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