Byte Me Article 135 – Software, not data, slows PCs

Software, Not Data, Slow PC’s

Every day of the week and now even Saturday’s we have people bringing in slow computers – yes it is unlikely that we are going to have someone bring us a fast pc, but the causes of slowness are usually the same.  Many people worry about the data that they put on the PC themselves.  They think because they may have several thousand emails or lots of photos that this will effect PC speed.  They often go to great lengths to remove their own data files from the PC to store onto external hard drives in the hope of speeding up the PC.  This will never work.  It is not user data that slows PCs’.

They following is a list of causes of the slowing of PC’s/laptops – in order of most common to least common.

  1. Too much software – we see this on around 90% of new customers PC’s and it can cause a PC to run at even a quarter of the speed that it would otherwise perform at.  Sometimes 20 to 40 software programs can be uninstalled from a PC to speed it up considerably – but you still have to know what needs to be left
  2. Malware – which comprises Trojans, Spyware, Ad-ware can bring PC speed to its knees and often requires specialist help to remove
  3. Viruses – not as prevalent these days and almost no-existent if you have a good virus scanner will slow a PC dramatically and can even cause it to keep shutting down.  Can be very tricky to remove and can sometimes require a reformat and reinstall.
  4. A dying hard drive – will result in a medium to drastic slow down and can only be fixed with a component replacement.  This is the scariest cause of a slowdown as it can cause data loss if you don’t have a backup
  5. Windows corruption – normally the result of too much installed software and shows up as a slow running PC.  This is often hard to fix without a reformat and reinstall.
  6. If you have downloaded heaps of movies, music or photos and totally filled the hard drive then this is when too much user data will slow a PC.  However if you still have any more than 10 to 15% of free hard drive space then this is NOT the cause of a slowdown.
2013-07-27 Byte Me Article 135 - Excess Software Slows PC

One of the reasons that I have written this article is that we are too often seeing people that have transferred all of their important user data off the PC and onto a single backup drive.  They then lose, drop or have this drive stolen – or it just stops working – and they have lost all of their data.  It is best to keep these files as per normal practice on the PC AND have an up-to-date backup copy on an external hard drive.  If your PC doesn’t have the room for this then you need to have two external drives with a copy of all of your data on each. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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