Science & Technology

/

Knowledge

Jim Rossman: Drilling down to find out why your computer is running slow

on

Published in Science & Technology News

I have a friend at work who was having issues with her computer.

Tasks were taking longer than they should and she was having to wait for the computer more than she should. There’s nothing more vexing than the computer freezing up for a few seconds (or longer) and not knowing why.

She put in a call to the help desk and I went to see her.

She wanted to know what was slowing things down. She didn’t know if it was something she was doing.

Since the PC was behaving when I showed up, it was hard to tell her exactly what was causing the slowness. Indeed, many problems will go away, at least temporarily, when a user reboots.

She asked if there was a way to see what was happening the next time her PC misbehaved. I showed her how to see exactly what was going on through a utility called Task Manager that is built into Windows.

If you right-click on the task bar at the bottom of the screen, you’ll see a pop-up menu and Task Manager is there to launch. When Task Manager launches, you’ll see a list of running programs, which isn’t much help. Where you’ll get some meaningful information is by clicking the button on the bottom left for “More Details.”

The Details page has tabs to show you a lot more information. You can see the running processes, with columns showing the load on the CPU, system memory, hard drive and network.

Each column will show a percentage at the top, which is how much of each is being utilized at the moment.

 

If you notice slowness, having Task Manager open to the details page can help diagnose the issue.

If you see the CPU or memory or disk columns at 100%, that means some app or process is hogging all the resources and keeping the system from doing other things.

If you click your mouse at the top of the CPU column, the process and app list will sort itself to show what’s using the most CPU cycles at the moment. The list will update every few seconds.

If your CPU useage is 100%, or bouncing up and down near 100%, you should be able to see what app or process is causing the issue.

It might not be obvious what all the background processes are, but searching for the process will tell you what it is and that can give you a place to start troubleshooting.

You can force-quit a program or kill a background process from the Task Manager, but you should know what the consequences are before you just kill a process.

Mac users can see this same information with a utility called Activity Monitor, found in the Applications folder inside a folder called Utilities.

Again, this isn’t always going to tell you exactly what’s going wrong, but you should get some good information to begin your troubleshooting.


©2024 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus