Why Is My Laptop So Slow?

Chris Campbell12 Jan 2022

The modern age has transformed us all into instant gratification zombies with no tolerance for slow load times and sluggish processing. We demand our pricey electronics to keep up with our fast-paced lives, but the fact is that slowdowns happen over time.

Slowdowns can happen in many technologies, including laptops, for a multitude of reasons which may or may not have anything to do with how you use your gadget. Whether you're dealing with outdated technology or broken hardware, identifying the source of your slowdown is the very first step towards fixing it.

If your laptop doesn't work as fast as it used to, there are several ways to make it run like new again. It might have been infected with a virus, or you could be running an out-of-date operating system. There could also be an excess of starting applications or temporary files. If what you have is an old laptop, your hard disk or memory cards may need to be replaced. 

Here are the most likely reasons why your laptop is so slow and how to speed it up.

  • Your laptop has an overly enthusiastic startup.

It's only natural to want to install apps on your laptop. In fact, that is most likely why you purchased your laptop in the first place. Laptops provide ultra-light portability that allows you to take the entirety of your favorite tracks, apps, photos, and files with you anywhere you go. However, each time you install new software, it competes for a spot in your laptop's startup.

Unless you specifically unticked the permissions box to block a program's instant startup at every boot, your startup is possibly congested with far too many apps running at the same time. You are tasked with having each program up and running as quickly and efficiently as possible, but you experience the opposite and are left staring into slow processing, or worse, freezing screen, as your laptop struggles to show your home screen.

The fix: Reduce your startup protocols to only the apps that are truly essential. Disable instant Windows startup for those apps you don't need to boot right away. You can just manually start a program when you actually need it.

  • Your laptop is running low on memory.

The more RAM you have, the more memory you have for memory-intensive applications. When several programs are open, extremely sluggish processing is one of the warning signs of low memory. Most current laptops can manage multitasking without a hitch, but old or overburdened laptops can't handle multiple memory-intensive apps running simultaneously.  Even when you're not constantly multitasking, a lot of apps running in the background can cause your laptop to slow down. 

**The fix: **Make sure to check your laptop's memory usage. By hitting CTRL+ALT+DEL, you can easily access the "Task Manager" and figure out which apps are eating your RAM under the processes tab. Close any apps that you don't need.

  • Your laptop's hard drive is completely full.

Consider your hard disk to be a fridge. Even if you wanted to stuff it full of sweets and a bevy of snacks, and cans of beer and soda, it would never work in reality.  Taking whatever you need out of the fridge would be very difficult with things sure to break and fall.

In some ways, your hard drive works the same. If it's too loaded, getting what you need will take too much time and effort. Everything you download and install - from programs to photos, to files -  are all saved in your laptop's hard drive.  When your hard disk capacity approaches 90 percent, your computer might run up to 50 percent slower than it did previously. This is an ideal moment to clear off some space on your hard disk.

**The fix: **Check your hard drive's memory by clicking the "Windows" key and the letter "E" at the same time to open "File Explorer." Next, click "This PC" on the left panel and check the free storage displayed under "Windows C." You can delete or transfer data from your laptop to online storage like DropBox or iCloud, or using an external or USB drive.

  • Your laptop's browser is overwhelmed.

In everything you do, whether for entertainment or work, you rely on your internet connection. However, it is possible that your online browsing habits are slowing down your laptop. This is especially true if you're one who likes to multitask. You've got a video running on YouTube, a browser opened for research, and something else. Whenever your browser is overwhelmed with several tabs, efficient performance is compromised since your laptop is attempting to do multiple tasks at once.  It also applies to browsers that have an excessive number of extensions or add-ons. These stealthy performance vampires go beneath the radar, and without you realizing it, it's causing your laptop to be sluggish.

**The fix: **Close tabs or browsers soon as you're done needing them. To help speed up your laptop, you can navigate to your browser's "Settings" and go to "Browsing History." You can delete cookies, cached data, or even empty your history.

  • Your laptop is infected with a virus.

When a laptop begins to act strangely, we automatically think that malware has invaded our valuable technology. Although our judgments are occasionally knee-jerk reactions, our suspicions are not always unfounded. Malware is programmed to damage computer functions, ultimately slowing down your laptop.

Among the many indications of an infected laptop is the laptop suddenly slowing down, more than usual pop-ups appearing, a blue screen of death alerts programs opening and shutting on their own, and an overburdened hard disk brimming with questionable files.

The fix: Install and run virus and malware scan software to detect and erase anything dubious.

Laptop Slow? What To Do:

As a result of constant use, your laptop accumulates more files and apps over time. This could eventually slow down your laptop, making common tasks take longer to complete and affecting your laptop's efficiency. You may speed up your laptop by doing routine maintenance like clearing up hard drive space and running the Windows hard disk utilities. You may also prevent unnecessary apps from running when your laptop boots and enhance speed by adding extra RAM capacity.

  • To eliminate viruses and malware, keep your virus and malware scanner constantly running and updated. Malware could deplete your laptop's CPU resources, thus causing it to slow down.
  • Open "System Configuration" by clicking the "Start" button, then entering "msconfig," and hitting the "Enter" key. Navigate to the "Start-Up" tab and uncheck the box next to each thing you don't want to run on your laptop. Once you reboot, just the apps you have chosen will run, freeing up space in your laptop.
  • Open the Add or Remove Programs screen, by clicking the "Start" button and typing "add or remove programs," then hit the "Enter" key. To clear up space on your hard disk, choose unwanted apps and then click "Uninstall."
  • Run the Disk Cleanup utility by clicking the "Start" button, and type "disk cleanup," then pressing the "Enter" key. Mark the boxes next to the items you wish to remove, then click "OK."
  • Run the Windows defragmenter tool by clicking the "Start" button, typing "disk defragmenter," then hit the "Enter" key. Select your laptop's hard drive and then select "Defragment disk" to compress files and speed up your hard disk's processing time.
  • Increase the RAM memory on your laptop. This will give you more total RAM, allowing your laptop to execute many apps at the same time with greater performance.

Why Is My Laptop So Slow All of a Sudden?

You're almost done with your work but out of nowhere, the laptop suddenly slows down. Ugh, how frustrating.

If you find your laptop suddenly slowing down, it could be one of the following reasons:

  • The laptop has been operating for a long time without being rebooted
  • Inadequate free hard drive space 
  • A virus or malware has attacked your laptop
  • There are too many programs running in the background
  • Overheating computer or processor
  • Windows is outdated
  • Hardware failure

Why Is My Laptop So Slow To Start Up?

The quick startup option is among the most troublesome features that cause delayed startup time. It is automatically enabled and is intended to speed up startup by pre-loading certain boot information before your laptop shuts down. While the name appears to be encouraging, it can slow down your laptop's boot time.

The term "virtual memory" refers to a function in Windows that dedicates a sector of your storage drive as fake RAM. This section is known as the paging file. Higher RAM allows you to execute more processes simultaneously on your laptop. As a result, if Windows is nearing the end of its physical RAM, it switches to virtual memory. Windows 10 has the ability to alter virtual memory settings by itself, which might cause boot problems.

Too many apps opening at startup might be the cause of lag between logging in and actually using your laptop. Whenever you install or update software, a lot of it is configured to execute instantly upon startup. If you have hundreds of programs launching as soon as you turn on your laptop, this could really slow ir down.

Why Is My Laptop So Slow After Windows 11 Update?

Microsoft has unveiled the long-awaited Windows 11. Despite the fact that Windows 11 introduces a completely new style as well as some better functionality, some users have reported slow performance after updating to Windows 11.

It is crucial to note that Windows 11 is still not stable, thus you may just have to wait a while before you can fully utilize it. However, several new concerns have emerged in the Windows 11 operating system.

Here are some of the most typical issues that might cause Windows 11 to run slowly on your laptop:

  • Problems with the hard drive
  • Problems with startup applications that run in the background
  • Low disk space on the system drive
  • The use of a hard disk drive (HDD) rather than a solid-state drive (SSD)
  • The operating system is out of date, as are the graphics card drivers
  • Security program inconsistencies
  • Windows software that has been improperly installed or is corrupted
  • Inadequate RAM

Since you already know what might be causing your laptop to slow down after updating to Windows 11, here are some efficient strategies to speed it up:

  • Disable instant start-up for non-essential applications
  • Switch off Fast Startup option
  • Check and make sure graphic drivers are up to date
  • Delete temp files
  • Run Windows Update troubleshooter
  • Make sure there's enough space in your C drive
  • Migrate to SSD
  • Revert to Windows 10 and only update once Windows 11 is out of "testing" status

Give these tips a try so the next time you find yourself losing your cool over your laptop's turtle-like speed, you don't end up giving yourself a headache wondering what the heck is wrong, or worse, hitting and taking it out on your poor laptop.

Chris Campbell

Chris Campbell

Thanks for reading! I'm Chris, an avid tech fanatic that enjoys keeping up with the latest laptop models. Hopefully my tips & tricks can help you out!

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