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How to Troubleshoot a Computer That Is Slow to React

by Elvis Michael
Boy relaxing on sofa in livingroom using laptop for internet image by kuhar from Fotolia.com

Often even new and reliable computers have a tendency to lose their performance. The general cause of the problem is overly used system resources. When programs are installed, many may require a background service or process to remain active at all times, or at least while the program is in use. Furthermore, excessive temporary files may make your hard drive's overall performance sloppy. Because there are many possibilities, it is wise to troubleshoot your computer's reaction time one step at a time.

Step 1

Remove unnecessary resources. These range from overly crowded Start menu items to programs installed on your computer. When a software installation is performed, a Start menu entry is typically created, slowing its overall reaction time. Right click any unused Start menu items and select "Delete" to remove them from the list. If you wish to remove a program completely, click "Start" and launch the "Control Panel." Select the Program Uninstall feature to wipe them out of your system.

Step 2

Use your system's Disk Cleanup utility. This will clean temporary data from your computer, such as Internet cache files, downloaded program data and optional setup leftover settings. Open "My Computer," right click on your local hard disk, and select "Properties." Click "Disk Cleanup" to have your computer see what files might be removed. Select each item and click "OK" to remove it.

Step 3

Disable excessive system services and processes. When a program is actively running, a process or service is launched with the help of the system's memory, causing your computer to react slowly. Click "Start" and type "Msconfig" in the Run/Search box. Access the "Startup" tab and deselect any unused program entry from the list. Removing these programs' entries prevents them from starting up with your computer simultaneously, enabling you to free up system resources by launching them only when necessary. Click "OK" when finished and restart your computer for the system modifications to take effect.

Acquire additional RAM (Random Access Memory) if your computer is still slow to react. When a program is launched, data and settings are temporarily written to the RAM until no longer needed or your computer is restarted. However, if there is not enough memory available to manage multiple computer tasks, your computer's reaction and overall performance will experience a decline. Consult your operating system's specifications to determine how much RAM it requires. Purchase more than the minimum needed for the system so you can use the rest for additional applications.

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