Do computers slow down with age?

Apr 13, 2007
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#1
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?
 
Jun 28, 2008
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#2
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.
 
May 27, 2004
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#3
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.
 
Jan 14, 2003
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#4
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
 

NetTecture

Active member
Mar 10, 2009
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#6
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

Active member
Jan 31, 2005
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Queensland
#7
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.
 
Jun 15, 2009
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#8
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

Well-known member
Jan 1, 2004
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#9
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

Active member
Mar 10, 2009
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#10
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

Active member
Jan 31, 2005
403
62
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Queensland
#11
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
 
Apr 13, 2007
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#12
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

Active member
Jan 31, 2005
403
62
38
Queensland
#13
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!
 

0007

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2005
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#16
msconfig.sys and see what's loading on startup?
Did you mean (run) msconfig.exe ? That certainly is of this Millenium & is very useful !
 
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zambuck

Well-known member
Jan 30, 2003
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#17
A

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

......MAC was always miles ahead of Billy Boy's DOS in every sense....although I use Win for some apps demanded by our Clients for CAD and graphics, we typically use MAC now on all stations....and run VMWare Fusion 3 to run all windows apps on a MAC....

Mackintiosh released in 1884 has wysiwyg screen when people were using DOS 1.9 I think.....And even today Windows 7 is trying very hard to copy OS Snow Leopard....!

...I have MacBookPro 17in customized with faster drive....and use both MAC and Windows on a single machine in real time....no rebooting to go from one to the other...

...Best of both world....with Windows ditched into oblivion on long run.....!

Windows is simply NO match for MAC...!
 

songcon

Active member
Oct 28, 2009
165
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New York
#18
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.
I researched and got an advice from the net regarding using Advanced System Care to clean up my 2 computers and the software really did the job for me. The less powerful one with only 1 Gb memory had lost about 75% of the speed after I'd installed and removed the various investment software during a 2 years period. Advanced System Care help me to regain the 2/3 of the speed that it'd lost.

It was just 2 weeks ago, I've convert into Pro version for one of my 2 desktop. try to see if you could have a good experience as mine, please let us know if you do.
 

zambuck

Well-known member
Jan 30, 2003
1,609
101
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#19
Did you mean (run) msconfig.exe ? That certainly is of this Millenium & is very useful !
....I think NetTecture is probably saying that one nowadays should not have to tweak files like we used to in past...remember Autoecec.bat and Confid.sys...that needed tweaking to run flight sim....?
 

0007

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2005
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#20
....I think NetTecture is probably saying that one nowadays should not have to tweak files like we used to in past...remember Autoecec.bat and Confid.sys...that needed tweaking to run flight sim....?
Yes! Absolutely agree with the sentiment. But if you take a look via msconfig.exe it's quite surprising how much unnecessary software is running - all consuming resources. Much of it is put there when programs are first installed, and constantly checks for updates etc etc.

I found the best system to keep my PC running sweetly is to install the minimum programs I need, play with msconfig.exe until I've got it right, take an image (Acronis is good for this - but there are plenty of other utilities)and reinstall the image if ever needed. This is much quicker than formatting and subsequent reload of individual software.

By using firewalls (ISP, router,PCs), anti-virus software and strict control of cookies I've had no problems for years (famous last words!). This is probably elementary stuff to computer geeks but I can remember the days when everything about PCs was a mystery.

As somebody has already remarked (I think) computer hardware does not slow-up with age and reinstall of the original software should produce original performance.

Computer performance is very much software-dependent. Writing efficient software is very difficult and it is much easier (and cheaper) to produce lesser software which depends on sheer computer brute force processing powerand lots of memory. No problem with that of course - the customer loves to pay extra for fancy software as long as it's got a snazzy interface.

It all helps to keep the wheels of business turning!