When asking yourself why is my dell laptop so slow, why has it stopped responding, why does it take longer than expected to respond, or slow to boot up or shut down, you may be experiencing a system performance issue.
Whether your computer has gradually become slower or suddenly stopped working, there could be a variety of reasons for performance-related problems. Slow performance and other problems can be a result of fragmented data on the hard disk drive, external peripherals like docking stations, outdated device drivers, outdated or corrupt operating system files, disk errors, not enough memory (RAM), hardware failure, etc.
Follow the steps in the Troubleshooting Steps section to help resolve slow performance issues on your Dell computer. There are also some optional steps and informational videos in the other sections below.
A reboot (restart) can resolve many issues. Restarting your computer is an effective way to clear the system memory (RAM) and ensure that any errant processes and services that have started are shut down.
Restarting your computer closes all the applications or software running on your computer, applications running on the taskbar and dozens of other services that may be running in the background which were started by various applications. The more things you have open and the longer you keep them running, the greater the chances your computer will slow down and eventually run out of memory (RAM). Ideally, it is a good practice to shut down the computer when not in use. However, most times it is recommended that you restart your computer at least once a week when you use your computer a lot.
When restarting the computer does not resolve the issue, proceed to the next step.Back to top
The diagnostic test is done in the SupportAssist tool only looks at the hardware issues most likely to cause slow performance issue. A more comprehensive diagnostic tool is available but does take more time to complete.
Running a complete hardware diagnostic test can help you identify hardware related problems and provide you troubleshooting steps to help resolve the issue. To determine if your Dell computer is experiencing a hardware problem, it is recommended that you first run a hardware diagnostic test on your computer. Dell offers both built-in and online diagnostics. Dell ePSA hardware diagnostic test will help check if the hardware devices are working correctly.
To learn more about Dell ePSA or PSA diagnostics, visit the Dell knowledge-base article Resolve Hardware Issues With Built-in and Online Diagnostics (ePSA or PSA Error Codes).
If the built-in diagnostics and other troubleshooting steps have not identified the cause of slow performance, we recommend that you consider running the Dell online diagnostics. Dell's online diagnostic test helps you troubleshoot a problem, get automated fixes and order replacement parts. Online diagnostics installs Dell SupportAssist to help you diagnose and troubleshoot your Dell computer.
Diagnose Hardware Issues on Your Dell Notebook or Desktop using Dell ePSA Diagnostic Test - (1:34)
Malware (virus, spyware, trojans, etc.,) can cause a computer to lock up, perform slowly, etc. Spyware and other types of malware are a big cause of many computer problems including a slow computer. If you suspect your computer has been infected, there is a chance that malicious software may be running in the background and slowing down your computer. This could be software that interferes with your web browsing to track and add additional advertisements.
It is recommended that you scan your computer with an anti-virus or anti-malware program. Windows 10 computers come built-in with Windows Defender which provides basic protection against malware. Most Dell computers also come with basic anti-virus software pre-installed like McAfee but may require a subscription. There are many other anti-virus or anti-malware programs (free to use and subscription-based) that you may use like McAfee, Norton, Kaspersky, Trend Micro, etc., use the one installed on your computer to run a thorough or deep scan.
To learn more, refer to the Dell knowledge base article Protect Your Computer or Remove Malware in Microsoft Windows.
If there is no malware found on the computer, proceed to the next step.
What is Malware (Official Dell Tech Support) on YouTube - (2:03) English Only
5 Ways to Check for Viruses (Official Dell Tech Support) on YouTube - (2:33) English Only
System Restore is a Microsoft Windows operating system feature that can help fix certain types of crashes and other computer problems. System Restore can help you revert your computer's state (including system files, installed applications, Windows Registry, and system settings) to that of a previous point in time, which can be used to recover from computer malfunctions or other problems.
Microsoft Windows automatically creates a "restore point" every time an application or software is installed, when Windows Update installs latest updates when a device driver is installed or you can manually create a "restore point".
To learn how to restore your Dell computer to a previous point in time using Windows System Restore, refer to the links below based on the operating system installed on your computer.
If restoring your computer to a previous date does not resolve the issue, proceed to the next step.Back to top
If your Dell computer is still locking up or running slowly and the troubleshooting steps above have not resolved the issue, there may be an underlying issue with the operating system and may need to be reinstalled to resolve the issue. When you are unable or unwilling to reinstall the Operating System refer to the Optional Steps section, for more options that may or may not help.
To learn more about reinstalling Microsoft Windows on your Dell computer, refer to the Dell knowledge-base article Factory reset, restore, or reinstall Microsoft Windows on a Dell computer.Back to top
Blocked air vents can cause serious performance issues by restricting airflow, this can cause the processor, memory (RAM) and other hardware to overheat which may lead to a potential hardware failure. Excessive heat can also cause a significant decrease in performance as most processors automatically reduce the speed of the processor to help compensate for heat-related problems. If you notice the system fan running constantly, this might indicate your computer is not running as efficiently as possible, and/or clogged air vents.
It is important to keep dust from accumulating in your computer and ensure adequate ventilation to help reduce heat. Lint and dust accumulation prevents air from flowing around the cooling fins and causes the fan to work harder.
How to Clean Computer Fans - (2:01)
Generally, most computers are capable of memory (RAM) upgrades and can accept large amounts of memory than what may be installed on the computer. Before you consider upgrading the memory (RAM) on your Dell computer, we recommend that you verify how much memory (RAM) is currently installed on your Dell computer and what is the maximum amount of memory (RAM) that your Dell computer can support. To learn more about system configuration and memory specifications of your Dell computer, refer to the User Manual on the Dell Support website.
To purchase upgrade components for your Dell computer, visit the Dell website.
To learn more, refer to the Dell knowledge-base article How to Upgrade Memory in Your Computer.Back to top
Conventional hard disk drives have moving components and hence have lower read or write speeds compared to solid-state drives (SSD). A solid-state drive uses flash memory and can read or write data much faster and uses less power, in turn, extends laptop battery life. Upgrading to a solid-state drive can provide significant improvement in performance.
Things to consider before upgrading the hard disk drive on your Dell computer:
To purchase upgrade components for your Dell computer, visit the Dell website.Back to top
Safe mode prevents non-crucial applications and device drivers from loading, which helps eliminate software as a cause of slow performance.
To learn how to boot your computer into Safe Mode, refer to the links below based on the operating system installed on your computer.
If the issue does not exist in Safe Mode, the issue is likely related to a device driver or software. Ensure to update the device drivers and install any software updates that may be available for your computer including Microsoft Windows Updates.
However, if the issue still exists in Safe Mode, proceed to the next step.
Perform a Clean Boot to detect Software Problems - (00:40)
Many applications or software run in the system tray, or also called notification area. These applications usually launch during startup and stay running in the background but remain hidden. Preventing these applications from launching during startup will not only speed up the login process but also save a lot of memory (RAM) and processing power to improve the performance of your computer.
If disabling startup programs does not resolve the issue, it is most likely that your OS is corrupt and you will need to reinstall the OS. refer Step 6 in the Troubleshooting Steps section.Back to top
How to Speed Up Your Computer in Windows 10 (Official Dell Tech Support) on YouTube - (1:12) English Only
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How to Improve Computer Performance (Official Dell Tech Support) on YouTube - (2:55) English Only
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Article ID: SLN171944
Last Date Modified: 08/07/2019 11:05 AM
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