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Windows 7: Does more programs slow a pc down?

30 Jan 2010   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Does more programs slow a pc down?

So I bought this new pc last year. Before I had a Dell 8400 P4 3.2ghz processor, 2gb ram. I thought I would treat myself to a new multi core pc and bought an i7 pc with 6gb of ram. All was going well until the other half decides that my pc is so fast she would like to install some of the software that she uses. So then came Microsoft Office Enterprise 2007 and the Adobe CS4 Master Suite. Now admittedly the idea would have been to only install the programs off of the suites that i actually need. But I got the "I will use that program" in my ear so the whole lot went on.

We both have different interests and just recently installed itunes on the pc for my ipod and I do a little video conversion from time to time and was thinking of popping some converter software onto the pc for video conversion for this along with all the other software i have for example, Acronis True Image 2010, ConvertXtoDVD, Revo Uninstaller. So there is quite a lot on there.

I know a few years ago the more I put on a pc the more it would slow it down. Is this still the case with new pcs? If i am not using a program all the time will it not just sit there not doing anything? I would really like to add to some bits and bobs to what I have so if someone who knows about this can explain it to me I would be grateful. Thanks.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Jan 2010   #2

Windows 8.1 Pro RTM x64

Hi pageyboy,

Simply having more programs installed will not slow a computer down. What does slow a system down is if you have a large number of programs running concurrently, particularly if one or more is/are processor-intensive. Of course, as programs are used, data is read, written, and erased all the time. It is this data manipulation that causes much of the slowdown as it leads to disk fragmentation.

My recommendation is that you set aside an hour or two on a weekly basis and perform regular maintenance. This involves clearing cookies, deleting IE history, performing a disk cleanup. When you have done that, manually run a defrag.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Jan 2010   #3

Operating System Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate Build 7600

Hi pageyboy.

Programs on your computer are nothing more than bits of data, 1s and 0s. When they are sitting on your computer they do not affect how fast you browse the web, or play a game, or watch a movie, or how fast your computer starts up.

You can think of your hard drive as a filing cabinet just storing your programs and files for use at a later time. When you need to use a program or pull up a file your computer knows the precise location of the program/file and retrieves the file or loads the programe extremely quickly.

Simply adding more programs to the hard drive doesn’t make your computer run slower.

Obviously should you run many programs at once this could have an effect on the response time and overall speed at which your PC runs, depending on the amount of Ram dedicated to each specific program as well as the CPU utilization of such program.

There are obviously a finite amount of programs that can be run at any one time without you experiencing a "slow down" however, I doubt that most if any users would, with a decent PC, have enough programs open to seriously affect the PC's operation.

Hope this helps.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

30 Jan 2010   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Thank you both for the responses. I understand where you were coming from and it made a lot of sense. At the very most I could be running 2-3 programs at once (listening to windows media player, converting a file to dvd, burning a disk) but mostly 2. I don't experience any slow down on this new pc at all. With your answers that just confirms this. Especially with all the software i have on the pc now.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Feb 2010   #5


Here are the possible reasons that could slow your computer:

1. Processor overheating --
Modern processors generate a lot of heat. That's why all processors require some sort of cooling element, typically a fan of some type. When the processor temperature goes over spec, the system can slow down or run erratically. The processor fan may fail for several reasons:

* Dust is preventing the fan from spinning smoothly.
* The fan motor has failed.
* The fan bearings are loose and "jiggling".

2. Failing hard disk --
There are many signs of imminent failure before a hard disk finally gives up. Some of these signs include:

* Slow access times on the affected drive.
* An increasing number of bad sectors when running scandisk and chkdsk.
* Unexplained Blue Screens.
* Intermittent boot failures.

3. Your computers are full of
web sites junk, old files, unwanted program and useless registry keys and so on.

4. Bad RAM --
Several situations can lead to a bad RAM relationship with a particular machine:

* RAM timing is slower than optimal machine spec.
* RAM has minor flaws that only appear on detailed testing.
* RAM is overheating.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Feb 2010   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

If you fill up the hard drive with programs and end up with very little free drive space, then the machine will start to slow down.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Feb 2010   #7

W10 Pro desktop, W10 laptop, W10 laptop, W10 Pro tablet (all 64-bit)

As others have said just installing programs on your computer won't affect it's performance. However, many times the programs install "helper" apps that start when you boot Windows and run all the time. These apps are supposed to make the parent app startup quicker, or be on the alert for updates. In most cases you can configure things so that the "helper" apps don't run at startup so they won't be consuming resources unnecessarily. You can also prevent these "helper" apps from running by going to Start->Run then type in "msconfig" (no quotes). Msconfig allows you to manage what programs are run at startup.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Feb 2010   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Thanks for the responses. I do some general housekeeping on a week to week basis that Dwarf is speaking about anyway. As far as what strollin is talking about I have a look in msconfig from time to time just to see what programs I have installed have decided to put there processes there and I disable them.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Feb 2010   #9

Linux CENTOS 7 / various Windows OS'es and servers

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Zepher View Post
If you fill up the hard drive with programs and end up with very little free drive space, then the machine will start to slow down.
Hi there
Even this isn't always true so long as the Paging file(s) is / are OK and programs that need disk "Work and Swap" space such as Photoshop have enough.

Data retrieval *might* suffer but a lot of this is already in the paging areas by "Pre-Fetch" algorithms.

However it isn't good practice to have a disk nearly full -- even from the point of view of failure -- then you've lost a lot of data.

HDD's are CHEAP these days -- a decent 1.5TB can cost as little as 70 GBB / EUR.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Feb 2010   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

The other hit that computers take from installing software is that with quite a number of free utilities out there, they also come bundled with other things that you might not be aware of. Some things seem simple, like browser tools bars and such. However, as more and more of these small little extra things get loaded, they launch automatically and integrate themselves with other applications so now each time you launch something like not only get IE..but all of it's associated tool bars and such.

I pay very close attention to the installs that I perform on my machine. I often do them custom and turn off anything extra that I don't need. Some free apps, don't give you a choice to NOT INSTALL the additional component...but they do put an entry in the Add/Remove programs list where you can remove the component. I believe this happens with Fox It Reader for PDF's...which installs a toolbar...which I then promptly uninstall.

Another reason to that computers slow down can be from improper or incomplete installs. And I believe that often times utilities and such which are designed to improve the performance of your machine can be the result of some of these broken items. Then, your computer might try to access something and it may try searching for 20 seconds before it quits and just gives up. These things cost you in time and performance.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Does more programs slow a pc down?

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