“My computer is SO SLOW!!”

This is a phrase uttered quite often. Unfortunately, it tells IT professionals very little about what is going on. When a user states that their computer is slow, do they mean the performance of the local machine or is it taking a long time for websites to load. The answer can be a number of things. If the computer itself is running slowly, then webpages would load slowly as well. However, the computer may be blazing fast but the internet connection has slowed to a crawl. In any case, all the user wants to know is, “How do I fix it?”

First, you have to determine if the problem is with the computer or the internet. The way I recommend doing it is by going to speediest.net and running a speed test. This is a free service that will tell you what the download and upload speeds are for your internet connection. A standard broadband internet should have a download greater than 10mbs and an upload greater than 2mbs. If your upload speed is less than 1mbs, then your internet connection is going to feel very very slow. Even if you have a fast download speed, the time it takes to upload a request to the remote server (like clicking a link or entering in a web address) is what makes navigating the web feel fast or slow. You want a good upload speed, at least. If you do see lower-than-average upload or download speeds, first reboot the computer. If this doesn’t work, consider power-cycling the modem. Remember, anyone else on your network will lose internet connection if you do this, so be careful. If that doesn’t fix the issue, you will need to get in contact with your IT professions and/or internet service provider (ISP) for further help.

If the speed test is normal, then it’s possible your computer is running slowly. Open the task manager and look to see what programs are using a lot of memory and processor percentage. Consider closing these applications to help with system performance. Sometimes, viruses can be to blame for system slowness. Run a scan of your computer to see if there are any viruses. If any are detected, contact your IT professional immediately, even if your system has “quarantined” or “removed” the virus. You don’t want theme to come back or, worse, still be there in the background. If viruses aren’t your issue, consider clearing out your internet history, temporary internet files, and browsing history. Sometimes a large amount of these volumes may cause slowness.

As always, feel free to get in touch with any questions or for help getting your computer running fast again.

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