Startup Apps / Background Processes

There is a tendency for people to think that computers get slower over time. The fact is that they never run any slower than the day they were built.

The issue is that we consciously or unconsciously continue to throw more computational work at the computer, which causes it to have to multitask and thereby appear to be running slower.

Major factors in the computer seeming to run slower are; the indiscriminate upgrading of operating systems and programs disproportionately to the resources of the machine, installing programs requiring background operations, allowing AdWare to proliferate your system, or not cleaning up old programs and drivers that are no longer needed.

It’s a good idea to look at what’s running on your computer when you think all of the programs are closed. A great place to start is in the Task Manager. Type “Task” in the Windows search bar and click on the Task Manager option.

At a glance, the default “Processes” tab will show a list of everything that’s running actively and in the background. Some of these may be system processes which are required, but it’s a good idea to do some Googling and acquaint yourself with everything so you can spot the bad ones.

There are two methods to eliminate unused resource hogs from this list. You can click on the “Startup” tab and right-click the offending app and select “Disable” from the menu. This will ensure that it doesn’t auto-run on the next startup, but it won’t delete the app, in case you need to use it periodically. Skype is a great example of an app that may be infrequently used, should be deleted from the auto startup, but remain available for use if the need arises.

If an app is absolutely not necessary, like a scanner program for a multi-function printer that you don’t have anymore, the app should be uninstalled. Go to the Control Panel by typing “Control” in the search bar and select Control Panel from the list. Go to the Programs/Programs and Features option and uninstall the program there. While you’re there, have a look at all of the installed programs and uninstall the unnecessary ones. Google them if you’re not sure.

After all of the visible junk is suspended or deleted, there may still be “Stealth” programs running in the background. Stealth means you won’t see them in the task manager or programs list. Usually, this is some kind of Adware, Malware, Spyware or Trojan. These are called Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs). A scanner like MalwareBytes is a great way to discover and delete these from your system. Google MalwareBytes and (make sure the URL says before you click on it!) download the free scanner, update it and run it. There will, of course, be many options to subscribe and pay for the premium product, bu it’s not necessary to do the job manually. You can almost always do what MalwareBytes suggest when it comes time for you to answer the prompt regarding your quarantine choices.

These few simple processes will generally give you back much of the performance that you had when you first bought your machine.

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