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That’s self-explanatory, isn’t it? If you have a full hard drive, that will slow down your computer.

Well, actually, there’s a lot more going on in the heart of your device. And, understanding these factors will help you figure out how to restore the gadget to its optimum efficiency.

And no! All those stories about tech companies conspiring to slow down your gadgets so you’ll end up buying their newer (and, more expensive!) releases are just not true.

There are actually practical reasons why your computer slows down. And, here are some of them.

1. Overworked Random Access Memory (RAM)

Random Access Memory (RAM) is a kind of storage system installed on your computer (or any other gadget like a cell phone or tablet). When you work on your computer and open various apps, files, and programs, the RAM stores the data and work in progress. As you continue to open more apps, you’ll use up more of the RAM storage. Like ABC News explains, most devices have limited RAM, so the computer simply moves on to using up space on your hard drive. All data gets saved to the hard drive and the gadget takes longer to write and retrieve the information. As a result, if you have a full hard drive, your computer will get slower.

2. Updated Operating Systems and Apps

As you continue to use your computer, the operating systems and apps regularly upgrade automatically to improve performance. For instance, Microsoft is constantly working on new upgrades that will protect your computer from hackers. And, that’s just one of the improvements the company provides. While these upgrades are important, they also take up more space on your computer and make your device conduct more computations as it works.

In addition to the essential programs, you may download other apps that you use for only a short time. Once you’re done with them, they’ll remain stored leading to a full hard drive. Deleting programs and apps is not an effective move. That’s because you only remove the app locator. The only way to actually clean up disk space is to choose the best way to wipe a hard drive. As professional hard drive experts will guide you, save all your data to a removable USB, and clean up the HDD or SSD completely using the inbuilt tools in the OS. You can also use one of the many other free tools available on the internet. Next, you can reinstall the OS and only other necessary apps you need from the USB drive and ignore the rest.

3. File Fragmentation

Each time you save and delete files from your hard drive, the new data gets stored in remote empty slots on the platter. When you try to read the file, the computer must retrieve the scattered data from across the storage disk. And, that’s the reason why you notice the slower speeds. You can, no doubt, prevent this issue from occurring by regularly defragging your computer. However, even your defragging tool may not be effective on a full hard drive. Read this feature on Tom’s Hardware and you will learn that as your storage disk spins, it stores data on the outer rims and gradually works its way to the inner sections. When you try to work on the file, the device takes longer to retrieve the data stored on the inner rings of the platter.

4. Stored Caches, Extensions, and Plugins

All users have a bunch of extensions and plugins installed that are designed to improve the readability and interactive response of the web pages they surf. Keep in mind that every plugin you knowingly or unknowingly install uses up some of the RAM and disk space. If you find that your computer works slowly when you’re browsing the web, consider disabling some of the plugins you have installed. The stored caches and cookies in your computer can also lead to a full hard drive and lower speeds. A good move recommended by Lifewire is to regularly clear the stored cookies and browsing history you may have stored.

5. Anti-Virus Software

Having anti-virus software installed to keep your device protected is essential. But, this software could also contribute to your computer moving sluggishly. As this article on How-to Geek explains, when you have a full hard drive, the protection programs running in the background have more data to scan for harmful malware, spyware, and viruses. As you work on the computer, more computations are diverted to scanning the hard drive, leaving the computer with fewer resources to assist your work. Of course, the spyware contained in your hard drive will also contribute to a slower performance. Getting rid of it along with some of the unwanted programs in your computer can help you speed up functioning.

Resolve Your Computer Speed Issues Keeping these Factors in Mind

Experts recommend that the optimum amount of free space you must always have on your hard drive is a minimum of 10% to 15%. Anything less than that and it could interfere with the proper operating capacity of your computer. You may also want to take the time to eliminate the unwanted junk from the drive and free up enough storage so your gadget will be back to functioning as good as new.

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