Helpdesk: Good afternoon, how may I help you?
Customer: Hi, why is my computer is running so slow ?!?

During the course of this type of conversation, the agent is fully aware that this question usually results in an even slower process of finding the root cause of why the pc is not working to the customer’s satisfaction. The use of this unintentional oxymoron to describe their problem, is quite common but the answer to the question, however, is not. 

In general, most computer repair technicians would be fairly confident that they can resolve the matter without too much difficulty. The real choice though is whether to; 

  A: Troubleshoot and repair the problem

The PC could be slow because;

  • Erroneous startup items in windows.
  • Corrupt software or windows files.
  • Virus or Spyware related.
  • Disk errors or fragmentation.
  • A failed windows update or patch.
  • Faulty RAM
  • And so on……

Or B: Backup the data and Reinstall Windows

I prefer to only take this route as a last resort as it is a huge inconvenience (to both parties) to have to reinstall windows! It’s always painful to have to reinstall windows on your computer, especially if you rely on several business applications that require database restores and license activations, etc. This doesn’t include the sometimes impossible Google search for windows device drivers on the web.  However, you may have already wasted several hours trying to find a reason why this computer is at a crawl (see Option A) and you may now have to face the prospect that the only way to get this working properly is to set it back to its original configuration.

Some computer repair companies will only ever take this route, since Option A is a time risk i.e. you may fix the problem but there’s no guarantee so you may as well skip A, and reinstall the operating system anyway. With Option B, you at least know from experience that the repair will take x amount of time to repair. In a lot of cases, they rarely even backup the customer’s data before the format. This is plain laziness and the only reason you should ever be told that your data is gone, is when the hard drive on your computer is completely 100% broken beyond any hope of repair.

Anyway, when the time has come and you’ve tried just about everything, there is no cowardice in admitting defeat and reinstalling Windows from scratch. Even I.T Technicians will tell you that they have often reformatted their own computers just to ‘start over’ and if they haven’t, then they are either very lucky to have never been faced with this situation, much smarter than most, or just plain lying..