When your PC suddenly becomes slow and starts acting buggy, you may feel that there are so many reasons for this lag but the most probable one would be malware. However, while some viruses damage hardware, others simply make your system run slower by consuming more resources than usual.
So what should you do when your PC seems to have slowed down? Here are five possible causes with tips on how to solve them.
Why is my PC lagging all of a sudden – All Causes & Fixes
Too many background programs
If you’re running too many applications in the background without shutting them off properly, they will cause your Windows operating system (OS) to become sluggish. This is because every program needs a certain amount of memory space to function correctly, which means that if an application uses more than its allocated share, then other processes cannot use their full potential.
To resolve this problem, go to Task Manager ” Processes tab ” Highlight any process you want to close and click the End task button. If you need help finding specific processes, right-click anywhere inside the window and choose Select Columns -” Application Name column header. To force closing inactive apps automatically, head over to Start Menu ” Run ” type services.msc into the box and press Enter key.
From the Services menu, find the Startup Type field and change it from Automatic to Manual. Also, check Hide all Microsoft services boxes under General settings.
Finally, hit Apply Changes button and restart your computer.
This method works as well if you’ve got multiple browsers open and/or lots of active windows. You could also try disabling unnecessary startup items manually using MSConfig utility or disable those features within the browser itself.
For example, Firefox users can easily turn off plugins via Tools & Options window. Internet Explorer users can disable ActiveX controls via the Advanced settings. Users who prefer Google Chrome might like to take advantage of the Speed Up Your Browser extension. It allows users to disable cache and cookies, unload unused images, scripts and plug-ins, and much more.
Another way to speed up your machine is to uninstall unwanted software. Even though you probably won’t see the actual difference after doing that, it’ll definitely boost performance.
Hard disk completely filled up.
The hard drive contains information about files stored in different folders, including documents, pictures, music, videos, etc. When the hard drive fills up, it begins slowing down due to limitations placed upon reading data from disks.
In order to fix this problem, first, determine whether the slowdown is caused by file size limitation. Then delete smaller files until the hard drive gets enough empty space. Once you reach the maximum file size limit, you will either need to upgrade storage capacity or move these large files somewhere else.
You can free up extra space by going to Control Panel ” Uninstall Programs / Features (XP), or Applications folder.
Open Add or Remove Programs to remove installed components. Alternatively, you can download CCleaner, a great tool designed specifically to clean the junk out of your registry and improve overall performance.
Another possibility is moving non-critical files onto external drives. This way you don’t waste time searching through long lists of files trying to figure out where to save each individual item.
Program has a RAM leak if RAM is at 100%
RAM plays an important role in computer processing power. Each new app opens creates additional entries within the page table, thus increasing the chances of fragmentation. Therefore, if several apps are constantly opening, then even if closed, they still affect performance.
The best thing you can do is allocate more RAM to critical tasks such as email clients and web browsers.
However, if your machine only has 256MB of RAM, then consider upgrading it to 512 MB or higher. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to install more RAM sticks if you already own them. Just remember not to mix brands! Otherwise, you risk damaging the motherboard.
On the contrary, if you notice that your PC slows down whenever you run high-definition video content, then you likely experience a RAM bottleneck.
That’s why we highly recommend upgrading your RAM before purchasing expensive graphics cards.
CPU Malfunction or overheating
The processor is responsible for executing commands given to it by OS. Processor malfunctioning results in poor response times, stuttering video playback, crashing applications, freezing screens, etc.
The first step towards fixing the problem is checking temperature levels. Head to Control Panel ” System and Maintenance ” System ” Status”. Look for Temperature readings and compare them to manufacturer specifications.
Next, you could try installing thermal paste between the heatsink and CPU core. A damaged fan can also result in overheated CPUs.
Lastly, you could replace the old heat sink with something better suited to your system.
Damaged cables, loose connectors, bent pins, broken fans, etc., can prevent the proper functioning of various parts of your computer. Luckily, you can often identify issues causing slowdown just by looking around the case.
Keep tabs on your cable management to avoid tangles. Additionally, take note of any signs indicating imminent failure such as flickering lights, loud buzzing sounds, smoke coming out from vents, burning smell, etc. If necessary, contact repair center immediately.
Hopefully, now you know what kind of problems cause PCs to slow down and some of the fixes.
John has been a gamer since the early age of 7, playing a huge variety of single-player games, and MMOs, and even participating in LAN Tournaments for FPS games such as Counter-Strike Global Offensive. Ever since he found his passion in gaming & in technology in general, he has continuously increased his knowledge in software, programming & hardware and is now working at TechReviewTeam helping readers, answering questions, writing articles & reviews for the team.