The most requested computer service request resolves around this small statement “My computer is running to slow”. But what exactly does that mean?

In the 1990’s computer CPU’s, memory and hard drives were speeding up (and as a result older computers slowing down) . If you are running a computer from the 90’s – it is likely time for an upgrade.

More recent advances in computer speed, memory speed and hard drive speed has resulted in a near indistinguishable difference in computer speeds at a hardware level. Lets look at some common computer hardware speeds today (does not reflect actual speed – just an idea):

Kilo = x1000

Mega = x 1 million

Giga = x 1 billion

 CPU Speed: 2000 Ghz (2000 Gigahertz)

Memory Speed: 1333 Mhz (1333 Megahertz)

Hard Drive Speed: 1000 Mb/s (1000 Megabytes per second)

Using the slowest part of a computer – the Hard Drive – What human can tell the difference between 1000 megabytes and say 1200 megabytes of data transferred in a second?

Computers once they reached these speeds nearly  a decade ago, their speediness is completely limited by software. And what else started becoming very popular a decade ago? The Internet started to widely available via “high speed” and on smart phones.

And what is the average speed of a high speed internet connection? Would you believe 6.5 Mbps (Megabits per second) in Canada. So where is the slowdown? Todays slowdowns when someone says “My computer is to slow” is usually that their Internet is to slow.

Why a computer/internet slows down

First thing to remember is that the 6.5 Mbps number isn’t what you get. Notice that the speed is in mega bits, not mega bytes. A byte is made up of 8 bits which means your 6.5 megabit connection is actually 0.81 megabytes. Then a good portion of your download speed is eaten up by communication codes, networking programs and things that make the Internet what it is.

Something else that has grown exponentially in the past 10 years has been malware/virus’s and spyware with malware and spyware being much more common. All three however utilize your internet for tracking, spreading, annoying others, and other fun things – they use up your speed and depending on the number of malware/spyware and virus infections your internet can become a trickle over time.

Don’t think you have virii, malware or spyware?

If you own a computer you most likely have some form of spyware/malware or virus. They are not all bad – some track your computer performance, others update computers, tracking purchases, there are allot of  legitimate programs which are technically spyware/malware and virii to some extent.

If you visit websites your mother wouldn’t approve of – you will get malware/spyware.

If you have kids who frequent free game sites or are online allot without supervision – you have spyware/malware – (multiply by one million of you have a teenage boy :-).

If you’ve installed something (printer, software, etc.) and have just clicked yes to all prompts – you have spyware/malware.

If you think Norton, McAfee or windows anti-virus keeps spyware/malware off your computer – They Do Not.

How can I tell if I have spyware/malware or a virus?

These are some of the more common indications for some form of infection, there are many many more and sometimes indications don’t show up for some time after infection. My favourite indication of virus/malware/spyware is the presence of a computer.

A slowed internet speed – probably the most common.

If your search engine is not Bing or Google (unless you changed it yourself).

If you search for something online and the results page is not a Bing or Google page (unless you changed that setting).

If pop up advertising randomly pops up consistently on your computer.

If you aren’t doing anything on your computer and the hard drive light is constantly on or if you hear it constantly on.

If your internet browser has strange tool bars you do not remember installing.

So how do you speed up your computer?

Nine times out of ten getting rid of the spyware/malware/virus will restore your computer speed, you rarely need a new computer (unless you have something older than 6 years), sometimes you could use more memory or a larger hard drive and very rarely you have to change a component in your computer.

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