Geek Squad: Slow Running Computers

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(KTVI) - On a day when everyone's attention is at least glancing at the hottest tech stock on the market - Facebook - we thought it would be a good time for a tune-up on the thing that actually connects you with Facebook.

Your computer, while it might sound basic, there are some simple at-home maintenance tips can improve the speed of your aging PC.

Agent Stephen Wesche is with the Geek Squad. He's got some tips to make it happen.

10 Reasons Why Your Computer Is Running Slowly

1) Too many programs are running at the same time. During the lifespan of a computer, it is common for users to download utilities, applications, and other programs that run in the background. The more programs that are running - whether you see them or not - the less 'attention span' your computer has to do other things you are asking it to do.

2) There`s not enough free RAM. RAM is what your computer uses for temporary working and thinking space. If you need many programs running at the same time, you will need a lot of RAM. If your computer is running slowly, it could be because you have too many programs running and not enough RAM. To make your computer run faster, you can run fewer programs at a time or upgrade your RAM.

 3) You have a virus/malware infection. Internet slowdowns and general slow operation of the entire computer can be a symptom of an infection. If you think you have a malware problem, scan your computer with anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Geek Squad has a free scanning tool available here:  http://www.geeksquad.com/do-it-yourself/tools/scan-for-viruses-and-spyware.aspx.

4) You have low hard drive space. This generally applies to older computers. Hard drives, which store all of your computer`s information, have a finite amount of space. Once they`re filled up, the computer no longer has the ability to manipulate files. The computer will slow down, eventually becoming unusable.
 
5) Your computer is due for a restart. Every once in a while it is a good idea to restart your computer. The computer cannot complete some of its updates until you restart. In addition, restarting your computer can free up some resources that could be getting hogged up by buggy programs.

6) You are sharing a wireless network. If your internet is running slowly, but your computer is running quickly, you could have a lot of activity on your wireless network. Check to see if anyone else on your network is doing something that could take up a lot of bandwidth such as playing online games. This can make your computer run slowly. You should also make sure your wireless network is secure so someone else isn`t using your Internet bandwidth. If your wireless network is not secure, Geek Squad recommends you create a password to secure your data and ensure strangers don`t join your network and use your bandwidth.

7) Your computer has too many bells and whistles. An animated pointer and hi-resolution image of your favorite vacation spot may look nice, but unfortunately these can also slow your computer down. These animations and images must be loaded into memory every time you start your PC which leaves less memory for other more important tasks.

8) You have a scanning program running. When a scanning program such as an anti-virus, anti-spyware, or automatic backup is running, your computer may respond slowly. You should run these programs about once per week.

9) Your computer is not meeting software requirements. Software usually has a list of requirements for things like processor speed, operating system, memory (RAM) and hard drive space on its box. These specifications listed are the absolute minimum levels needed to make the software run. If your computer just meets the requirements, the software will run, but it might not run well. Try to meet or surpass the system 'recommendations' of your software, rather than just meeting the bare 'requirements.'

10) You have a fragmented hard drive. It`s important to defragment your hard drive to help the computer organize itself better and make sure it runs smoothly. Think of your hard drive as someone who really likes to be organized but is always in a big hurry. Because you hard drive is low on time, it might save bits of a file here and pieces of it there, rather than all together. This works fine for a while, but eventually everything is scattered, and it takes your hard drive longer to find everything and get moving. Defragmenting is like a really big clean up. Your hard drive will put everything back in the right place and, as a result, will be able to move more quickly.