Watch Lori Brownell, Microsoft General Manager of Product Quality and Support, share helpful tips about how to keep your computer running smoothly. 

Brownell appeared on news channel Q13, a local station for Microsoft's headquarters, on June 22.

During the interview, she recommended a solution in Microsoft Answers provided by  MVP Malke Routh aka Malkeleah. Routh suggested the following eight reasons your computer may be running slow and how to fix them:

1. Computer hasn't been maintained - http://www.elephantboycomputers.com/page2.html#Maintenance
2. Computer is infected with malware - http://www.elephantboycomputers.com/page2.html#Removing_Malware
3. Hard drive is too full. Remove unnecessary stuff, uninstall unused programs. Don't forget to back up! http://www.elephantboycomputers.com/page2.html#Backing_Up
4. Flaky third-party software. Toolbars and add-ons are particular culprits in this area. Uninstall toolbars (Google, Yahoo, ISP-branded, etc.) and look carefully at what add-ons are in use in your browser(s).
5. Computer has too many unnecessary programs/processes running in the background. Manage your Startup:
For XP - How to Troubleshoot By Using the Msconfig Utility in Windows XP - http://support.microsoft.com/?id=310560 The free Autoruns program is very useful for managing your Startup - http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/default.mspx
For Vista/Windows7 - Start Orb>Search box>type: msconfig and when it appears in the Results box above, right-click and choose "Run as Administrator". Autoruns is also very useful.
6. User is running a bloated/invasive antivirus program such as ones from Norton and McAfee. Replace with a better program. I recommend either NOD32 (commercial) or Avast (free). Avira is also good but the free version has an unpleasant nag screen (Google for instructions as to how to disable this). User may also be running more than one real-time antivirus/firewall/security program.
7. User has installed new programs that are processor and/or memory-intensive (Photoshop, AutoCAD, Mathmatica or the like) and doesn't have the necessary hardware power.
8. Hard drive is failing and is in PIO Mode. This is very dramatically slow (like being back in 1985). See Hans-Georg Michna's information here - http://winhlp.com/?q=node/10 In addition to the above, also see http://miekiemoes.blogspot.com/2008/02/help-my-computer-is-slow.html