Windows 8 presents some welcome performance improvements over its predecessors. This includes much faster startup times and a more responsive interface thanks to the overhauled Windows Aero theme. However, even an operating system like Windows 8 can slow down at times leaving you frustrated and wondering what to do. There is a plethora of things which can go wrong with your computer causing random crashes, slowdowns and other issues. If your computer is experiencing sluggish performance, then the following four methods should help you to get it running up to scratch again. Some of these tips also apply to earlier versions of Windows.
Clean Your Computer
After a while, the inside of your computer will collect a lot of dust. It may come as a surprise that this has anything to do with performance, but the reason for this is that dust acts as an insulator, making it harder for your hardware to dissipate the buildup of heat. When this problem becomes significant enough for your computer to overheat, certain components such as your processor or graphics card may temporarily throttle back their clock speeds in order to prevent damage to your hardware. If the symptoms you are experiencing involve sudden major slowdowns which only occur when you run hardware-intensive software or after using the computer for a long time, then overheating is most likely to be the problem.
To solve the problem, open up your computer and blow away any dust, particularly where it has gathered on fans, heat sinks and vents. The same problem applies to laptop computers, although you will probably need to refer to a maintenance manual specific to your machine to find out how to access the interior of the computer.
Update Your Drivers
Certain components in your computer, such as the graphics card or sound card, need to have drivers installed for them so that the operating system can communicate with them properly. If you do not have the correct drivers installed for your hardware, Windows will not be able to take full advantage of their features and will instead install very basic generic drivers or nothing at all. It is also important to keep your drivers updated. Manufacturers often release new versions of their drivers in order to address compatibility problems, iron out bugs and even introduce new features. You can either update your drivers manually or you can try using an automated driver update tool.
Identify Problem Programs
Windows 8 presents an enormous improvement to the Task Manager. You can access it by right-clicking on the taskbar in Desktop mode and clicking "Task Manager" followed by the "More details" arrow at the bottom of the window. From here, you can monitor the performance of your computer and see how much memory, processor power and hard disk bandwidth your computer is currently using.
If you find that your computer is inexplicably running very slowly, it could well be due to a particular program draining your hardware resources. A program may be acting like this due to a number of reasons including a virus infection, a compatibility issue or a multitude of other things. If you identify a program that is causing problems, consider uninstalling it or shutting it down. Before you do, however, be sure to read up about the program – you do not want to end up tampering with any important Windows services by mistake.
Turn Off Indexing
The indexing service helps to make the search function in Windows 8 run much faster. However, it can also drain your computer’s hardware resources, particularly on older machines. You can try disabling it to see if you experience some improvement in performance. If not, you can always turn it on again later. To turn it off, open up the Windows 8 advanced Task Manager and click on the "Services" tab. Scroll down the list to find the service called "WSearch," right-click it and stop it. If you find that this helps performance, you can permanently disable it from the Services section of the control panel. This is accessible by pressing the Windows key and "R," typing "services.msc" and pressing Enter.