5 tell-tale signs your PC needs a tune-up

Tons of temporary files can slow down a computer's performance.

Steve Jobs once called the Mac a “bicycle for the mind.” However, in some ways, a computer is more like a car than a bike:

  • It is often highly customized prior to purchase.
  • It accumulates wear and tear and eventually requires replacement.
  • It requires regular maintenance and tune-ups to perform optimally.

Like a car, a computer becomes less useful as its core components become overused – in this case, the hard disk drive or solid state drive on which its operating system and essential applications are written and read. But drive replacement and other tweaks can usually prolong the useful life of a PC.

The question, then, is how do you know when it is time to make such adjustments? Here we will examine five tell-tale signs that a tune-up is needed:

1. Slow overall performance

It is common for PCs to take on demanding tasks, such as full encryption of the file system or processing of a large PDF, that can result in temporary slowness. However, a red flag should go up if the computer struggles even at basic tasks such as opening a web page or creating a note. These hiccups may be signs of a virus infection or problem with the registry.

2. Running out of non-fragmented storage space

Computer hard drives and solid-state drives have become more capacious in recent years, mainly because the cost to manufacture them has plummeted. In early 2016, SSDs – which were once much pricier than HDDs – reached parity with their older counterparts.

Even with all of that space, a disk can fill up fast with large files such as videos and photos. When it does, it could take a performance hit if the HDD is highly fragmented, meaning that its files take longer to locate. The fragmentation of a disk can be checked in the system settings of a PC.

3. Too many temporary files

All computers accumulate temporary files as a matter of course. These files may help with tasks such as loading specific websites more quickly. At the same time, they have the potential to degrade overall speed once they surpass a certain level, since they can complicate how your machine looks up and opens files.

It is possible to clean up temporary files through various system commands, including rebooting the machine in Safe Mode (for Microsoft Windows). A tune-up solution such as PC Tune-Up from Total Defense makes cleanup even faster and easier so you get back to top-notch performance as soon as possible.

Is something slowing down your PC?Is something slowing down your PC?

4. Trouble starting up

Like a car with an engine that won’t turn over, an old or virus-infected PC can be hard to start. Computer boot times – i.e., how long it takes between turning on the power and being able to see the desktop – were remarkably stable for years, until the spread of fast SSDs enabled almost instant-on for many laptops and desktop, similar to how phones and tablets (which also have SSDs) behave when powered on.

“Scan for unnecessary programs and files to optimize PC performance.”

But even SSDs can slow as they use up their read/write cycles or become burdened with bloatware, adware, and malware. Be sure to scan your system for unnecessary programs and files in order to optimize performance.

5. Inconsistent internet speeds

There are many factors that affect a device’s internet speed, including what kind of Ethernet card/Wi-Fi chip it has, whether it is using a wired or wireless connection and the current conditions on the ISP’s network. Performance can also be negatively affected by activity on the local PC/Mac, such as ongoing antivirus scans (which, depending on the program, can use up a ton of CPU resources) or a damaged hard drive.

You have a wider range of options for fixing what ails your PC and thus for extending its useful life. A tune-up program is your best bet for a straightforward and reliable solution to the variety of issues we have talked about here. Learn more by visiting our main PC Tune-Up page.