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How to Use Task Manager to Find the Source Slowing Down a Computer?

task manager troubleshooting
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If you own a computer or have been using it for some time, you might have gone through this at some point. Computer seems to be working slow, atleast not performing to the extent that it used to do before.

There are number of reasons why a computer might slow down. To name a few

  • Presence of too many temporary files
  • Too many unwanted startup entries in computer
  • Security software is corrupted
  • Compatibility issues between software
  • Presences of virus
  • Hard disk problems

Task Manager is a powerful and the most useful tool for identifying and narrow down to the reason for slow performance. Read till the end.

Open Task Manager

Press CTRL+ALT+DEL

or

CTRL+SHIFT+ESC

Check Memory Usage

  • Click Processes tab
    This will list out a list of processes. Each listed process is either related to a software or operating system feature running at that point in your computer.
  • Click on the heading Memory
    This allow arranging processes in ascending or descending order based on the memory consumed.
  • To forcefully shutdown any process -> right click on the process ->Select End process.(End process tree will end any process which is directly or indirectly created by the process)

Note: Shutting down the process will force the application to shutdown leading to loss unsaved data.
Some of this process cannot be shut down at any cost as they are related to core operating system processes.

Find which program is consuming lot of memory. Please note, be reasonable. A graphics rendering software or high end game always consume lot of RAM and processing power. There is no point in blaming them for slowing down computer. If you have such programs and want to run them without any glitch, better get a computer powerful enough to run these programs.

Let’s consider a real scenario. My computer was slowing down recently.

Diagnosis: Using task manager, I noticed Firefox browser in my computer was consuming almost 350MB RAM space which is very abnormal. From experience I know that my other browsers IE and chrome used to take less than 200MB, ever more than that. I felt Firefox was consuming too much space than it should have been. Suspecting Firefox, I forcibly shut down the service from task manager. Then played around with my computer for some time to check if the speed is back to normal. Yes, it was. Then I opened Firefox again, worked on it for some time. Sure enough, it slowed down once again.

Solution: After confirming Firefox as the culprit, I uninstalled and re-installed Firefox. After re-installing, Firefox worked perfectly fine. Even with 5-10 window open, it never crossed 200MB of memory space.

Cause : Just the day before this incident, I had installed some updates for Firefox. I assume the updates might have screwed up some settings which created this problem.

This logic can be applied to find any other program which is slowing down your computer. The usual culprits are security softwares, internet browsers, printer related processes etc.At times, you may also notice some unrecognized process running in task manager which can be related to presence of possible malware or other computer infections. Then you will have to work on getting rid of the virus.

Hope you got the logic on how to use task manager to find the culprit for slowing down your computer.

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About the author: Anup Raman A Tech Enthusiast|Blogger|Tech Trainer with 10+ yrs experience in the field of IT. My expertise are in Operating Systems, mainly Windows and Computer security which comes from my experience, working as Tech Support and Trainer for Microsoft, Symantec and McAfee. Loves blogging about Technical Troubleshooting, discussing latest Gadgets, Games and doing Reviews.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Candy Mar 30, 2014, 6:49 am

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