One of the most common questions people have asked us over the years 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.
Today, we are introducing 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. You can check out the rest of the blogs in this series below:
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
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.
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 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’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.
Preventing Malware Infections to Improve the Performance of Your Computer
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:
- 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 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 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 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 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 tech–savvy 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 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.