Eight reasons why your computer is slow

I hear from a lot of people who are experiencing slowness on their Apple or Windows computers. Slowness can be caused by a variety of factors:

  1. Insufficient Memory. What seemed like enough memory when you first purchased your computer is no longer enough.
  2. Memory Management. Computers that don’t properly manage memory, and release available memory when a program is exited, may become slow because your computer that came with 8GB or 16GB of RAM is reduced to running on 2GB or less. This pushes currently used files and program data onto the much slower hard drive.
  3. Old Drive Technology. Those using computers with older internal hard drives that aren’t solid state drive (SSD) technology will experience slower operation.
  4. Hard Drive Failure. Computers with failing hard drives will start to run slower. This typically happens when mechanical hard drives begin to have mechanical failures. This kind of mechanical breakdown isn’t an issue with solid state hard drive (SSD) technology.
  5. Defective Programs. With Apple or Windows, there are sometimes periods of months or longer where some program, task, or process may be causing problems. For example, if you do a Google search on “apple mail slow” as you type those words you’ll see that the third most popular thing people are searching on is “apple mail slowing down computer.” That problem has been around for a while. For someone with a slower computer, it will become almost unusable. However, for someone who purchased the faster computer, you can still get work done.
  6. Anti-Virus Software. The complex anti-virus software that’s required today is increasingly spreading its tentacles into every area of our computers and even our local networks to ensure there are no viruses or hackers. This slows down computers.
  7. Using Too Many Programs. These days, people tend to have more programs open simultaneously, drawing from multiple files and websites to complete a task, and sometimes being easily distracted into starting multiple unrelated tasks at one time — call it multitasking or ADHD, the results are the same.
  8. The Internet is More Complex. In the past, reading content on the web involved loading pages full of text. Now, browsers are like independent operating systems that run mini programs. Google Chrome for example can run programs and apps that you purchase from their app store just for the browser. Java and Flash are typically used to run processor intensive tasks.

The options are either to speed up the existing computer by addressing each of the above issues separately, or purchase a new computer.

With Windows computers, typically purchasing as much as  you can afford is the best choice. For the money, desktops usually have more powerful processors than laptop computers. So, they are a good choice for people who don’t have a lot of money to spend.

For suggestions on what computer to purchase, specifically for those wanting an Apple laptop computer, read “Here’s Why You Need to Buy the Fastest Computer Possible.”