How To Fix A Slow Computer 101

One of the most common questions we’re asked is how to speed up a slow computer. After all, having a computer that’s slow when it starts up or when you want to run a program is super frustrating. Keep reading for how to fix a slow computer!

Today, we’re launching the first of our 3-part series on slow computer fixes. In this first segment, we’ll focus on what to do if your computer is slow due to viruses. If you want to skip ahead, you can check out the other articles in this series below:

Slow Computer 202Speeding up a Cluttered Computer
Slow Computer 303Operating System Slowing You Down?

Image of a man looking at a computer questions how to fix a slow computer

Signs of a Virus-Infected Slow Computer

Viruses can often accumulate on your computer, especially if you’re a frequent user and go on the Internet often. They’re usually downloaded by clicking on links in email attachments, downloading and installing new programs on your computer, or browsing websites. 

Your computer programs may crash, freeze, stop randomly, or your computer might be slow for no reason or slow to start up. These are all signs that can indicate malware on your system that has gone undetected. If you have a computer virus you may notice:

  • 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
cartoon drawing of a virus on a computer screen because viruses can cause a slow computer

What Viruses Can Cause a Slow Computer?

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 themselves and then infect other computers. Here are some common ones that can affect your computer’s speed.

Spyware

Like its name suggests, spyware is designed to spy on the activities on your computer either with or without your knowledge. Many of them get onto your computer by being bundled with other legitimate software.

Spyware doesn’t record everything you see on your screen, it typically records data such as what you’re watching or reading in the background.

Adware

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.

Keylogger

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! 

Ransomware

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’re 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. This is why it’s so important to run regular FixMeStick scans to catch and remove ransomware before they lock your files.

Cartoon image of ransomware on a computer that can cause a slow computer.

Preventing Malware Infections to Improve the Performance of Your Computer

With viruses being a common culprit of slow computers, 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:

  • Update your operating system, especially any Windows updates
  • Avoid suspicious email attachments and links
  • Do not download programs or files from unknown sources
  • Don’t visit untrustworthy websites

If you’re already following these preventative steps and would like a step-up from your basic security measures, we recommend installing antivirus software such as our partner product – McAfee Total Protection.

Antivirus software like McAfee Total Protection work in combination with your 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.

Image of a FixMeStick plugged into a computer. A FixMeStick can remove viruses that cause a slow computer.

Finding Hidden Viruses that Could Cause a Slow Computer

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 techsavvy 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?

An image of the FixMeStick scan running on a computer.

The FixMeStick connects to leading 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 techsavvy individual, 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”. You can find it by pressing the CTRL, ALT, and DELETE keys on your keyboard at the same time and then selecting Task Manager

From here, look for suspicious applications or programs that are running or slowing your computer down and stop them from running by right-clicking and selecting “End Task”.

3. Preventing Viruses from Running

Viruses that are running in the background of your computer take 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” in your search box and launch the application from there. 

When 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 function of your computer! If you’re not sure about something, you can always Google it quickly.

4. Delete Virus Files To Speed Up Computer

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 files 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 these 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.

62 comments

  1. Anonymous -

    Nice little help system to talk you through it . But wouldn’t it been easier to just tell me first that my FIXMESTICK will do all this and more if you aren’t a geek and trust in the Stick .You can use this in your promo if you want !!!

  2. Peter Koopman -

    Hello, I have the fixmestick. How can I use it on my iPad?

  3. Kees Boersma -

    I used fix me stick 3 times.
    First time ok. Second time would not even run because of I don’t know why. Third time it worked again after an automatic upgrade. Still having some troubles with blocks of scrambled characters.
    Fix me stick cannot fix that
    I use Avast as a virus protector.
    Windows 10 as operating system.
    However I also noticed that after a windows automatic upgrade I always have some sort of trouble.
    I am not a techie. So it’s very frustrating. Once it works don’t touch it. But Microsoft had other ideas. Hate that
    Thank you
    Kees Boersma

  4. Anonymous -

    How do I get another fixmestick? I can’t find mine. I have a feeling my cats have taken it but don’t know where it is, I have looked everywhere for it.

  5. Benalda Godin -

    I have the Fixmestick for a few years. I hesitate to use it because it slows my computer down every time I use it instead of speeding it. I have E-Set as my security program which is working perfectly.
    I purchased the Startmestick but I had to returned it because it was too complicated for me to use it.
    Originally, the Fixmestick was working properly, but for the past 2 years, I don’t like the final result.

  6. Linda -

    Hi Peter, thanks for your interest. Please note that FixMeStick cannot be used on tablets like iPads at the moment.

  7. Linda -

    Hi Kees, I checked your account and I can confirm your most recent FixMeStick scan this month completed successfully so you do not have to run another scan. And yes, Windows 10 updates can sometimes mess up your computer but Microsoft usually has solutions on-hand to fix those. If you run into any issues using FixMeStick the next time, we can be reached at support@fixmestick.com!

  8. Linda -

    Hi there, you didn’t leave your account information so I was unable to look up your FixMeStick account. Could you send an email to support@fixmestick.com so we can better assist you?

  9. Linda -

    Hi Benalda, there are a number of factors that can contribute to slower computer speeds. The FixMeStick is a virus removal device and if there are viruses on your computer that are causing a slower performance speed, running a FixMeStick scan can definitely help speed things up.

    However, if your scan results show that your computer is clean of viruses, then the speed of your computer is more likely caused by an issue unrelated to viruses. Contributing factors could be how long ago the computer was purchased, the number of programs and files you have on your computer, and your computer’s memory. Continue following our Slow Computer series as we’ll outline other reasons why your computer might be slow in the next parts.

  10. Russel K. Myers -

    Hi Linda, what’s up with microsoft edge ? Seems there is not an anti-virus out there that is compatible with microsoft edge, they claim that the security that is already built into windows 10 is just as effective as any additional anti virus ? Is this true ? I had Vipre anti-virus installed on my computer, until the last up-date got installed, and that’s when everything went south, so now I have to rely on windows security to keep me safe. Are there any better solutions ? I’m not sure how well protected my computer is, with just windows ? Thanks….Russ

  11. Raymond nagiewicz -

    Piece of junk used it a few times pulled it out of my computer case fell off and now I don’t work

  12. Tom Musso -

    Can the FixMeStick work on a chrome book(Asus), realizing I would need a usb to usb-c cable?

  13. JIM MORGAN -

    after running fixmestick I have a large list of quaranteened files. Do I just delete them?

  14. Robert J Walsh -

    Just ran fixmestick and it still does the hesitation and fms said it was clean, computer is only 1 year old

  15. John Hamilton -

    What is Virus Protection best for Mac computers?

  16. Linda -

    Hi Tom, unfortunately, FixMeStick will not work on Chromebooks.

  17. Linda -

    Hi Jim, I checked your account and I don’t see any quarantined files listed in your scan records. Could you email us back with the serial number on the FixMeStick that you used so we can check its scan records? You can message our support team here.

  18. Linda -

    Hi Raymond, sorry to see that the hardware on your FixMeStick is wearing out. It looks like you were already in contact with one of our agents. Please let our agent know and they can help you replace the hardware on your FixMeStick.

  19. Linda -

    Hi MaryAnn, the FixMeStick should be able to go into any full-sized USB ports on your computer. If you’re still unsure, feel free to send us a message here!

  20. Linda -

    Hi Robert, there are a number of factors that can contribute to slower computer speeds. The FixMeStick is a virus removal device and if there are viruses on your computer that are causing a slower performance speed, running a FixMeStick scan can definitely help speed things up.

    However, if your scan results show that your computer is clean of viruses, then the speed of your computer is likely unrelated to viruses. Continue following our Slow Computer series as we’ll outline other reasons why your computer might be slow in the next parts.

  21. Robert Shusta -

    I have constantly been frustrated with trying to remove a Corrupt File without going to a tech & pay to have it done—Can Fix Me Stick help me in this matter—I have been using it regularly but it doesnt seem to do anything to resolve this issue

  22. Linda -

    Hi Russel, I’m not 100% sure what you mean by compatible with Microsoft Edge but most antivirus software should work alongside other programs like Edge without issues. We also have other articles on our blog that can help you choose the right antivirus product for you and you can read more here.

  23. Linda -

    Hi John, there are many virus protection programs for Mac computers so feel free to choose one that you find works best for you. We also make a Mac FixMeStick if you are interested in using FixMeStick on your Mac!

  24. Linda -

    Hi Robert, to better assist you with this we sent you some follow-up questions to your email. Please check your email, thanks!

  25. James Branaman -

    Linda,
    my account number is 845495840. I ran a scan earlier this month, but not sure if it worked. It was on this computer. Now I am trying to run one on my old lap top. It is on the 3rd boot. The screen came up white with the FIX ME STICK name and the logo with his hair and cap blowing in the wind. Now the wind has stopped, but he still has a smile on his face. But he isn’t doing anything. I have other things I have been doing, just noticed after an hour that the fix me stick is still not doing anything.

  26. Karen -

    I, too, want to know how to use Fix Me Stick on my iPad

  27. William Loring -

    Hi I bought a fixmestick and tried to install it but it ask for a password to go any farther.. I don’t use a password to start my computer windows so don’t know what to do.. I then had a computer tec come and try to uninstall what had been installed.. Even he had a time with it, so I haven’t done any thing with it at all and at this point I am ready to call it a piece of junk.. The teck didn’t know any thing about it and had a time getting it uninstalled… So I’m not satisfied at this time… William Loring

  28. Linda -

    Hi James, to better assist you with this we sent you some troubleshooting instructions to your email. Please check your email, thanks!

  29. Linda -

    Hi William, to better assist you with this we sent you some troubleshooting instructions to your email. Please check your email, thanks!

  30. frank signorelli -

    tried to install cannot ,did the instructions tried seveveral times .can I send back for refund

  31. Barbara Martell -

    For five months now I can’t use my fixmestick. It wants to go to disk F which I don’t have. What is it anyway? I tried to call you many times and couldn’t go through.
    I don’t want to buy your new stick after a very bad experience with this one.
    So what can I do now? Can you help me?

    Thank you,
    Barb

  32. GARY TURNER -

    I love the stick, I signed up for the full year program. My stick is now missing as I believe a friend stole it. Can I buy just another stick since I have paid for a year. Tell me how I place the order.

  33. Linda -

    Hi Frank, sorry to see this! We sent you some troubleshooting instructions as well as refund procedures to your email, please check your email.

  34. Anonymous -

    Hello Linda, i was wondering how often i can or should run the FixMeStick. Will it hurt to run it weekly ? I would like some of the troubleshooting instructions , to have on hand . Thanks .

  35. Linda -

    Hi Barbara, to better assist you we’ve sent you an email with detailed troubleshooting instructions. Please check your email, thanks!

  36. Linda -

    Hi Gary, to better assist you with this we sent you further instructions about a replacement to your email. Please check your email, thanks!

  37. Anonymous -

    I can’t even get my fix me stick to work. it use to work than just stopped working very sad

  38. Linda -

    Hi there, you didn’t leave your account information or an email address so I was unable to look into this issue for you. Could you send us an email at support@fixmestick.com so we can better assist you?

  39. Tom L -

    I have both FixMeStick and McAfee All Access, which I see you recommend along with System Mechanic. I already had McAfee and have automatic updates, weekly scans and full time protection enabled. Why is FixMeStick still finding infected files and programs on my system?

    I realize McAfee is giving me more real time protection, but it surprises me that I “need” both.

  40. Elizabeth Thomas -

    Hello,

    I really do not understand much about computers. (just retired and majority of the my computer problems were resolved by the company IT Department.

    I used the FixMeStick because my computer was hacked into by some guys that I thought were from MicroSoft to help me with some upgrade that I thought was suppose to be done. I know the FixMeStick gave me a message at the end of the program that a lot of files (I’m sure corrupt) were removed.

    My HP computer is old, year 2000, it says that on the lap top. It is still slow, but so much better than before I used the stick.

    Do I keep using the Stick and for how long or how often?
    I need to upgrade to the Norton Protection I had, but I saw you offer a different company. Can I use Norton, or do I have to use the one you suggest?
    I have only gone into my email to delete them. I’m afraid to do anything.
    Today also saw the steps to fix the slowness, which I have not tried yet. Should I use
    all steps, one at a time.

    Thank you, very much for this section.
    Elizabeth Thomas

  41. Linda -

    Hi Tom, we recommend using the FixMeStick in partnership with an antivirus program. The FixMeStick does not provide ongoing protection; it is a tool that can be used to remove viruses that have already attacked the computer. Antivirus software such as McAfee can prevent viruses from getting on your computer, while the FixMeStick can scan and clear viruses that antivirus software can’t reach. Similar to brushing your teeth and going to the dentist for a cleanup – both serve the same purpose but using different methods.

  42. Linda -

    Hi Elizabeth, thanks for reading our blog! Yes, please try to follow the steps outlined in this blog to speed up a cluttered computer. To answer your other questions, we recommend using FixMeStick once per month as part of your computer’s regular maintenance and cleanup procedures. We have a partnership with McAfee antivirus, and as a FixMeStick subscriber, you can get a discount on McAfee if you ever wish to switch from Norton to McAfee. Simply email us at support@fixmestick.com if you are having trouble getting your McAfee discount.

  43. John Cornelius -

    What I get virtually all the time is, when after starting & going onto step 3 when updating itself says that it is re setting image but it does not just cuts out & the program Closes.
    Have to re start & click don’t Update?

  44. Linda -

    Hi John, to better assist you we’ve sent some troubleshooting instructions to your email. Please check your email, thanks!

  45. Dawn Russo -

    I’ve used fixme stick 2 times now. Both times it took over 12 hours to run. Why does it take so long?

  46. Ed -

    Hi Linda. I have a ASUS laptop computer. Does Fixmestick work on it?

  47. Keegan Anfield -

    Hi Ed,

    Yes, the FixMeStick will work on your ASUS laptop.

    Best,
    Keegan from FixMeStick

  48. Keegan Anfield -

    Hi Dawn,

    The length of the scan depends on how many files the FixMeStick has to scan. We recommend running it at night so you’re not without your computer for too long.

    Best,
    Keegan

  49. Ahsan Sheikh -

    Great to see a huge crowd of comments about FixMeStick.
    What I get virtually all the time is, when after starting & going onto step 3 when updating itself says that it is re-setting image but it does not just cut out & the program Closes.
    Have to restart & click don’t Update?

  50. Linda -

    Hi Ahsan, thanks for reading our blog. I wasn’t able to locate your account at all. Could you email the serial number printed on the side of your FixMeStick to support@fixmestick.com so we can check it to better assist you? Thanks!

  51. Harvey -

    Harvey: I have tried to run Fix me Stick, and had lots of problems to get it working.
    I do not like the programs they recommend. I get mine through my provider and completely trust it. They use F. secure

  52. jonathan.st.michael -

    Hi Harvey,
    I’m sorry to hear that you’re running into difficulties with your FixMeStick. If you’d like to troubleshoot any potential errors, you can always reach out to us at support@fixmestick.com where we can lend a hand in getting your FixMeStick up and running!

  53. Jonathan -

    Hi there,

    Unfortunately, the FixMeStick is not yet compatible with Chromebooks, as they use the Chrome OS, and our device is only compatible with the Mac OS and Windows OS.

    Let us know if there’s anything else we can do for you!

  54. Margie Calleja -

    I had VIPRE anti-virus program installed on my computer but it had to be removed. My computer was extremely slow and kept locking up and would not unlock until I shut it down and started it back up. Microsoft told me this program was very aggressive and was causing my problems. They disabled it from my computer and told me never to install one again. Microsoft has a built-in virus protection, he said, and that’s all anyone needs. Since then, I have not had the locking up problems and the speed has been much better. I run my fix me stick every 2 weeks since I know I don’t have an anti-virus program anymore.

  55. Keegan Anfield -

    Hi Margie,

    Yes, Windows comes pre-built with an antivirus software. It’s smart of you to run FixMeStick every 2 weeks still!

    All the best,
    FixMeStick Team

  56. Anonymous -

    Hi Ms Linda,
    I do not have a Credit Card. Is there anyplace in Toronto where I can purchase a ” FIXMESTICK ” and a ” STARTMESTICK ” ? Thanks for your help.

    P.S. I own a Fixmestick but it is old ::: Number is ( FMSFG9499 )
    Anthony.

  57. Jonathan -

    Hi Anthony,

    Thank you for reaching out to us!

    If you can’t buy the FixMeStick online, you can typically purchase one at your local Walmart, Best Buy, or Staples!

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