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Why Are so Many Things Running in the Background on My Computer?


Are you getting overly familiar with that little spinning hourglass or Mac’s beachball? We’ve all been there: you go to open up a program only to practically hear cogs whirring in your computer as it strains into action.

Often, the primary cause of a computer’s slowness comes down to too many programs running in the background. If you want to make your computer run faster, then you need to know how to end tasks and reclaim your computer’s power!

Yet it’s also worth taking a look at why there are so many programs running in the background in the first place, as this can help you to cut this number down and stop you from getting into this situation again.

Are you ready to learn why so many programs are running and how to close them down? Then read on and get ready for a faster computer!

Why Are So Many Programs Running in the Background?

There are a few reasons that you could have a lot of programs running in the background. First off, we need to consider why having so many programs running in the background slows down your computer in the first place.

Your computer relies on RAM when it runs programs in the background. This very fast memory stores important parts of the program that your computer needs to access regularly, yet there is, of course, only a limited amount of RAM. When you’re trying to run too many programs, something has to give, which means a slower machine.

Now that we know why having too many programs running slows down your machine, let’s look at why so many programs are running in the first place.

You’ve Loaded Up Too Many Programs or Browser Tabs

It can be easy to click on the icons for several programs unthinkingly. You might boot up Chrome, load your email, load up a game in the background, and also have a word processor open. 

The more browser tabs you have open also influences how much RAM the browser uses. If you’ve got 80 Chrome tabs open at once, then Chrome is going to be one thirsty program and will take up a lot of resources.

If your computer has a lot of programs open and is running slowly, you should close the programs and see if that makes a difference. It’s worth knowing your computer’s limits in advance.

Too Many Programs Load at Startup

When you install a new program, it will often set itself to load up with your computer, which means it’s ready to go as soon as your PC is on. Sometimes, this is a good thing: having your antivirus load up right away is a smart move, for instance.

However, sometimes it’s not such a good move. No one needs to have a tuneup program load up with their computer, for instance.

If you’ve got a load of programs loading up with your computer, it’ll make it far slower. To see which programs are booting up with your PC on Windows, you should follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Go to Apps
  3. Go to Startup

Here, you’ll find a list of programs that load up with your machine and can turn them off. If you see any that you aren’t sure about, Google the program, as it may be important.

On Mac, follow these steps:

  1. Go to System Preferences
  2. Go to Users & Groups
  3. Click on your account
  4. Click on login items

Here, you can remove a program from the startup list by hitting the minus button.

You’ve Got a Virus

Sometimes, a malware infection can load up a whole host of programs that slow your machine down. If this has happened, you’ll need to run an antimalware scan across your whole machine to remove the virus.

How to See the Programs That Are Running in the Background and Close Them

If you want to check out the programs that are running in the background on your machine, you’ll need to get familiar with the task manager. This useful bit of software can show you every program and process that’s running on your machine.

To open the task manager on Windows, you’ll need to hit ctrl + alt + delete, then click on “task manager.” This will bring up a small window showing your machine’s current resource usage. To view the programs that are running, click on the “processes” tab. 

This will show you a big list of all the programs that are running. If you see any that you don’t want to be running, click on the process and then hit “end task.” Be careful doing this, as some processes are integral to Windows and will stop your computer from working properly if you close them.

If you want to open task manager on Mac, you’ll need to hit cmd + delete + esc. This will bring up a master list of all the programs that are running. If you want to close them, all you need to do is click on the program and then hit “force quit.”

Get Back Up to Speed: Take Control of Your PC

Now that you know how to view the programs that are running in the background on your machine, you can bring your PC back up to speed when it’s being frustratingly slow.

Just remember to exercise a bit of caution when you’re closing processes, and make sure that it’s nothing essential to your machine.

For more helpful and informative articles like this, check out the rest of our blog!

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