Computer Slow? No Malware? What Could It Be?

Can’t figure out what’s bogging down your computer after running a malware scan, coming up clean, and diagnosing the hardware? It could be a piece of software. A toolbar on your browser, an add-on, multiple versions of a program, or 2 or more antivirus programs.

First it could be different versions of a program. Many computers come with trial versions of Microsoft Office and if you install your own copy or your company has its own copy it’s a good practice to remove the trial copy. Or maybe you’ve upgraded and the previous version wasn’t properly removed. Or you may have Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat installed and PDF files may not open or crash the PC. Remove Adobe Reader and see if that fixes your issues.

Internet bogged down? Check plug-ins and add-ons. Disable them and see if that improves browser performance. Some of those IE toolbars are notorious for slowing down browsers. What I’ve seen a lot of lately are shopping add-ons or deal finding applications. Many times you can remove these resource hogging software from the Control Panel > Programs module. If you know approximately when the slowness started you can sort the programs by installation date and check for what might have been installed at the time the problems began. Remove them if you don’t use or are not familiar with the application and see if that speeds things up.

Control Panel, programs installed on date

Sort Programs by Installed On Date in Control Panel

What if you uninstall a program you actually need. What do you do? You can create a System Restore point before uninstalling anything and give yourself a safety net. You can get the program back by running a system restore operation that will bring your system back to the point just before you uninstalled the program.

System Restore

Windows 8 System Restore

One of the worst situations is if you have 2 anti-malware programs active at the same time. If you have more than one running real time scans they will fight for hard drive access and keep your drive active and possibly pegged at 100% most of the time. I’ve seen this slow down computers to the point of being unusable. Optimizer and Tune-Up programs are pretty bad, too. Get rid of them if you see them. Instead of tuning up the PC they actually slow it down so much that it makes you think you need to pay for their software.

Chances are if you scanned for viruses and found nothing it could be some piece of software taking up CPU, memory, or hard drive bandwidth and making your computer super slow.