Copywriter, technical writer, translator (FR>EN, ES>EN, IT>EN), journalist

The most common reason computers slow down

Your computer has been running well for a long time, but lately it’s been limping along. Why is that?

Here’s the most common reason: your computer’s hard disk is too full.

Several years ago, I would have said that the computer doesn’t have enough random access memory (RAM) but these days it seems like most computers ship with enough RAM to eliminate it as a bottleneck. Besides, if your computer has been running well for a long time and has only recently slowed down, chances are your hard drive has accumulated more detritus than it ought to have.

For a computer to run properly, the hard disk must be at least ten percent free. For instance, if your hard drive is 500 GB in size, at least 50 GB must be free.

My own computer is three years old now, and while it still runs well I plan to replace the platter-based hard disk with a solid state drive (SSD) in the next year or two. Computer owners and tech experts alike tout the benefits, which are mainly:

  • faster performance
  • lower power consumption
  • greater reliability

And as prices come down (the one current knock against SSDs) the switch makes more sense.

Here’s a video that explains how to speed up slow Macs, but a lot of what’s said here also applies to Windows-based computers. Check it out.