Windows 10 computer running slow? In this post, I’m going to show you how to diagnose a slow PC. This will help you determine whether it makes more sense to upgrade a system or replace it with a new model.
Answering how to diagnose a slow PC requires a small bit of knowledge. In its basic form, there are 3 elements to the computing process:
- processor– maker, model, number of cores, speed and cache are all criteria to be considered
- RAM– random access memory is where data currently being used by an application resides; once the system runs out of RAM, the data needed must be placed on the hard drive, highly increasing processing speed
- hard disk type and speed– using a solid state hard drive is essential to maximizing processing speed
Processing Power is Most Important
Laptop running slow? When I was learning how to diagnose a slow PC I learned one important fact: the most important element to consider when purchasing a PC or laptop is the type of processor it has (Central Processing Unit).
Because the RAM and hard drive are not only easy to upgrade, but cost-efficient as well. In fact, it is almost always cheaper to buy a system with a great processor, low memory and a standard hard drive and letting your local computer repair technician handle the upgrade.
Although AMD processors are on the rise, I have been sticking with Intel for the past decade. And don’t go with the Celeron or Pentium lines. I recommend using only Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processors. If your needs are basic, go with the i3. The i5 will cost a bit more, but is the one I usually recommend for users.
Looking to optimize Windows 10 performance? If you want the best, go with the i7.
RAM: 8GB or More
As stated earlier, your Core processor needs a place to store the data it is currently using to complete an application process. Don’t go with anything less than 8GB– 16 if you’re a power user.
Want to know how to diagnose a slow PC? I’ll give you a tip: it’s usually due to the time it is taking to retrieve data from hard disk storage.
Hard Drive Transfer Rate
Data is stored long-term on a hard drive. If the data needed by the CPU is not in the RAM, it must be retrieved first.
Standard SATA hard drives store data on a round platter that spins at up to 7200 RPM. Solid state hard drives (SSDs) are much faster, relying on flash memory technology and providing exponentially higher transfer rates.
If you are suffering from a Windows 10 very slow startup or Windows 10 slow to open programs, an SSD upgrade is usually a great place to start.
How to Fix a Slow Computer
So in a nutshell, when your system seems non-responsive, one of 3 things (or a combination) is happening:
- Data is not being transferred from the hard drive fast enough.
- Not enough RAM to carry out processing needs.
- Processor can’t process any faster.
But how does this help us understand how to diagnose a slow PC?
Call on the Task Manager
The Task Manager is key to understanding how to diagnose a slow PC, and gives an overview of the resources your system is currently using.
To bring up the Task Manager, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + Esc by pressing all three at once. You may have to click on More Details in the bottom left-hand corner of the Task Manager.
Whichever item is maxed out at 100% is the component you need to upgrade. If your processor is maxed out before your memory and disk, you may want to consider a new system.