Why is my laptop slow

Laptop too slow? Tips for a faster system

Tips and solutions on how you can make a laptop or PC that is too slow faster again.

If that Laptop or desktop PC takes a long time to start up needs Windows starts slowly or Programs do not respond or hang, many users have a desire for a new computer, especially with older laptops. Here is that Notebook in most cases not even the cause. The following guide will give you Help with troubleshooting and advices, as Detect and eliminate software problems in Windows and its programs, but also Detect and fix hardware bottlenecks or defects and thus make the system faster again.

  • If the laptop seems too slow, both the hardware as well as on Windows yourself lie.
  • Storage bottlenecks or one to slow or defectivehard disk can be very easydetermine.
  • With the Tips in this guide you will be able to Windows problems identify and to fix.


1. If the laptop is too slow, it is rarely the hardware problem

Admittedly, if the laptop works too slowly, the frustration is often great. Booting up takes what feels like hours and when you start a program, the laptop takes a lot of time before you can finally work. At first glance, it cannot be said whether the fault is with Windows or the laptop. But from our experience Windows is often the source of the error.

A pc, no matter if laptop or desktop PC, does not automatically slow down over the years. If you do not use any new programs or even a new operating system, the performance is unlikely to change much. But if it suddenly gets stuck and the laptop feels extremely slow, it is often, but not always, a problem with Windows.

In order to further investigate the cause, it is therefore important to distinguish between what behavior your system shows.

2. The laptop or PC starts too slowly

If the start of the PC is already very delayed before Windows even loads, hardware problems or incorrect BIOS / UEFI settings could be the cause.

2.1. Remove external components from the USB port as a test

Some external devices connected to USB interfaces can slow down the system start-up.

A PC first starts its internal firmware, formerly BIOS and now UEFI, and checks internal components such as hard drives or optical drives and connected components such as USB devices. If you external devices connected via USB, for example to have, pull it off as a test.

It can happen that the system waits for a response from the device to start and only continues in the boot process after a longer period of time. Once you've found the culprit, you can plug the device into a different USB port or only when it's really needed.

2.2. Activate Quick Boot in BIOS / UEFI

In the firmware or in the BIOS, some manufacturers also have the "Quick boot“Option, which does not carry out any complex memory tests or further self-tests, including as a Power On Self Test (POST). When switching on, you can access the firmware of the mainboard using the ESC, F1, F2, F10, F12 or other keys. The system usually briefly reports which key you have to press when you start it for the first time. Then check the firmware to see if you have a quick boot option to enable it. Especially an older PC starts slowly if Quick Boot is not activated.

Take the opportunity to also check the other firmware settings such as those for recognizing hard disks. If this is set to "Auto", this can also slow down the start of the system.

2.3. Replace any dead CMOS battery

Also one empty "BIOS battery", which is necessary for buffering the firmware settings, can be the cause of a slow PC startbecause the system checks the components anew every time.

If the system is three years old or more, you should consider checking and replacing the battery if you encounter error messages such as “Mismatch CMOS”, “CMOS Read Error”, “Configuration Error” or an incorrect system time.

You can find more information in our article "All about the" BIOS battery ".

2.4. Check the memory for any errors

Depending on the manufacturer of the laptop, one may also appear short message on the screenwhich on eventual Hardware problems, such as RAM, may indicate.

The You can test working memory with on-board tools in Windows. Windows memory diagnostics can be found in the system recovery options of the repair disk or via the command mdsched in start.

The Windows memory diagnosis can be started with the mdsched.exe program.

We have described the exact way in which the Windows memory diagnosis works and the options available in a separate tip.

Memory diagnostic test

alternative: Instead of the Windows memory test you can also use the free MemTest86.

2.5. So check the hard drive for any errors

Also one Defective hard disk can for one very slow start of the notebook and Windows itself could be the cause. Hard drive manufacturers offer their own Tools such as Western Digital Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows or Seagate SeaTools for Windows, which support the Check hard drive for possible errors. If critical warnings are displayed here, you should think about changing the hard drive, as it can suddenly and unexpectedly fail completely. Instead of a hard drive, we would recommend an SSD directly, as we will explain under point 5.2.

Western Digital Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows

2.5.1. View and understand S.M.A.R.T values ​​of hard drives

Hard drivesanalyze their operating status via Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology (S.M.A.R.T.) and save values ​​in their own memory, which can be read out. These values ​​provide information about the failure safety and service life of the hard disk. Few defective sectors are basically not a problem. On the other hand, very long values ​​at, for example, “Spin Up Time” indicate one possible engine or bearing damage, which is why the hard drive takes a long time to start. Bad values ​​for Raw Read Error Rate or Seek Error Rate (read and search errors) indicate an impending failure and an already paralyzing hard drive. Tools such as Compton Storage Device Info, HDDExpert or CrystalDiskInfo are specialized in reading out and processing these values.

CrystalDiskInfo shows the S.M.A.R.T.values

3. Windows may therefore start very slowly

A very Windows can start slowly for a variety of reasons. After checking for a defect in the hard disk (see point 2.5), you can try to work through our list of possible causes step by step.

Tuning suites: Tuning suites such as Ashampoo WinOptimizer, IObit Advanced SystemCare Free or Wise Care 365 Free also take care of many of the following steps, such as cleaning up the startup entries or cleaning up the hard drive. We advise against the use of such tools, especially for the analysis of what is the basis of the performance problems. For the "daily maintenance of the system", however, the suites are definitely recommended for laypeople.

3.1. Check and clean up startup entries

Lots of programs and drivers set up Startup entries a, which at Run Windows startup and especially the Negatively affect the time it takes to start up Windows or log on to the user. You can view the startup entries under Windows with the tool msconfig or under Windows 10 also with the task manager display and there entries deselect which you do not necessarily need.

Startup entries in Windows 10 can be viewed and managed with the Task Manager.

On the Manufacturer For example, you can already see in the Windows 10 Task Manager whether the Entry is from Microsoft or another manufacturer. Many of the entries are not necessarily important. If a function that is important to you is missing after deselecting an autostart entry or if a device no longer works, you can reactivate the entry at any time.

The Autoruns tool is much more thorough at viewing startup entries and shows all types of automatically loaded components, separating them into different categories. However, the analysis here is difficult for laypeople without some background knowledge. If you still feel confident, take a look at the entries with Autoruns. The tool provides a lot of information and can also check the entries for possible suspected viruses.

The Autoruns tool shows all autostart entries.

3.2. Clean up and defragment your hard drive

Windows sets the begin not only one Paging file but also has to load a large number of files into memory. The fuller and more fragmented a hard disk, the longer it takes Windows to load files and write a swap file in the free sectors of the hard disk.


Full hard disk usage

With the popular tools to delete files & find duplicates like CCleaner or BleachBit you can very easily create free hard disk space. The tools specialize in locating and deleting superfluous and no longer required files.

Ccleaner creates free space

Windows itself also brings some utilities such as disk cleanup or Windows 10 memory optimization to free up hard drive space.

Free space in Windows 10

You will find further information and instructions on the subject in our guide "Create free space on the Windows partition".

In addition to the fill level of a hard disk, the Degree of fragmentation, i.e. how scattered are the files on the hard drive, of relevance. Windows can use the context menu of drives in the "Tools" tab to display the degree of fragmentation and also optimize the drives.

It goes Windows doesn't work very thoroughly though and basically just tries to recreate free disk space contiguously by copying folders and files. Alternative defragmenters such as the free Auslogics Disk Defrag, WinContig or Defraggler work far more effectively, as they also defragment files and write them back to the hard drive in a contiguous manner.

Defraggler as an alternative defragmenter

No SSD defragmentation: SSDs do not consist of magnetic disks and read heads. The information is stored in memory cells that are addressed directly. Defragmentation therefore does not improve the performance of an SSD and even harms the SSD, since the maximum number of write accesses to a memory cell is limited. Windows recognizes SSDs independently and switches off defragmentation for SSDs, among other things.

3.3. Uninstall old drivers for devices that are no longer available, such as printers or scanners

For example, if you have purchased a new multifunction printer, Uninstall the manufacturer's software from the old printer via the Control Panel under Programs and Features or in Windows 10 in the Settings under Apps. This is otherwise loaded in the background when it starts (see also 3.1) and can also delay the start of Windows because components of the driver or background program are waiting for a response from the device.

Uninstall old drivers and software from devices that no longer exist

3.4. Are new drivers for system components or Windows updates available?

For the integrated chipsets of a mainboard as well as graphics cards there are often from the manufacturer each more recent drivers. There may be new versions that minimize "delays" when Windows starts. Tools like DUMo, Snappy Driver Installer or IObit Driver Booster Free help you to find more up-to-date drivers.

4. Programs hang, react or the system is 100% busy

When Windows starts but continued to react sluggishly or that System almost at full capacity or a program hangs, troubleshooting should continue at this point. In addition to one possibly defective hard drive there are still other causes for a very slow laptop or desktop PC.

4.1. CPU temperature too high, fan free?

Laptops in particular are often used under unfavorable conditions such as in bed, on the couch or anywhere else. This in turn has the consequence that sometimes Find larger lint in the intake and exhaust openings of notebook fans and with it the negatively affect the necessary waste heat. Modern processors protect themselves against overheating by reducing the CPU speedwhich could also be a reason for a notebook that is too slow.

The notebook ventilation is often blocked on many older devices.

Tools such as HWMonitor, Sandra Lite, Open Hardware Monitor or Speedfan can display the temperature, the CPU speed and also fan values.

Temperature displays from HWMonitor

If you suspect the Fan paths blocked or fans are restricted in movement even with dust, there are many instructions on the Internet on how to safely clean notebook fans without removing them.

4.2. Analyze with the task manager which process is causing a high system load

With the Windows Task Manager makes it very easy for you to spot and identify suspicious processes and services, as our article "How to use the Windows 10 Task Manager correctly" explains. Processes with a utilization of 99 or 100% should be easy to identify and examine what the process belongs to. In the case of programs, this is very easy to determine via the properties of the process.

The task manager can display the utilization for each process.

The process poses a problem SVCHOST.EXE (Host process for Windows services), which is used by many DLLs for their own processes, but for which Windows does not show the dependency on SVCHOST.EXE in the task manager.

SVCHOST.EXE appears several times in the task manager.

In this case you need to investigate the process SVCHOST.EXE additionally - with tools like Process Explorer, which shows the dependencies of a tree view.

It may help that Update program, otherwise uninstallwhich is responsible for the high system load. A web search for the process with "high CPU load" may also lead to a hit that describes and corrects the problem.

In this case you need to investigate the process SVCHOST.EXE additionally - with tools like Process Explorer, which shows the dependencies of a tree view.

The Process Explorer further breaks down SVCHOST.EXE.

It may help that Update the program, otherwise uninstall itwhich is responsible for the high system load. A web search for the process with "High CPU load SVCHOST.EXE" may also lead to a hit that describes and corrects the problem.

4.3. Exclude possible virus attacks

Despite the widespread use of virus scanners such as Windows Defender integrated in Windows 10, Windows systems are still not 100% protected from attacks by viruses or malware of all kinds. A high system load can therefore also be a Be signs of a virus attack or Trojanswhich misuses the system for sending spam or other computationally intensive tasks without the knowledge of the user.

Therefore, if in doubt, run one with your virus scanner Deep scan by. If you want to be absolutely sure that you don't have a virus on your system, start a virus scanner from a live CDas offered by many manufacturers (e.g. Kaspersky Rescue Disk, ESET SysRescue Live) or use the Windows Defender Offline, which can be activated via the scan options under Windows Security in Windows 10.

With the Windows Defender offline you can safely check Windows for viruses.

5. Use the task manager and resource monitor to analyze bottlenecks in the system

To clarify the question of whether Insufficient memory or hard drive utilization is responsible for the slow laptop, you can also use the for an initial assessment Consult Task Manager for advice. Since Windows 10 this offers in the Performance tab various graphs showing CPU usage, memory availability or hard drive activity.

The Windows 10 Task Manager provides information on the CPU, memory and data carrier and network usage in the Performance tab.

For example, you can see above the valueshow much memory is used and how much is still available. If that The diagram shows that the main memory is permanently full and the hard drive is permanently busy, this indicates a too little memory.

The usage of the main memory in the task manager of Windows 10.

However, the task manager alone is not sufficient for an absolutely reliable statement. With the Windows has a powerful diagnostic tool, which is rather unknown resource monitorwith which you are one Obtain an overview of the utilization of the system. The resource monitor can be accessed via the control panel under Performance information and tools -> Additional tools or by entering "Resmon“Can be started in the start menu.

The Windows Resource Monitor is the ideal tool for analyzing system utilization.

The resource monitor logs and analyzes the utilization of the system in four categories and allows you to determine even more precisely whether and which areas of the system (memory, CPU, hard disk, network) are being used or overloaded and also shows which processes are responsible for this.

The exact Way of working and handling as Interpretation of the values ​​of the resource monitor we have summarized in detail in the article "Unknown all-rounder - the Windows resource monitor".

5.1. Upgrade your memory for a faster system

When a Lack of memory the cause is, you may be able to expand the RAM. Look in the manufacturer's manual, whether you can expand your RAM. Tools like CPU-Z also show which memory modules are installed.

Use the free CPU-Z to display the memory modules.

You can use these values ​​to purchase a RAM extension for your system from a specialist dealer. 8 GB is sufficient for most users, 4 GB would be the minimum for systems like Windows 10. It may only be worth expanding to 16 GB if you use very memory-intensive programs.

5.2. SSD instead of hard drive accelerates every system noticeably

If the evaluation suggests that not the lack of memory, but rather constant use of the hard disk this is because the system is slow to respond, should you get one Consider switching to an SSD.

SSDs are available in different storage sizes and price ranges.

Solid State Drive (SSD) are today the absolute tuning tip when it comes to performance and even get an aging laptop back on its feet. The reason is that an SSD Can load and write programs and data quickly and without delay. Compared to conventional hard disks, there is no fragmentation and complex mechanics slow down the write and read rates. In addition, an SSD is practically noiseless and insensitive to vibrations.

Switching from a hard drive to an SSD is a bit complex, but worthwhile:
All you need is a free (or paid) image program with the Ability to clone disks. You can find an overview of the best image programs here.

You can also buy a 2.5-inch SSD with a SATA connector as well simple, external housing for 2.5-inch drives. Then place the SSD in the external housing, connect it to the PC via USB and clone the data carrier to the SSD with the image program. Finally, replace the hard drive with the SSD and restart the system. You can now even continue to use the previous hard drive in the external housing as a USB hard drive.

The following video shows these steps again in detail.

6. The final step would be to reinstall Windows

If the laptop remains too slow in spite of all attempts, there may be only one solution Reinstall Windows. But before you resort to this remedy, you should be familiar with one Make a complete backup of the system using the image program. You can use this to restore the system backup at any time if the measure did not help or if you have problems reinstalling.

  • Make a note of all important installed programs in advance and have the serial numbers and license information ready. Tools such as LicenseCrawler can read serial numbers from the registry, provided they are stored there.
  • load Check with the manufacturer of the laptop beforehand download all drivers for your operating system.
  • You should no longer install Windows XP or Windows Vista. Since Windows 7 will no longer be supplied with updates for private customers from 2020, you should consider switching to Windows 10. Currently, you can still install Windows 10 with a valid Windows 7 or Windows 8 license code.
    In our article "Installing Windows 10 as an upgrade or reinstallation" we describe in detail how to reinstall Windows 10 on an empty system.

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