My computer is running slowly

The biggest single complaint we get when we talk to our clients about their systems is concerned with how “slow” their computer is running. But how slow is slow…?

Different people have different views on the matter. What one person thinks about the speed of their computer could be entirely different to another person’s view of the same computer.

You are also more likely to think your computer is running slowly if you are in a hurry. The next time you turn your computer on – try timing how long it takes to start up, log on, and then start work at a reasonable pace. If you can do all of the above in under a minute – then you probably have no cause to complain. If your startup takes more than three minutes then your computer could be considered slow.

To illustrate this point we recently did a test which you can replicate. Time how long it takes you to complete the following process:

  1. Turn the computer on.
  2. Log on to windows.
  3. Shut down the computer.

We managed to perform this test on a computer that was running Windows XP, Office 2003, Outlook 2007 and AVG Internet Security 8. It had 4GB of RAM and a 10,000 RPM hard disk. It took just 59 seconds.

If you want to keep your computers in as good a shape as this then you need to have a policy in place to achieve it. Include some or all of these in your IT replacement policy:

  • Replace your computers every two to three years.
  • When replacing computers, buy the best you can afford. Cheap computers are a false economy and will actually cost you more in support calls over their lifespan.
  • Don’t use laptops as a desktop computer. They are ALWAYS slower than their desktop equivalents.
  • Have your computers prepared properly. Name-brand computers should be wiped and reinstalled before they arrive at your site to remove unnecessary software.
  • Be prepared to have older computers wiped and reinstalled on an annual basis to keep them performing at their best – take the opportunity to upgrade hard disks and RAM.
  • Don’t install unnecessary software. Even when you uninstall such software, files can be left which will slow down your system or cause problems.
  • Treat the computer as a business tool – not a play thing. If you want to listen to music, watch DVD’s, download TV programmes or chat with friends – do it at home on your home computer.
  • Your computer system is a core part of your business. You use it daily.  You rely on it for your income and expect it to work as reliably as your refrigerator or television. But the computer is not a simple appliance. It deserves respect and requires commitment on your part to keep it in good shape.

Treat it with respect and invest in it – otherwise you are asking for trouble!