Your hardware became old just a little after you bought it. Use this shortcut when your computer slows down.
If you’ve ever been frustrated by the slow performance of your computer, you’re not alone. Whether it’s an older model or a brand new one, computers can sometimes experience slowdowns that make them almost impossible to use. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some common reasons for slow computer performance and how to diagnose and fix them.
It’s incredibly frustrating when your computer starts to slow down. With technology evolving at such a rapid pace, older hardware can quickly become obsolete.
Unfortunately, the cause of a slow computer isn’t always immediately clear. It could be due to a multitude of reasons, such as:
- your browser overloading your RAM
- a program crashing
- an internet connection outage
- a site’s server going down,
- Microsoft Office loading too many plugins on startup,
- cache buildup,
- malicious software,
- hacking attempts,
- hardware failures, and more.
Thankfully, there’s a quick and easy way to diagnose the issue. Simply use this Windows keyboard shortcut.
To quickly diagnose issues with your computer, you can use a simple Windows keyboard shortcut:
CTRL + SHIFT + ESC
This brings up the task manager, where you can click on the performance tab to view important information about your computer hardware. In particular, you’ll be able to see information about two key components: the CPU and memory.
CPU – Central Processing Unit
The CPU, or Central Processing Unit, is essentially the brains of your computer.
It’s responsible for handling all of the computation that your computer performs. Technically speaking, the ALU (or Arithmetic Logic Unit) inside the CPU is responsible for the arithmetic, but understanding the CPU as a whole can be a challenge for many people.
If you’re feeling up to it, however, taking a closer look at your CPU can be a great way to troubleshoot performance issues and diagnose problems with your computer.
RAM – Random Access Memory
Random Access Memory (RAM) is a key component of your computer’s motherboard. While your computer comes with RAM chips already installed, upgrading to newer, faster chips can often provide a significant performance boost. However, the extent to which you can upgrade your RAM depends on your motherboard, so it’s important to check your manufacturer’s documentation or customer support before making any changes.
RAM chips are used to temporarily store data that is retrieved from your hard drive when it’s needed. When your computer is shut down, the RAM loses all its data, which is why you get a warning about unsaved data if you have programs running at the time.
For real-time applications such as word processors, image editing tools, browsers, and games, RAM chips are a better solution than hard drives because they have much faster data transmission rates. The capacity of each RAM chip is measured in gigabytes, and your computer’s overall RAM capacity determines how many and the size of software applications it can handle at any given time.
It’s important to note that while newer versions of RAM have faster data rates, the quantity of RAM is what determines the size of the software applications your computer can handle. It’s also important to check your motherboard’s RAM capacity and read up on DDR before making any upgrades, as you don’t want to accidentally pay for data transmission rates you can’t use. Upgrading your RAM doesn’t have to be expensive, and there are often discounts and coupons available online.
When it comes to gaming, speed is crucial. And if you use your computer for a variety of purposes like me, then you’ll need a lot of RAM to run multiple applications at the same time.
Think of the apps you may use at the same time at any given point. Different browsers with multiple tabs, Microsoft Office, email software, database admin interfaces, IDEs, chat apps, screen-sharing software, productivity tools, Adobe Creative Cloud applications, media players, video editing and screen recording tools, code editing software, image viewing software, voice over internet protocol (VoIP), etc…
With a number of these applications running at the same time, it’s crucial to have enough RAM to store frequently accessed data. Otherwise, the computer program may freeze, and if RAM is overloaded, the program may not function properly, leading to crashes and other issues.
If you’re experiencing poor user experience, the apps you use may be the culprit, so it’s essential to take stock of the ones that consume the most resources and optimize them accordingly. Remember, the list of ways you use your computer is unique to you, so take note of the ones that matter most to you.
The Consequences of Maxing out RAM and CPU
When your computer’s CPU runs at maximum capacity for an extended period of time, it generates heat. Excessive heat can cause damage, which can result in decreased performance of your operating system. It’s essential to keep an eye on your CPU temperature, and there are software applications available to help you monitor it.
Your RAM is what allows your computer to run software, and when it reaches its maximum capacity, things slow down significantly. To check your RAM and CPU levels, you can use keyboard shortcuts to access the Task Manager, which provides detailed information about the processes running on your computer. Identifying the culprit of your poor user experience can ease your concerns about the cost of upgrading your expensive PC.
Ultimately, understanding what’s happening under the hood of your computer and how to measure it is crucial in resolving technology issues. These may seem like first-world problems, but they can be frustrating and negatively impact your productivity. Therefore, it’s essential to be proactive and take steps to prevent these issues from occurring in the future.
Browser Hogging All Your Resources?
Running new software on old hardware can cause your computer to slow down, and this is particularly true when it comes to internet apps. With each tab and app allocated its own portion of CPU and RAM, having too many tabs or apps open can max out your computer’s resources.
This becomes doubly important when we talk internet apps. Having old hardware can mean maxing out your RAM and CPU just by having too many tabs open or extensions installed.
Each tab and chrome app is allocated its own portion of CPU and RAM and you can see which tabs use what by viewing you browser’s task manager. The shortcut for this should be etched into your mind.
Shift + Esc (Chrome)
Once you get this Chrome task manager open it will have default column headers and you can view additional information by right clicking in the column header area and selecting additoinal column to be displayed. If you get everything in view, you will have the following headers.
- Process ID
- Shared Memory
- Private Memory
- User Handles
- Image Cache
- Script Cache
- CSS Cache
- GPU Memory
- SQLite Memory
- NaCL Debugging
Sorting the information in ascending or descending order by clicking on the appropriate column header can help you identify which tabs and apps are consuming the most resources. Additionally, the “States for Nerds” link in the bottom right of the Chrome task manager provides even more information about your browser’s performance.
Identify Process Hogging Resources
If you need to identify which processes are hogging resources on your computer, go to the processes tab of the task manager by using the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keyboard shortcut. Click on the column header titled CPU to sort the processes by level of CPU resources they consume.
Another useful tool for identifying problematic browser apps and operating system software is the Should I Remove It? crowdsourced software information site. By managing your browser and computer’s resources, you can optimize your system’s performance and prevent slowdowns.If you don’t recognize the filename, give it a Google search. You can also use the file.net process search website to search for an executable.
Now all of your processes are sorted by level of CPU resources that they consume. This is quite helpful when you can’t figure out which piece of software is slowing you down. If you don’t recognize the filename give it a google search.
A good place to search an executable is the file.net process search website. Another useful tool to identify potentially problematic browser apps and os software is the Should I Remove it? crowdsourced software info site.
That About Sums it Up
By following these steps outlined above—checking for high CPU usage/low RAM levels as well as identifying any resource-hogging processes—you should be able to identify what’s causing the slowdown on your machine and take appropriate action to fix it.
Of course, if all else fails then it might be time to consider upgrading either the hardware components or software programs on your system in order to ensure optimal performance going forward!