“Please download an update” appears on most people’s computers on a regular basis, but many worry about doing so in case their computer doesn’t perform as well afterwards.
Computer users install software updates to improve the performance and security of their computers. However, slowdowns can occur. There are several reasons why.
If your computer has a limited amount of RAM (the physical hardware inside a computer that temporarily stores data), updates can slow your computer down. Nowadays, 4 to 8 GB of RAM would be limited and 16 to 32 GB would be ideal for a general purpose computer. Software updates often require the use of additional RAM. This reduces the amount of RAM available for the operating system to run the software.
Additionally, most personal computers do not run on powerful processors, which means that installing a lot of software updates can cause slowdowns. Software updates will require more processing power, resulting in an overall reduction in the computer’s ability to run the operating system and application software. Installing new updates will increase the total number of processes to manage. This results in delays in performing the tasks required by the operating system and application software for their proper performance.
But if you have a lot of software installed on your computer, consuming a lot of memory and processing power, your available resources are limited to run the computer. Installing new software updates further increases the strain on your computer and then slows it down.
Meanwhile, if you have a large amount of data stored on your computer’s drive, updates can also cause a slowdown. Since software updates may use your storage space for temporary processing, this could further reduce available disk space. This ultimately results in slower computer performance with each software update.
However, if your computer has enough memory, processor power, and disk space, software updates should improve your computer’s performance. Keep in mind that despite rigorous testing for accuracy and security, operating systems and software may contain vulnerabilities that can be targeted by unauthorized users to gain access to your computer and personal data. Whenever these vulnerabilities are identified, organizations release patches in the form of software updates and installing these updates is very important to keep your computer and data safe.
So, what are the simple steps to improve computer performance and prevent it from slowing down?
Temporary files and folders are regularly created on computers by the operating system and application software. These files consume disk space and often use processing power that can be attributed to slowing down a computer. Regularly deleting these files can improve the overall performance and speed of a computer. Temporary files can be safely deleted using disk cleaning and management tools for common operating systems including Windows, Macintosh, and Linux.
Many software processes like Dropbox, Skype, Adobe can start and run automatically in the background when your computer starts up. These processes can be monitored using tools such as the Windows operating system task manager. Always keep the number of startup processes as low as possible by disabling unnecessary ones. Remember that some startup processes required by the operating system cannot be disabled.
You may have some software installed on a computer that you rarely use. Uninstalling this software can improve performance and speed – the computer saves disk space while freeing up processing power. This can be done by adding or removing software features for Windows and going to the Trash in Macs.
Mass storage of data in the cloud (a network of remote servers) can dramatically improve computer performance by saving disk space and associated file management. It is wise to store large files like music and videos there. The only limitation of cloud space usage is that an active internet connection is required to access the files, and you have to pay a provider like Apple to access them. But it can be useful to make your computer run faster.
The ultimate solution to improving the speed of a computer is to increase resources by adding or replacing hardware such as computer memory, processor, and disk drives. However, it is not always possible to add RAM to all machines and it can be more complex than you want, so make sure you have tried the other (easier) solutions first.
computer, technology, computer update, computer slowdown, Reuters, The Conversation