Have you noticed your PC starting to slow down lately? Perhaps it's taking 10 minutes to finish booting up, doesn't run programs like it used to, or it freezes up without warning. It might not even load the Windows OS upon restarting.
If you don't have a virus and a faulty program isn't to blame, then it may be a hardware issue.
If so, the first step in getting your computer's performance back up to speed is running an HDD and RAM diagnostic test. Read on to find out how.
Running an HDD and RAM Diagnostic Scan
Using the built-in Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool is the easiest way to check your C:\ drive and RAM performance. To get there, either search your installed programs through the start menu or select "administrative tools" from the control panel.
Once you've opened the program, it will prompt you to save your work, close any open software, and restart the computer. You can also choose to run the scan the next time you turn on the computer if you prefer.
Once the scan is running, you'll see a basic screen with text that reads "Windows is checking for memory problems... This may take several minutes."
Below that will be a progress bar and a status indicator that will inform you of any detected problems. If you'd like to run a basic or extended scan instead of the standard one, press F1 to see advanced options.
The scan may detect problems that it can repair, but if faulty hardware is to blame, your best bet will be to replace it.
What If I Can't Run Windows?
If your computer won't even load the Windows operating system, you can still run a diagnostic scan through your computer's BIOS (basic input/output system). This is accessible by pressing a specific key while your computer is starting up. The key differs between PC models, but it's most likely the escape key, delete, or another key in the function row.
The BIOS menu will appear with a list of options. Choose "diagnostics" (or a similar title) and run the scan, using an advanced option if available.
If your BIOS doesn't have an effective diagnostic tool, you can use a functional device to download a third-party scanning tool like Memtest86 onto a USB drive. Plug the drive into the affected computer, enter the BIOS, and select "boot from USB".
Doing this will take you to a menu screen with your options for hard drive scans and repairs. Choose the most advanced option available, but be aware that this can take a few hours to complete. If the program allows it, save your scan results to a file on the USB.
What If the PC Scan Doesn't Work?
In some cases, the diagnostic scan and repair won't make a difference in your computer's performance. This means the problem either lies elsewhere or is a more serious hardware issue.
If your PC is still functional, take it to an IT repair shop to get an expert opinion. If you're short on cash and nothing else fixes the problem, you may want to run a Windows system recovery to restore your computer to an earlier save point.
Keeping Your Computer Hard Drive in Good Shape
When your computer starts running slowly or stops loading the operating system, running a RAM diagnostic or HDD diagnostic scan is the best way to approach the problem. In many cases, you'll be able to repair the issues with your computer's built-in software.
If the problem turns out to be more than you can fix, don't worry. Replacing your computer doesn't have to break the bank. Check out our store for a wide selection of top-quality used and refurbished PC models.