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Top 10 Causes of a Slow or Freezing PC


1. System Start-up packed with too many applications (Start-up overload)

Over time, as you add more and more programs to your computer, many of these applications automatically add themselves to your Windows Start-up folder. Additionally, these applications can add themselves quietly to a hidden area of your Windows Start-up system (accessed via the MSCONFIG run command). In extreme cases your PC will appear completely frozen.

Limiting the number of applications loading themselves at start-up can speed boot times considerably and increase overall system performance.

Manage your hidden Windows Start-up controls automatically with PC Pitstop Optimize Free Scan (Recommended)

2. Spyware

Malicious programs that stealthily embed themselves into your Windows Registry and core file system are the number two most common cause of a slow PC or poor PC performance.

These applications are usually installed without your knowledge or consent during the installation of a “free” application you’re trying out, or pushed out automatically in the background when you visit websites that engage in this practice without the user’s knowledge.

These spyware programs must be removed as soon as possible to return your PC to top running speed, and before they damage your operating system’s file system.

In some cases they can be removed by manually editing the Windows core file system and registry or by using an automatic spyware remover like Webroot’s Spysweeper, our favorite pick for spyware removal and cleaning.

Click here to run a free spyware scan (Recommended)

3. Corrupted/Bloated Windows Registry

The Windows Registry is the master control center for your operating system and applications it runs. Corruption or overload registry issues can cause all sorts of pc performance problems, including poor application startup times, slow Windows start-up, extremely slow shut down, inability to resume from computer sleep and more.

Cleaning, compacting, and optimizing your Windows registry can go a long way to dramatically speeding up your computer’s performance, start-up and shutdown speed.

Recommended: Run a Free Registry Scan Now to Detect Errors and Improve your PC’s speed instantly!

4. Badly Fragmented Hard Drive

The fourth most common reason for a slow PC is hard drive and file system fragmentation. Over time, your computer’s files can be scattered into bits and pieces located all over your hard drive. This is called fragmentation. Windows has a built in tool to help you with hard drive defragmentation:

Double-click on the My Computer icon
Right-click once on your C: Drive and from the pop-up context sensitive menu choose “Properties”
Select the “Tools” tab and choose the “Defragment Now” option and follow the step-by-step on-screen instructions

5. Poor Security Software that is stealing system resources

Unfortunately, a large number of security software programs and suites out there demand a huge portion of your system resources and memory. This can lead to sluggish performance from the rest of your PC while your security software is constantly scanning and monitoring your computer for threats.

While threat detection is essential, some security vendors go overboard with their approach and drag your PC down with them.

To see how much memory and system resources your security software is using, press and hold CTRL+ALT+DELETE and choose the task manager.

Once the task manager is open look at the “processes” section to see how much of your system resources are being used by your security apps.

Security is inversely proportional to performance. The more secure your computer, the slower it operates, the less secure it is, the faster it operates but you are more likely to get infected with malware (i.e. viruses, spyware)

6. Remnants of uninstalled programs

Uninstalling an application either via the control panel or the application’s start menu folder has been known to leave behind remnants of the uninstalled program. These remnants can slow down your computer while Windows tries to figure out what to do with them. Additionally, residue of old program stays behind in your system registry, clogging up your PC’s core.

Recommended: Remove old uninstall entries with CCleaner Free Download

7. Pagefile

The Windows page file is a temporary area of memory that your computer uses to move files around while it processes functions. Basically, it’s a buffer that your computer uses for wiggle room. If your Pagefile is too small, your operating system won’t have enough room to move and you could end up with poor performance and error messages.

To increase the size of your Pagefile:

  • Right-click on “My Computer” and choose “Properties” from the context sensitive pop-up menu
  • Click the “Advanced” tab
  • Click “Settings” under the “Performance” section
  • Click the “Advanced” button
  • Click “Change” under “Virtual Memory”

8. Hard Drive getting full and too many Internet temp and Windows temp files

If your hard drive has less than 10% free space, you will experience a dramatic slowdown in the performance of your PC. To improve this, free up some space by removing old documents you no longer use or programs that are no longer needed.

Additionally, your Internet Explorer temp files folder can become jam-packed and lead to extraordinary launch times for Internet Explorer. To clean this folder out, try a PC temp file cleaner like WinClear: Free Download (Recommended)

9. Virii (plural for Virus)

Closely related to Spyware, virii can wreak havoc on your system’s performance and severely limit your PC’s ability to do what you ask it to.

Typically, virii get onto your computer via infected email or downloads (i.e. photos, music files, video files, email attachments), although they can also be installed via applications or files that you download from file-sharing networks and other non-trusted web sites.

Manual removal of viruses is very difficult and rarely successful, and we strongly advise the use of a quality anti-virus program like Trend Micro Internet Security – Free Trial Here.

10. Hardware Problems

The tenth most common cause of a slow or freezing computer is gradually dying internal hardware components. These can often show up in the form of slow boot and shut down, as well as poor program launches riddled with errors.

There are very few hardware diagnostic utilities out there, so we recommend careful removal of any newly installed PC components to see if they are causing a problem or incompatibility. Other than that, taking your PC to a certified, trusted hardware repair shop is usually a good idea. Better yet, call us toll free at 1-866-433-5411 and we’ll be glad to come to your home or office and perform an on-site diagnosis and assessment of your PC’s health and discuss your options.

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