Basic Computer Troubleshooting: Computer is Slow

How to troubleshoot a computer that is performing or running slowly?

Follow this procedure to troubleshoot a computer that is performing or running slowly in the Windows Vista® operating system.

NOTE: When troubleshooting slow performance using the steps below, some steps may take an extended time to complete. Move on to the next step and complete the unused steps at a later time.

1. Close any programs that are not being used.

2. Software loading when the computer starts may be causing the computer to slow down. Remove unused applications from startup.

3. If this is a notebook computer, the power settings may have an overall effect on system performance.

WARNING: There is a risk of data loss. Before closing an application or process using the task manager, be sure to save all open files because the application may not prompt you to save data before closing. Also,
closing critical processes may cause system instability.

4. Use the Task Manager to close any unused applications or processes without an icon on the task bar or in the system tray, or which are listed as (not responding).

5. Stop any instances of host svcs that may be running.

6. Delete any unnecessary files using the Disk Cleanup utility.

7. Adjust visual effects.

8. Perform a System Restore to return the configuration to a time when the computer was not performing as slowly.

9. Detect and repair possible errors on the hard drive using the Check Disk utility.

10. For computers upgraded to the Windows Vista® operating system, check the Windows Experience Index rating to determine expected performance.

11. Defragment the hard drive.

12. Remove any recently added hardware.

NOTE: For assistance with any third-party hardware or software, please contact the hardware or software manufacturer.

13. Setup the Windows Readyboost™ feature on a removable disk or flash memory drive.

14. The presence of viruses, spyware, and adware can cause the operating system to perform slowly. Use a spyware or adware removal utility and anti-virus application to clean the system of malware.

NOTE: The presence of two or more anti-virus programs may decrease computer performance.

15. Documents waiting to be printed may affect performance. Let the print jobs finish and performance should increase.


  • Upgrading the system memory is likely to improve performance.
  • A full recovery of the system may be required if the above steps did not resolve the issue.

WARNING: There is a risk of data loss. Ensure to back up any important data before running a full recovery of the system.

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