What’s behind slow computers


Few things can derail a productive workday more quickly than a slow computer. Many a professional has encountered the dreaded slowdown or spinning color wheel, only to sit in frustration as deadlines draw closer and tasks pile up. 

Computers can perform slowly due to a variety of factors, many of which can be addressed rather easily.

Too much multitasking

Successful professionals pride themselves on their ability to multitask, but computers can only handle so much. Running many programs simultaneously or having too many browser tabs open at one time is a recipe for a slow computer.

Keeping various programs open at once slows down processing speed, leading to lags when switching from one program to another.

This is easily overcome by closing programs at the end of each workday and opening them only when you need to. Leaving multiple browser windows open at one time also slows down a computer, especially if the windows are open to pages that auto-refresh.

Close windows when you’re done reading an article or no longer need to access information on a particular website.

Software updates

Automatic software updates can be convenient, but they also take up space on computer hard drives. According to TechAdvisory.org, computers run smoothly when at least 15% of their total hard drive space is free. Turn off automatic updates and periodically check for updates on your own. If updates are available, install them during non-working hours so you don’t have to wait for the update to install during the workday.

Inadequate hard drive space

Though it’s best to keep at least 15% of your hard drive space free, TechAdvisory.org notes that professionals who routinely work on multiple files at one time can very quickly use up more than 85% of their hard drive space, especially if they need to store those files on their computers.

In such instances, purchasing additional hard drive space can improve performance. Adding more RAM, which temporarily stores data that is currently being worked on, also can help users overcome storage-related slowdowns.


Computer viruses are most often linked to corrupted files and frozen screens, but they also can cause computers to operate more slowly. Conduct a virus scan on the computer to see if that’s what’s behind the spinning color wheel or frozen screens.

Many things can cause a computer to slow down. Thankfully, there are just as many solutions to fix slow computers as there are problems that can adversely affect their performance. (MC) 

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