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My Computer Is Slow or Freezing

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Performance issues can be tricky to diagnose and troubleshoot. They could be due to several variables like new hardware, failed updates, or as simple as an aging system.

A frozen computer

This guide will help you diagnose and troubleshoot performance issues on your PC or Mac.

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Performance issues can be tricky to diagnose and troubleshoot. They could be due to several variables like new hardware, failed updates, or as simple as an aging system.

A frozen computer

This guide will help you diagnose and troubleshoot performance issues on your PC or Mac.

Diagnosing performance issues on Windows 10 can be difficult. This guide will take you, step by step, through Microsoft-recommended checks and fixes to help make sure your computer is performing as best it can.
  1. Select the Start menu.
    Windows 10 Start button
  2. Select the Settings button on the left side of the start menu.
    Windows 10 Settings icon
  3. Select Update and Security.
    Windows Settings with Update and Security highlighted.
  4. Select Windows Update on the left, then select Check for updates.
    Windows Update with Windows Update and Check for updates highlighted.
  5. Once the system has finished checking for updates, it will automatically download and install the latest applicable updates.
  6. The system also may prompt you to restart, if it does, please do so at your earliest convenience, otherwise the update process will not complete.

    If you system was already recently updated, chances are that no further updates are available and your Update status will indicate: Your device is up to date.

  1. Click Start, type storage in the search box, then click Storage.
    screenshot of Windows start menu with a search for storage and storage link highlighted
  2. Under Local storage on the right, you will see a list of drives. In the example below, C: has a 446 GB capacity with 403 GB used and 43 GB free space. You need to have some space available for Windows to function properly.
    Screenshot of storage detailing drive space free

You may need to remove an app because you need the space or simply don't need it anymore. The following steps show you how to easily remove an app.

  1. Click Start then Settings.
    Windows start menu with the start button and settings highlighted.
  2. Next, Select Apps.
    Windows Settings with Apps highlighted.
  3. Scroll down and locate the app you wish to remove, and click on Uninstall.
    Apps screen with the uninstall option for an app highlighted.
  4. Carefully read any prompts in case there are special instructions. Proceed until the application is removed.
  5. Some applications may require that you reboot.

Before your restart or shut down your PC, make sure to save all necessary work to prevent data loss.

  • Using the Mouse

    1. Select the Start menu.
      Windows 10 Start button

      By default it is in the lower left corner of your screen.

    2. Select Power, then select Restart.
      Start menu with Power and Restart highlighted.
  • Using the Keyboard

    1. Press the Windows and X keys at the same time. This minimizes any open windows you may have.
      Keyboard with Windows and X keys highlighted.
    2. Press the Alt and F4 keys at the same time. This tells Windows to close the desktop.
      Keyboard with Alt and F4 keys highlighted.
    3. Select Restart, then OK.
      Shut Down dialog with Restart and OK highlighted.

Memory is the first hardware limitation we need to check to help diagnose and increase system performance. We need to find out how much memory you have in your computer, and how much you're using, first.

  • In general, Windows 10 requires 2 GB of memory to work, but performance and stability will be limited. Windows 10 runs better with 4 GB. If you use a lot of programs at the same time, or very large programs (such as games), you may require more memory, such as 6 GB or 8 GB or more.
  • You can choose to use fewer programs, or add more memory to your computer if you find yourself regularly using up all available memory.
  1. Press the CTRL + ALT + DEL keys on your keyboard at the same time.
    Keyboard with Control, Alternate, and Delete keys highlighted
  2. Choose Task Manager from the screen that comes up.
    Windows 10 lock screen with task manager highlighted
  3. Click on More details at the bottom.
    task manager with more details highlighted
  4. Click on the Performance tab at the top.
    task manager with performance tab highlighted
  5. Click on Memory on the left.
    Performance tab with Memory highlighted
  6. Look at the amount of memory you have on your computer, and how much is in use.
    Memory usage screen with amount of memory installed, and amount in use highlighted
    • In the top-right corner, you'll see how much memory is physically installed in your computer.
    • In the list at the bottom, you'll see how much is in-use by Windows, and the programs you have open.
  • You can check this information when you have your normal programs open. Open a few programs you usually use, and return to this window. See if you're using more memory than you have; this indicates Windows is using some of your hard drive space as memory, which is very slow.

This is a physical part of your computer, not something you can download or modify through software. If you want to add more memory to your computer, contact the company you purchased your computer from, or a local technical support service.

Turning the system off while System Restore is running can cause corruption. If your device is battery-operated, connect it to a power outlet first as System Restore may take time and should not be interrupted.

System restore will remove any programs installed and settings made after the selected date.

  1. Open the Start Menu, type "rstrui" in the search box and then click rstrui.
    Windows 10 search box results.
  2. System Restore will open. Click Next.
    Windows 10 system restore interface.
  3. Select a date before the issue started, you may see more than 1 restore point. Click Next afterwards.
    Windows 10 list of available restore points.
  4. Confirm your restore point by clicking Finish. Click Back if you wish to change the restore point.
    Windows 10 confirm system restore options.
  5. The process will take some time to finish. The system will also reboot shortly.
  1. Press the CTRL + ALT + DEL keys on your keyboard at the same time.
    keyboard with control, alternate, and delete keys highlighted
  2. Choose Task Manager from the screen that comes up.
    Lock screen showing task manager highlighted
  3. Click on More details at the bottom.
    task manager with More Details highlighted
  4. Click on the Startup tab at the top.
    task manager with startup tab highlighted
  5. Look carefully through this list. If you see an item you do not want to startup whenever you turn on your computer, highlight it, and choose Disable at the bottom.
    startup with application and disable button highlighted

Before your restart or shut down your PC, make sure to save all necessary work to prevent data loss.

  • Using the Mouse

    1. Select the Start menu.
      Windows 10 Start button

      By default it is in the lower left corner of your screen.

    2. Select Power, then select Restart.
      Start menu with Power and Restart highlighted.
  • Using the Keyboard

    1. Press the Windows and X keys at the same time. This minimizes any open windows you may have.
      Keyboard with Windows and X keys highlighted.
    2. Press the Alt and F4 keys at the same time. This tells Windows to close the desktop.
      Keyboard with Alt and F4 keys highlighted.
    3. Select Restart, then OK.
      Shut Down dialog with Restart and OK highlighted.

Make sure you are connected to the Internet before beginning these steps.

  1. Choose the Start menu, and type PowerShell into the search.
    start menu with PowerShell search
  2. Using your right mouse button, right click on PowerShell in the list above. A special menu will open. Choose Run as Administrator.
    Right click menu for PowerShell with Run as Administrator highlighted
  3. Windows will ask if PowerShell may make changes, click Yes.
    User account control prompt with yes highlighted
  4. At the prompt, enter the following command, then press enter on your keyboard:
    dism.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

    PowerShell with dsim command entered
  5. Windows will automatically go through every system file, make sure they are valid, and replace any corrupted files.
    dsim running in PowerShell
  1. Select the Start menu, search for Performance. Then, select Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows from the menu.
    start menu with search for performance and adjust performance choice highlighted
  2. Select Adjust for best performance at the top, then click OK at the bottom.
    Performance options with adjust for best performance highlighted

Before your restart or shut down your PC, make sure to save all necessary work to prevent data loss.

  • Using the Mouse

    1. Select the Start menu.
      Windows 10 Start button

      By default it is in the lower left corner of your screen.

    2. Select Power, then select Restart.
      Start menu with Power and Restart highlighted.
  • Using the Keyboard

    1. Press the Windows and X keys at the same time. This minimizes any open windows you may have.
      Keyboard with Windows and X keys highlighted.
    2. Press the Alt and F4 keys at the same time. This tells Windows to close the desktop.
      Keyboard with Alt and F4 keys highlighted.
    3. Select Restart, then OK.
      Shut Down dialog with Restart and OK highlighted.

Performing a Windows 10 Reset keeps your personal files, settings, and apps that came installed on your machine in-tact.

For portable devices: Before proceeding with a Reset, make sure the device is connected to a power outlet to avoid power loss during the reset process.

  1. Open the Start Menu, and select the Settings icon.
    Windows 10 access settings from start menu.
  2. Scroll down and select Update & Security.
    Windows 10 settings menu.
  3. Select Recovery.
    Windows 10 update and security options within left-hand column.
  4. Click Get started under Reset this PC.
    Windows 10 reset this PC prompt.
  5. Select Keep my files.
    Windows 10 reset interface options.
  6. Take note of any apps that will need to be reinstalled. Click 'Next'.
    Windows 10 reset interface affected programs list.
  7. If prompted with a Warning, click 'Next'.
    Windows 10 reset interface warning prompt.
  8. At this point, the system is ready to be reset. This process may take quite a while, and the system will automatically restart when needed. Click Reset when ready.
    Windows 10 reset ready to begin screen.
  9. Windows 10 will start the reset process and may reboot several times while running. Follow any on-screen instructions that may require your attention.
    Windows 10 reset PC in process.
  10. Once the process is complete, you may use your system again.

Your system doesn't seem to meet requirements to run Windows 10. We recommend finding a local shop to get an upgrade if possible.

Depending on the age of your system, it may not be possible to upgrade the RAM.
RAM in a computer

Mac OS X does a very good job of taking care of itself; for the most part, you do not need 3rd party utilities to help keep your Mac running well.

This guide will walk you through a series of simple steps, using the built-in tools with your Mac, to make sure it's running as well as it can.

  1. Click on the Apple Menu, then click System Preferences.
    Apple menu icon highlighted with menu beneath highlighting the system preferences option.
  2. Choose Users & Groups.
    macOS system preferences window with users and groups icon highlighted.
  3. Choose Login Items at the top. Then, choose your username on the left. Then, click the Lock icon at the bottom. You may need to type in your Mac password to unlock this screen.
    macOS users and groups window highlighting the login items tab, and the admin account selected.
  4. Look through the list on the right. If you see an item you don't recognize, or an item you don't use frequently, highlight it by clicking its name, then click the Remove – button below to remove it.
    macOS users and groups window highlighting the minus button.
  1. Click the Apple menu, then click onApp Store.
    Apple menu with App Store highlighted.
  2. Select Updates on the bar at the top.
    App store menu bar with Updates highlighted.
  3. Any pending updates for your Mac will be listed here. Select Update All to apply these updates.

MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air must have the power adapter plugged in to automatically download updates.

NVRAM (nonvolatile random-access memory) is a cache of settings specific to your Mac. Resetting NVRAM is safe, however you will need to reset some of your minor customizations, such as volume, time zone, or screen resolution.

  1. From the menu bar across the top of the screen, select the Apple menu (1), then select Shut Down... (2).
    Apple menu icon highlighted with menu beneath highlighting the shut down option.
  2. Wait for your computer to shut down, and turn off.
  3. Turn your Mac back on by pushing the Power button.
    Macbook power button highlighted on the keyboard.
  4. Immediately push and hold the option, command ⌘, P, and R keys on your keyboard.
    option keyPluscommand keyPlusP KeyPlusR Key
    • If your Mac plays a startup sound, release the keys after the second time it plays.
    • If there is no startup sound, release the keys after the second time the Apple logo disappears.

Make the Dock work faster

  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences.
    apple menu with system preferences highlighted
  2. Choose Dock.
    System preferences with dock highlighted
  3. For Minimize windows using, choose Scale Effect. Remove the check for Animate opening applications.
    dock preferences with minimize windows using and animate opening options highlighted

Desktop Background

  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences.
    apple menu with system preferences highlighted
  2. Choose Desktop & Screen Saver.
    system preferences with desktop and screensaver highlighted
  3. Choose a single image (not an animated one), and remove the check mark for Change picture at the bottom.
    desktop preferences with change picture option highlighted

Close unnecessary Dashboard Widgets

  1. Open the Dashboard from the icon on your Dock.
    Dashboard icon
  2. Click the Remove – button in the lower-left corner.
    dashboard with remove button highlighted
  3. Click the Close X button for any unwanted widgets.
  1. Click the Apple menu, then click on App Store.
    Apple menu with app store highlighted
  2. Click the Storage tab.
    About storage with free space available highlighted
  3. Free space is the first number you see below the name of your hard drive.

    Disk space needs will vary depending on how you use your computer. In general, if you have over 15 GB of free space, you should be fine for updates and upgrades.
    Only proceed if you have less than 15 GB of free space.

  4. Click Manage... to the right of your hard drive.
  5. Under Recommendations on the left, you'll see some very easy-to-use tools to help optimize and clean up your disk space, such as optimizing the files already stored in iCloud, removing items from iTunes you've already watched or listened to, emptying the Trash automatically, and reviewing the files stored on your Mac to delete unused or old ones.
    Manage storage recommendations

Disk Utility is designed to be easy to run, and help fix many small issues with your Mac's storage disk. Keep in mind, though, it is also designed to do major repairs and has the capabilities to cause problems if not used correctly. This guide will walk you through the proper options to select to use it safely.

Running Disk Utility can take a long time, especially on larger hard drives. Please make sure you won't need your computer for at least 1 hour before beginning this step.

  1. From the menu bar across the top of the screen, select the Apple menu (1), then select Restart... (2).
    Apple icon in the upper-left corner displaying a menu beneath with the restart option highlighted.
  2. Immediately after your Mac restarts (some Mac computers play a startup sound), press and hold the command ⌘ and R keys until the Apple logo appears, then release the keys.
    Command key. Illustration.Plus symbol.R key. Illustration.
  3. Click Disk Utility, then Continue.
  4. In the bar on the left, highlight your hard disk.
  5. Click the First Aid button at the top.
    Stethoscope icon.
     
  6. Click Run.
  7. Disk Utility will scan your hard drive, and attempt to repair any issues it has.

If you are prompted to complete the repairs yourself, or get an error about disk failure, reach out to Apple Support immediately.

  1. From macOS Utilities, select Reinstall macOS, click Continue.
    macOS Utilities with Reinstall OS X option and Continue button selected. Screenshot.
  2. After the computer reboots, Click on Continue.
    macOS Sierra reinstall screen with Continue button selected. Screenshot.
  3. Click Continue to verify your computer's eligibility.
    Verify eligibility propmt with Continue selected. Screenshot.
  4. Click Agree to accept the Terms of Service.
    macOS Sierra Terms of Service with Agree selected. Screenshot.
  5. Click Agree to confirm you agree with Terms of Service
    macOS Sierra Terms of Service with Agree button selected. Screenshot.
  6. Select a Drive to install macOS on and click Install.
    macOS Sierra installation prompt for which drive to install on. A drive is highlighted and Install button is selected. Screenshot.
  7. Install will now start and this will take some time. The computer will reboot during this process.
  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences.
    Apple menu with System Preferences selected. Screenshot.
  2. Click Time Machine.
    System Preferences window with Time Machine selected. Screenshot.
  3. To back up now, choose Back Up Now from the Time Machine menu.
    Time Machine menu with Back Up Now selected. Screenshot.
  4. Your first backup may take a long time, depending on how many files you have.
  5. You can continue using your Mac while a backup is underway.