It's pretty clear why viruses could slow down your computer - they can hijack anything, from programs to files to your browser and show ads, report private data, or delete your personal information. Viruses usually take up a lot of PC processing power and will make your computer more and more unreliable over time. To remove these viruses, download and install an antivirus/antimalware solution and run a scan that quarantines threats.
2. Clogged startup
Many programs create a startup entry for themselves once you install them. As these startup entries pile up, the computer has to dedicate more and more processing power to these startup demands, which means less power is left to load the desktop and open applications, especially during the first several minutes when you've turned your computer on. By disabling startup entries in Task Manager and the System Configuration utility, you can drastically improve startup time for your computer.
3. Full hard drive
Windows operating systems generally start to slow down when your hard drive is over 90-95% full. With this in mind, it's a good idea to purchase an external hard drive or thumb drive and move your biggest files - usually contained in picture and video folders - over to that external drive so your hard drive has some free space. Deleting programs you don't use is another great way to clear out some hard drive space.
4. Fragmented hard drive
As files and folders get written, edited, and deleted over time, parts of some files get spread out over different parts of the hard disk. For example, if you install a new program after deleting a few files, the new program will take up data in the old data blocks that the files were in, plus any additional blocks on other parts of the hard drive. When programs like this are run, Windows has to constantly jump back and forth between different parts of the hard disk, slowing the process down entirely. By defragmenting your hard drive, Windows
5. Windows temp files
Various temporary files, such as cached internet webpages, the Recycle Bin, log files, and thumbnails are stored by Windows even though those files aren't necessarily important. Clearing these files out using the Disk Cleanup utility can moderately speed up your computer and often save you a good amount of space on your hard drive as well.
6. Windows Indexing
When you search the start menu, Windows searches results from an indexed database to increase the speed at which you receive results. However, this can be counterproductive if Windows is set to index the entire C:\ drive or various folders (such as AppData) that usually don't get searched yet take a long time to index. By opening the Indexing Options dialog, you can allow for indexing on your Users folder without searching the rest of your computer - maximizing the speed of both your start menu searches and the rest of your PC's functionality.
7. Appearance features
Windows has always been an operating system known for its unique UI customization features. Especially from Windows Vista on through 7, 8, 8.1, and 10, appearance features like animations, fades, transparency in Windows Aero, and smoothed fonts can cause your PC to run a decent amount slower. Disabling these effects under Performance Options can provide a much needed boost in your PC's speed without requiring you to upgrade your hardware.
8. Google Chrome
Google Chrome isn't the lightest program when it comes to your computer's resources, specifically RAM usage. Each tab and extension requires more hardware usage than most of its competing browsers. This doesn't mean you have to ditch Google Chrome, however - by disable extensions you don't use - especially search engine extensions that are usually adware anyway - along with disabling push notifications, and disabling the background Chrome service altogether, you can tame Chrome to become a much more manageable beast on your resources.
9. Background services
Some background services, such as Plug and Play or the DNS client are very important and critical for Windows to run stably. Others, such as ones added by programs that you've installed, might not be necessary. Such services can be disabled in the System Configuration utility. It might even be a good idea to disable all non-Microsoft services for a clean boot - probably the easiest way to boost your speed in just a few clicks.
10. Not enough RAM
So you've removed startup entries, got rid of unnecessary programs, cleaned up 200 infections in Malwarebytes, and tweaked some other settings, but your computer is still crawling. Now what? The honest truth is, no matter how well you clean your computer, old hardware is the ultimate limiting factor when it comes to speed. If you're trying to run Windows 7 or 10 with 1GB or 2GB of RAM, it's definitely time for an upgrade. I recommend an absolute minimum of 4GB RAM to get by in 2020, and would highly recommend purchasing 8GB for the extra breathing room, even 16GB for the small extra price if you can afford it.
The best time to upgrade to Windows 10 was long ago - before Microsoft dropped its support for Windows 7. The second best time to upgrade is right now - each day in waiting is another 24 hours you're leaving your computer vulnerable to a plethora of threats online.
Here are 10 reasons why you should upgrade as soon as possible.
Microsoft doesn't support Windows 7 anymore
You've probably heard about Microsoft dropping all support for Windows 7 and encouraging all of its users to migrate to Windows 10. This date is now in the past (January 14, 2020). Your Windows 7 computers are now left exposed to hacks, ransomware, and other vulnerabilities.
...and neither will any other software vendors over the next few years
While you can still run Windows 7 and the world won't come to an end, an issue that's going to become larger and larger with time is software compatibility. For example, the newest version of Microsoft Office (2019) already doesn't support Windows 7, while Google Chrome will drop support for Windows 7 in 2021.
Improved built-in security software
Windows 10 comes with Windows Defender built in, and it's better than ever at protecting your computer. The antivirus software works in real-time, so it catches the bad guys before they can ever get into your computer. It's still a good idea to install a third-party antivirus software, however.
Possibly the last Windows upgrade you'll ever need
Microsoft has made it clear that they don't plan on releasing a Windows 11, but will instead continue to update Windows 10 so that it's always up to date. This means that once you upgrade to Windows 10, you probably won't ever need to go through the upgrade process again!
Re-invented and improved Start Menu
While Windows 7 arguably contained Microsoft's best start menu to date, Windows 8 ditched the concept altogether. Due to negative feedback, Microsoft has reinstated the Start menu for Windows 10. It's similar to the start menu you've come to know and love on Windows 7, along with some new features like live tiles and Cortana integration. What if you don't like the new start menu? No worries, there are some third party options for you.
Windows 10 has a notification system similar to a smartphone. Your emails, update information, and other notifications are pushed onto the screen so you are alerted when you need to take action. The Action Center can be turned off as well, so you receive notifications only for things that are important to you.
Internet Explorer has been replaced
Internet Explorer has its share of critics - and for good reason. In general, it wasn't as fast or secure as its fellow browsers such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. With Windows 10, Microsoft has re-imagined the browser and released Microsoft Edge. While it still isn't my browser of choice, it most definitely beats Internet Explorer in every mark imaginable. It's faster, more secure, and looks cleaner overall.
New & improved clipboard
Windows 10 has a new clipboard which can store multiple items for copying & pasting. It also provides syncing between devices - so you can copy data from one device and paste it on another!
Better personalization options
While many users despised Windows 8 for its lack of personalization options, Windows 10 has completely flipped the narrative; everything, from the taskbar, to backgrounds on multiple monitors, to accent colors, to light and dark modes for apps, are customizable in Windows 10.
Believe it or not, downloading and installing Windows 10 is still a free process! It involves downloading the Windows 10 Media Creation tool from Microsoft's website and following the fairly straight-forward installation process. Upgrading today for free definitely beats needing to repair your PC down the road because it wasn't protected well enough with Windows 7 or 8.
Bonus: other new features in Windows 10
Windows 10 also includes Cortana (a voice assistant), a full-fledged app store, movies, DirectX12, task view (an easier way to manage open apps), and enhanced syncing capabilities.
With that said, what are you waiting for? Windows 10 has everything you and your business needs and more. Call Elk Country Computer Services (989-255-9292) for a free consultation call to see if your current computer can run Windows 10, or if you'll need new hardware. We'd love to assist you and get you up and running on Microsoft's newest operating system!
I own Elk Country Computer services here in Northern Michigan. I enjoy working with and fixing computers, especially playing around with different operating systems. Some of my other passions include bike riding, traveling, and hanging out with friends.