Why is my computer bad

Why Windows keeps getting slower

Thomas Rau

PCs get slower as they get older. With the right tips, you can prevent the braking effect.

EnlargeMany performance brakes can be released with a few tricks.
© Illustration: © Thomas Lutz

It's out now: Apple recently had to admit that the manufacturer is deliberately limiting the processing power of older iPhones. The reason: If the CPU consumes a lot of power under high loads, an older battery cannot handle these power peaks and the smartphone simply switches itself off.

And you suspect that your Windows machine is no different. Because the once fast and responsive system is now paralyzed: Windows start takes forever, programs and files open with a long delay, games and videos jerk - the whole system feels as if the processor, RAM and hard disk have their expiry date reached.

But it is probably not Microsoft, Intel or AMD to blame that your PC is getting slower - it is you as the user! We show the reasons why a PC loses speed, how to expose and turn off system brakes.

Tip:Make PC faster - clean up Windows, memory and hard drives

Problem 1: Too many programs are installed

As such, a PC is intended to be used to install many tools and programs. And as long as you have enough space on the SSD or hard drive, even a variety of software will not slow down the system. However, most programs are not only active when you start them, but permanently - and that slows down the computer.

The quickest way to notice this is when you start Windows: Numerous tools are set up in the Autostart folder and are immediately active when the operating system restarts. If you only allow the most important programs to start automatically, it will not take that long until the computer is ready for use.

Solution for Windows 10.5: If you have already updated your Windows with the Spring Creators Update (version 1803), you can now find the autostart options in the settings. Open it with the Windows-I key combination. Now go to "Apps -› Autostart ". You will now see a list of programs that start automatically with the operating system. You can use the slide switch to decide for each tool whether it should continue to do so or not. However, you should not deactivate every program start across the board: With certain tools, it can be more advantageous if you do not always have to start them manually - for example an antivirus program that supplies itself with the latest antivirus signatures immediately after it is started. Tools that provide server functions should also always be ready for immediate use. The same applies to programs that synchronize files with the cloud or other network computers - for example Dropbox or Onedrive: If you switch off their autostart, you have to initiate the synchronization by hand in order not to accidentally work with outdated data.

Under the slide switch, Windows gives you an assessment of how much the autostart of a certain program slows down the operating system: The effects are divided into high, medium and low. So you can spot the worst brakes at a glance. If you see the information "Not measured" here, it is a recently installed program about which Windows cannot yet make a statement. But after a few reboots you should see a result here too.

EnlargeSince the Spring Creators Update, you can adjust the autostarts directly in the settings.

If the displayed program or manufacturer name doesn't mean anything to you, you can use this information to conduct an Internet search to determine which tool is behind the name and what it does.

Solution for Windows 10: The Task Manager provides a little more information about the autostarts. It's also the first port of call if you haven't already installed the Spring Creators Update. You start the tool by right-clicking in the taskbar and selecting "Task Manager" in the context menu. Click on “More details” below, then go to the “Autostart” tab. Here you will find the same overview as in the Windows settings of version 10.5. You can switch off the autostart of a program by right-clicking on its entry and selecting "Deactivate". You can use the other options in the context menu to obtain more information about the program: "Open file path" takes you via Windows Explorer to the directory in which the software is installed. With "Search online" Windows automatically conducts a web search for this program with the Microsoft search engine Bing. With a click on "Status" you arrange the list according to activated and deactivated autostarts. A click on the column heading "Start Effects" sorts the entries according to their braking potential for Windows.

Solution for Windows 7: The autostart settings are more hidden in the older operating system. Enter the term msconfig in the search window that opens after clicking on the Windows symbol. The corresponding options are hidden in the "System Start" menu. In the list you switch the autostarts on and off by ticking the box in front of the program name or removing it. In the "Command" column you will find the storage path that leads to the program that triggers the autostart.

Basically, it makes sense to uninstall programs that are seldom used. Then fewer autostarts or running background processes interfere (see point 2). You can do this, for example, in Windows 10 in the settings under “Apps -› Apps & Features ”. It works more comprehensively with special tools such as the Revo Uninstaller. This is also worthwhile with a new computer: Often, numerous programs are preinstalled on it that you never need, but which can slow down the system using autostart entries.

See also:Windows tools that everyone really needs

Problem 2: Too many programs are running at the same time

Actually, current multi-core processors are powerful enough to process commands from several programs at the same time. However, numerous tools also run when you are not actually working with them: the so-called background processes. They index data for a quick search or look for updates. For all of these tasks, Windows has to allocate processor power and memory, and the hard drive works at the same time. The more computing power these activities require in the background, the slower the work with the programs that you are currently using in the foreground.

EnlargeThe Task Manager provides extensive information on the active Windows processes.

You should therefore identify all running processes and switch off those that you do not need at the moment. Here, too, the Task Manager offers itself as a standard Windows tool: After starting, click on “More details” so that the “Processes” menu is displayed. You can see the programs that you have opened in the foreground under "Apps". The list under “Background processes” is more interesting. For each process, the task manager lists how much it is currently using CPU, memory, data storage device, network or GPU. With a click on the respective column heading, you can see which process loads the corresponding hardware the most: For example, by clicking on "Data carrier" you can immediately determine which program is currently rotating the hard disk at a loud volume. A click on the "Name" column brings you back to the standard sorting. The darker the background color of the displayed value, the higher the load. The Task Manager only shows the load on the individual processes in percent for the CPU. You can also display the values ​​for the other components accordingly: To do this, right-click on a process and select from the context menu "Resource values", then the desired component and then "Percent".

EnlargeIn the Task Manager you can track down active processes that are running without you having to do anything.

You end individual processes with a right click on their entry and the command "End task". However, you should exercise caution here - carelessly killing an important process can crash Windows, because the Task Manager does not show you whether a particular process is possibly related to a system task. It is best to leave Windows processes untouched.

If the name does not indicate which program is behind the process, right-click on "Switch to details". This overview provides you with further information such as the associated EXE file and a description. You can use this data for further Internet research or start it directly from the Task Manager using the context command "Search online".

Background processes that use the SSD or hard drive are particularly annoying. This slows down other memory-intensive activities such as downloads, video playback or copying actions. The most important disruptors include programs or services that search the hard drive to index files, or that look for updates, download and install them at an inconvenient moment. In these cases you can identify the responsible program via the Task Manager as shown: There you look for menu options that deactivate the automatic search for updates or only allow them at certain times. However, recently, many software manufacturers have followed the example of Microsoft and no longer allow you to switch off the search for and downloading of updates. As in Windows 10 Home, you can often only specify when the updates should be installed and a due restart should be carried out.

Problem 3: You caught a virus