How to fix a laggy computer?


Case Study: Here’s how we fixed a client’s laggy computer.

Every time I turn on my computer, it feels more like a burden than enjoyment. It takes forever to load and then I have to wait for some Google Chrome browser window to pop up every few seconds as more things try to open in the background. This is becoming a serious problem as I use my electronic devices for schoolwork as well as pleasure. Is there anything besides buying a new PC that can fix my lagging?

Our client’s issue was fixed by

  1. Cleaning up upgrading the computer’s primary storage (HDD) to an SSD and
  2. Bumping up the RAM to 16GB.
  3. Our magic touch! 🙂

That being said..

There are various reasons why your electronic device might be running slowly and also numerous methods you can implement to increase the performance of your devices. Below are some ideas on what you can do if your PC is running slow:

Hardware Issues

Computers will inevitably run slower after they have been using for a year or two because of hardware failure. This is an issue that cannot be fixed unless you are willing to buy a new PC, which is expensive.

Windows Storage Issues

Every time you open something in Windows it will store the file in the memory. Eventually, when there are too many things stored in memory, your computer may become slower in order to make room for more files in memory. If you notice this happening right after opening several programs at once, you might want to close some programs / uninstall unused programs until the lagging stops.

Virus Infection

Your computer can slow down if it has a virus infecting its key processes. Often times viruses will even attempt to take control of your computer, slowing down the entire process. You will definitely notice this if you are attempting to launch a program and it fails to open, or your computer becomes extremely slow while the virus is trying to take control of something.

Too Many Programs Running at Once

This can be very common for desktop computers, but some people are not aware that when they turn on their PC there are already programs running on the background. Even though it may seem like your computer starts up immediately after turning it on, in fact, it takes time for your processor to load all of this information before you can start using it. Therefore, whenever you want to clear out any unnecessary files on your hard drive make sure to close any programs still running in the background.

Lack of Memory

It’s not the size that matters here, but more so how better your memory is. For example, if you have 1 GB of RAM and are only running simple tasks such as emailing and surfing the Internet, then there is no need to upgrade to 2 GB or even 4 GB for that matter. It stands true that technically more memory means less lagging however it does come at a cost. If you’re looking to run games with high-end graphics then simply having 4GBs will not be enough; you need to look into 8GBs or even 16GBs (for the most demanding games) of DDR3 SDRAM which brings us to our next point. You can check the amound of RAM you have by using CPUZ.

Signs of insufficient system memory include frequent freezes during gameplay or on startup/startup log-in screens, computer crashes (BSOD), slow load times, and even visual errors in some cases. These issues are generally signs that you need to either update drivers or adjust your hardware settings through system BIOS.


If your computer has 2GB (or less) of memory then you should upgrade this right away as having only 2GB will limit how many programs you can run at once which in turn makes your PC much more likely to feel slow. Virtual memory allows the system to use hard disk space as if it were RAM. Virtual memory slightly slows down the process, but it allows for more processes to be run at once.

The total amount of paging files thus giving your system a performance boost and better stability. The drawback is that insufficient free disk space may cause instability or even errors.

Note: 8GBs of RAM is really all you’ll ever need for most systems


This leads us to the topic of overheating; what causes the computer to overheat and how can we fix it? Well, there are a few things that cause your PC to overheat: dust and dirt clogging up fans and ventilation openings within your desktop, lack of airflow (for laptops) or having too many programs running at once. The easiest way to solve this problem is simply cleaning out all unnecessary debris as well as closing any unnecessary windows/applications. More advanced solutions include overclocking or underclocking components so as to generate more or less heat based on the requirement.

Did you know?

Having too many windows/apps open at once causes overheating cuz it uses up all available resources

Overloaded power supply creates excess heat so get a bigger psu or disconnect unnecessary components

Dust causes overheat so clean often. Inadequate ventilation causes overheating more than dust. Underclocking helps to reduce heat.

Keeping things clean

Always keep your drivers up-to-date: Outdated drivers may not support new applications which in turn can cause lagging; when you’re multitasking with multiple applications running this becomes an issue quickly due to resource constraints. Keeping them updated is easy (most driver updater tools will do all the work, although there are also manual options), and will prevent any issues from happening…or more exactly, they will fix the issues more efficiently/faster.

Tip: Although these tools are advertised as being useful, what you’re actually doing is creating more problems for yourself. They tend to be misused due to a lack of knowledge by users who don’t know how to maintain their system registry themselves or that such tools can cause irreparable damage if used incorrectly. A good example would be incorrect removal of software from Add/Remove Programs which leaves some invalid entries in your system registry and thus creates a nightmare for a novice user who wants to solve his lagging issues.

Always opt for a clean install instead of an upgrade

Every time you upgrade your operating system, there is always some incompatibility with existing applications. The only way to avoid such problems is always to do a clean install. This means that all applications and other software will be removed from your system and you will have to reinstall them again, but the end result is that you won’t experience any lagging or other problems.

Always do regular virus scans

Even though you would expect this for every computer user, it’s very important not to ignore virus scanning as there might be potential malware that can cause your system registry to get filled with invalid entries and thus make your PC run slow. Of course, if the malware in question has been designed to ensure it won’t be found (e.g. rootkits), then everything becomes much more complicated and’s best to rely on specialized tools like TDSSKiller.

Upgrade hard drive to an SSD

SSDs are much faster than hard drives and there is simply no comparison when it comes to speed. It’s true that the price per GB of storage space might be significantly higher with SSDs, but you can easily solve this by creating a few partitions on your old HDD and only installing the most important apps and games on these new partitions.

If you want results like our client mentioned above, get in touch with one of our PC repair technicians today to see how we can help you.

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...