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How to fix Dell Inspiron Slow Performance issue [troubleshooting guide]

Does your #DellInspiron PC become slow lately? Are you looking for answers how to fix your Dell computer that keeps on lagging most of the time? We may be able to help you with these questions. Our post for today tackles slow performance issue in a Dell PC. We hope you’ll find it helpful.

Before we proceed to the main topic though, we would like to remind you that we accept requests for assistance regarding their Windows computers. If you have a problem that you can’t seem to find a solution to, send us your issue by following the link at the bottom of this page. Just remember, windows problems can sometimes be difficult to diagnose so kindly make sure that you give us very detailed description of the problem. You want to mention relevant history that may have led to the issue. The more information that you can provide, the higher the chance of us diagnosing the issue more efficiently. We also expect that you mention whatever troubleshooting step/s that you may have done before contacting us in order to prevent repeating them in our article. Again, the more details you can give us, the faster it is for us to pinpoint the cause and its corresponding solution.

Slow performance issue can be caused by a wide variety of factors that includes any of the following:

  • outdated drivers
  • software glitch
  • outdated Windows files
  • corrupted operating system files
  • hard drive errors,
  • insufficient RAM
  • other unknown malware malfunction

To troubleshoot slow performance issue or lag in your Dell Inspiron machine, be sure to follow the sequence below:

Let Windows check what’s causing slow performance

Beginning with Windows 7 and up, a user can now conveniently run a diagnostics to find potential problems that might be making your Dell PC to run slow. This Windows performance troubleshooter checks for currently logged in users or multiple programs running at the same time. To do it, follow these steps:

  1. Close all programs and open windows.
  2. Press the Windows key + X key on the keyboard.
  3. Click Control Panel.
  4. Click System and Security.
  5. Under Security and Maintenance, select Troubleshoot common problems.
  6. In Windows 8 or 8.1, you may find this under Action Center.
  7. Under System and Security, click Run maintenance tasks.
  8. Follow the on-screen instructions and prompts to complete the process.
  9. Restart the PC.

Close startup programs

Most applications are designed to run automatically everytime you reboot your computer. If you have too many of these startup programs running at the same time, they may use up precious resources even if you are not actively using them. Preventing them from running at startup is the best thing to do.

To turn off startup programs, follow these steps:

  1. Close all open windows.
  2. Press CTRL + Shift + ESC key together on the keyboard.
  3. In the Task Manager window, click Startup tab.
  4. Select the program or application that you want to disable from loading during startup.
  5. Right-click and select Disable.
  6. Repeat Step 4 & 5 for all the programs or applications that you want to disable from loading during startup.
  7. Restart your PC.

Install updates for your Dell Inspiron BIOS

Basic Input/Output System, commonly called BIOS, needs updates from time to time. BIOS is a set of codes or firmware that’s independent of the operating system. It’s integrated to the motherboard and can run regardless of your computer’s operating system. Hardware makers like Dell regularly release updates for their products so make sure to check if your computer’s BIOS has an available update.

If you haven’t tried updating BIOS before, learn how to by visiting the link below:

Install updates for your Dell Inspiron device drivers

Every hardware device in your Dell Inspiron computer has its own set of software to help it run called firmware or driver. A driver is an important piece of software to allow Windows to communicate with a hardware device like the video card, sound card, network chip, among others. In General, Microsoft provides drivers to most devices to minimize incompatibility issues but device-specific drivers can also be provided by the hardware manufacturer themselves. Such types of drivers can only be downloaded from a manufacturer’s website. Remember, without the right drivers, your computer may not work properly so, just like BIOS, device drivers can be updated to fix known bugs and further improve performance of devices.

To learn how to download and install Dell drivers, follow this link.

Ensure your Dell Inspiron PC gets proper ventilation

Like a living being, your computer needs to “breath” in order to work properly. There’s a reason why PCs, whether a laptop or desktop, have built in vents in them. The processor, RAM, and other components can produce heat while in operation so engineers have to ensure that air flow is available to help dissipate heat in the board. Blocking the vents can lead to overheating, which can, in turn, result to slow performance and random shut downs. Processors are designed to significantly slow down when excessive heat builds up to prevent hardware damage.

Dust can clog air vents overtime so make sure to use your computer in a dust free environment. If you noticed that the fan appears to work constantly, that can be an indication that your computer’s air vents are blocked.

Cleaning air vents of Dell PCs depend on the model. However, below are the general rules to follow when cleaning your Dell computer of dust or lint:

  1. Always shut down the PC. Make sure to unplug the power cable.
  2. Use a can of compressed air to remove dust or debris from the vents.

DO NOT:

  • blow dust using your mouth. You may accidentally spread moisture by doing it. Moisture can damage parts permanently.
  • use vacuum cleaners and blowers to prevent static electricity from building up. Too much static can cause irreparable damage to electronics or electrical components.

Ensure your primary hard drive has enough available storage space

Your hard drive must has at least 20% of free space at all times to minimize slow performance. Although the main function of a hard drive is to keep your files and programs, Windows can also use it for other purposes. For example, Windows may tap your hard drive’s available space to keep temporary files (caching) and to hold current processes from RAM (virtual memory). If you always keep your hard drive almost to overflowing, caching and virtual memory may not be handled properly, significantly slowing the entire system. If you have a 500GB hard drive, be sure to keep at least 100GB free.

In order to free up space in your hard drive, you can try these three procedures:

  • uninstall unnecessary programs
  • minimize rubbish files by running Disk Cleanup

Remove applications you don’t need

Installed applications can sometimes take a big chunk of your Dell Inspiron’s hard drive space. If you tend to install programs then forget about them, now is the best time for a change. Start by uninstalling games you don’t play anymore. Depending on your list of apps, you should only leave applications that you regularly use.

To uninstall an app, follow these steps:

  1. Press the Windows logo key + R on the keyboard.
  2. In the Run dialog box, type appwiz.cpl and press the Enter key.
  3. In the list, select a program and click Uninstall.

Use Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup is a convenient utility tool to easily purge unnecessary temporary files from the system. To run Disk Cleanup, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start button. In the search box, type Disk Cleanup, and in the list of results, select Disk Cleanup.
  2. If prompted, select the drive that you want to clean up and click OK.
  3. This is usually C: drive.
  4. Once the scan is complete, select the check boxes for the file types that you want to delete and click OK.
  5. Click Delete Files in the confirmation window.

Run SupportAssist to improve performance of your Dell Inspiron PC

Your Dell PC has a pre-installed application called SupportAssist that can help you check the integrity of your system files and to know if there are some modification in file directory and settings. This application can optimize your computer to make it run faster by by cleaning temporary files, tuning system performance and optimizing network.

Use SupportAssist to clean files

Windows can produce a lot of trash over time. To clean them up, you can use SupportAssist application. Here’s how:

  1. Find SupportAssist and open it.
  2. Click the Optimize My System tile.
  3. On the Home tab, under Clean Files, click Run Now.

After the optimization is complete, a ‘Check’ icon and the last optimized date are displayed on the tile.

Use SupportAssist to tune the system

Tuning your Dell Inspiron’s performance is achieved by adjusting power settings, memory allocation, and registry. To do it, follow these steps:

  1. Find SupportAssist and open it.
  2. Click the Optimize My System tile.
  3. On the Home tab, under Tune Performance, click Run Now.

After the optimization is complete, a ‘Check’ icon and the last optimized date are displayed on the tile.

Use SupportAssist to Optimize network

Clogged network connectivity can cause slow performance problems as well so it’s important to optimize your network as well. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Find SupportAssist and open it.
  2. Click the Optimize My System tile.
  3. On the Home tab, under Optimize Network, click Run Now.

After the optimization is complete, a ‘Check’ icon and the last optimized date are displayed on the tile.

Modify Windows performance settings

Microsoft Windows operating system supports visual features and animations that may impact a PC’s performance a bit. To ensure that your computer’s resources are all allocated to giving you the best performance as possible, you disable Windows animations and features you don’t need. If you are not very particular with how Windows experience changes afterwards, you can  favor performance over the default Windows settings that allow animations and visual effects. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Press the Windows key + R on the keyboard.
  2. In the Run dialog box, type sysdm.cpl and press the Enter key.
  3. Go to the Advanced tab
  4. Click Settings under Performance section.
  5. On the Visual Effects tab, select Adjust for best performance.

Increase Page File (virtual memory) size

Page file, also known as virtual memory or swap file, is an extension of your computer’s random access memory (RAM). Virtual memory is useful when your PC regularly needs more RAM to handle more applications running at the same time. Virtual memory runs the moment RAM becomes low. When this happens, the data stored in RAM is transferred to the hard drive’s virtual memory, providing more RAM-intensive functions.

Ordinarily, Windows automatically manages paging file but you can manually change it if your need more. Just make sure not to go beyond three times the size of your RAM. For example, if your Dell PC has a 4GB RAM, the maximum size of your virtual memory should not go beyond three times the RAM capacity. In our example, 4GB equals 4092 megabytes (MB). So, three time the amount of RAM should be 12,288 megabytes (MB).

In order to change your computer’s virtual memory, follow these steps:

  1. Press the Windows key + R on the keyboard.
  2. In the Run dialog box, type sysdm.cpl and press the Enter key.
  3. Go to the Advanced tab.
  4. Click Settings under Performance section.
  5. On the Advanced tab, under Virtual memory section, click Change.
  6. Uncheck Automatically manage paging file size for all drives option.
  7. Select the drive that contains the paging file you want to change.
  8. Click Custom size, type the new size in megabytes in the Initial size (MB) and Maximum size (MB) box.
  9. Click Set and click OK.

Set the Initial size (MB) to the total capacity of your RAM.

Check for malware or virus infection

One common reason why computers tend to lag terribly nowadays can be due to presence of virus or malware. Some forms of malware affect performance because they tend to run stealthily in the background. Some of these malware use significant amount of resources  to keep track of your browsing habits or to force advertisements to pop up.

To ensure that your PC is clean, be sure to do the following:

  • install updates for Windows, applications, and security software
  • run regular full system scans
  • avoid installing pirated or cracked software

If you don’t have an antivirus software installed, you can make sure of Microsoft’s Windows Defender which can provide basic malware protection. Alternatively, you can use the free antivirus software in your Dell computer. Some antivirus software requires a subscription to work although there are a bunch of them that you can install for free like Trend Micro, Norton, McAfee, among others.

Remember, having multiple antivirus software in your system can do more harm than good. Be sure to remove one if you plan on using another. For example, if you still have the basic McAfee software but you want to switch to, say, Norton, be sure to uninstall the former first.

Scan Windows for corrupted files

Sometimes, Windows files can get corrupted after an update or after using some programs. If you noticed your Dell PC having slow performance issue and the steps above haven’t helped at all, there may be an operating system-level issue causing it. Such issue can be due to a corrupted operating system file/s. To run a quick check, follow these steps:

  1. Restart your Dell Inspiron PC.
  2. Click Windows Start button.
  3. Search for CMD or Command Prompt.
  4. Right-click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.
  5. Click Yes in the User Account Control window.
  6. In Command Prompt, type sfc /scannow (there must be a space between sfc and /) and press Enter key on the keyboard.
  7. This will take several minutes to complete.
  8. Once the scan is complete, restart your PC.

If System File Checker (SFC) discovered corrupt files, it will try to replace them. Make sure that you restart your PC afterwards. However, if System File Checker (SFC) did not find any corrupted files, you can then try to run the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tool. DISM runs a thorough check of your system files first, then downloads replacement files for those discovered corrupt files via Windows Update. Here’s how:

  1. Restart your Dell Inspiron PC.
  2. Click Windows Start button.
  3. Search for CMD or Command Prompt.
  4. Right-click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.
  5. Click Yes in the User Account Control window.
  6. In Command Prompt, type dism.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth (there must be a space between each / in the command line) and press Enter key on the keyboard.
  7. This will take several minutes to complete.
  8. Once the scan is complete, restart your PC.

Restart your computer often

If you tend to let your Dell Inspiron PC to run all the time, rebooting it may help fix slow performance issues. A simple restart clears up RAM and eliminates developing bugs. The longer your PC runs (and we’re talking or days or weeks NOT hours), the more likely it will run out of RAM. Be sure to restart it at least once a week.

Reinstall Windows operating system

If your Dell Inspiron PC continues to lag terribly at this point, you should consider doing the more drastic option of doing a clean Windows install.  

Add more RAM

If your Dell PC continues to lag or show slow performance problem after reinstalling Windows, it’s possible that it’s RAM may not be enough. Consider upgrading its RAM to see if that will make a difference. Removing the RAM chip/s require a certain procedure so be sure to consult Dell before doing it. Also, be sure to verify the type of memory that can be installed as well as the maximum amount of RAM your computer model can support. You can either consult the manual or contact Dell for it.

Some Dell laptops have permanent RAM chips integrated with the motherboard so you can’t replace their RAM chips. If you have a laptop, talk to Dell first.

 


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If you are having a problem with your Windows computer, don’t hesitate to let us know about it. We understand how frustrating computer problems can be so, more so if you can’t find the right solutions at all. Our blog exists to help PC users and Windows community deal with their problems effectively. To engage with us, just fill out the questionnaire in this link and wait for our articles to be published. In order to help as many people as possible, we only provide our solutions via posts so please don’t expect that we will respond to your emails or private messages. By making all posts public, we can share our solutions to other users in a more efficient manner. We cannot guarantee a quick response so if your issue is time sensitive, please find another way to resolve your problem.

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