One of the most common questions people ask us over the years is how to speed up a slow computer. After all, having a computer that’s slow at startup or to open and run applications is frustrating no matter what you’re trying to do.
Today, we are introducing the first of our 3-part series on slow computer fixes. In this first part, we’ll focus on what to do if your computer is slow due to viruses. You can check out the rest of the blogs in this series below:
Signs of a Virus-Infected Slow Computer
Viruses can accumulate on your computer especially if you are a frequent user and go on the internet often. They are usually downloaded by clicking on links in email attachments, downloading and installing new programs on your computer, or browsing websites.
If your computer programs crash, freeze, or stops randomly, or if your computer is slow for no reason or slow to startup, then these signs can indicate malware on your system that may be undetected. Specifically, you’ll notice symptoms of a virus infection such as:
- Files being deleted, transferred, or renamed
- Unknown programs or files installed on your computer
- Frequent computer crashes
- Data and files are damaged and cannot be opened
- Overall slowness when you try to do anything
What Viruses Can Slow Things Down?
We’ve talked about viruses (aka malware or malicious software) many times in our blog before and there are a lot of types,
Most viruses have the ability to make copies of itself and then infect other computers. Here are some common ones that could be the cause of a sluggish computer speed.
Like its name suggests, Spyware is designed to spy on the activities you do on your computer either with or without your knowledge. Many of them get onto your computer by being bundled with other legitimate software.
Spyware also doesn’t record everything you see on your screen, it usually records data such as what you are watching or reading in the background.
Adware causes your computer to display ads that you may not want to see. The malicious type of adware can block your screen – making it difficult for you to navigate around.
Too much Adware takes a significant chunk of your computer’s computing power, slowing everything down in the process.
Keyloggers are designed to track every keystroke you type by communicating and transferring your data to a remote server. This makes your passwords as well as credit card numbers and online banking accounts highly vulnerable.
StartMeTip: use a StartMeStick for all your online shopping and banking activities to minimize the risk of being tracked by a keylogger virus!
The point of ransomware is to hold your data and files hostage and then demand a ransom to get these files back. Usually, when you are infected with ransomware you’ll see a pop-up box asking for a payment to unlock your computer.
Ransomware might not be active all the time. You could have dormant ones lurking inside your computer and slowing things down by taking up storage space.
Preventing Malware Infections to Improve Computer Performance
With all these viruses that might be slowing down your computer, one thing you can do is to prevent yourself from getting them in the first place.
Here are some preventative measures that are simple and take little to almost no time:
- Updating your operating system, especially any Windows updates
- Avoid suspicious email attachments and links
- Do not download programs or files from unknown sources
- Not going on to untrustworthy websites
If you’re already following these preventative steps and would like a step–up from your basic security measures, we recommend installing an antivirus software such as our partner product – McAfee Total Protection.
Antivirus software like McAfee Total Protection works in combination with a FixMeStick. Think of having antivirus like brushing your teeth – it’s your everyday line of defense against viruses. At the same time, having a FixMeStick is like going to the dentist for a check-up or a deep clean – giving you peace-of-mind about your computer’s health status.
Finding Hidden Viruses that Could Be Slowing Your Computer Down
Next to virus-prevention measures, the other important step is to find any viruses that are already hiding on your computer. No antivirus software can stop them all.
Whether you’re a tech–savvy person who’s not afraid of some DIY, or if you are uncomfortable around a computer, continue reading for some things you can do to speed up a slow computer
1. Run a FixMeStick Scan
For those not keen on the DIY methods, or if you’d like to automate the virus-cleanup process, consider using a FixMeStick!
It is especially helpful if you do not know what the virus looks like, where it might be hiding, or if you are afraid of accidentally deleting a useful file that’s not a virus. And who doesn’t want the easiest solution?
The FixMeStick connects to 3 different antivirus engines each time you run a scan, updating itself with a list of all the latest viruses and threats out there.
Once it checks your entire computer for hidden viruses, it will go ahead and remove them for you – no need for manual removal on your part. If you don’t already have one, try it today risk-free for 30 days!
2. Use Task Manager (for Windows)
For the tech–savvy, the first step is to identify where the viruses might be hiding. One way you can do this is to check your computer’s Task Manager and you can find it by pressing the CTRL, ALT, and DELETE keys on your keyboard at the same time and then select Task Manager.
From here, look for suspicious applications or programs that are running or slowing your computer down and stop them from running.
3. Preventing Viruses from Running
Viruses that are running in the background of your computer takes up precious computing space that could otherwise be used to run legitimate programs.
To prevent unwanted viruses from running, open up a System Configuration window by searching for “System Configuration” into your search box and launch the application from there.
With this window opens, go to the “Startup” tab and manually comb through everything on this list. Select any malicious programs and disable them, but be sure to select the correct ones so you don’t disrupt the normal functioning of your computer! If you’re not sure about something, Google it quickly.
4. Delete Virus Files To Speed Computer Up
If you know exactly what the name of the virus is, you can look around your computer for its hiding spot.
FixMeTip: many viruses like to hide in your computer’s Temp folder, so check and clean the Temp folder first!
Once you locate the virus’s hiding spot, delete the file associated with the virus. Be sure to exercise caution while doing this so you don’t delete any useful files by mistake!
If your computer is still slow after trying the instructions, then it’s likely not a virus that’s the cause. Check out the next part of our guide, Slow Computer 202, for more slow computer fixes.
What are some things that you do to prevent viruses from slowing down your computer? Share your tips with us in the comment section below.