Have you ever used a computer that was running suspiciously slow? This is a notoriously difficult problem to diagnose. If you’ve been keeping up with your regular maintenance, then it’s probably not just a matter of a cluttered browser or hard drive. Chances are, there is a program running behind the scenes that is consuming your resources. It could be an anti-virus scan, or it could be something more sinister. How can you tell for sure?
1. Windows Task Manager: If you are on a Windows PC, hit control-alt-delete (three keys at the same time). On the resulting screen, select Task Manager. The Process tab is the most telling. If you click CPU (top of the column), it should put the process using the most memory at the top. If not, click it again. DO NOT stop a process without knowing what it does. This can cause major damage if the process is necessary for normal computer operation. Instead, look up the process name on a reliable site like ProcessLibrary.com. The site will give you an idea which program is associated with the process, what it does, and whether it can be shut down safely.
2. If the Task Manager doesn’t tell you what you need to know, try What’s My Computer Doing. It’s free software that gets more in-depth than Task Manager. The paid version will dig even deeper.