Why is my PC so slow?

woman in white long sleeve shirt using silver laptop computer

A reader has a question about a slow PC: 

“Cyn, I have a question for you that nobody seems to be able to give me an answer to!!! My computer is an HP, about 6 or 7 years old, has Windows 10. About 6 months ago, it started taking longer and longer to boot up in the mornings.

One day it took almost 5 hours!!!!! It acts like the on/off switch doesn’t make good contact. Is this possible and if so, what do I do about it short of just buying a new computer???

I have had all the programs check and cleaned, but that doesn’t help it to boot any faster. I’ve started just leaving it on, but I’m afraid I stand a bigger chance of getting hacked! I’ve not had an actual in-person computer repairman look it at yet. What should I do????? Appreciate all your help over the years and especially in this matter.”

I don’t think the issue is the on-off switch. If that wasn’t working it just wouldn’t turn on, not spend forever booting up.

My first thought is you may be experiencing a mechanical issue with your hard drive. It could just be on its way out. This could also be a symptom of overheating. I wonder if the fan hasn’t conked out on your computer. Once your PC is up and running, make sure to back up any of your important files that are stored on it.

Just so you know, leaving your PC on doesn’t increase your chance of getting hacked. If you’re worried someone might log in, just switch off the WiFi. Click the little network icon and switch it off until you need to log on again.

Just in case the issue isn’t a mechanical one, consider resetting Windows 10. It’s pretty easy to do and can clear up a lot of errors that are software-related.

First, type Recovery Options in the search box and click on the result.

Your first option is to reset the PC. Click Get started to begin that process.


You can choose from two options. Keep my files removes apps and settings but keeps your personal files like documents, pictures, and videos. Any apps that are not part of Windows 10 will need to be reinstalled from either disc or download. You’ll also need any product keys required to activate the programs. You also need to know your Microsoft username and password as well as the password for your home WiFi network.

Remove everything is the equivalent of a factory reset. It removes all of your files along with the apps and settings. This could be necessary if your PC is ins really bad shape. It’s also a good idea if you’re passing the PC along to someone else or if you have a new PC. This can get rid of any bloatware that might have been added to the PC. Make sure you have copies of any files that you intend to keep.

If you choose to keep your personal files, you’ll be shown a list of apps that will need to be reinstalled from sources other than the Windows Store. Click Next to proceed.


It will take a moment or two to get ready. Click Reset when you’re ready to begin.


It will take some time for Windows to reinstall.

Having a professional look at your PC might yield some answers, but I will say that, these days, six or seven years is a pretty long life for a computer, and it may be time to think about a new model.

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