Why is My Computer Slow All of a Sudden?

Highlights

  • If your PC is slow all of a sudden, there can be resources, hardware, or software-related issues.
  • Common culprits include overloaded RAM, outdated software, and malware.
  • Solutions involve closing unnecessary programs, updating software, and running a malware scan.
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Slow PC
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There are some moments when it instantly hits that your computer isn’t as fast as it used to be. For some people, slowing down the computer might happen gradually, but for some people, it just happens instantly. That leaves them wondering, why is my computer slow all of a sudden?

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Well, there can be a number of reasons why your computer is slow all of a sudden. Some are more obvious than others, and that is why, today, we will explore all the possible reasons why your computer might be acting slow all of a sudden. 

How Do I Know It is Slow?

If your computer is getting slow, there would be some obvious signs that you don’t even need to look out for actively.

  • Longer Booting Times: The first and most obvious sign of a slow computer is slow booting times. This usually happens when people have old laptops or desktops with hard disks as primary storage where the operating system is installed. 
  • Slow Opening and Loading of Programs: Whether you are trying to play a game, run the software, or simply browse some videos on your PC, if it is taking more time than usual to open, your computer is becoming slow. This is quite easy to detect as we already have a very good idea of how much time a program takes to execute. 
  • Longer Processing Times: Many people rely highly on their PCs to run software and get results. Time is a crucial factor for photo editors, developers, editors, and more. If you see that your software is now taking more time to process the same data, it’s a clear marker for a slow computer. 
  • Overall Slow User Experience: If your computer is slow, everything on it will be slow. From opening apps to clicking something, there will be a slow user experience. 

There might be more signs that indicate a slow computer, but the above ones are some of the most obvious ones. If you are facing any of these issues, this guide is for you. 


Why is My Computer Slow All of a Sudden?

Now, it is time to get some answers regarding why your PC is slow all of a sudden:

Exhausted Resources 

One of the main reasons why your PC starts to act slow is because it runs out of resources. Here are some possible reasons for that:

RAM Overload

As you might already know, RAM(Random Access Memory) acts as a temporary workspace for your PC.

RAM works very well if you don’t fill it up completely, but as soon as you overload the RAM with running programs and background processes, the entire thing suffers. That is why your PC also becomes slow. 

To understand this, you need to open the Task Manager on your PC. 

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  1. Open the Task Manager by pressing the “Control+Shift+Escape” keys on your keyboard.
  2. Go to the Performance tab and see the Memory section. 
  3. If this is over 90% for a long period of time, that means you are exhausting your RAM more than usual. 
RAM Usages

This is going to make your PC slow. 

The Fix

To fix the issue, first, you can close any unnecessary tasks or processes that are taking up a lot of memory. Here, web browsers with many tabs open are the main culprits. So make sure to close them. 

Additionally, you can also plan to upgrade the RAM on your PC. If it is 4GB or less, it is time to upgrade it.   

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CPU Overload

Just like the RAM, your CPU is also a crucial component. In fact, it is the brain of the computer. The CPU juggles between many tasks and calculations. If you overload it, the computer will slow down.

Just like the RAM, you can also check how occupied your CPU is using the above steps. This time, instead of Memory, look for CPU. If it is at 100% capacity all the time, it is struggling to make ends meet. 

CPU Usages

The Fix

A temporary fix would be to close all the demanding tasks and background processes that might not be necessary at the moment. But this is not optimum in the long run. 

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So, you are only left with the option to upgrade your CPU. This, however, is a more complex process that requires more thought and consideration. 

Storage Overload 

One of the reasons that many people overlook is storage issues. Although many people now have fast SSDs as storage, there can still be issues if the storage is full.

Your hard drive or Solid State Drive (SSD) plays a crucial role in how quickly your computer accesses data. When your storage device is overloaded or fragmented (for HDDs), your PC will become slow.

To see how much storage is occupied, you can check your Disk usage in Task Manager using the same method mentioned above. If it’s consistently at 100%, your drive is working overtime. You can also use built-in tools or third-party software to assess drive health and fragmentation (for HDDs).

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Disk Usages

The Fix

Creating free space on a disk is another topic. However, some points to consider are: Delete unnecessary files, photos, videos, etc., that have not been used for a long time. Then, uninstall any non-essential programs, and if possible, move non-essential files to external or cloud storage. 


Software Issues

Improper Startup

In many cases, slow performance from the computer all of a sudden is a result of an improper startup. There can be many issues while startup that can cause a performance drop. 

However, there is a simple fix for this issue: all you have to do is restart your PC, and it should be good. 

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Loading of Unnecessary Apps at Startup

So, this is a prominent issue with many Windows users. There are many apps that autostart as soon as you open your PC. While this might not be a big deal for high-performance PCs, the ones with limited resources struggle with these apps. So it is better to restrict some of them.

Here is how to do it on Windows 11:

  1. Open the Task Manager by pressing the “Control+Shift+Escape” keys on your keyboard.
  2. Go to the Startup apps tab.
Startup Apps

Here, you can see which programs launch automatically when you boot up. Disable unnecessary startup programs. Essential system processes will likely be pre-enabled, so focus on third-party applications. 

Outdated Windows or Apps

Software updates often include performance improvements and bug fixes. The same goes for Windows updates. Outdated programs can become sluggish or even conflict with newer software. So make sure that you check for updates within your individual programs or use a dedicated updater tool.

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Windows Update should also be kept current. Overall, you should install available updates for your operating system and software.

Check for Malware

Sometimes, the reason for a slow PC might not be as apparent. In that case, you can suspect the role of malware.

This is especially the case when you browse and download files from untrusted sources, visit unsafe websites, and click on random links. You never know when malware gets downloaded on your PC. Not only is it a security risk, but it also slows down your PC.

Usually, Windows built-in security measures are more than good for handling this, but you can also use a third-party anti-malware tool. If there is malware on your PC, follow the instructions provided by the anti-malware tool.

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Other Reasons 

We have already discussed some of the main reasons why your computer might be slow all of a sudden. However, there can be some other reasons as well:

Improper Air Circulation

Airflow

When you run demanding tasks on your PC, it heats up a lot, and to maintain optimum performance, you need to make sure that you have provided proper ventilation to your PC. If you have a tower PC, make sure that the tower case has good cross-ventilation and good airflow. 

If you feel that the system is overheating, shut it down and give it some rest. This will not only make it faster but also give it a long life. 

Dust and Dirt Inside

If you don’t clean your PC every now and then, chances are that dust will settle on its parts, which will slow the PC down. So make sure that you clean your PC periodically to maintain its performance. 

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RAM or Hard Disk Malfunction

If your PC has become very slow all of a sudden, chances are that your hard disk drive might be on its last legs. You see, hard disks degrade over time, and if you use them long enough, they fail. In that case, you need to back up your data immediately and then replace the hard disk drive with an SSD. 

Then, there can be RAM malfunctions, too, and there are many tools available that you can use to assess this. If the RAM is faulty, make sure to replace it. 


Final Word

That is all about why my computer is slow all of a sudden. This guide covers pretty much everything related to the issue.

Make sure to follow this guide if your PC also starts to act slow all of a sudden. Start with the most likely software-related issues first, then move on to hardware checks if necessary.

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If you get stuck or suspect a more complex hardware issue, consider consulting a trusted tech friend or professional for further assistance. We hope this guide helps you. 

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