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Computers are blazing fast when they’re new. But as they age, you’ll notice a slight delay in their responses. Before long, they’re probably lagging extensively. This is true for age-old computers. Newer models promise better longevity and better prospects for storage. Yet, no device can escape lag. So, why does it lag even when computers are designed to run software?
To understand why, despite the fact that they’re doing what they’re supposed to do, we’ll need to delve deep into how a piece of software works.
A fresh computer is in order and is primed to get the job done as quickly as possible. In a more technical sense, a new device doesn’t have much to manage. It’ll contain minimum built-in software. You have to install the software you’ll need to work with. Consequently, as we stuff in more software, the work a computer needs to do also increases. However, this is only a part of much bigger reasons, let’s break them down below.
Hard Disk space
Software installation takes place on the area available on the surface of a hard disk. Ranging from 500GB to 1TB in modern machines. The greater the amount of software, the larger is the area a PC has to read in order to access a particular one. This increases a machine's work and gradual wears it down. However, this still isn't a major part of the problem. Solid state disks don't possess moving parts and hence do away with the issue. Majority of lags can be traced to RAM usage.
Running a software requires RAM since it's faster to read and write data when compared to the hard disk. The space that gets consumed in your RAM affects the speed at which your PC performs. A good example is your text editor and photo editor.
They need to use the RAM in order to store the changes faster. Therefore, if your RAM space is low due to many running applications, the software starts to record the changes on the hard disk, which reads slower. Hence, you'll experience lag.
Applications are developed to get better over time. They're designed to work faster over time and hence, they store files on your hard disk that they need to access frequently.
Take your photo viewer as an example. The reason why you're able to preview the images is because the software stores the thumbnails in hidden folders so that it doesn't have to generate them everytime you open an image. This results in the buildup of thousands of such files, which the computer doesn't ignore. Consequently, if you want to search for a file, the wait is longer.
Combine these problems with a malicious software such as an antivirus or adware, and your PC works unnecessarily. With its resources spent elsewhere, performance drastically reduces and you're left with the bitter experience of lag.