Why is my Computer Slow?

Customers often call and say HELP everything is slow!.  My challenge is to find out exactly what is slow; is it the internet, device or wifi. I generally start by asking a few questions: 

 By finding out the answers, it allows me to focus on what the issue may be. 

Slow PC

Slow Computer:

There are two main factors hardware or software. Clients often compare their computer with someone else’s. 

The other computer may have the latest hardware Intel i7 CPU, SSD drive and 16gb RAM but the problem machine may be 10 years old with an Intel Dual Core, 4gb and an old sata drive. 

Once I’ve established the specification of the computer if an issue is found, I will then recommend potential upgrades (RAM/SSD). 

If it’s not hardware I check the computer for rogue applications (virus/spyware/malware) and do a bit of a spring clean on the programmes that load up at start up etc (Health Check). 

Usually this fixes the performance of the computer, if the operating system is in a bad way the only way to really clean the computer is by doing a fresh install. 

Slow internet

Slow Internet:

How is does broadband come into your property (BT or Virgin)

There are two ways to access the internet; from your computer wired or wifi to the router. 

If the computer is connected by a wire and the internet is still slow I proceed to check the routers connection to the internet by using an online tool such as speedtest.net. 

Check if the router is plugged into the master socket, state of the router/wires/filters, do additional extension sockets have ADSL filters installed, is there any crackling on the line. Are there any Router software updates.

Sometimes due to the distance of the property from the exchange it affects the speed you will get, you would have been advised of expected speeds from your provider when you signed up. 

Slow Wifi

Slow WiFi:

If the computer is connected by Wifi a site survey needs to be done to see what wifi channel is being used and if there is any contention with other routers in the area. 

How far your device is from the router will also affect the connection/speed along with other potential interference in the area. 

If you search online there are various wifi analyser tools such as Vistatumbler for PC or Wifi Analyser for Android phones. 

It is best if you can be on a channel on your own that is at least 5 channels away from the next router but this is not always possible. 

Eg If your wifi is on channel 1, the next should be 6, 11. 

UK routers mainly have 2 & 5 Ghz connections.

2G is good for distance/through walls but speed is limited and there is often a lot of contention with neighbourouring wifi routers.

5G is great for speed but it doesn't go through walls very well and limited range.

Often internet providers merge the 2 & 5g wifi ssids which causes further problems as you cannot tell if the device is connecting to 2/5g.