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Who knows exactly why a computer slows down?

I have a computer made by HP with stock components. It was bought in 2005, windows vistas 32bit. As the question is stated above. Who knows why a computer slows down so much? Do note, this is assumming the computer gets no virus or malware or spyware (dont include even include macs, they get no viruses) and gets security, virus, spyware updates, installed games and updates, and whatever else a person puts on their hard drive. Is it possible that all these program files and updates eventually slow a computer down cause Ive noticed as new software and updates are released, the amount of ram used on the system slowly rises to the point where it becomes a choke on the system. Ive singled out every other component in the system to just the hard drive, ram and slightly the OS (this one may be independent of the problem besides the RAM limitations) with a theory on resouces a computer needs to deal with the constant updates due to the fact it takes more time to put all the info into the RAM as things become more advance and new codes are written.

Sorry if this took so long to read. I cant explain well enough to make it short, cause i have to make it like a story and let my brain run its course till it gets to the ends for a summary.
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  1. One of the major culprits is due to "disk de-fragmentation".

    This is basically when you keep adding data to your computer, or make new files ect ect and your computer writes them to your HDD. When you then delete files/data, this leave gaps on the HDD platter. Next time you install a document if its bigger than the gap created, it will save the first part of the document in the gap, and the second part at the next available gap/space on the HDD.

    Over time this causes the HDD head to have to move much further to read all the different parts of the HDD in order to open all of the document.

    Sorry if the explanation was a little confusing, I shall include a WIKI link:

    Running both DISK CLEANUP and DISK DEFRAGMENTER on a weekly (minimum monthly) basis is highly recommend in order to keep performance as high as possible.

    If you have never run a disk defragment before, it's likely to take quite a long time the first time you run it (especially since 2005) its likely to take 12hours+ to complete, but you will notice a good performance increase and subsequent run times for disk defragment will be much lower if you continue to do it on a regular basis.
  2. I think vista has a regular disk defragmenting schedule, just like windows 7. Other then disk fragmentation, download ccleaner and scan for registry errors (and fix them). Clean your disk and make sure your pc is free from spyware/viruses.
  3. Best answer
    To expand on what others said, there are several things that can (and will) make a computer run slower over time.

    Modern day programs utilize more resources than older programs. If you put 2005 era programs (or versions of modern programs from 2005) on the system, it will run just like it was brand new. Having used a work computer from 2002, it ran everything just like it did back in the day: relatively quick. However, once we put a couple of modern programs on it, BAM! Slow as molasses (well, if you were multitasking at least).

    The more RAM usage, the slower the computer. If you hit ~70% RAM usage, then you will notice the computer running slower.

    The more HDD space you take up, the slower the computer. As AdrianPerry said, if you don't defragment then the head has to move more, slowing response time. However, even a perfectly defragmented disk will slow to a crawl one it hits ~80% usage (or filled at or above that mark). I'm not sure of the reasoning behind this, but my assumptions deal with how the PC uses the HDD. Often, to save RAM, the system will use the HDD as RAM (pagefile). If there isn't enough space on the HDD for the system to utilize for its pagefile, then performance suffers. Now I will disclaim this is just a theory of mine.

    Another aspect is that over time the OS becomes corrupted (or some such, I can't remember the term). Largely due to files being uninstalled, which can still leave behind an altered registry, which can lead to performance issues. I read an article where researchers noticed that over time the OS itself degrades. Performance gain can be assured by performing a fresh, clean install of the OS after X amount of time. I can't remember where the article is, but I assure you it is out there somewhere.

    Another possibility is that older hardware wasn't designed for modern software. Newer software takes advantage of multiple threads to make it function faster. So on older hardware, it will run slower as (just a guess) it isn't optimized to deal with only a single core.

    Finally, it could also be due to perception. I had a computer that I thought was blazing fast. After using a friends computer that had better specs and was a bit faster, using my computer was a different experience. It felt sluggish and slow. Think about how fast 50 MPH seems, then how slow it seems after going 70 MPH.
  4. All of that. :)
    I sometimes feel there is another reason, some sort of hardware degradation. I feel this deep in my bones even though I know it's ridiculous. I work on old computers all the time and can't imagine how I ever tolerated the speeds :p
  5. Proximon said:
    All of that. :)
    I sometimes feel there is another reason, some sort of hardware degradation. I feel this deep in my bones even though I know it's ridiculous. I work on old computers all the time and can't imagine how I ever tolerated the speeds :p

    You aren't the only one who feels that way (about hardware degradation), lol. Sometimes I feel that way as well.

    As for speeds of older computers, they don't bother me much unless I'm actually trying to do productivity tasks.
  6. Best answer selected by chuttney1.
  7. This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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