Whether you’re computer is old or new, you may have noticed that with all its flashy specifications, it still runs like a potato hooked up to a few batteries. Are the computer’s specifications too low for what you wanted? What could possibly be making it slow, especially on a brand new computer? Computers are fickle machines. Open the Task Manager and you’ll see dozens and dozens of processes your computer has running in the background.

Your first instinct would be to think viruses and malware are the culprit, and to be fair, that’s a solid assumption. But more often than not, it’s the software on your computer that slows your computer down rather than malicious viruses and malware. However, that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

There’s a laundry list of reasons your computer is slow, and 17 reasons are listed below. Let’s get to work!

1. Your Anti-virus is Sapping Your Resources

Anti-virus software is a lovely thing. It can add a layer of security to your computer that prevents malware and viruses from wrecking your computer. Unfortunately, its default settings sap your system resources.

Anti-virus software is equipped with a virus scanner. It runs through your system files and looks for malicious content. Unfortunately, that takes computing resources, and when you’re in the middle of working or playing video games that takes resources away from whatever it is you’re doing. And if resources are taken, other programs will be affected, resulting in a slower computer.

These scans, by default, are set to scan at a specific time. And in most cases, you can choose to schedule scans during times you aren’t using your computer, saving yourself valuable computing resource when you need it during your most active time. Unfortunately, not all anti-virus programs are equipped with a scan scheduler. You can either upgrade your current anti-virus to a plan that offers that feature, or invest in a whole new anti-virus software.

2. Bloatware is Bogging You Down

Bloatware is the bane of a PC user’s existence. Pre-installed programs that offer nothing to your computer except pain, misery, and sucks a whole lot of RAM from your computer. Thankfully, you can remove it and save yourself the torture.

Now, before you start shooting wildly, many programs listed are important to the overall function of your computer. Programs published by Microsoft, NVIDIA, AMD, and Intel should be left alone. You can make it easier on yourself by sorting programs by Publisher, so that you avoid uninstalling an important program. To do so, click the “Publisher” at the top of the Publisher column.

If you aren’t sure about a program, use the Internet to answer your question.

3. You Have Too Many Startup Programs

Whenever you boot up your computer after a restart or simply turning it on, there are specific programs that will also boot up during startup. Programs like Skype, your anti-virus, and Discord, are examples of programs that can be automatically booted up when you turn your computer on. The more programs you have in Startup, the more resources are taken from your computer.

You can disable startup programs through your Task Manager. It has its own tab called “Startup,” that gives you a list of programs that boot up when your computer is turned on. Disable any unnecessary programs.

4. Installing Unwanted Third Party Programs

Installing programs can be a tedious task. You’re tempted to quickly click “Next” to get it over with, but that leads to the installation of unwanted third party programs.

In your flurry of clicks, you didn’t notice that some programs ask to install third party software. Of course, you can decline their offer, but you have to take your time in order to catch them.

5. Your Browser is Full of Add-ons and Extensions

Browsers these days can take up quite a bit of memory, especially several tabs. Add-ons and extensions can be installed to enhance a browser’s functions, but too many can lead to a browser that hangs and times out.

Uninstall unwanted or unneeded add-ons and extensions and you’ll see a much faster browser.

6. Your Running Too Many Programs

On the flipside, you might be running more programs than your computer can handle. If you bought a cheap computer with low specs, trying to play video games, browse the web and listen to YouTube at the same time might be too much for your computer to handle.

Your best bet is to limit the number of programs you use at one time. Start by cutting back a program or two until it makes a difference.

7. Updating Your Hardware and Software

Hardware and software is never released in a perfect state, near perfect maybe, but updates to software and hardware are important. An outdated program can be poorly optimized and a recent update could have fixed that.

For example, drivers are important for the efficiency of your PC components, such as your GPU. or your network adapter.

8. Virus and Malware Infection

Considering all that’s on here, viruses and malware is likely the least likely. It certainly happens, but you want to check everything else before you consider viruses of malware.C

Such software likes to hide in your background processes, sapping your computing resources and infecting your computer.

9. Your Hard Drive is Nearly Full

A full hard drive is not a happy hard drive. Once you hit about 95% capacity, you can experience a drastic reduction in your computer’s performance.

10. Files are Fragmented

Files are always being overwritten. Those files, at one point, may have been fragmented. This means bits and pieces of a single file are in several locations. Should a program need that specific file, it would have to check your entire computer just to find the bits and pieces.

11. Your Computer is Low on Memory

Without memory (RAM), your computer can have a hard time running programs. By today’s standards, 8 GB is usually enough for the average user, but it also depends on what you us your computer for. You may need to upgrade.

12. Your Processor is Getting Too Hot

Your processor is a core component of your computer. It processes data. If it gets too hot, it

13. Hardware Failure

Computer components don’t last forever. They’re mechanical pieces and mechanical pieces are prone to breaking, wearing down, or simply faulty. If your CPU is damaged, it can affect the way programs are processed, resulting in a slower computer or a computer that doesn’t work at all.

14. Your OS is Too Much to Handle

Computers get old and operating systems get flashier, equipped with more bells and whistles. As you update your operating system more and more, new features are added that, eventually, get too much for your computer to handle.

15. Your PC is in Low Power Mode

Computers come with various power modes. Those power modes can determine the efficiency of your computer components. A low power mode, for example, can reduce the power of your CPU.

16. Dust Buildup

A gross buildup of dust not only slows your computer down, it can cause a fire. Your processor needs adequate air to breathe; it gets pretty hot. A buildup of dust can prevent cool air from reaching it, in turn causing it to overheat. If your computer produced a spark, it could ignite the dust and then you’ll have a fire on your hands.

17. Your Computer is Old

If you’re kicking back with a 5 year old computer, chances are your computer is simply getting old. When you first bought it, sure, it may have ran programs just fine, but those were programs that needed fewer resources. Programs need more and more every year and it’s possible your computer just doesn’t make the cut anymore.

Computers need consistent maintenance. Files should be placed in their proper locations; browsing habits should be practiced; programs should be up to date, and make upgrades when possible.