- The primary hard-drive/storage running low on space. Generally most systems work best when they have more than 20% of their primary drive space free/empty and get progressively more persnickety as they run low on space, especially as the get under 10% free. Software often creates temporary 'scratch notes' files that don't always get cleaned up properly, such as when they crash or electricity is lost, so cleaning up those temp directories/folders/files helps. Watch for log files that grow for ever. And of course your programs, their patches, and your data grow as well, so periodically taking an inventory can help keep you from any emergency deleting when it gets critical.
- Check your RAM (memory vs storage) that it is what you bought. RAM or their slots can fail, wiggle loose, or even be stolen. Most systems tend to increase their need for memory as the operating system and applications expand due to patches. Adding new applications that include memory resident parts (speed loaders, auto updaters, etc..) also increases how much RAM is being used. The best way to see if you need more, is how much your hard-drive light blinks as you work. If it only blinks when you load an application or file, or when you save a file, you have sufficient RAM. If it is heavily blinking or on more than off all the time, even when no applications are open, then you certainly need more RAM. When you buy a new system, more RAM is generally better than less. Bargain systems are usually low on RAM for the typical life span of a system.
- CPU overload can happen as new programs try to do more with it. As system running at 100% processor usage is not necessarily a bad thing if the system is still being responsive to its needs. But when a system is not fast enough for your needs and after you've checked storage and RAM, then seeing what programs/daemons or parts of are running to make sure they need to be there.
For Operating System Specifics for the above:
Most Operating Systems and many Programs/Apps use various temp scratch files in both their installation and operations. Some programs/apps cache local copies of their updates and data that can collect over time. System crashes can leave those files in various states of disrepair that can get in the way of smooth operations, essentially gunking up the works, slowing them down in addition to taking up space.Operating System specific de-gunking:
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