Why Does My PC Start Up Slowly?

“My computer is slow” is a sentiment increasingly uttered in a world where hyperfast digital connectivity seems to indicate that computers should always move at warp speed. But computers can and do slow down over time. In many cases, a user’s slow computer experience is easily attributable to the demands of his or her current activities. If he or she has a bevy of programs open, is downloading a large file from the Internet and trying to watch a video all at the same time, it’s not hard to see that each of these actions contributes to a system that runs less than optimally.

So what does it mean when the computer is slow during startup? Since the user hasn’t actually performed any actions yet it seems like booting the computer up shouldn’t be a sluggish process. This issue happens to many computers, and it’s likely to continue to worsen unless users take steps to identify and correct it.

Even in its straight-from-the-factory state, a computer has multiple programs that automatically open during startup. Many of these programs, including the operating system, need to be up and running immediately in order for the user to perform any tasks, but that’s not true of all programs. As the user installs more programs and applications, deploys updates or creates files, the computer will split data in order to store it in the hard drive. A fragmented hard drive gives rise to slow computers as the device labors to piece together files and programs from many scattered bits of information so they will open correctly.

A disk defragmentation utility restructures the data so that the computer can more easily open programs and files. It can be utilized at the end of a computer session, for example, to ensure that the system can start up optimally the next time it’s used.

System Clutter
A pervasive but under-the-radar problem, system clutter takes up disk space without offering anything of value. Users may not pay attention to their hard drive space unless they’re installing a massive file, but the detritus of daily computer use provided by programs that don’t close effectively or applications that add volumes of extra files during updates is a significant menace. As system clutter builds up there will be less available memory to run programs that are needed, curtailing system speed. During startup, when several system components are vying for space, will be a particularly difficult time for the computer’s operation.

Hard drive formatting software can help users eradicate system clutter intelligently and securely. Some automated software solutions are able to perform this function for you without disrupting system performance, locating useless and possibly dangerous extraneous files on the computer and eliminating them.

Startup Overload
Many programs automatically add themselves to the startup queue during installation or through a default setting. While it may be simpler for the user to have everything open without having to do it manually, eventually too many programs in the startup queue will vastly reduce the efficiency of the boot-up process. According to PCWorld contributor Rick Broida, the eventual result of startup overload is “slow booting, slow operation, slow everything.” Eliminating this clutter can be a challenge unto itself – how do you know which programs are safe to remove? It’s easy to tell that games don’t need to open automatically, but what about that cryptically-named file? Taking programs out of the startup queue without clear knowledge of what they are could lead to a user accidentally disabling a crucial system component.

A startup management application can be used to identify and list all of the items that automatically start when the operating system loads. Users can then decide, with the help of the program, which components should continue to start up with Windows and which can be relegated to manual operation. One can even utilize the tool to configure different startup profiles for each PC user of that particular machine.

Not Enough Memory
Computer programs need a certain amount of available memory in order to run correctly. Without it, some larger applications may not open at all, and the ones that do may be sluggish and choppy in functioning. PC memory loss usually stems from one of two causes. First, the computer may be is low on memory, which can happen to older machines or those with huge programs or data collections on them. Second, the PC is infected with viruses or malware engineered specifically to deplete the system’s memory capacity and compromise the system registry, causing further delay upon startup as the computer struggles to find the resources needed to run even basic functions.

A registry cleaner can be utilized to eradicate redundant items from Windows operating systems. Going through files to look for broken links, invalid entries or evidence of corruption by hand is an arduous task. An automated registry cleaner conducts this process for you, finding system inconsistencies and clutter and can either fix or delete them according to your preference.

Get All These Tools in One Package

The right computer optimization solution can give you a powerful boost in overall PC performance. System Mechanic helps ensure system health and speed over the long term with a series of automated maintenance actions no other optimization solution offers.

System Mechanic:

•             Goes to work whenever a PC is idle

•             Ferrets out clutter and redundant programs

•             Deletes obsolete files and realigns important ones

•             Keeps hardware drivers updated

•             Revitalizes your registry

What’s more, System Mechanic covers all the PCs in your home with just one product license.

iolo UptoSpeed

UpToSpeed™ is iolo's ongoing article series written by PC experts for everyday computer users. Each article is packed with easy tips and practical advice on the latest issues affecting computers to help you get the most out of your PC.

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Why Does My PC Start Up Slowly?