Why Is My Windows XP Computer Running Slow?

Written by james b. jones
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Why Is My Windows XP Computer Running Slow?
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Even though it has since been surpassed by both Windows Vista and Windows 7, many users still swear by Windows XP as their operating system of choice. Like any OS, heavy use of Windows XP will result in the eventual slowdown. There are many reasons why Windows XP would slow down, many of which you can easily rectify.

File Fragmentation

The more you use your computer, the more that files get moved around and become fragmented. This is why Windows XP includes a "defragment" service that will scan your computer and, in essence, sort your files so that they are easier to find and access. This allows Windows and your other software to run faster. To defragment your computer, go to your Start menu and open the "Accessories" folder. From there, click "System Tools" and select "Disk Defragment." All you need to do from that point is select your disk drive and click "Defragment."


Viruses, such as many types of malware, can drag down your computer's performance, drawing resources while doing nothing productive. You can remedy this with an antivirus program such as McAfee, Norton or SpyBot, programs that scan your computer for any kind of malware, spyware or other undesirables and let you delete them from your machine. All you have to do is open your antivirus program, click "Scan for Viruses" and wait. Once the scan is complete, click "Delete" to delete those files.

Too Many Start-Up Programs

If you have a dozen or so services and programs booting up when your computer starts, the strain can significantly slow down the speed of your computer. You can cut down on the number of programs that boot up with Windows by opening your Start menu and clicking "Run..." from the list of options. From there, type "msconfig" into the "Run..." box and press the Enter key to bring up your "System Configuration" screen. Once this window is open, all you have to do is click the "Startup" tab and select which programs you want to have running up when Windows first boots.

Lots of Data

As more data is stored on a hard drive, Windows will take longer to access and launch said data. Deleting some programs or other files you don't use and don't need will both free up valuable hard drive space, but will also allow Windows to launch whatever programs or files more quickly.

Hardware Deficiencies

Hardware has as much to do with a fast, smooth-operating OS as any piece of software. If your computer is lacking in RAM, Windows will run slowly. If your motherboard or video card has outdated drivers, updating them can help your computer run more quickly. By keeping your computer's drivers updated and keeping an ample amount of RAM in your machine (4GB, ideally) can keep Windows operating quickly.

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