Whether your computer is brand new or many years old, it is a good idea to test its performance from time to time. A marked decrease in the performance of your computer could be an indication of many things, from a virus infection to the imminent failure of your hard drive or motherboard. Taking the time to test your performance a couple times a year can help you avoid major problems down the line.
Start your computer and watch the screen for a setup message. Computer manufacturers provide a setup menu that PC owners can use to check the status of installed devices and troubleshoot problems, but the key combination needed to enter the setup menu will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. For instance, HP uses the F10 key, while most Dell models use the F12 key.
Enter the setup menu and look for a "Diagnostics" option. This option will allow you to test various components of your computer, including your hard drives and your memory modules.
Run as many tests as you have available and take note of the results. If the diagnostic test uncovers any problems, be sure to replace those components as soon as possible. If the diagnostic test indicates a problem with one of the memory modules, replace that module. If the test determines that there is a physical problem with one of the hard drives, the best course of action is to back up the data on the drive and go shopping for a replacement.
Use Task Manager
Log on to your computer and open as many different applications as you can. Open your word processing and spreadsheet programs, and perhaps a photo editing program as well. Open your web browser and open several different Internet sites at the same time.
Right-click on the taskbar and choose "Task Manager" from the menu. Click on the "Performance" tab to see a graphical representation of the amount of memory and other system resources in use.
Leave task manager up and running as you do your work. Watch the graph that indicates the system resources in use. If you see repeated spikes and notice a slowdown in performance, it could be an indication that your system needs more memory.
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