How to Fix a Slow Computer & Programs Running in the Background

by Dustin Lamb
Older computers are often less capable of running several programs simultaneously.

Older computers are often less capable of running several programs simultaneously.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Having too many programs running in the background of your computer taxes your system memory, which makes the computer run more slowly. Finding out what programs are running and closing them is all it really takes to fix this problem. Use Task Manager to stop currently running programs and System Configuration to disable programs that are automatically launched when your computer is started. Simply uninstall a program if you don't use it and never want it to run. It is also a good idea to run Disk Cleanup when your computer is running slowly.

Stop a Currently Running Program

Step 1

Right-click the taskbar and click "Start Task Manager." Click the "Processes" tab.

Step 2

Click a program that is running in the background that you want to close. Click "End Process."

Step 3

Click "End Process" again in the notification window that opens. Repeat for each background process you want to stop.

Disable Startup Programs

Step 1

Click the Start button and type "system." Click "System Configuration."

Step 2

Click the "Startup" tab. Uncheck any of the listed programs that you do not want to run when your computer is turned on.

Step 3

Click "OK" when you are done and "Restart." The unchecked programs will not run at startup.

Uninstall Programs

Step 1

Click the Start button and type "programs." Click "Add or remove programs."

Step 2

Click a program that you want to uninstall and click "Uninstall/change." Follow the onscreen steps to remove it.

Step 3

Continue removing any of the programs you do not need installed. This will permanently stop them from running.

Disk Cleanup

Step 1

Click the Start button and type "disk." Click "Disk Cleanup."

Step 2

Wait for the Disk Cleanup tool to analyze your computer. This usually takes a few seconds.

Step 3

Check each item in the list that you want to remove. Files in the Recycle Bin and Temporary Files folders are good items to remove, for example. Click "OK" and "Delete Files."

Tip

  • Only stop currently running programs if you are sure you know what they are. Read the information in the "Description" section in Task Manager for each process to find out more information about it.

About the Author

Dustin Lamb contributes to various online publications, specializing in computers and technology. Lamb has a bachelor's degree in computer information systems from Cleary University and also works as a technology consultant.

Photo Credits

  • Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images