Is your computer running somewhat slower than it used to? It’s possible that it’s as a result of things you’ve done. In this article, we will be covering some of the things that adversely effects your computer, and mistakes you’d hope never to make.
At some point, depending on the individual, we begin to wonder what is causing our system to run slower. Working on a slow system is not enjoyable, to say the least, and adversely effects our productivity.
While it’s common for a system to run slower over time, in a large amount of cases, it’s things the computer user does, that makes the system slower. Below are a list of common mistakes that computer users make that leads to a slower and less productive machine.
1. Running Too Many Programs at Once
Over any considerable length of time, it’s not unrealistic to imagine you’ve installed many programs on your system. Maybe you use all these tools and programs for different things. However, running a lot of programs at once, can make your system run slower.
The main issue occurs when these installed programs configure themselves to run from system start up. This means the moment you start Windows, the program will load in the background. The end result is less RAM, even if you never actually use the program. To prevent this from happening, you’ll want to read the fine print, when installing a new program. If you see any option that states “automatically run program at start up”, make sure it is de-selected.
To find out what programs are running in the background, you can run Windows Task Manager, by right-clicking on the taskbar and selecting Task Manager. When the program loads up, it will immediately present you with a list of all the programs currently running, including how much CPU and Memory resources they are consuming.
2. Visiting Bad Online Neighbourhoods
Another mistake many end users make is to visit websites in bad neighbourhoods. This is something that may or may not be familiar to you. But there are actually websites that, once you visit them, will upload malicious programs to your system. The best thing for you to do, while online, is to stay away from websites you’re unfamiliar with. Or, at the very least, only visit trusted websites. Alternatively, if you must venture out into unknown territory, then you can always use the major search engines, which do a good job in vetting websites before listing them in their engines. You can also find reviews on websites from these search engines. So you can find out what other people have to say about the site, before you take the chance with it.
In most cases, people are very vocal about any negative experiences they’ve had with a website. So it shouldn’t be too difficult to find anything, in the event there’s actually something for you to find.
3. Not Backing Up Files
One mistake, that although seems obvious, is one many individuals and companies make. Is the failure to back up their personal and/or confidential files! Physical computer damage, data theft, virus infections, system crashes, hard drive failures, are all things that can occur at any time, and do often occur when you least expect it.
When you back up your data, you don’t prevent these issues from actually occur, but, in the event that they do, you will be able to restore any data, whether fully or partially, that you have lost. Your ability to recovery said data will depend greatly on the kind of backup plan you implement.
4. Buying Incompatible Hardware
When on the lookout for replacement or new hardware, computer users should be aware that not all hardware will be compatible with their systems. Thus, it’s important that research be carried out, to ensure their system meets the minimum requirements for whatever component that you hope to buy. Best option is to stick with the same brand, so if it’s an ASUS motherboard, consider an ASUS graphics card, for example.
5. Using Weak Passwords
Any account that you create, is only ever as secure as the password you create for it. You can make a big mistake when you choose to use the same password for all your different accounts, whether it be eBay, PayPal Gmail and/or iTunes. This issue can be compounded if you use a password that is very easy to guess, like “1234”. These types of passwords are easily guessed, which means, you’re eternally at risk of cybercriminals. The best advice for you would be to go with a stronger password, one with at least 8 characters, which should include numbers, upper and lower case letters and special characters (if supported). You should also change your password at least once every six months. You don’t want to get caught out, and grant access to literally all of your accounts with a single hack.
6. Not Using Antivirus Software
All of the topics covered up to this point, cover issues that can be rectified, providing necessary steps are taken. However, when it comes to antivirus software, this is a must. As it doesn’t matter how careful you are, what programs or websites you visit, it’s almost certain that a virus will infect your system. The only way to effectively tackle this problem is to have antivirus software on your computer, which you are regularly updating. Updating the software is just as important as the software itself. As, an antivirus program that hasn’t been updated in a year is pretty useless. New viruses are created every day, so antivirus software needs to say on top of things, by being constantly updated with this new information.
My recommendation is not to go out and purchase the most expensive antivirus program available. This is because there are many great free options. Windows Defender is one free solution I would recommend. Sophos for Macs is another. Such programs require minimal upkeep on your part, and will automatically update from time to time. It’s recommended that you go with one antivirus software, and carry out a regular weekly scan, just to make sure your computer is clean.
7. Improper System Shut Down
There are still quite a few people that are unaware that improper shutdowns of their system can lead to data loss or damage. Make sure you save your work, and close down any programs, before using the shutdown feature of Windows.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website: