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Why does hardware get slower with time?

After freshly installing an OS, the PC is super fast, and after few months they are super slow. I regularly maintain the PC, my cleaning the registry, uninstalling unwanted software etc.

What am I missing? What are the reasons for a Computer to gradually slow down? What can I do to prevent the slowing down of my PC?

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marked as duplicate by ChrisF, harrymc, BinaryMisfit Sep 12 '10 at 8:47

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Are you the only user? – hyperslug Sep 11 '10 at 4:54
No, I am not the only user. – Starx Sep 11 '10 at 5:10
That might be a real clue. Regards, – Xavierjazz Sep 11 '10 at 5:18
@ChrisF, it looks like that's a hardware-slow question and this one is software-slow. – hyperslug Sep 11 '10 at 15:57
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Reasons for Computer Slowing gradually

1) Unwanted Registry due to 3rd party softwares

2) Many programs that you install also install background applications. Due to bad coding when you uninstall the program the background task can still be left running. Many times a background task is shared and the uninstaller can't tell if it should be deleted or not.

3) Windows boot time slows down because some software that you install (or that self-installs) runs on start-up by default.

4) Data getting fragmented as keep adding new software. Badly Fragmented disk slows computer causes slow down

5) Uninstalling an application either via the control panel or the application’s start menu folder has been known to leave behind remnants of the uninstalled program. These remnants can slow down your computer while Windows tries to figure out what to do with them. Additionally, residue of old program stays behind in your system registry, clogging up your PC’s core.

Read this for more reasons, Resource taken from here.

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One thing you didn't mention is the OS that you're using. Another thing you didn't mention is whether you're defragmenting your hard disk. How relevant that is depends on the OS.

File fragmentation increases over time producing a gradual slowdown as it takes more time to read files that have their parts scattered rather than arranged contiguously. Every time old files are erased or edited and new ones are added file allocation can become increasingly fragmented.

Assuming you're using Windows, it's possible that the provided file defragmenter is not being run automatically on a schedule. It's also likely that it's not being very aggressive.

There is a third-party defragmenter called MyDefrag which uses the Windows defrag API. I use it and have found it to be very good. It not only defragments but it also optimizes the position of files on the drive so access is more efficient.

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Well, I am using Windows 7, and I defrag my harddisk every 2 weeks or more – Starx Sep 11 '10 at 5:12

Some of the reasons for a computer to become slow, where before it wasn't slow, are:

  • Increase in number of files. This can be significant especially if you are running real-time antivirus programs or backup programs in the background, or indexing programs like Windows Search or Nero Scout.

  • Are you really uninstalling all of your unused software? Does this include browser add-ons such as toolbars, etc.?

  • You might have software or services running in the background that you don't know about. First, look over services.msc and see if anything you don't need is running. A warning - research any services carefully before disabling - you don't want to disable something necessary for Windows to operate properly. Grab Process Explorer and Autoruns from Sysinternals. Process Explorer can show you what is running at that moment, and Autoruns can show you exactly what loads when your computer starts up. Again, do your research and be sure you're not disabling essential stuff for Windows.

  • Are you running servers that other computers connect to, such as a web or database server? Are there an increase in the number of machines connecting to your computer over time?

  • You might have a virus or be afflicted with some type of malware. Make sure an antivirus program is part of your maintenance schedule.

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@Starx, I was going to suggest checking Windows Task Explorer CTRL-SHIFT-ESC and msconfig.exe but ultrasawblae's suggestions sound like the beefed up versions. Windows Task Explorer has an option to show which programs are using up the most cumulative processor time, which is one thing that will make your computer slow. – hyperslug Sep 11 '10 at 15:56

I agree with following slow down reasons:

  • fragmentation
  • registiry waste
  • growing file count

And I need to add virusscanners. The reasons for that are:

  • growing amount of patterns result in
    • more memory usage
    • more disk usage
    • more cpu usage
  • virus scan engines need to scan more areas (memory, disk, registry, virtualization, cpu, stack etc.)
  • virus scan software needs to protect itself to be not stoppable by a virus
    • more memory usage
    • more cpu usage
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To expand on @Dennis' answer, even if you are defragmenting there are certain files, particularly on older versions of Windows, that cannot be defragmented during normal operation. They can only be defragmented during Windows boot. Such files include registry hives and log files. So even if you keep your registry clean, it may still be fragmented on disk.

Indexing for fast search results is another area likely to become more resource hungry with time.

The number of installed fonts also can impact performance. New fonts may be installed with new software but might not be removed when you uninstall the software.

System logs get larger with time and can become fragmented on disk.

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Another file to add to the list is pagefile if it's set to automatic size. – AndrejaKo Sep 11 '10 at 12:16

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