How to fix a slow device
By Jabin | 11/13/2022
Is your device running slow and not like it used to? This article covers fixes you can try before giving up and upgrading to a new device. This article is for devices running Windows 7/8/10/11.
A slow device could be caused by a number of things. It could be unwanted apps, malware, or your device could just be reaching the end of its life. To identify the problem, first of all you'll need to open the task manager. You can do this by right-clicking on the Start button and selecting 'Task Manager.' Then select "show more" at the bottom if you're running Windows 7/8/10. Now, click the performance tab on the top in Windows 7/8/10 or the performance icon on the right sidebar in Windows 11. From here you can view the system stats and current usage. If your device's specifications don't meet those in the list for your operating system below, it may be time for a new device.
Note: Windows 7 is out of support and no longer recieves security updates. Upgrade to Windows 10 if possible.
- CPU: 1 GHz or more
- RAM: 2 GB or more (4 GB or more is recommended. If it shows 1.9 GB that's fine too)
- Disk: HDDs and SSDs are fine for Windows 7
Note: Windows 8 is out of support and no longer recieves security updates. Upgrade to Windows 10 if possible.
- CPU: 1 GHz or more
- RAM: 2 GB or more (4 GB is recommended)
- Disk: HDDs and SSDs are fine for Windows 8 and 8.1
- CPU: 1 GHz or more
- RAM: 2 GB will run slowly, at least 4 GB is recommended
- Disk: HDDs and SSDs are fine
Windows 11 System Requirements
- CPU: 1.5 GHz or more
- RAM: 4 GB minimum, more is recommended.
- Disk: SSDs are recommended although HDDs will work but much slower.
If your device doesn't meet these requirements, it may be time for a new device. If your device does meet these requirements but runs slow, keep reading.
Malware, software that is specifically designed to disrupt or damage a computer system, is a probable cause for your device slowing down. Some signs of malware can be pop up notifications that are ads or fake warnings, a search bar on the top of your screen at all times, a different browser homepage than normal, and other various changes that you didn't make. To scan for malware, you need an antivirus. Microsoft Defender is built into Windows but we recommend using a third-party antivirus. There are some great paid options but your best bet to detect and remove malware free of charge is Malwarebytes. Download Malwarebytes from malwarebytes.com and run the installer. Once that's done, run a scan and if anything is detected, click quarantine threats or if the threats have already been quarantined, enjoy the peace of mind knowing the malware is no more.
Re-installing the operating system
Sometimes files can just get too cluttered on the hard drive and you need to re-install Windows. Below are steps for re-installing Windows 10 and 11. Note: You may need a product key to re-install Windows, this can usually be found on a sticker on your computer or in the battery door of a laptop if the battery is removable.
- Make a cloud backup of important files, this process deletes all files from your device. Upload your files to a cloud file service such as Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, or Mega
- Get a USB flash drive with at least 8 GB in capacity. If you don't have one you can get one from the technology section of many stores or from online. This is necessary to hold the files needed for installation while your drive is wiped.
- Plug the flash drive into your computer and visit the Download Windows page on Microsoft's website (Windows 10) (Windows 11). Scroll down to the section labeled Media Creation Tool and download it.
- Run the file downloaded and accept the licensing agreement.
- Use the settings recommended for this PC if you're on the PC you want to re-install Windows on.
- Next select USB Flash Drive and continue. Wait for it to finish downloading and flashing to the drive. This may take a while.
- Unplug the USB flash drive and shut down your computer.
- Plug the flash drive in again and press the power button while repeatedly pressing the key to access the boot menu. This varies based on device/manufacturer but it's usually F12, F9, or Delete.
- In the menu that is on screen select USB flash drive, or SanDisk, or the brand of your USB flash drive depending on the manufacturer.
- Follow the setup instructions. This WILL remove all files from your device Wait for the installer to finish and set up the device using the Out Of Box Experience (region, Wi-Fi, password)
- Your device is ready to go! Download the files you uploaded to the cloud before and re-install any apps you had.
Hopefully this article helped you fix a slow device, and remove any malware you might have had.