A dying device is as easy to spot as it is hard to fix, and it’s not always just that your computer is running slowly. Exactly like a car, finding and fixing the issue early is the key to preventing an expensive disaster. While the list of potential abnormalities are endless, these are the easiest five signs to spot, and when to be concerned.
It seems obvious, but needs noting. A brief slow-down on the odd occasion isn’t something to worry about. If it takes a little longer to load your web browser but speeds right back up, that’s perfectly ordinary.
However, if your system is consistently slow, especially at things it used to do with ease, there’s likely an issue. The cause can be anything from viruses to failing components to outdated hardware. Modern computers should have no difficulty doing general office tasks, or browsing the internet with several tabs at once. Simply put, if your computer can’t keep up with you, it’s not fast enough. Get it checked, repair it, or replace it.
This is far more common with laptops and other portable devices, but can still apply to desktops and larger systems. Many components of computers create a lot of heat, especially when they’re working hard. This is why they have strategically placed fans: to exhaust the hot air and let the system continue to run efficiently. When they run too hot, one of two things happen. The system can turn itself off abruptly, or “thermal throttling” occurs. Thermal throttling forces a computer to run slowly, creating less heat – something Macbook’s have been notorious for.
Sometimes this is as easy a fix as dusting the vents of your system, improving the airflow. If it’s a persistent issue, more intricate repairs or diagnostics will be needed. More commonly, this involves replacing fans, heatsinks and thermal compound, tasks that should be left for enthusiasts and professionals. A good habit is to keep the vents of your laptops/computers completely open, allowing them to cool themselves as the manufacturer intended.
An error that’s been around in Windows for decades, and is still as worrying as ever. When experiencing a BSoD, your computer’s screen will become entirely blue, with a brief, confusing error message (for example, “Stop code: CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED”). It’ll then forget everything and restart as normal.
If, after a single BSoD, nothing else comes of it, feel free to ignore this as a one-off. Windows is incredibly complex and occasionally won’t load something quite the way it expected, throwing your computer a curveball. If you see a BSoD regularly, make a note of the error message and take it to a technician. These are quite serious errors that the computer has no way of fixing without turning itself off, and is usually a clear sign that it needs some work.
Computers have many moving parts. While the amount has decreased in recent years, there’s still a few that won’t be disappearing anytime soon, like cooling fans and spinning-disk hard drives.
Any clicking, grinding, screeching, buzzing or anything but the regular whirr of a fan is what to listen for – especially if your computer is running slower too. These sounds can be indication that a component is on it’s way out, or that it’s already failing. YouTube is a great way of narrowing down the usual noises from the unusual. As with everything, if in doubt, get it checked.
These are fairly sure-fire clues that something is wrong. Regular crashing, freezing, or abruptly restarting are all fairly major red flags. These signs often come in conjunction with other problems from this list, and it’s likely they’re the cause.
The problem with crashes is they’re the computers last resort – it has no idea what to do, and panics. Therefore, finding the cause of crashing can be quite difficult, but is always fixable. Sometimes, a computer running slow and crashing is just a result of it not being powerful enough. In other cases, a part may be failing, or a program just isn’t behaving properly. Try to look for patterns, whether it’s a certain website that causes the crash, too much multi-tasking etc.. This information can help a technician narrow down the cause, saving them time and saving you money.
If your computer is running slow, or you’re having any other IT concerns, give us a call at 03333 055 055.
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