Why is my computer so slow?

This is a common question as Collett Systems works with clients of all types to ensure their computer systems and business IT network systems are running at peak performance and can have a few sources:

  • Hardware – Your computer hardware is operating slowly due to a defect
  • Software – Unwanted or otherwise, perhaps due to malware and viruses
  • Inherent performance – The demand placed on the PC exceeds its capability

Is it clean?

The first step is a physical inspection of the computer hardware.  Is it clogged with dust, oil or soot?  Is the cooling hardware securely attached with thermal compound in good condition?  Computers will slow down due to overheating in order to reduce operating temperatures.  Laptops are particularly prone to overheating due to dust issues.  Unfortunately you generally won’t be able to blow the dust out, and you likely won’t be able to see it – this dust will be trapped between the heatsink and fan internally.


Also check for physically damaged hardware.   Scorch marks, and bulging / leaking / corroded PC hardware as shown to the right.


Why is my computer so slow?  Related problems are the number one cause we find that your computer is running so slowly.

Slow Computer Dust
This type of dust common to oily industrial or smoky environments clings to cooling devices and is very difficult to remove safely.
Slow computer, damage and performance
You'll find banks of these on your computer main board. These are in good condition.
A damaged capacitor is typically the result of overheating.  Hardware with this type of damaged needs to be replaced.
A damaged capacitor is typically the result of overheating. Hardware with this type of damaged needs to be replaced.
Overheating can cause computer slowdown
Pet hair and fine dust is easily removed from cooling components such as this

Is it reliable?

Slow computer caused by hardware problems

Next up is a complete rundown of system health.  We run a complete round of testing simulating an intense workload to draw out errors and make component failures causing slowdown evident.  This is known as a “burn-in” test.  It sounds rough, but properly performing PC hardware will withstand it with no trouble.


With this we check that all components are operating within manufacturer specification independent of any software that may be installed on the machine.  This allows clean results, and rule out hardware problems.  Collett Systems utilizes best-in-industry Eurosoft Pc-Check diagnostic software as part of our proven process to turn repairs around in as little as 24 hours.


A reasonable alternative for the do-it-yourself user to perform similiar checks is a utility called BurnIn Test.  The only downside to this approach is you haven’t eliminated installed software problems which can mimic hardware concerns.  If you can run a full test for half an hour, your hardware is probably in good shape.

Now for the software..

After you have checked out the physical condition and ensured your hardware is up to the task of day-in-day-out computing, we need to evaluate the software installed on the machine.  Unfortunately, we cannot offer generic advice to you about what you should keep and what you need to get rid of.  Many legitimate programs can cause performance issues and have just found their way onto the computer unnecessarily.


Some common items to look for:

  • Multiple antivirus programs running at the same time
  • Toolbars added to web browsers unnecessarily for search, various ‘deal finders’ and similar.
  • “Bundled” programs.  Ad supported ‘free’ software often include hitchhikers.


Malicious software, Viruses and Spyware are still a common threat and will hamper your performance to a large degree due to their abusive nature.  A good tool that will do a reasonable job removing unwanted software is called AdwCleaner.  It’s a quick and simple program to run that requires no installation and can often find and remove garbage software and restore performance.

Computer is slow because of viruses

We can help

Collett Systems hopes this article helped you restore some performance to your slow computer.


If you would like a professional evaluation of your computer to ensure you’re operating at peak performance, safely and securely – drop by, give us a call, or fill out the form the the right and we will get back to you right away.


We know your computer is important to you:  Most repairs are turned around in 24 hours.  We offer appointments before and after hours to suit your busy schedule.


Currently, we are offering one year of our Managed Security services for free with each repair ($50 value) – the same security system our business clients rely on to keep their operations safe.  This is the best way to protect your digital life LEARN MORE