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Why Installing Software Slows Down Your PC

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When you buy a new PC, it’s screaming fast. Months later, it feels usable, but nothing impressive. After a year, you’re experiencing noticeable lag. Why?

No computer comes with all the software we want pre-installed. That means we have to go out and add all the programs we need. The more we install, the more clutter that our PCs now have to manage.

It doesn’t matter if you’re running Windows, macOS, or Linux, installing too many programs will eventually have an impact on your computer’s performance. But if computer’s are designed to run software, why is this the case?

Software Requires Hard Drive Space
I tend to think of a computer’s storage space in the abstract. The numbers on the screen tell me there’s a limit, but that could be arbitrary for all I know. What goes on inside my computer might as well be magic. I’m hardly alone.

But in reality, that storage corresponds to a real physical thing. Programs may not take up physical space on a table or shelf, but they do exist. The more programs you install on a hard drive, the more parts of that piece of hardware that your computer has to access. Your operating system may be able to access different parts of the hard drive in milliseconds, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t doing work. The harder your computer works, the quicker it wears down.

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