What to Do When Your Computer Is Running Slower than Normal

By Faithe Wempen

If Windows starts up but appears sluggish, there could be a variety of causes. There may be a malware infection, or it may not like a recent Windows Update that was installed or a recent driver update.

First of all, though, have you tried rebooting? Really rebooting, not just putting your computer into Sleep and waking it up again. To do a full reboot, go to the Start screen, click the Power button, and click Restart.

System Restore

After rebooting, System Restore is a good first thing to try. System Restore returns your system files to an earlier version (where, presumably, your computer worked better). You can get to System Restore while Windows is running by doing the following:

  1. In the Control Panel, choose System and Security, and then choose System.

  2. In the navigation bar on the left, choose System Protection.

    The System Properties dialog box opens with the System protection tab displayed.

  3. Click the System Restore button. The System Restore utility runs. Click Next.

  4. Choose a restore point. Choose one that was saved right before you started having the problem (if you remember when that was).

    If you aren’t sure what programs may be affected by going back to that point, click Scan for Affected Programs. The results that appear will tell you what you might need to do after the system restore to re-update the things that will be un-updated. Click Close to close the report window. Then click Next to continue.

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  5. Click Finish. Then wait for the system restore operation to complete.

Refreshing Windows

Problem solved? Great. Problem not solved? You might try refreshing your system files. This isn’t a complete reinstall of Windows, and it doesn’t affect your data. It just makes sure nothing is amiss in your Windows installation.

Follow these steps to refresh Windows 8.1:

  1. On the Charms bar, click the Settings icon, and then click Change PC Settings.

  2. Click Update and recovery, and then click Recovery.

  3. Under the Refresh Your PC Without Affecting Your Files heading, click Get Started.

  4. Follow the prompts to refresh Windows.

    You may be asked to insert your Windows installation disc. (If Windows came preinstalled, you might need to dig out the disc from the materials that came with the computer.)

If you don’t have a Windows disc, your system probably came with a utility for making a set of recovery discs using your DVD drive and blank DVDs. You did do this when prompted when you first got your computer, right? If you didn’t, you might still be able to. Check your system documentation to find out how.