What is Perceived Slowdown? & Why the PC itself may not be responsible for your speed frustration
Occasionally a PC will only appear to be slow but in reality it has not slowed down, this is called “perceived slowdown”. Perceived slowdown has many causes, such as:
- You use a faster computer and then when you use your own computer it seems slower in comparison.
- Doing memory and processor intensive tasks (e.g. DVD Burning, Using Graphic programs like Adobe Illustrator, having twenty applications open at once) and expecting the computer to still be as quick as when you just have “Microsoft Word” open.
Installing new versions of software that have more demanding system requirements then your computer can handle.
For example: Microsoft PowerPoint 2003 that came with your computer works fine and you install Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 and when using the new version your computer is sluggish, well the very likely cause is Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 like most new versions of software requires more processor power, more RAM, etc.
In this situation the computer has not slowed down, but you have asked the computer to perform a task that is beyond the hardware capacity of the computer.
In these circumstances determine the recommended system requirements for the software you want to use, and then check if your PC meets these system requirements. If it does meet them, then something else is probably causing the sluggishness, however if your PC does not meet recommended system requirements for x program then upgrade the necessary hardware components or buy a PC that meets the recommended system requirements.
The computer has not slowed down but the internet connection has, I work in the Technical Support industry and time and time again I get complaints that the computer is slow, 7 out of 10 times I look at a computer and discover that running windows media player, using Microsoft Office and other local applications is fine, but it’s just when using Internet Explorer aka browsing websites that is slow.
If only browsing the web is slow than it could be many factors, such as: (1) Internet Security Settings, (2) Browser Settings (try another browser, reset browser to defaults), (3) Internet Service Provider issues like “shaping” which is when you go over your download limit and your internet speed is slowed, or maybe a problem with the Line – contact your ISP to check your internet connection, (4) The website you are visiting is slow, speed of browsing websites is not only impacted by the quality of your internet connection but also by the quality of the websites hosting provider and how much content (text, pictures, video) is on the webpages your are viewing. A website with only text will load faster than a website that has 20 pictures + text, keep this in mind.
- A big complaint is the computer is slow when watching movies from websites such as YouTube, at this point I inform people that videos need to buffer (download before you can watch), so if a video stutters and stops it’s because its downloading the next part of the video, solutions: (1) let it download completely and then watch, (2) improve your internet speed so it downloads faster.
I have illustrated above that a computer may very well be running at its optimum performance but lack of computer expertise may lead to misdiagnosing the computer as has having slowed down. Beware of “perceived slowdown” and learn to intelligently determine why “some task” is slow.