A common frustration for users with their computers is that over time, their computer will slow down. Computers slow down for a variety of reasons, but nearly all of them are fixable. So here are a few reasons why your computer might be running slowly, and what can be done about it.

First off, if you are using an older computer, the hardware might not be able to keep up with modern software. As computer technology improves, the software designed to run on it becomes more powerful, using the more powerful hardware to accomplish resource intensive functions. However, if you are using an older machine, its hardware will likely not have been upgraded. This means that software, which is updated frequently, will be designed to work optimally on a newer machine. In this case, you have one of two options, both of which might be expensive. First, you can upgrade your current machine. If you are using a desktop machine, it might be upgradeable for a reasonable price. Secondly, you can buy a new computer, which will certainly be expensive.

Thankfully, the problem could be software related. These problems can be much cheaper to fix, and can sometimes even be fixed on your own. If this is the problem, there are a few separate common causes. The first is that when a computer is used for an extended period of time, the hard drive can become fragmented. This means that your computer will have to work harder to retrieve files from storage. Thankfully, defragmenting a hard drive is quite simple, and can be accomplished with just a few short steps.

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More worrisome are computer slowdowns caused by any type of malware. If your computer has been infected, the malware could be using your computer’s resources on things like stealing your data or serving you annoying ads. If your computer is inconsistent, you frequently get popups, or you have been exposed to malware through unsecured websites or email attachments, this is a quite likely culprit.

In all of these cases, if your computer is slow and resisting your efforts to speed it up, finding a local computer expert who can perform diagnostics on your machine and examine it for problems is your best bet for speeding it up. Take the time to make sure that your computer is running at its peak capability. You will not regret it.