PC Slow? It Might Be Hardware

Computers have a way of slowing down over time, particularly when you have little time to do any serious troubleshooting. An antivirus scan is a popular first step. Sometimes this helps. But more often then not, there is either no performance improvement or very little. Now what?

Take a moment to observe your PC. Is your hard drive indicator light on often for no apparent reason? Does your laptop feel abnormally hot to the touch underneath? Can you hear fans blowing more loudly or frequently than before? Are programs crashing randomly? Symptoms like these could be an indicator of hardware problems. The most common failures over time include hard drives, RAM, CPUs, and graphics cards. Those parts that generate heat or have moving parts tend to fail most often.

But before you rush off to the expensive repair shop, take a moment. A little testing and discovery on your own can go a long way. You wouldn’t let a mechanic upsell you on car parts you don’t need, would you? So why take that risk with pricey computer parts?

There are a few tests you can run yourself using nothing but Windows and some great freeware utilities. Of course, the less advanced tools can only provide a more simplified view. In many cases, that may be enough. At the very least, you should get a sense of where the problem might be. Here are a few search terms to get you pointed you in the right direction:

Windows 10 RAM diagnostics
Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool

Windows system-wide diagnostics
– Easiest: “xyz laptop make &model analyzer/diagnostics/test” etc. Many manufacturers include a decent diagnostics tool right out of the box
– Medium: perfmon (Performance Monitor)
– Intensive: HWiNFO: Very rich in information but not geared to more casual users

Windows 10 OS drive diagnostics
– chkdsk (Check Disk)
– sfc (System File Checker)
– DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management)

Freeware drive diagnostics
– CrystalDisk Info (high level overview of overall health)
– CrystalMark Info (benchmarking diagnostic tool). Rich in information but there is a learning curve

Laptop battery health
– BatteryInfoView

There are many other diagnostics possible but the above should catch most of the problems, most of the time. Please contact me if you need more help or have more advanced testing needs. As always, I am unbiased since I have no products to sell or commission to earn.

Happy Testing! 


I've been around computers for a while now, starting with my first machine in 1983. I made a career of it in corporate Calgary, before deciding to start my own business. MyTechGuy.ca specializes in web design, PC & android consulting, and HTPC installs.

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