The computer lags: what to do?

The computer lags: what to do?

Why is the computer lagging and what to do is probably one of the most frequently asked questions from novice users and not just them. In this case, as a rule, they say that not long ago their computer or laptop worked well and fast, "everything flew", and now it takes half an hour to load, programs are also launched, etc.

This article details why your computer might slow down. Possible causes are listed by how often they occur. Of course, for each point, solutions to the problem will also be given. The following instructions are applicable to Windows 10, 8 (8.1), and Windows 7.

If you cannot identify the exact cause of your slow computer performance, below you will find a free program that will allow you to analyze the current state of your PC or laptop and provide you with a report on the causes of speed problems, helping you to know exactly what to "clean" to prevent your computer from slowing down.

Programs on automatic startup

Useful or unwanted programs (which we will talk about in a separate section) that run automatically with Windows are probably the most common cause of computer slowness.

Whenever I have been asked to investigate "why the computer is slow", in the notification area and simply in the autorun list I have observed a significant number of utilities of all kinds, the purpose of which the owner often did not know.

As far as I could, I detailed what can and should be removed from autoloading (and how to do it) in the articles Windows 10 Autoload and How to speed up Windows 10 (For Windows 7 with 8 - How to speed up the computer), take it from there.

In short, everything you don't use regularly, except antivirus (and if you suddenly have two, there is a 90% chance that this is why your computer slows down). And even the things that are used: for example, on a laptop with HDD (which are slow on the laptop) constantly enabled torrent-client can reduce system performance by tens of percent.

Useful to know: programs installed and automatically launched to speed up and clean Windows very often slow down the system more than they have a positive effect on it, and the name of the utility here absolutely does not play a role.

Malware and unwanted programs

Our user likes to download programs for free and usually not from official sources. He is also aware of viruses and usually has a good antivirus on his computer.

However, many do not know that by downloading programs in this way, they are also very likely to install malware or unwanted software that is not considered a "virus" and therefore their antivirus simply does not "see" it.

A common result of having this type of software is that your computer slows down a lot and you don't know what to do. The starting point here should be simple: use special malware removal tools to clean your computer (they don't conflict with antivirus and find what you might not know you have in Windows).

The second important step is to learn how to download software from the official developer sites, and when installing it, always read what is offered to you and discard what you don't need.

As for viruses, they can also cause slow computer performance. Therefore, checking for viruses is an important step if the cause of the "slow" is not known. If your antivirus refuses to find anything, you can try using a third-party antivirus Live CD, it will most likely do a better job.

Device drivers not installed or not "native"

Lack of official device drivers, or drivers installed from the Windows Update Center (rather than from hardware manufacturers' websites) can also cause slow computer performance.

Most of the time it is about the video card drivers - install only the "compatible" drivers, especially for Windows 7 (Windows 10 and 8 have learned to put the official drivers, although not in the latest versions), to They often lead to lags (brakes) in games, video playback jerks, and other similar problems with displaying graphics. The solution is to install or update your video card drivers to get the best performance.

However, it is also worth checking the installed drivers for other hardware in Device Manager. Also, if you have a laptop, a good solution is to install the chipset drivers and other proprietary drivers from the laptop manufacturer's website, even if the Device Manager for all items shows "Device works fine", the same can say of the drivers of the chipset of the motherboard of the computer.

Hard drive or HDD overflow problems

Another common situation - the computer not only slows down, but sometimes it hangs intentionally, look at the status of the hard drive: it reasonably has a red overflow indicator (in Windows 7), and the owner does not take any action. Here, point by point:

  1. For Windows 10, 8, 7 to function properly, as well as to run programs, it is important that the system partition (i.e. drive C) has enough space. Ideally, if possible, we would recommend double the size of RAM as unoccupied space to almost completely eliminate the problem of a slow running computer or laptop for that reason.
  2. If you don't know how to get more free space, and you have already "erased everything unnecessary", How to delete unnecessary files on drive C and How to expand drive C instead of drive D can help you.
  3. Disabling the swap file to free up disk space, as many people do, is a poor solution to the problem in the vast majority of cases. But disabling hibernation, if there are no other options or you do not need a quick start of Windows 10 and 8 and hibernation, can be considered as such a solution.

The second possible option is to damage your computer's hard drive or, more commonly, your laptop. Typical manifestations: absolutely everything on the system "stops" or starts "jerking" (except the mouse pointer), with the hard disk making strange noises, and suddenly everything is fine again. The advice here is to take care of the security of the data (saving the important ones on other drives), check the hard drive, maybe change it.

Incompatibility or other software problems

If your computer or laptop starts to slow down when you start some specific programs, but otherwise works fine, it would be logical to assume that there are problems with those same programs. Examples of these problems:

  • Two antivirus is a great example, not very frequent, but found by users. If you install two antivirus programs on your computer at the same time, they can conflict and make it impossible to work. In this case, we are not talking about the Antivirus + Malware Remover package, in this case there are usually no problems. I would also like to point out that in Windows 10 the built-in Windows Protector, according to Microsoft, will not be disabled when installing a third-party antivirus and this will not lead to conflicts.
  • If a browser like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox slows down, plugins, extensions, and, less frequently, cache and settings are likely to be the cause of the problem. A quick solution is to perform a browser reset and disable all third-party plugins and extensions. See Why Google Chrome slows down, Mozilla Firefox slows down. Yes, another reason for the slowness of the Internet in browsers can be the changes made by viruses and similar software, often - the prescription of a proxy server in the connection settings.
  • If a program downloaded from the Internet slows down, it can be due to several things: it is "crooked" in itself, there is some incompatibility with your hardware, it is missing drivers and, which is also often the case, especially in the case of games, overheating (next section).

Anyway, the slowness of a particular program is not the worst, at best it can be substituted if you cannot figure out what is causing it to slow down in some way.


Overheating is another common reason why Windows, programs, and games start to slow down. One of the signs that this point is the cause - the braking begins after some time of playing a game or working with a resource-intensive application. And if the computer or laptop itself shuts down during that work, there is even less doubt that it is overheating.

To determine the temperature of the processor and the video card can help special programs, some of which are listed here: How to know the temperature of the processor and How to know the temperature of the video card. More than 50-60 degrees when idle (when only running the operating system, an antivirus and some simple applications in the background) - the reason to think about cleaning the computer from dust, possibly the replacement of thermal paste. If you are not ready to do it yourself, contact a specialist.

Actions to speed up your computer

This is not a list of actions that would speed up your computer, but something else: what you have already done to that end may be causing the consequences in the form of slowing down your computer. Typical examples:

  • Disable or configure Windows swap file (in general, I strongly advise novice users to do this, although I used to have a different opinion).
  • Use a variety of "Cleaner", "Booster", "Optimizer", "Speed ​​Maximizer", that is, software to clean and speed up your computer in automatic mode (manually, carefully, as needed - can and sometimes should) . Especially for defragmentation and registry cleaning, which may not speed up the computer in principle (if we are not talking about individual milliseconds during Windows startup), but it often leads to the inability to start the operating system.
  • Automatic cleaning of the browsers cache, of the temporary files of some programs - the browsers cache exists to speed up the loading of the pages and really speeds it up, some temporary files of the programs are also present for the purpose of performance faster. Therefore: it is not necessary to set these things to automatic (at every program exit, system startup, etc.). Manually if necessary - please.
  • Disabling Windows services is more likely to cause some functionality to crash than to slow down, but it is also a possibility. I would not recommend doing this to most users, but if you are suddenly interested: What services to disable in Windows 10.

A weak computer.

And another option is that your computer is not up to the current reality, the demands of programs and games. They can run, work, but brake mercilessly.

Advising something here is difficult, the subject of updating the computer (unless it is the purchase of a completely new one) is quite broad, and limited to one advice to increase the size of the RAM (which can be inefficient), change the graphics card or installing an SSD instead of the HDD, without going into the tasks, current characteristics and use scenarios of a computer or laptop, will not do.

I'll just make one point here: Today, many PC and laptop buyers are on a budget and therefore the choice falls on affordable models priced up to (very conventionally) $ 300.

Unfortunately, high speed cannot be expected in all applications on such a device. It is suitable for working with documents, the Internet, watching movies and simple games, but even in these things it can sometimes seem slow. And the presence of any of the problems described in the previous article, in a computer of this type can cause a much more noticeable drop in performance than in a good "iron".

How to determine why a computer is slow with WhySoSlow

Not long ago, a free program was released to determine the causes of computer slowness: WhySoSlow. For now it is in beta version and we cannot say that its reports show very well what is required of them, but nevertheless such a program exists and, most likely, will be supplemented with additional features in the future.

For now it is only interesting to look at the main window of the program: it mainly shows the hardware nuances of your system that may be the reason why your computer or laptop is slow: if you see a green check mark - from the point of view from WhySoSlow everything is fine with this parameter, if gray - ok, and if exclamation mark - not so good and can lead to speed problems.

The program takes into account the following computer parameters:

  • CPU speed - CPU speed.
  • CPU temperature - CPU temperature.
  • CPU load - CPU load.
  • Kernel responsiveness: access time to the operating system kernel, Windows 'responsiveness'.
  • Application responsiveness - Application response time.
  • Memory load - The degree of memory load.
  • Hard Pagefaults - difficult to explain in two words, but, broadly speaking: the number of accesses of the program to the virtual memory of the hard disk due to the fact that the necessary data has been transferred there from RAM.

I wouldn't trust the readings of the program too much and it won't lead a novice user to any decision (except on overheating), but it's still interesting to take a look at. You can download WhySoSlow from the official website

If all else fails and your computer or laptop is still slow

If none of the ways does not help in any way to solve the performance problems of the computer, drastic actions can be resorted to in the way of reinstalling the system. Also, on modern versions of Windows, as well as on computers and laptops with a pre-installed system this should cope with any novice user:

As a general rule of thumb, if there have been no issues with your computer's speed before and there are no hardware malfunctions, reinstalling the operating system followed by installing all the necessary drivers is a very effective method of returning performance to its original settings. .