What Causes A Hard Drive to Slow Down in Windows 11&10?

What causes a hard drive to slow down? Here, you can find out the factors to cause the slow speed of your hard drive. Besides, you can learn some methods to fix it.


By Tina / Updated on May 12, 2023

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Why do hard drives slow down?

The hard drive is the most important storage device of the PC, and most of the software required for PC’s normal operation is stored on it. However, many users report that after using the hard disk for a period of time, its speed slows down, but they don’t know the reasons.

What causes a hard drive to slow down? Typically, when it encounters the following conditions, the hard drive will slow down:

There is virus on the hard drive.
There are many startup software in the PC.
There are bad sectors in the hard drive.
There are too many file fragments.
The PC has not been cleaned for a long time, and junk files have accumulated in it.
A lot of dust has accumulated in the case.
The hard drive is aging.


How to make an HDD faster

Since there are many reasons may cause HDD to slow down, we need to take different measures  to protect the hard drive. Apart from the simple solutions such as cleaning up dust in the case and speeding up disk heat dissipation. You can refer to the following methods to change HDD slow speed.

● Method 1. Use CMD to remove virus

If the PC suddenly slows down, the first thing you can do is check and remove viruses on it. Because viruses may generate some junk files, taking up the hard drive space and slowing it down. The Windows built-in CMD can help you delete the virus.

Step 1. Press "Windows", then enter "cmd" and hit "Enter" to open CMD.

Step 2. In the CMD window, type the following commands and press "Enter".

• H:
• del *.lnk
• attrib -s - r -h *.* /s /d /l

CMD Remove Virus

● Method 2. Disable startup programs

When you start your PC, some startup programs will load automatically. They can slow down your computer, consuming the hard drive space in the background. Thus, it is necessary to disable the startup programs to speed up the HDD.

Step 1. Click the "Start" button, then input "task manager" and press "Enter" to open it.

Step 2. In the pop-up window, select "Startup", you will see all the startup programs.

Step 3. Right-click the programs you want to disable and choose "Disable".

Disable Startup Program

● Method 3. Disable hibernation

When a PC goes into hibernation mode, the Windows OS will store the current programs and files on your hard drive, helping you restore the PC to the state when you left it. But these files will take up a lot of hard drive space, so you can also disable hibernation to speed up HDD.

Step 1. Press "Windows" and then type "cmd", click "Run as administrator" to open CMD.

Run As Administrator

Step 2. In the small window, input "powercfg -h off" and hit "Enter" to disable the hibernation mode.

Disable Hibernate

● Method 4. Check the hard drive and fix bad sectors

Bad sector is also the fuse of hard drive slow write speed, it refers to the place where data cannot be written in the hard drive. If the bad sector isn’t fixed in time, it may not only make the PC slower, but even cause problems such as computer freezes and crashes.

Here, you can use the free AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard to repair the bad sectors, it is an all-round hard disk manager. It is suitable for Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP, you can use it to wipe hard drive, rebuild MBR, clean up the PC, etc.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Step 1. Download and run this free tool, then right-click the drive you want to check and click "Check Partition".

Click Check Partition

Step 2. In the little window, choose "Check partition and fix errors in this partition by using chkdsk.exe" and click "OK" to start this operation.

Check Partition Fix Error

Step 3. When the task is finished, click "OK".

Click OK

● Method 5. Delete the junk files

What causes a hard drive to slow down? During the running of the computer, Some junk files will inevitably be generated. If they are not cleaned up in time, they will occupy the space on the hard drive. So you need to delete the junk files.

Step 1. Click "Free up" and "PC Cleaner" in turn. 

PC Cleaner

Step 2. This smart tool will guess the size you can get by cleaning up junk files, click “Start Scan” to find out all the junk files from the target hard drive.

Start Scan

Step 3. Wait for a while, the tool is scanning for junk files.


Step 4. Tick the files you want to delete, click "Clean All".

After Scanning

Step 5. When all selected files are removed, click "Back".

Cleanup Finished

Note: If you want to deep clean up the hard drive, you can try the "Delete large files" feature. It can search all large files in the target hard drive, then judge whether it's safe to delete these large files.

● Method 6. Defrag disk

When many file fragments are scattered across different sectors of the hard drive, it will slow down. Because to find the files, the magnetic head will jump repeatedly in each sector to read the file fragments. The steps to defrag the disk are as follows:

Step 1. Right-click the disk you want to defrag and then click "Disk Defrag".

Disk Defrag

Step 2. In the new window, tick the target hard drive and click "Analyze".


Step 3. You can see the degree of fragmentation. Click "Defrag" to start defrag the target disk. When the defragment is finished, the hard drive will be scored again.


Additional reading: How to effectively speed up your PC

While the hard drive is proved to be aging, it’s beneficial to clone it to a new one. Because of its better performance, many users intend to use SSD. Fortunately, just upgrade to the Professional Version, the "Disk Clone Wizard" can clone the HDD to an SSD.

Download Demo Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Step 1. Connect the SSD with your PC, click "Clone" and "Clone Disk".

Copy Wizard

Step 2. You have two choices to clone the HDD: "Clone Disk Quickly" and "Sector-by-Sector Clone", choose "Clone Disk Quickly". 


Step 3. In the popped out interface, choose the HDD and click "Next".

Source Disk

Step 4. Then select the SSD as the destination drive and tick "Optimize the performance of SSD", then click "Next".

Target One

Step 5. You are asked to edit the SSD.


Step 6. Click "Apply" and "Proceed" to clone the HDD to SSD.


Step 7. Don't forget to change boot drive to boot the Windows OS from the SSD.

Change Boot Order

Last words

What causes a hard drive to slow down? In this post, we analyzed the reasons why do hard drives slow down. Besides, we provided some solutions for you to speed up you hard drive. As you can see, AOMEI Partition Assistant can help you better manage the HDD.

By the way, if you want to speed up the HDD on Windows Server, you can turn to the Server Version.

Tina · Staff Editor
Tina is an English editor of AOMEI Technology. She has a positive attitude and full of energy. On her work, she always keeps thinking to figure out the solutions for users' problems, and writes the answers so that can help someone. In her daily life, she likes to sing, watch TV and sleep. She always being grateful and happy to all the things happened and all the people encountered.