“Help! My Computer is Running SLOW!”
We have all waited not so patiently for our computers to work right… it always happens at the worst time it seems. At a meeting when you want your presentation to load, when you are on the phone with the bank and checking your account information…. Slow computers are so frustrating. If your computer is running slow, take a minute to investigate the cause. It might be easier than you think!
There are many possibilities why it is running slow, let’s start with the most common:
- Too many programs running in the background. No, your computer is not Superman. Think of each program you have open as a weight your computer is holding while walking down the street. If you were holding 1 pound, it would be pretty easy to walk quickly. If you were holding 75 pounds, you might be slow too.
- You have a virus or spyware. There are many programs you can use to check for these, delete them and also protect your system in the future.
- Your device drivers are outdated or corrupt.
The first two problems are pretty easily fixed, but most people don’t think about their drivers. This can especially apply when your computer has been working fine, until one morning you notice that Windows has run an automatic update overnight, and now your computer is drastically slower.
Windows update sounds like a great idea, it automatically downloads the latest updates from Microsoft’s website and applies them on your computer. Sounds good, right? Keep your system updated automatically so you don’t have to remember to update it. However, there are a lot of updates that interfere with the functions and drivers on your computer. Most of these updates will leave your drivers old and outdated. Because of that, they fall short in some of the functions called upon by the operating system. Therefore, the hardware and its driver will either work slower or produce an error message.
Updating your drivers is usually an easy fix. To update the driver, you have to first determine what makes your computer slow. Try to think about what you have open when the problem happens. Or, is it a specific problem with a feature on your computer? (Does your computer slow down when you have music playing, does your monitor flash when you open a game…)
Common drivers to look for problems on are :
- Video driver
- Sound driver
- Network driver
- Modem driver
- Pprinter driver
- Digital Camera driver
To update the driver, go to the manufacturer’s website and download the drivers from the driver/support section. The drivers you should get must be a higher version than the one you already have. Device driver information can be found on Device Manager. The update driver wizard may also be of help, because it can detect old drivers being installed in place of a more current one. When the computer detects that an older driver is being installed, the system alerts you and asks if the process should be continued or aborted.
You’ll be amazed how much faster your computer runs if your devices are kept up to date. A simple driver update, whether automatic or manual, may just save your system from being reduced to a crippled machine. (Or being further crippled by it’s frustrated user!)