9 Reasons Your Device is Sluggish

Published on April 10, 2021
Photo by Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash

There’s nothing quite as frustrating as a computer that is running slowly and taking a long time to do what you need it to. Whether you’re trying to get work done, study for an exam, or simply want to go online shopping or watch movies online, constant lagging and slow load speeds can seriously ruin the experience for you and leave you feeling annoyed. There are plenty of reasons why your computer might be running slowly. In some cases, it may simply be down to using an older computer – after all, all devices tend to get slower as they age and it might be time to consider upgrading to a new one. But before you go out and purchase a new device, consider the following potential reasons for the sluggishness. 

Leaving Your Computer On

Shutting down or restarting your computer will clear out the memory cache, usually resulting in a device that is faster and more responsive. If your computer normally performs well and has recently started going slowly after you’ve left it in sleep mode without completely powering it down for a few days, this could be a simple fix. It’s a good idea to completely shut your computer down then restart it to give it a break and refresh the memory cache, allowing it to work at top performance again. 

Startup Programs

Many programs will start automatically when you run your computer, and sometimes this is their default setting when you install them. For example, if you have a MacBook and run Google Chrome, having it start up automatically when you boot your Mac up can make Chrome very slow on Mac. Head to Setapp to learn more about slow browser problems on Mac and what you can do to fix this issue. They also offer tips and advice for installing programs, security, backups and much more. If there are a lot of programs starting up automatically when you switch your computer on, head into your settings to change the preferences – you’ll usually find that your computer starts up much faster without all that extra work. 

Background Programs

If you often use your computer to run several programs at the same time, it might slow down if there are lots of apps and programs open in the background, which will be using up a lot of processing power. Check your settings to find out exactly which programs are running in the background on your computer and figure out which ones you do not need right now so that you can shut them down. Completely closing rather than minimizing a program when you have finished using it is also important. 

Full Hard Drive

You may encounter some performance issues on your device as your hard drive begins to fill up. Often, this can slow your computer down even if your hard drive is not completely or even almost full. Files that are necessary for programs to run correctly will be stored on your hard drive, so the more apps, files, and other items you have saved on your computer, the slower it is likely to be. You can deal with this problem by regularly cleaning your hard drive of files that you no longer need and use cloud storage wherever possible to free up disk space. 

Fragmented Hard Drive

When hard drive space is freed up by writing over files, this can cause the newly saved files to become fragmented. As a result, pieces or fragments of the file might be saved in multiple places, causing the processor to work harder to open all the pieces of the file from the various parts of the hard drive when you open it. If you have noticed that your computer tends to slow down more when you are trying to open a file, you can try disk defragmentation. 

Lack of RAM

Depending on the age of your device and what you use it for, it might be necessary to upgrade your RAM, or memory, in order to boost the performance. 8GB of RAM is enough for the majority of users, but if you are a heavy device user, it might be essential to upgrade to more. In addition, some older computers will have less than 8GB of RAM available, which simply isn’t enough for most people in 2021. The good news is that it is easy to upgrade the RAM of most computers by yourself. You will need to purchase RAM cards and access the inside of your computer to swap out the old ones for the new ones. 


A simple reason for why your computer might be sluggish is that your processor is overheating. This is quite normal and will often happen when your processor is working as normal or has been switched on and operational for some time, depending on the processor speed and age. The more processing power a program requires, the more likely the processor is going to heat up. Thankfully, your computer will have a fan to keep the processor at the ideal temperature, but if this becomes obstructed in any way, or is not functioning properly, it can lead to issues. If your computer is slow and feels very hot to touch, check that the fan is operating as it should. 


A virus or malware that has infected your device can cause it to run slowly. It’s a good idea to run a full scan of your computer using a reputable antivirus software program to find anything suspicious. Along with a virus scan, run a malware scan to make sure that anything that shouldn’t be on your device is found. 

Updates Needed

Finally, your computer might run slowly if you are overdue updating your operating system or other key software programs that you use. Turning on automatic updates is the best way to avoid this and make sure that you are always using the latest version of the operating system, browser, and other software programs that you have installed. 

A slow computer can be very frustrating, but the good news is that improving performance might be easier than you realize. 



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