written by
Zack Calloway

Slow PC? Troubleshoot With These Steps

Productivity Windows 11 3 min read

Today’s business gets done on devices, and for most of us, that means a work PC. Whether it’s a laptop, a desktop, or a 2-in-1, chances are you spend a decent chunk of your workday hammering away on a keyboard, getting work done.

Even though our computers are central to our work, the fact is they don’t always work like we want them to.

Many professionals can relate to the experience of dealing with a slow, unreliable PC, one that takes a while to start and frequently gets stuck as it tries to load the software you need to use.

One option is replacement: every computer has a useful life that will end, after all.

But before you go replacing your business’s fleet of PCs, it’s a good idea to do some troubleshooting to make sure they actually need to be replaced.

Try these 3 troubleshooting strategies that can help your PC zoom back to life. If these don’t do the trick,then it really might be time to replace. (We can help with that, too.)

Step 1: Restart Your Computer

We know, we know — you’ve heard this one before.

But that’s because it’s really, really good advice!

As your computer runs, stuff happens. Data builds up in the computer’s memory (which is the part that helps your computer access frequently-needed data really, really fast). Eventually the memory gets full, and the computer starts to store this kind of data on the regular storage medium (your hard drive), which can cause some big slowdowns.

And that’s just one example of many. Think of your computer as a really, really smart calculator (because believe it or not, at the bottom of everything your computer does — including rendering the words you’re reading right now on your screen — is math.

The longer your computer runs, the more “calculations” it’s trying to do simultaneously. (The analogy breaks down because these “calculations” can sometimes malfunction or behave badly, sucking up even more resources than they normally do.)

Restarting your computer kills all those calculations and purges most of the stuff in the memory. When your computer wakes back up, it’s running cleaner and leaner than before.

Step 2: Clean Up Startup Apps

What we just described about your computer purging everything and starting fresh is true, to a point.

Unfortunately, your operating system (Windows or macOS) tries to help you out by starting up some programs and apps automatically as part of the startup sequence.

Some of these are vital; others are helpful. But the longer you use the computer, the more apps tend to find their way into startup. And when you have a bunch of apps you don’t need forcing themselves open right at the start of your day, well, you’re jumping back into the problems we talked about in the previous step.

So open up your Settings, then click Apps, then Startup.

If you see stuff there that you 1) know what it is and 2) know you don’t need it the second your computer starts, then toggle them off. Restart, and your boot-up process should be faster.

Step 3: Disable Restartable Apps (in Windows 11)

Similarly, Windows 11 has a feature called restartable apps ( the latest versions of macOS have something similar). This is great for stuff like Word and Outlook: if your computer crashes, these apps will (probably) restart exactly where you left off.

But it isn’t great for performance: it’s using memory and computing power to make this magic happen. So if you don’t have enough memory or computing power to go around, restartable apps may not be worth the convenience.

In Settings, go to Accounts, then Sign-in options. There’s a toggle switch for automatically saving restartable apps — turn that off.

Bonus: Purge Your Apps

The longer you use your computer, the more stuff is going to end up installed. Every now and again, go into your installed apps page and look for stuff that you never use. Get rid of the dead weight, and your computer will respond accordingly!

That’s it for this week’s tech tip. If we can help with deeper cleaning and maintenance or your next PC refresh, don’t hesitate to reach out!

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