If you're still with me, I'm going to write about some computer maintenance and performance topics. I have always maintained my own computers (with mixed success, HA !!!) but I do have the determination to research issues thoroughly and have been pretty happy with my personal results.... and note that the topic here is PC, I don't own a Mac (never will) and would be able to offer no solutions there.
"MY COMPUTER IS SO SLOW !!!" How many times have I said and heard THAT?? There are many factors that determine how fast your PC performs.
First and foremost is the hardware, most especially the processor and the amount of physical RAM you have. Most of us are bound by the processor that came with our computers, and although upgrading may be an option, it isn't necessarily a feasible one. Today's computers offer dual processor models which obviously can do twice as much simultaneously. Not all of us are lucky enough to be able to afford that option.
Obviously the processor is the "brain", and not all processors work the same way. Although 2 processors may operate at the same speed of say, 3.0 gigahertz, there are other factors that determine how fast and how much information it processes, like front side BUS and cache... but again, we have what we have.
That takes us to the RAM (Random Access Memory)... Ah memory, obviously the more you have the better. As programs become more sophisticated, the amount of resources needed to run them properly (and simultaneously) becomes greater - increasing the burden on the processor and the memory. As a point of reference, I believe Windows XP requires 256 megabytes of RAM to operate - so if that's all you have, don't even try to run anything else.
.... which shows you your processor, RAM and operating system.
Now, should you not be capable of upgrading your processor and/or RAM, all is not lost. There are several things you could and should do to help the performance and stability of your computer in general... True that there are tweaks in "System Properties" app that can be applied, but the defaults are set to optimize performance - plus those require some level of technical ability and I am technically challenged !!! - although I did increase my Virtual Memory setting... Instead I will explain some extremely simple "fixes" that should prove valuable.