Troubleshooting: Computer Slowness

Computers can run slowly for many different reasons. The first thing to do is pinpoint the cause of the slowness: software, Internet or Hardware problems.


Viruses and Spyware

The most frequent cause of computer slowness is "malware" - programs that intend to harm a computer (usually called "computer viruses," but also including adware and spyware.) These types of malicious programs often infect your computer from opening a file or running a program downloaded from the Internet, many of which may look completely harmless!


Each progam can cause a different problem. While it can be very obvious that you have a virus if your computer is doing weird, unusual things, people are frequently infected with some sort of malware and have no idea it is there, other than a slowed computer.


The Help Desk assists students with running scans and removing these types of programs frequently.  If you believe your computer is infected, please stop using the computer and call the Help Desk: 1-877-PALCS-TLC.


While your computer runs Sophos Anti-Virus on its own, the Help Desk recommends running bi-weekly scans of your computer with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and Spybot Search & Destroy.


Too Many Programs Running

Another big cause of computer slowness is the number of programs your computer is running at one time.


Your computer will run best when running one program at a time - but that's not necessarily practical! Running the Mozilla Firefox web browser and a music player like iTunes at the same time will not slow your computer significantly. However, running a few instances of Firefox, each with an embedded video, writing in an LibreOffice document, listening to music and working in a chat all at once, while you CAN do it, will certainly slow things down.


Close programs and windows when you are not using them.


Also, look in your toolbar in the lower right, by your clock: each of these icons indicates a program that is running on your computer. If you see an icon for something you are not currently using (like QuickTime, a big Q,) right-click on the icon and select "Quit" or "Exit."


Please DO NOT attempt to install additional software on your school computer.  In most instances, you will not be able to install these programs.  The school computers are to be used for schoolwork. Games, and chat programs should remain on a personal computer.


Your Connection

Computer slowness may stem from your Internet connection - particularly if you are using a dial-up provider or a satellite modem. See our Internet Connection topic for more on this.


Your Computer's Fan (computer loudness)

Your computer may also be running slowly and freezing if your hardware is defective. Fans on the school computers can cause problems. View our Computer Loudness topic for more information.


Other Related Support Topics ...