If you’re having PC problems you’re not alone – I get the most emails from people experiencing what I call the “usual suspects” of computer ailments. Slow performance, hangs, crashes, error messages. Add in some malware and spyware as well as a dose of the occasional virus and worm, and you’ll see what I usually deal with on a day to day basis. Oh and last but not least (but not really the case all the time) is hardware malfunction.
The best way to diagnose your computer is to understand what you’re dealing with. The most common complaint that I get is that the computer is slow, sluggish, and takes forever to boot up. This is usually caused by a few common culprits.
First off, do you have spyware lurking on your computer? Spyware and malware can often sneak onto your computer without your knowledge and hog resources. It’s very easy to miss the covert installation of a malware program until it’s too late. Often these programs will take over your browser, you’ll see pop up windows, or something seems “amiss”. The easiest thing to do? Run a spyware removal software program. These programs are designed to make it easy to get rid of rogue software that has found its way onto your computer.
If you’re dealing with file and software clutter, the easiest thing to do is to clean out your PC. Use a program such as PC Health Advisor or CCleaner in order to get rid of unnecessary files and folders, excess registry entries, prevent programs from starting up when you boot your computer, and more.
As computers age it’s often the copious software programs installed on them that are running in the background hogging resources that are the culprits. You tend to forget just how many programs you’ve installed on your computer until you go back and look at the list.
If you’re not opposed to spending a little bit of money on your computer you could spring for some additional memory. Physical memory, or RAM is the single most effective way to speed up a computer physically. RAM is the measure of how much the computer can do at once before it has to start shuffling things around while you work. The more RAM, the faster your computer will run. RAM will not help with certain things like graphics rendering, but it WILL enable you to run those graphics creation programs more effectively.
The only other thing I can say is that if you don’t have an effective backup plan in place then you’re shooting yourself in the foot and you’re going to be sorry later. You will always want to spend money on a backup program such as Backblaze. You can set it and forget it. In the event your computer physically breaks, is damaged, or stolen, your files will be safely in the cloud ready for you. Trust me I’ve been there and I can’t tell you how useful it was that I had Backblaze running in the background at all times.