Hang around in Windows forums or newsgroups long enough, and you’ll see a question asked again and again — something along the lines of: “My computer is so much slower than it used to be. How can I fix it?”
You’ll also see many of the same answers repeated over and over. Unfortunately, many of those answers are wrong.
Here, in no particular order, is a sampling of those answers to the complex question of why a PC slows down — and why those answers often lead PC users astray.
Too many programs loading automatically on boot
There are two things wrong with this answer. First, what’s important isn’t the number of programs automatically starting on system boot but rather which programs are loading. Some running applications have a significant impact on overall performance; some have virtually none.
You take an inventory of applications that are continually running on your PC, try to determine each program’s impact on system performance, and decide whether you need the program running at all times. For example, if you use Skype only occasionally, why have it loaded at all times?
Measuring each application’s hit to system resources will take some research. You can try unloading one program at a time and see the effect on the PC’s speed. But you can also try Internet searches and ask about specifics in forums or newsgroups.
Once you have that information, you can make an intelligent and informed decision about what you want to keep and what you want to get rid of.