Fix Computer lag successfully! - Step by Step Guide
- 2014.07.26 10:41
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Most of us know how annoying it can be if your Computer loses performance, starts to lag or even worse gets spike lags! Flickering screen, stuttering sound, commands delaying in games or programs, Windows takes ages to start, opening programs are delayed or files are not getting saved, to name a few issues that can come up when your Computer starts to lag.
Here is our step by step guide to diagnose, analyze and fix Computer lag yourself!
How to fix computer lag?
Wouldn't it be the best bet to bring it to a professional Computer Service, sign up for online remote Computer Service or even better buy a new fast and expensive Computer and all your problems will be gone?
Maybe it will help to get a new Nvidia Gforce, AMD Radeon, EVGA or MSI graphics card? Or should you get a new super fast Intel or AMD processor or just more DDR 300 or DDR 400 RAM? Maybe a new Asus, Gigabit or MSI Motherboard or a bigger and faster Hard disk from Western Digital, Toshiba, Seagate, IBM or HP?
Before going that far and spend your hard earned money, there are a few steps you can undertake to track down and fix your Computer lag yourself.
Well, you will need to acquire a couple of tools to help you out, some are free some might be paid. If your are lucky, the lag is not caused by a broken or not powerful enough Hardware, so there will be no need to spend money for it.
But do not forget, you will need to spent your time!
Depending on how long it will actually take you to find the causes of your Computer lag and time spend to actually fix it, it can take something between 1 hour and 1 - 2 days!
This step by step guide is made for common Computer users with little till basic understanding of computing.
What is Computer lag?
Computer lag can manifest itself in many different ways! Some of the most common ways are:
|Graphics flickering, stuttering, frame rates (FPS) drops|
|Courser moves not in real time or is stuttering|
|Programs opening slow|
|Saving documents or converting files takes ages|
|Windows opening very slow|
|Programs determinate themselves|
|Operating System takes ages to load or shut down|
|Stuttering, flickering and delay in games or applications|
|Decreased download/upload speed of your Internet connection|
|Printers or other peripherals connected to your Computer refusing to function properly|
|File writing errors popping up|
|Windows error messages appearing on your screen|
In short, everything is becoming slow and slow and slower. It must be also said that there are many situations where the Computer doesn't lag permanently. In that cases, it is more like: Everything works fine and SUDDENLY all becomes slow and after some time again all is working fine. This phenomenon is mainly called - Computer Lag Spikes- .
What can cause Computer lag?
In general, Computer lag can be caused from Hardware or Software. In terms of Hardware almost everything inside or connected to a Computer that is broken, malfunctioning, wrongly configured or has temperature problems can cause lag. Also Hardware that is not powerful enough to meet certain requirements for installed Software or games can cause lag. B.) Software
Software causing Computer lag includes malfunctioning, wrongly configured or not updated Operating System, drivers (also Hardware related), Virus or malware infections, installed programs or games and so on and so on, the list is more than less endless!
Top 13 Computer lag causes
(Chart 01: Computer lag causes)
|Operating System: A not periodically maintained or not properly configured and updated Operating System, mainly overloaded with 1000´s of programs and tools installed is on the top of the list of Computer lag causes!|
|CPU: A old, not fast enough or overheated CPU can cause high CPU usage that will result in lag or even lag spikes.|
|RAM: Corrupted or not sufficient RAM are performance killers! If RAMs getting broken or corrupted the System Memory cannot handle processes and services as needed and this results in Computer lag.|
|Graphics cards: Issues with graphics cards like they are to old, malfunctioning, not updated, wrong updated, overheated, ...)|
|Software: Simple tools, productive software, security software, games and so on that are not properly installed, wrongly configured, not updated, malfunctioning, bad coded or not compatible to work with other Software installed on your Computer can be responsible for lag as well. Not to forget installed Software where your Computer doesn't meet the system requirements can cause big problems! Sometimes it is just the mixture of all kind of Software installed on your Computer or too much programs starting up with your Operating System or running in background, also here, the list is endless!|
|Drivers: Outdated or sometimes even new drivers can cause Hardware or Software issues. Most of the time such issues result in Computer lag.|
|Internet connection: As the Internet becomes more and more essential to Hardware and Software, weak signals unstable lines, low up and download speed, gateway or disconnection issues can cause a Computer to lag. This mainly happens when your Operating System is trying to update or send data to data centers, Installed Software are downloading or uploading data in the background. Not to forget that in today's times a lot of productive or entertainment Software or games offer now cloud usage. If such a cloud based software running on your Computer starts to lag lag because of bandwidth limitations or other Internet lag issues, of course your Computer lags as well.|
|Infections: There are tons of harmful tools, applications, programs, viruses, worms, malware spyware out there. Once infected many of this harmful programs can cause lag!|
|HDD: Hard Disks with consistence issues are mainly the problem, besides Hard Disks that are not balanced to the overall Computer setup. That means, if a Hard Disk has a too slow processing speed a fast CPU or lots of RAM doesn't necessary result in a fast over all computer performance. Hard Disks becoming slower over time as special if there are tons of junk files or other data on it. Another problem is a temperature issue of the Hard Disk, that causes Computer lag in many cases.|
|Power Supply: A not sufficient strong or malfunctioning power supply is in many many cases the reason for Computer lag. Beginning with there is not enough power supplied for the CPU till too much power loss to supply the graphics card with the needed electricity to perform as supposed.|
|Motherboard: Malfunctioning or corrupted PCI, PCI Express, RAM and CPU Slots. Temperature issues caused by not proper functioning coolers or broken electrical parts, broken IDE or SATA cable, not properly plugged in cables, wires, cards, RAM´s, CPU. There are tons of places on a motherboard that can get broken, corrupted or malfunctioning.|
|Other Peripherals: In general all external or internal peripherals such as printers, cards, USB devices, routers, modems, cams, microphones, mouses or joysticks that are malfunctioning, not updated or wrongly installed can cause Computer lag.|
|Audio Cards: Problems with audio cards are mainly resulting in audio lag, but can also due malfunctioning cause Computer lag.|
What you can do to get rid of Computer lag!
Check the Warranty of your Computer and connected peripherals
Check your Computers or peripherals warranties! If you are lucky, you just need to bring your Computer to the next service partner of your Computer manufacture or vendor to solve your lag issues.
(Be aware that in most of the cases the warranty doesn't include issues caused by your Operating System or misconfiguration done by your end! Also watch out that the warranty seal is not damaged or broken!)
If no Warranty applies
Open your Computer and ensure that all cables, wires, cards, fan, CPU socket and RAM are properly plugged in. Look for any burned or oxidized places on your motherboard. Also test if there are any places on your motherboard that are getting very hot, just hold your hand slightly over, dont touch the motherboard or the parts itself.
Warning: do not touch any part of your Motherboard with bear hands. Allays turn off the power supply before opening your Computer!
Control all wires and cables that are connected form the outside to your Computer. Printer cable, mouse cable, keyboard cable, external HDD´s, USB devices and so on...
Make a System & private files backup and load a Windows restore point
If you remember when your Computer was last time without lag issues try to check if there is a System restore point available. If so try to restore your system and see if the problem is gone!
How to load a System Restore point Windows 7: https://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/products/features/system-restore
How to load a System Restore point Windows 8: https://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/restore-refresh-reset-pc
Record your Computers Performance & Optimize your System and Internet connection
Download Latency Optimizer and before actually try to optimize your Computer run the Performance Recorder via the Control Panel. Start the recorder and work or play a game as usual. Record around 30 min. or 1 hour. Stop the recording and save the log file. Take a look on it. The log file will provide data about your Computers CPU, Physical & Virtual Memory, services & Processes and up/download speed. If you find any values that seems too high, you got a hint where to proceed to fix your Computer lag. After you got the log file you can start to optimize your system.
Control the Temperature & Voltage of your Hardware
Temperature issues or voltage problems are very common to cause Computer lag. You will need to download and install a monitor to control your Computers temperature and voltage usage. Please not that you will need to read throughout your motherboards, CPU and hard disk manual in order to know what temperature and voltage are Ok or not for your specific Hardware.
If you notice too high temperature or to high or low voltages you will need to take a deeper look into the Hardware with the issue. You can always visit the support Website of the manufacture to seek out help in case of temperature or voltage issues.
Download Temperature and Voltage Monitor
Make a CPU Stress Test to see if your Processor is working as supposed
In order to ensure that our CPU is running on full power, you will need to make a CPU stress test (available for free for Intel CPUs) and ore monitor your AMD CPU via the System Monitor from AMD.
Intel® Processor Diagnostic Tool (64-bit): https://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?DwnldID=19792#help (free version)
Intel® Atom™ Processor
Intel® Celeron® Desktop Processor
Intel® Core™ Duo Processor
Intel® Core™ i3 Desktop Processor
Intel® Core™ i3 Mobile Processor
Intel® Core™ i5 Desktop Processor
Intel® Core™ i5 Mobile Processor
Intel® Core™ i7 Desktop Processor
Intel® Core™ i7 Mobile Processor
Intel® Core™ i7 Mobile Processor Extreme Edition
Intel® Core™ i7 Processor Extreme Edition
Intel® Core™ Solo Processor
Intel® Core™2 Duo Desktop Processor
Intel® Core™2 Duo Mobile Processor
Intel® Core™2 Extreme Mobile Processor
Intel® Core™2 Extreme Processor
Intel® Core™2 Quad Mobile Processor
Intel® Core™2 Quad Processor
Intel® Core™2 Solo Processor
Intel® Pentium® 4 Processors
Intel® Pentium® D Processor
Intel® Pentium® M Processor
Intel® Pentium® Processor for Desktop
Intel® Pentium® Processor for Mobile
Intel® Xeon® Processor Mobile
Intel® Celeron® Processors
AMD System Monitor:
This utility was designed to work with AMD's new APUs, but will also work with AMD Phenom™ and AMD Athlon™ class processors, as well as AMD class graphics (both discrete and IGP) in combination with a Microsoft Windows® 7 32-bit / 64-bit Edition based system.
Test your Computers RAM
RAM problems can decrase your computer performance, let your computer restart randomly, showing a blue screen or let files be randomly corrupted. Also some programs might fail to install for unknown reason or determinating themslef after some running time.
RAM issues are a very comon reason for Computer lag.
Test your RAM via Memtest: https://www.memtest86.com/download.htm
(free & paid version)
Download Motherboard diagnostic and utility Software
Asus Motherboards Diagnostic: https://support.asus.com/Diagnosis/SelfDiagnostic.aspx?SLanguage=en
!!For advanced users only. Updating your BIOS can solve lag issues as well. Please visit the Website of your motherboard manufacture for updating instructions!
Test your Hard Disk
Take a look on all the drivers installed on your Computer
The common understanding is, that you need to update drivers when ever you can. Well that might be true till some degree, but unfortunately forums, blogs and other community boards are full of complains when users did update to new drivers. It is wise to wait some time before installing a new driver. At least that long, till issues that can happen by every new release are solved or even better no reports about issues can be found at all.
!!!Ensure that there are no driver conflicts on your Computer!!!
Maintain your Operating System to avoid Computer lag
Use a Firewall, anti virus-scanner and malware scanner
I isn't uncommon that infections can cause Computer lag or Computer lag spikes. In order to avoid such issues use a Firewall, anti virus-scanner and malware scanner on your system and run tests regularly, best daily!
If nothing helps to solve your Computer lag …..
The short version
Try to run Windows in safe mode and see if the lag remains. If your Computer still lags you might want to unplug your external devices, followed by taking out your networking card, graphic cards, and so on... just unplug all that is not necessary to run your Computer! The restart your Computer again. If the lag persists you might wan to reinstall your Operating System this time. If the Computer lag is still there, you will need professional help!
The long version explained in detail
Troubleshooting Hardware Problems: