Why Is My Machine Slowing Down?

It’s a slow machine

An assumption I’m making here is that it’s your entire machine that is slow, not just one or two applications.

Sudden slowdowns: Malware comes to mind

If the slowdown is sudden and severe, the first thing that comes to mind these days is malware.

Sudden slowdowns: A program run amok

Another step I take when my machine seems to be slowing down, particularly if it’s sudden and unexpected, is to fire up Process Explorer. Very often, the source of a system slowdown can be attributed to a single program running on your machine that is attempting to use all available processing resources. When that happens, other programs (often including Windows itself) aren’t able to respond to your actions as quickly.

Sudden or gradual slowdowns: Impending hardware failure

This isn’t as common, but it definitely does happen. We normally think of most hardware failures as sudden and catastrophic. Sometimes, they’re a little less catastrophic than we think.

Gradual slowdowns: Too much stuff

In my experience, the #1 cause of a system gradually slowing down over time is that it’s being asked to do more and more and it’s trying to run too much software simultaneously.

Gradual slowdowns: Fragmentation

It’s not the common problem that it once was (particularly with SSDs, where this doesn’t apply, and Windows 7 and later, which defrag automatically), but it’s possible your hard disk has become fragmented. All recent versions of Windows have built-in defragmenting tools.

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Aashish Mathew George

Aashish Mathew George

Entrepreneuring | curious thinker | technology advisor | photographer at stories by AMG | CTO of paradigm IT |