Do computers slow down with age?

WinstonSmith

Member
91 14
After a clean re-install of Windows XP on to a 5 year old computer, it felt to me that it was still running slower than it did when the computer was new. This is a subjective opinion though and I could be wrong.

Is there any evidence that computer hardware actually slows down with use?
 

SteamRoller

Member
62 11
I was thinking about this same thing recently.

Something I thought, as time goes on, obviously computers get faster and have more memory. Perhaps the individual computer itself isn't slower, it is just that the newer programmes / webpages are more memory / processor intensive, to reflect the abilitites of newer machines. This in turn means older machines run slower because the software / webpages etc are more demanding than they were when the old computer was new?

This is pure speculation, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were the case.
 

GloballyRelaxed

Junior member
44 4
After a period of time they do appear to slow down, this is usually down to the amount of clutter that is left on the PC after everything you have looked at/ran/stored/deleted etc etc etc.

Thing is there is only so much you can 'clean up' on the surface which makes a tiny difference, the real issue is all the rubbish you cant readily see which is stuffed in the registry.

There are a few 'deep cleaners' out there you can use, personally I use Malwarebytes which is a blinder of a freeware tool, eventually I purchased the full product, but its up to you.

Once this was ran it did seem to make a difference to the speed, but that might have been me also.
 

Trader333

Moderator
8,492 881
Computers are no different to any other machine in that they need to be well maintained. If they are then there is no reason why one would slow down. Maintenance is more involved than many people realise though and that is probably the key issue in my view.


Paul
 

Masquerade

Senior member
2,543 283
Spray some WD-40 in it and it'll be good as new.
 

NetTecture

Well-known member
403 12
After a clean re-install of Windows XP on to a 5 year old computer, it felt to me that it was still running slower than it did when the computer was new. This is a subjective opinion though and I could be wrong.

Is there any evidence that computer hardware actually slows down with use?
Totally subjective illusion. Note that you can not really compare that - you will NOT reliably remember how fast it was 5 years ago. ESPECIALLY as you probably got it as an upgrade so it feld "very fast" compared to the one before..... while now you compare it to what you see from other computers.

Computers per se do NOT get slower over time. At one point they break, until then they have roughly the same performance (exception: hard discs, but this is a very small thing when it starts to break and remaps sectors). CPU, Memory, Graphics Adapters all do NOT get slower while they age.
 

Ingot54

Well-known member
403 62
After a period of time they do appear to slow down, this is usually down to the amount of clutter that is left on the PC after everything you have looked at/ran/stored/deleted etc etc etc.

Thing is there is only so much you can 'clean up' on the surface which makes a tiny difference, the real issue is all the rubbish you cant readily see which is stuffed in the registry.

There are a few 'deep cleaners' out there you can use, personally I use Malwarebytes which is a blinder of a freeware tool, eventually I purchased the full product, but its up to you.

Once this was ran it did seem to make a difference to the speed, but that might have been me also.
Totally agree with you, GR.

The Registry can be a major source of speed loss. Every time you download something, entries are made in the computer registry.

When you delete software or programmes, fragments remain in the Registry undeleted. When your computer goes searching for information, it has to query every fragment in the registry, and if fragments are unattached to legitimate programmes, there is a pause as the search has to decide whether to disregard this piece of data or what else to do with it.

Hundreds of these left-over fragments simply bog your computer speed down in an unnecessary way.

I was unaware of Malwarebytes.

I use one called CCleaner - another free download from fileHippo.

It is a great utility and I wouldn't be without it now.

There are any number of other things choking back your speed - I would suggest going along and having a chat to a few specialists in the computer repair business.
Their advice would be useful.
 

john_almighty

Junior member
18 2
use ccleaner .. awesome freebie .. my laptops all were running considerably slower and I knew the problem lied in the registry .. it is tough to get a good reg cleaner but ccleaner is the best out there and a freebie .. definitely recommended
 

donaldduke

Experienced member
1,665 252
Software gets slower. Newer versions of software are designed to run on higher spec systems than versions written 5 years ago. Includes stuff you download off the internet. My old laptop struggles with flash videos. When i bought it five years ago Youtube didnt even exist and so it wasnt noticeable back then.
 

NetTecture

Well-known member
403 12
Software gets slower. Newer versions of software are designed to run on higher spec systems than versions written 5 years ago. Includes stuff you download off the internet. My old laptop struggles with flash videos. When i bought it five years ago Youtube didnt even exist and so it wasnt noticeable back then.
No, it does not get slower. Newer software DOES MORE. If you load the same software you had 5 years ago on a fresh install, it will be as fast as it was 5 years ago.

Basically.... your laptop, in the example, sucks playing back this video format, and it did that also 5 years ago, just you never noticed. THis is not the same as the video NOW stuttering, but having worked nice 5 years ago. Which, logically, would be "getting slower with age".
 

Ingot54

Well-known member
403 62
After a clean re-install of Windows XP on to a 5 year old computer, it felt to me that it was still running slower than it did when the computer was new. This is a subjective opinion though and I could be wrong.

Is there any evidence that computer hardware actually slows down with use?
Getting back to the real situation you are in, WS, that of a slow computer after a clean re-install.

I assume that by the expression "Clean Re-install" you mean you formatted the hard drive, and re-built the software tiers?

Or did you just re-install "over the top of the existing software" thus preserving your "essential utilities and files"?

The difference is very important.

In any case, a decent registry cleaner such as the afore-mentioned, would go a long way towards keeping the computer de-cluttered.

Even a brand-new computer can be optimised for speed through defragmentation and Reg cleaning, and through stopping programmes running "in the background" which are infrequently/never used.

Here is a link that you may find helpful:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Optimize-Windows-Vista-for-better-performance
 

WinstonSmith

Member
91 14
I assume that by the expression "Clean Re-install" you mean you formatted the hard drive, and re-built the software tiers?
Yes, exactly. I had been using CCleaner previously anyway, but became suspicious that perhaps something on the software side was slowing things up anyway.

As you said, I formatted the hard drive, installed windows and loaded up software from scratch again. I was a bit disappointed that (subjectively) it seemed no different from before.

Perhaps software gets more resource hungry as it get revised as has been suggested, or perhaps it's just my memory playing tricks on me.
 

Ingot54

Well-known member
403 62
Yes, exactly. I had been using CCleaner previously anyway, but became suspicious that perhaps something on the software side was slowing things up anyway.

As you said, I formatted the hard drive, installed windows and loaded up software from scratch again. I was a bit disappointed that (subjectively) it seemed no different from before.

Perhaps software gets more resource hungry as it get revised as has been suggested, or perhaps it's just my memory playing tricks on me.
Apart from getting a techie to check your system, I am clueless.

The difference can be very subtle, and subjective. Over time I have found that I have become used to a fast signal. When it slows, I go on a witch-hunt, dumping all my deleted emails, and junk emails, and rat through sent emails to remove those with files I attached, just to free-up another 200MB or so on the HDD. Of course this does nothing for speed!

I then go looking for programmes I don't need, and find none! Or none that I feel comfortable tinkering with anyway. There are so many media-play-record-burn files today, I am sure I have a plethora of duplication on my machine.

Flash
Direct-X
Windows Media Centre
Windows Media Player
Windows Movie Maker
Windows Photo Gallery
Windows Defender

Then there are
Adobe Reader 9.1.3
Adobe Acrobat
Adobe Air
Adobe Flash Player 10 Active X
Adobe Flash Player 10 Plugin

Surely some of these are duplications or unnecessary programmes?

I would love to delete some of these, but don't want to start down that road - something in a former life is warning me telepathically "Don't do it!"

Then there are things like Skype, Messenger, etc which can be a drain on resources.

I have turned off Silverlight, and the Phishing filter.
I run Windows Live OneCare on three home computers, and I think this can slow speed a tad.

We use a Wireless Router - D-Link G604T, and can have 4 computers hanging off that. Naturally the speed of downloading is slowed as a function of the number of computers in use at one time.

That's about as far as my knowledge goes WS.

It's more than my father and grandfather knew, but not as much as my sons know!

How times change! And to think it used to be the role of the elders to teach the young!

I'd love to know the thoughts of others on this issue - indeed on any issues that can make computering more efficient.

EDIT - I just looked through my programmes files - there are truckloads of MS patches and updates, plus Service patch 1-2-3 for my Vista.

The sooner we have the MicroSoft Revolution the better.

I run a Mac generally - and there is none of this rubbish!
 

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