Share This Page

Blair: There are solutions you can do at home to fix a sluggish PC

| Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

It happens to everyone.

That speedy machine you had has slowly turned into a chugging, buffering, crashing headache.

If you've slowed to a crawl, here are steps to take in order to make your PC purr again.

• Check for viruses. You may have a virus running in the background, even if you have antivirus software installed.

Make sure you have your antivirus updated and then run a full scan of your whole system to see if it finds anything.

Also, download a program such as Malwarebytes, which helps find not only viruses but other types of malicious files that antivirus programs sometimes miss.

• Check your boot and startup files. Slow startups are often due to having a multitude of programs that load when your computer starts.

Some of these are necessary Windows files, but others can be removed or delayed. A great program to handle boot times is Soluto.

It recommends programs that can be moved to make boots faster and even shows you what others have done.

It packs a lot of other features as well that help keep your system healthy.

• Remove unused programs. Doing this will not only save you hard drive space but prevent those programs from loading at boot, running in the background, and checking for updates.

The free Revo Uninstaller cleans extra-deep to get rid of files and extensions that Windows uninstaller leaves behind.

• Clean out your browsers. If your main problem is slowness when browsing the web, check to make sure you don't have adware toolbars installed that are slowing you down.

In Internet Explorer click on Tools and Manage Add-Ons, and in Chrome click Tools and Extensions. You might be surprised by what you find there.

Also clean out your cache regularly to get rid of anything that might be left tracking you.

• Check for registry errors.

The Windows registry can be a very disorderly place. Use a registry cleaner such as CCleaner, which also does a great job of cleaning out junk files on your system, to repair your registry and run it a few times as things sometimes don't always get found or cleaned the first time.

• Downgrade your programs or don't upgrade them.

Sometimes program updates are necessary for security or to solve problems, but other times you can do just as well without them.

Most newer programs often use more processor power than their older versions and that can grind your system to a halt. If you're fine with your old version of Office or Photoshop and don't find a compelling reason to upgrade, hold off.

Downgrading from a newer program to an older one can be done but it's often not as easy as simply uninstalling the new and reinstalling the old.

• Check the hardware. It could be that things are slow due to a hardware problem such as an overheating CPU or a hard drive going bad.

You can open up the case yourself and check to see if there's a fan that's not spinning or an odd noise.

Even cleaning out the dust can help a lot if there's an overheating problem.

If all else has failed, have a pro look at it to see where there might be a problem.

• Consider an upgrade.

If things are constantly slow or if you have recurrent problems it might be time for an upgrade.

This does not have to be an expensive fix but it does require some homework.

Check with your manufacturer to see if your computer can handle a new CPU or more RAM.

I recently went from a 2GHz dual-core processor to a 3GHz quad-core and the difference was like night and day and only cost me about $80.

Look for the new home of the Techn@ blog at www.bluedigitalpgh.com!

Samuel Blair is an IT specialist living in Gibsonia and a freelance columnist for Trib Total Media.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.