We’ve all seen it – our computer starts pausing. It’s infuriating. It’s not really crashed, but it goes in jerky steps. Maybe the screen gets clunky or falls behind in our typing. There are long delays before anything happens.
Usually, this means the machine is overworked. Your computer hardly ever works on just one thing at a time. The program you are using in the foreground is the tip of an iceberg and there are dozens of tasks going on behind the screen. There are always programs running in the background on your computer, using the spare microseconds between your keystrokes to do whatever they do. When you have too many of those background tasks, or when they are taking more than their fair share of processor time, your computer slows down as the computer struggles to keep up with you.
To fight this, try to minimize the numbers of background processes your computer tries to run. On Windows, the Task Manager shows you what’s running and how much of the processor time is being spent on each one. On Macs, the Activity Monitor does the same thing and on Linux it’s usually the System Monitor. Use your computers monitor tool to see what’s slowing you down.
Look for processes other than the one you’re actively using that use large amounts of system resources. Think about whether those processes are essential to what you do. It’s usually unsafe to quit those processes directly, but make a note of them and use the startup manager to turn them off on the next reboot. If you find you’re still productive without that background process, try disabling it permanently or removing it.