Dear Lifehacker, I have a few Windows programs that are very sluggish (eBay's Turbo Lister is one, Doxie's software is another). Task Manager shows them using only 25 per cent of the CPU, and varying amounts of memory (but nowhere near 100 per cent of what I have). If neither the CPU nor RAM is the bottle neck for these programs, what's taking them so long to do simple tasks? And what can I do to speed them up? Thanks, Sick Of Slow
Phone picture from Shutterstock
Apps can often run poorly without hogging the CPU: contributing factors can include bad coding, the need to make frequent network calls or the use of older Windows APIs. While there's not much you can do about any of these, the issue could also be something else which is fixable.
First off, make sure you have the most current version for each package; if you have auto software updates switched off you could be using an older version of the app. Naturally, you should also check that your own machine is patched and you have current security software.
It's also a good idea to peruse the user forums and developer pages of any apps that are giving you grief. For example, eBay provides the following advice to help speed up Turbo Lister on its Help page:
The speed of the Turbo Lister program is dependent upon many factors, mainly the size of the database and the system resources available for the program to run on. We recommend that members delete the contents of the Activity Log and compact their database. We have found that this will improve the overall performance of Turbo Lister for most users.
If all else fails, contact the developers directly and express your concerns: many will be more than happy to help.
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