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Sluggish Computer

Applies mostly to Windows 98 and earlier

Suddenly your computer is behaving really badly. You're running out of resources, programs are crashing, something's definitely wrong. Maybe you just installed a new program. Maybe you're not sure what happened.

You've done a thorough scan for viruses and all other forms of malware and been given a clean bill of health. So what's up?

If that isn't so; if you suspect that you may have something unwelcome aboard, here are excellent instructions for Cleaning up your computer.

Any computer will get sluggish without regular maintenance. I'm assuming that you've been regularly running ScanDisc and DeFrag (or have an operating system that rarely, if ever, needs them) and know that that isn't the problem.


Sometimes it's a weird glitch that will go away, so try a restart. Start > Shut Down > Restart > OK.

Go back to whatever you were doing when the problem first showed itself.

A reboot doesn't always do the trick though, so if it doesn't, shut down completely, wait a minute and turn your computer back on.

Again, go back to what you were doing and see if the problem reoccurs.

If the problem is still there, get very serious.

Clean Up

If you think a new program caused the trouble, go to Add/Remove programs and uninstall the program.

Virus check your whole computer.

Run Malwarebytes.

(This applies only to operating systems previous to XP.)

Restore the Registry

From Windows boot into Dos Mode

  1. Click the Start button
  2. Click Shut Down
  3. Choose Restart in MS DOS mode and click OK.

When you see C:>windows in white writing on a black screen:

  1. Type scanreg /restore and press enter.(That's scanreg space slash restore)
  2. Choose a date before the problem began.
  3. Press enter.


If a program that you suspected of causing trouble is one that you particularly want, you could try installing it again, but first wait a couple of days to make sure that everything is definitely as it should be. That way, if things get bad a second time, you can be certain what caused it.

PS. Sometimes there's one tiny part of one program that's always wonky. For instance, on one machine that was otherwise beautifully behaved, Paint crashed every time I chose View Bitmap. After I'd uninstalled and reinstalled Paint it still happened. I just decided not to use View Bitmap. Everything else was fine, I knew my machine was clean and maintained properly, and that particular problem wasn't worth losing sleep over.

Questions or comments? I’d love to hear from you. My email address is here.

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