What makes a computer slow?.....even when it is brand new.

Sep 11 07:38 2009 Sarah Phelt Print This Article

Why is a computer so slow, even after first buying it? There are hardly any software titles on it but it is still slow......what more when you put more software titles on it.

When you first buy a computer from a shop it will be Fast,Guest Posting because you  were sold a computer with the bare minimum only installed on it -  Windows Vista and  Microsoft Works (or Microsoft Office) for example.  It is not heavily installed with Updated Security files (Security  Updates) and Patches  (Fixed/Improved/Updated Windows Vista files and  program files) because the shop cannot do this. Once you have bought a  computer you have to be the one to  register Windows Vista with  Microsoft and therefore it is you who has to install any additional  Security Updates and Patches for that computer and Windows  Vista. For  example. If it took the shop 2 Months to sell the computer that means  the computer is already 2 months behind with the updates - Many new  security  updates, virus updates and program updates would have been  released in this time. And maybe some software updates for the  computer's hardware as well. All  these updates are required to keep  the computer up-to-date, and more importantly Windows Vista up-to-date  and protected against attack from Viruses, Hackers  and so on. What  this means is without the updates you have a fast, but vulnerable (open  to attack), computer. With the updates the computer becomes slower  and  slower due to Windows Vista being given more security tasks (jobs) to  do, which means more memory and resources are required, which in turn  means the  hardware might become slower (more modem/internet data  coming down the telephone line, for example, means more data that has  to be translated/organised).

You install an Anti-Virus program to protect the computer from Viruses  (files that are, normally, downloaded onto your hard drive and then  launched to damage  certain files). You then install a program to block  Pop-up windows (Windows that appear suddenly without your consent.  Usually with Advertisements on them).  You then install a program to  stop Hackers (people who try and steal information from your computer  via an Internet connection). And finally, you install a  program to  stop SpyWare (software that monitors/collects information about your  activities on the computer). Unfortunately, in todays age, these four  types  of program are needed to protect the computer. If you do not  install them the computer's security is at risk and if you do install  them the computer uses up  more memory and other resources, as well as  having more tasks to do. This is because each program is constantly  monitoring the computer for attacks. The  information they need about  the different kinds of attack are usually stored inside a file that has  to be updated regularly and checked against in order to  prevent/stop a  specific kind of attack. When an attack has been identified the  protection program still has to monitor for other potential attacks  whilst  taking care of the identified attack. And if a window tries to  pop-up the pop-up blocker program has to destroy that window before it  has chance to appear.  All this monitoring is slowing the computer  down.

The same applies to the Internet. It becomes slow when you have ten  website pages open, as opposed to one website page open, because  Internet Explorer is  having to do ten tasks instead of one. Those  tasks include saving history files (see The Hard Drive section) for  each website, checking to see if you are  still connected to the  internet, managing uploads/downloads to/from each website and so on.

An anti-virus program uses a Virus Definition file, which is a list of  all known viruses to the present day and instructions on how to  identify and remove  them. As a new virus is unleashed it is given a  name and its Identify And Remove instructions are added to the virus  definition file. When the anti-virus  program starts it copies the  identify and remove instructions from the virus definition file into  memory, so it can quickly identify and remove a known  virus. Memory is  faster than a File at feeding the CPU instructions, so it is ideal for  the anti-virus program to use memory. The downside of this is that   anti-virus programs, and other programs that need updated files, use a  lot of memory and other resources in order to protect the computer.  This ultimately  means a slower computer.


Having too many, unwanted/unneeded/unused, programs installed on the  computer is a bad thing. Regardless if they were already installed when  you got the  computer or if they were installed by someone afterwards  does not matter. Either way they are probably taking up too much hard  drive space and/or using up  too much memory and other resources. If  this is the case you should have them uninstalled. Below are examples  of such programs. Many of them will be Sluggish  At Times when your  broadband in runnning at a slow speed, for whatever reason(s), in  conjunction with your computer having too many other tasks to perform.

Sometimes you might need to install an updated program because it  improves on the previous one (such as DirectX 9 and Media Player 10)  which improve graphics  and sound respectively. On the other hand it is  sometimes unwise to install an updated program. For example. Do not  install the latest Media Player just  because everyone else has or  because it has a couple of minor updates/features added to it that you  might never use. Instead. Go to an Internet Cafe and ask  them what  they think. You can always download and test the media player on one of  their computers. That way, if you do not like it or feel it would not  be  worth putting on your computer no harm will have been done to your  computer. Also. Do not install different types of the same software if  you only need one  type. Companies are to blame for this kind of thing  - One company might prefer the already installed Microsoft's media  player while another company might  prefer to install Real's media  player (RealPlayer). So you end up with two media players installed on  the computer that do roughly the same thing.


  • Use a computer that has at least a 1.6Ghz CPU (Central Processing Unit)  inside it. Better still. A Dual Core CPU.
  • Windows Vista is too slow with 1GB of Memory and normally sluggish with  1½GB, therefore I recommend you use at least 2GB.
  • Windows Vista Self-Installation: Install at least a 40GB (80GB  preferably) 7200rpm Hard Drive, if possible.
  • Windows Vista Bought Computer: Make sure the Hard Drive is at least a  80GB Hard Drive.
  • Do not install too much software.
  • Uninstall unwanted/unneeded/unused software.
  • Try and get the balance of security right by not over protecting the  computer.
  • Try not to use programs that use too much memory and resources.
  • Try and keep the number of running programs down to a minimum.

When you add all this up - Many programs writing/reading files to/from  the hard drive at the same time (giving the hard more tasks), Many  programs waiting  for system resources such as Memory to become  available (because of memory shortage), Programs monitoring the  Internet (slowing the internet and the computer  down) waiting for bad  things to happen and having many programs running at the same time (so  many tasks) - it is no wonder the computer slows down. If you  were  given that many tasks (chores) you would complain that you are only  human and only have one pair of hands. A computer is only a machine. It  complains in  different ways by slowing down and occasionally  crashing/freezing because you were giving it too many tasks. If you  follow the advise given so far you should  end up with a comfortable  computer - one that runs smoothly, even if it is not as fast as when  you first bought it.

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About Article Author

Sarah Phelt
Sarah Phelt

I run the FREE Windows Vista Computer Lessons website at http://www.yoingco.com/ and also the FREE Website Creation Help website at http://www.websitecreationhelp.com/ Both of which are aimed at the absolute beginner. So if you do not know about computers and/or website creation and website management please feel free to visit!

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