How to Troubleshoot Your Slow PC

Speeding up a slow PC can be a challenge, particularly when dealing with older hardware that may be on the cusp of needing an upgrade or replacement anyway. Sometimes, a system simply needs a fresh OS install or driver update to perform significantly better. In other cases, upgrade or wholesale replacement are necessary.

This article is designed to help you troubleshoot a slow machine. Specifically, it walks through the process of determining whether your problem is more likely to be caused by software, hardware, or simply the age of the machine. I’ll address the topic of what to upgrade (and when a machine is worth upgrading) in a separate article.

Top Level Questions

Whether you are doing this for someone else or for yourself, here are a few “big picture” questions to consider:

  • Has the system’s performance changed recently? If the answer to this is “Yes,” did it change when you installed a specific application or OS update?
  • Has the entire PC slowed down, or just specific applications? If the problem is isolated to one app or a specific group of apps, have those applications been recently updated or modified?
  • Does the machine feel sluggish and slow to respond to feedback like typing? Does it have this problem in all cases, or only when certain programs are running? Does it have the same lag if booted in Safe Mode?
  • Does the system begin to run slowly after a few minutes of work or gaming, or is it slow from boot?
  • Is the system just slow, or is it also unstable? If it crashes, is there a specific application or application(s) that makes this happen reliably?

I ask these questions even before I ask for the make and model of the PC or specific information about its components. Knowing the age, model, and intended purpose of the machine…

Source Link