Why Is My Laptop So Slow

Deyan G.
Deyan G.

Updated · May 10, 2022

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Do you notice your laptop lagging? Do simple daily tasks seem to take forever?

I’ve also wondered why my laptop is so slow. There could be several possible reasons why it’s been underperforming. 

Continue reading below to learn more.

Why Is My Laptop So Slow?

Let’s take a gander at some more possible causes of a slow laptop:

  • Background processes
  • Viruses & Malware Infections
  • Low RAM
  • Low Disk Space
  • Heat & Dust
  • Using an HDD rather than an SSD

Background processes

This is one of the most common yet subtle reasons for your computer to run slow.

Background processes are programs slowing down your PC or laptop, often unknown to you because they run silently without actively using them. Most of them help your system work properly, but some just clog up your device.

To see all of the currently running software, you have to open the Task Manager. Every process that runs takes up a percentage of your computer’s usage, memory, disk space, etc.

Windows Task Manager

You can see the exact amount of resources each process takes under the different columns. If there are too many background processes running, your CPU, memory, and disk space will struggle. 

It isn’t that your processor is slowing down; it’s simply working on multiple tasks simultaneously and can’t cope with the workload.

Viruses and Malware Infections

If this is why your laptop is slow, you’ve got an unfortunate path ahead of you… but not completely hopeless! Be it malware or a virus; you can find a remedy.

These pests can be contracted by opening a phishing email or simply visiting shady websites.

It installs itself silently and creates new processes that work simultaneously with your regular ones. Some may spread to various locations on your PC, making it harder to locate and delete them. 

As a result, they use most of your memory and CPU, making your computer sluggish and unresponsive.

Eventually, the virus could have total control of your system to the point that it can even operate your system on its own. It can change file locations or even rename and delete them. A virus can also terminate critical OS processes resulting in constant system crashes and low performance.

Low RAM

RAM (or Random Access Memory) is a memory that collects random working data. It’s constantly storing files you frequently access to open them quickly but has limited capacity. If you have low RAM storage, your laptop will perform slowly when you run multiple programs at once

They’re typically anywhere between 4 GB and 16 GB. However, nowadays, programs and systems are memory-hungry. Most games require at least 4 GB of RAM to run smoothly and common OSs require an additional 1 GB.

Low Disk Space

Another common issue that can cause your laptop’s slow performance is running out of disk space.

Computers generally keep files and programs in the storage drives, commonly called hard disc drives. Your laptop must have some free memory left to operate at its best. 

That’s because your OS regularly copies rarely used files from the RAM to the slower drive, e.g., the hard drive. To do that, it needs space on the HDD/SSD. 

When there’s none or little available, it takes longer to do so. This causes your RAM to run out of storage capacity almost constantly.

Heat and Dust

Computers, especially laptops and notebooks, are prone to overheating if you don’t take care of them. That’s because electronic components operate with a specific power supply. So, the number one enemy of any mechanical or electronic device is heat.

Over a long time, computers and laptops tend to collect a lot of dust. It sticks to all parts of the device, making the cooling down process hard.

As the temperature rises, you’ll notice your computer lagging because of the excessive heat. To protect and cool parts, your operating system gives commands to the CPU to slow down both the speed of the memory and the central processor.

Using an HDD rather than an SSD

The reason why my laptop is so slow might not be due to a lack of resources. The problem might be that I am using a slow hard disk drive (HDD).

They use old technology where the data is written or read from the disc as it spins. This increases the time needed for the information to be acquired. On the other hand, solid-state drives (or SSD) don’t have any moving parts making them more efficient. Their write and read speeds are five times faster than a standard hard disc drive.

By swapping your HDD for SSD, you will reduce the time your OS needs to read/write a particular file from or to the disc, thus increasing overall performance dramatically.

How To Fix a Slow Laptop

Managing to fix a slow computer may prove difficult for some people, but don’t worry - we have a solution for you.

Terminating Background Processes

Open the Task Manager by simultaneously pushing Ctrl, Alt, and Delete buttons.

Look for any unfamiliar processes. Typically its name contains random letters such as “vtljngr” while others have their main app's name. Check this image for an example that can be deleted.

terminating background processes

As we can see, CCleaner is still running after we stopped using it. You can terminate it by clicking the “End task” button at the bottom right of the window.
Do this with every suspicious task you see to speed up your laptop, but be careful not to stop an OS service task; this may cause disruptions.

Scan for Viruses/Malware

Your top priority, if your laptop is getting slow, is to scan for computer viruses. For that, you will need good antivirus software.

Once you choose the one that suits you best, install and run it. Scan for viruses and if the program finds any, just delete them. However, if that isn’t enough, try reaching out to a specialist. After all, it’s your computer at stake.

RAM Upgrade

If you notice your laptop lagging when you use multiple apps at once, that can mean your RAM is running short. Although upgrading it could be costly, it will most certainly make your laptop fast once again.

You can quickly check if you lack memory via the Task Manager.

  • Open the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl, Alt, and Delete buttons simultaneously.
  • Click on the “Performance” tab.

Performance tab

  • Click and check the “Memory” tab.

memory check

As you can see from the photo, it isn’t full and with plenty available. However, if the numbers were different and, for example, the RAM was at 99% or 100%, that would be a sign that it’s running short on memory

If you decide to buy more memory, be careful of the kind of RAM. There are several types and you should confirm they’re compatible with your particular laptop.

Storage Upgrade

Storage and RAM upgrades will make the most difference when it comes to fixing slow laptop performance. Swapping to an SSD will boost your overall computer work rate and you’ll notice a huge difference. 

Otherwise, buying a larger one could help with the low data storage problem. However, mounting a new drive can be complicated, so consider taking your laptop to a technician.

Beware of what type of socket your device is equipped with as well. Your new SSD must have the same type of connector. For example, if your laptop is equipped with an mSATA socket on the motherboard, you’ll need a solid-state drive with an mSATA connector.

Heat and Dust

There are two ways of fixing excessive heat.

Firstly, buy a laptop cooler. You can find them pretty much everywhere and they aren’t that expensive. Although it’s the easiest thing, it’s also only a temporary solution. Secondly, clean your device regularly. If you aren’t sure you can do it correctly, best to give it to a professional. Cleaning your laptop will speed it up and prevent damaging it irreversibly.

Update your Laptop

Think about the system, drivers, as well as software updates. You can search for them yourself, but it won’t be easy. We recommend using CCleaner to get software and driver updates.

For OS updates, you have to use the system updater provided by the manufacturer. 

Updating your software to its latest version will help you fix a slow laptop as well as upgrade your user experience.

Wrap Up

We all get annoyed when things don’t happen immediately, but a slow laptop is, thankfully, easily repairable. A good cleaning and antivirus should solve most issues. If they don’t, you can always turn to a professional at a price.

FAQ.


Why is my laptop so slow and laggy?

There are various reasons or a combination of them:

  • Too many processes running at the same time
  • A virus
  • Low RAM
  • Excessive heat
  • Low storage memory

Using an old, slow HDD instead of a faster SSD

Does dust affect the laptop’s slow performance?

Yes! Dust sticks to pretty much every part of your computer, making it harder for it to cool down. As a result, your system overheats and commands your CPU to operate at lower speeds, therefore, reducing the temperature.

How do I speed up a slow laptop?

If you’ve ever cried out in desperation, “Why is my laptop so slow!” A simple solution could be using only a few apps at one time. Other solutions could be:

  1. Scanning for viruses and deleting malicious software
  2. Cleaning your laptop of dust so it can cool down properly
  3. Increasing the RAM
  4. Swapping HDD for a larger & better SSD
  5. Terminating background processes
  6. Updating your drivers, software, and the OS to their latest versions

 

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Deyan G.

Deyan G.

Techjury.net's manager. Deyan has been fascinated by technology his whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. Working for TechJury is like a dream come true, combining both his passions – writing and technology. In his free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to his three kids), Deyan enjoys traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack. He makes mean dizzying Island Paradise cocktails too.

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