PC Health Check

A healthy computer is a happy computer... But how do you know if you're doing everything you can to keep your computer running at peak performance? Here's how you find out what slows down a computer, how to run a PC "health check" to make sure your machine is running smoothly, and how to address some of the problems that can make your computer slow.

What Slows Down a Computer?

Though there are any number of things that can slow down a computer, there are four major things that occur most often:, data clutter, insufficient memory or system resources, and failing hardware.

Over time, deleted files and applications leave behind lots of "junk" data on your machine. These files can start to slow your machine down after a while. You can dig into the guts of your machine and delete them manually, or you can get a software suite like AOL Computer Checkup to do the hard work for you.

A hardware problem that slows down your computer is probably the most expensive and headache-inducing to deal with. There's no software or setting that will save a physically failing hard drive, and bad RAM will degrade or even cripple your computer's performance until it is replaced. In cases like this, there's not much to be done but break out the credit card.

Running a PC Health Check

A computer's performance tends to naturally degrade over time. That said, the occasional PC health check can help extend your computer's lifespan and keep it running in optimum condition. Here are a few steps you can take to check out the condition of your PC and do some slow computer troubleshooting.

  • Run a virus scan to make sure your machine isn't infected with viruses or malware.
  • Use the disk defragmenter tool to defrag your hard drive. This is probably an overnight operation.
  • Check any diagnostic tools that came pre-loaded with the machine (like Dell Diagnostics).
  • Check your devices in the Control Panel to make sure nothing is malfunctioning.
  • Check your hard drive for errors (usually found in the Properties dialog of your C: drive)
  • Update your software / hardware drivers.
  • Clean out your recycle bin and your Internet browsing history.

Some slow computer troubleshooting, like cleaning up the Windows registry and clearing out your browsing history, can be a tricky affair. Unless you're computer-savvy, you could end up creating more problems than you solve. AOL Computer Checkup was built to make this process simple and easy to use. Computer Checkup cleans up your Windows registry, deletes unnecessary junk data on your computer, and clears out hidden privacy traces from your Internet browsing history. It even backs up critical files "behind the scenes" so you don't have to worry about it. Computer Checkup automates and schedules a regular "pc health check," making it easy to troubleshoot a slow computer.