Frustrated by slow downloads on your PC? Read this now

·5-min read

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Check out these four reasons why your computer has slowed down.
Check out these four reasons why your computer has slowed down. (Photo: Getty)

We’ve all been there — what's supposed to be a quick PDF download becomes a test of patience and determination. Will the download take three minutes or 30? Some days you don’t have time to roll the dice: You want the files you download to take less time than, say, constructing a full-scale model of the Golden Gate bridge.

With that in mind, we’ve rounded up some reasons your downloads and your computer in general have slowed down.

A security issue could be causing your PC to slow down. (Photo: Getty)
A security issue could be causing your PC to slow down. (Photo: Getty)

Reason #1: A security issue

What’s that old saying about hating to be the bearer of bad news? Well, it certainly applies here. “Your speed could be bogged down if your systems are infected in any way," Richard Roth, founder and chief executive officer of technology solutions firm Progressive Tech, tells Yahoo Life. "Hackers will use your systems to send out spam emails, steal your contacts, track browsing sites and habits and deliver invasive and targeted ads. Consider professional support for your laptops and desktops, factory resets for your mobile devices and a replacement networking system, such as one of the new mesh network systems.”

Taking the time to check your system can help improve download speeds
Taking the time to check your system can help improve download speeds. (Photo: Getty)

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Weak Wifi can make your computer move slower than usual.
Weak Wifi can make your computer move slower than usual. (Photo: Getty)

Reason #2: A weak Wifi signal

Once you rule out security issues, it’s time to look to your Wifi signal and test your internet, which could explain slow downloads. Roth recommends doing an internet speed test. “Run speed tests on a mobile device right next to main modem/router/access point,” he says. “Test further away and see if the speeds stay reasonable.”

While there are several tests available, Roth says Google’s internet speed test is worth trying as the “test will let you know if the connection becomes weak or slow.”

Roth adds: “Also, if possible, test a hardwired connection to see if there is a speed difference between Wifi and plugged in. An older laptop is ideal for this, as new machines often don’t have plug-in internet anymore.”

Internet connection test can help you determine your download speed
Internet connection tests can help you determine your download speed. (Photo: Getty)

Reason #3: A slow connection

A slow internet connection is frequently to blame for slow downloads. “Many residential areas have limited or only one option for an internet provider," explains Roth. "Rural areas will often have no connection other than cellular and satellite options, which can be slow or unreliable and make testing harder." Roth recommends testing regularly and under different conditions. "If the connection is just slow, you'll need to call to increase your speed with the current provider, or find another provider that will guarantee you a faster connection.”

Roth suggests using Google's internet speed test to check your connection. “In order to do this, you’ll first need to know what speed you are getting," he says. "Run [the] speed test and see what you get. Compare this with your bill, which should say what speed you are paying for." He adds: "The goal is to ensure you are getting what you paid for first.”

However, Roth suggests looking into the other reasons for slow downloads on this list before calling your provider. “It is critical you perform some troubleshooting before calling your provider,” Roth says. “An IT support company could be helpful with testing or as part of a call to your provider.”

Too many devices connected to your internet can cause devices in your network to slow down. (Photo: Getty)
Too many devices connected to your internet can cause devices in your network to slow down. (Photo: Getty)

Reason #4: Too much traffic on your Wifi

“Most don’t people keep track of every device that’s on their network, especially with the amount of smart home gadgets and various connected devices in use today,” Roth points out. “Think thermostats, phones, tablets, security cameras, smart TVs, etc. Each connected device could potentially cause a slowdown and is always sending and receiving data.”

In order to find out which device is the data hog, Roth recommends testing one device at a time. “Accurate testing means using one device only, with no other devices sending or receiving during the test,” he says. “If you have a small amount of devices, turn them off. If you have a whole smart home, one option is to reset the wireless password and reconnect using the new password after troubleshooting.”

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