Why is My Computer So Slow All of a Sudden? Here's How to Speed Things Up Again

Lindsay Hayes

If your computer is slow all of a sudden, you might be facing some kind of isolated glitch. You don't have to worry too much about it, as simply restarting your computer can get rid of it. However, the problem can be due to something more serious too, like a virus running amok. You'll have to scan your PC with your anti-virus and see what it says.

My computer has randomly gotten slow a couple of times. The first time it happened, I rebooted my PC, because I had a feeling I was dealing with something minor. This pretty much took care of the slowness, but the second time around, it wouldn't go away. Turns out, one of my drivers was outdated.

If you'd like to know how I fixed this, and all the other reasons the issue can pop up, you can read ahead.


Why is My Computer So Slow All of a Sudden?

There are a few different reasons why your computer can be slow all of a sudden.

Let's take a look at them.

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1. Minor Glitches

The first reason why you might be dealing with a slow computer could be a minor software glitch. It's hard to say how or why it popped up, but you should be able to clear it by simply restarting your computer.

Here's how you can restart your Windows computer:

Here's how you can restart your Mac computer:

2. Background Programs Accessing System Files

Your computer might be slow because of background programs eating your system's resources. They may either be starting on their own when your computer boots, or are programs that you've opened and forgotten to close.

Here's how you can check whether your startup programs are eating your resources on Windows:

Here's what you do on Macs:

If you've figured that these background apps are wasting too many resources, you can right-click them from the taskbar, and then select End Task to close them if they're currently running. But if they're apps that automatically open the moment your PC launches, you can stop them from doing this. Here's how:

Here's how you stop apps from automatically launching on Macs:

3. Low Storage Space (Low Disk Space)

A lot of the time, the issue can be due to low disk space. You probably have been downloading files, and have filled up your drive. You not only would face your computer processing power being slow, but it might also be turning on and off randomly.

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Now, there's a way to check how much storage space you've used. Here's what you can do on Windows computers:

Here's what you do on Macs:

On both Mac and Windows computers, there's a special optimization feature that lets you see all the files that you can do without.

Here's how you can use it and improve computer performance on Windows:

Here's what you do on Mac:

4. Outdated Operating System

Your operating system being outdated can be the cause of the slow performance. If you're dealing with an outdated OS, you probably already know. Update prompts would've been popping up.

Here's how you can do a Windows update:

Here's how you can update Mac computers:

To make sure you never face operating system problems again, you can go ahead and enable automatic updates. Your computer will automatically download the latest firmware whenever it's available now.

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Here's how you can switch it on Windows computers:

Here's what you do on Mac computers:

5. Corrupt Operating System (Broken Operating Systems)

Apart from all of the above, you may be dealing with a slow PC, possibly because your OS is corrupt.

You can figure this out easily, actually - there are a lot of tell-tell signs. For instance, you'd get hit with the Blue Screen of Death regularly, have programs constantly crashing, and have applications that won't launch

This issue isn't really something that you face on Macs. So, here's how you can fix it on Windows computers:

6. Virus Running Loose

Your PC's processing power can slow down if you're dealing with a virus running loose. Whatever is on your computer would be sucking up its resources to keep itself going. Now, there are a few different ways that you can take care of this. You can either use your computer's security system, or whatever anti-virus you have installed.

Here's how you can use the built-in security tool on Windows:

Here's how you use the built-in Mac security feature:

Here's how you can use an anti-virus, like Avast:

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7. Overheating Computers

There's a chance that your computer is acting up because it's overheating. This could be due to a few different reasons, like your CPU fans being clogged with dust.

If your PC is overheating, its components are probably working overtime to keep it cool. So, your system is slowing down, as a result. It does take a bit of work to clean your CPU fans, but I've broken it down as easy for you.

Here's what you can do on a PC:

Here's what you can do on a Mac computer:

8. Faulty or Missing Drivers

Your computer's performance can also be affected if you have outdated drivers. Now on Mac computers, your system drivers automatically update the moment you update your operating system. So, you don't have to worry about doing anything extra here.

But on Windows computers, you'll have to manually get the job done. There actually are 2 ways that you can do this - you can either use a third-party tool, like the Avast Updater, or go through with the process manually.

Here's method 1:

Here's method 2:

9. Hardware Issues

Last but not least, you might be having a slow computer on your hands because of hardware issues, like your RAM or hard drive being broken. There's really nothing you can do about this, other than open your PC up, inspect it, and then replace them.

Depending on when you bought your computer/ the hardware parts, you might be able to get them fixed for free (if you still have their warranty). Definitely call the shop you got them from and inform them about what you're facing.


Answered below are some popular questions.

1. How Can I Make Windows 11 Run Faster?

I would recommend that you make sure that your OS is updated - you'll be running the latest Windows versions, so you won't have to worry about any potential bugs ever slowing you down.

Apart from this, I would recommend updating your RAM and swapping your Hard drive for a Solid State Drive. By upgrading your RAM, you would have programs open faster, as the upgraded RAM would mean more memory. However, upgrading RAM can be a bit of work - you can check this other guide I've written for an easy breakdown.

When it comes to going with a solid-state drive instead of a hard drive, you'd be able to retrieve data from it quicker, which would also help with speed.

Lastly, I'd suggest that you clean your computer regularly. Its insides may be dusty, so your CPU fan may not be able to do a good job of cooling your PC. The process to follow can be a bit tough, but I broke it down for you earlier.

2. What Do You Do If Your Internet Connection is Slow?

Generally speaking, if your internet was fine and it's suddenly slow, your internet service provider/network administrator might be responsible. They may be going through some kind of network tower issue, so you'll have to wait it out for them to take care of things.

But also, your router might be glitching out. So, the best possible fix would be to turn it off and then back on again.

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Final Thoughts

If you are dealing with a slow computer, you may be facing it because of a random glitch. So, try and restart your desktop and see whether this helps. But if it doesn't do the trick, the issue can be due to background programs eating up too many resources, existing files being corrupted, or even a virus.

Overall, the issue can be quite easy to fix, and a lot of the reasons for the problem are the same on both Windows and Mac computers. Hopefully, you found everything discussed useful, and are able to improve your computer performance now.

Lindsay Hayes

Hi, I’m Lindsay, a techie from Kansas City. That’s right; I’m a born and bred Midwesterner. I learned to take electronics apart at my dad’s GameStop way back when, and I haven’t stopped since. I spend most of my time checking out new gadgets.
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