Computer slowdown? Check these two things first

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This tip is based on what is probably the most common question I get, which is “Why is my computer running so slowly??” It is definitely frustrating when the computer lags behind. If your computer suddenly starts to run a lot more slowly than you think it should, there are a couple of things for you to check on.



First, you need to check on how long it’s been since the computer has been restarted. It’s important to note, I’m not saying how long since you turned it off, and then powered it back up again. I’m talking an actual restart. This means you clicked the Start button, then right above that you click the Power button, then in the menu options you click on the word Restart. This is what actually resets everything, refreshes the memory, and can resolve a lot of issues.

To see how long it’s been since you last restarted, just hold down the Ctrl and Shift keys, and tap the Escape key. That brings up Task Manager. Then click on the Performance tab, and look for the Up time counter. It will show Days, Hours, Minutes and Seconds since the last restart:

uptime counter


I just checked it on my own computer, and you can see that mine has been running for 19 hours, 31 minutes and 15 seconds in that screenshot.

A good guideline is to restart your computer every day or two. So many times, I’ve been asked to check a computer that’s doing all kinds of haywire things and running really slowly, then when I check the Up Time counter, it’s been running straight for like 51 days. For that computer, a restart will be like a drink of cold water to a man who’s been crawling in the desert sun all day.

Second, you need to see if the hard drive is failing. Hard drives can fail gradually over time, or they can just stop working and not boot up again. So if it suddenly gets really slow, or some programs don’t open, or some programs take forever to finally run, those are often signs that the hard drive could be failing. Hopefully you have a backup, if there is anything important stored on your computer!

To check the hard drive, we use a little program called Crystal Disk Info. It’s free, and you can download it here.

Once you have downloaded the installation file, double click to run it and just follow the instructions for installing it. It’s very straightforward, and it doesn’t try to add any junkware or bad stuff to your computer.

The very last screen on the installation process will give you the option to launch the program, and that box will already be checked, so go ahead and do it.

When it runs, it will come up and show you a window full of numbers and other details. You can ignore all of that. The only thing you really need to look at is the big button on the left side. It will either say Good, Caution or Bad. This is mine:

crystal disk info


Of course, you want that button to say Good. If it says Caution or Bad, that means you will need to replace your hard drive. And at that point if you don’t have your important stuff backed up, now would be a good time to try to do it, if you still can. Once that drive completely fails, you may not be able to get your stuff from it. Or you may have to hire someone to recover the data from it. Having a backup ahead of time is much less expensive, and much less stressful.

There are other factors that can contribute to a computer slowing down, but these two things are a couple of the big ones. Definitely check them first.

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January 20th, 2020

Pretty usefull info thank you, I’ve downloaded Crystal Disk info and will try it but I would like to tell you about a small program call SPECCY from the publisher of Ccleaner and it is a good tool that gives you all the infos on your PC so here is the link if you want to look at it .

Scott Johnson
January 20th, 2020

I have used Speccy in the past. Always wary of anything connected with CCleaner though.