Two different ways your computer could be running “slowly”

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One of the most common things I hear from people is still this: “My computer is too slow!” The problem is, they could be talking about two different things.

slow computer


This leads me to ask a clarifying question, so we know exactly what we are dealing with.

I ask, “When you say it’s slow, are you talking about when you go to a website, it takes a long time for the website to load? Or, do you mean for example you click on Microsoft Word and it takes a long time for Word to come up on the screen?”

Do you see the difference in those questions?

If it’s a website that is slow to load, that’s not necessarily a problem with the computer itself – it’s just a slow internet connection. If that’s an issue, it’s time to make a call to whoever you pay for the internet each month. They can do some diagnostic checking from their end while you’re on the phone. In some cases, the modem or router (or both) might be failing and need to be replaced. You can also speed up your internet connection by connecting the router to the computer with an ethernet cable, instead of by wifi. I know that’s not always physically possible. But if your computer sits next to the router anyway, you would be better off just connecting a cable rather than connecting to the wifi signal. A wired connection is always faster.

If it’s a program that is slow to load, then that could be an issue with the computer itself. There are a variety of things to check here. The computer may need to be restarted, there might be too many programs running in the background, or it could even be an indication that the hard drive is having a problem (got a recent backup?).

So keep in mind, “slow” can have more than one meaning. But either way, we have methods of speeding it up!

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