Sophos Slows Down Computer: True?

Here’s everything about Sophos slowing down your computer:

Sophos can slow computers down, but that won’t always be the case. 

As a security software suite, it performs a lot of tasks, and if it is working hard on a computer that doesn’t have resources to spare, you’ll experience slowness. 

If Sophos doesn’t overtax your system, then you’ll never experience a problem.

So if you want to learn all about how Sophos slows down your computer performance exactly, then this article is for you.

Keep reading!

Sophos Slows Down Computer: True?(Everything to Know)

How Does Sophos Slow Down Your Computer? (4 Causes)

Dissatisfied young woman looking at laptop screen.

Even though Sophos won’t always slow down a given computer, there are lots of cases where that does happen. 

For the most part, whether or not your computer slows down depends on the power of the hardware running your machine.

If it’s advanced enough, Sophos won’t be a problem.

But, if Sophos does slow things down, it’s not usually universal. 

Instead, specific functions and interactions cause more performance issues than others. 

So, when you understand the how of it all, you can use the software a little bit better and avoid the worst slowdowns.

#1 Hogging Resources

Woman looking confused while working on a computer in an office.

In order for Sophos to carry out the many services attached to the software, it has to utilize computer resources

In general, these come down to CPU usage, RAM allotment, and disk usage.

The CPU is the processing unit for the computer that carries out the calculations. 

When Sophos is scanning systems or checking connections, it is utilizing the central processing unit in order to work, and if it takes up enough CPU availability, the computer will slow down.

Similarly, the RAM is the short-term memory for the computer.

This is where files are temporarily stored so that they are easy to access. 

A computer only has so much RAM, so if Sophos is utilizing too much, you get performance impacts.

By the way, learn all about how much RAM your computer should use when it’s idle here.

Disk usage isn’t typically a problem, but when Sophos scans all of the files on your computer, it has to access the disk repeatedly.

This uses up the disk’s communication resources, and it can cause other things to load slowly.

Typically, Sophos won’t be using any of these resources at a level that slows down the average computer, but during intense scans and other high-activity periods, it’s something that can happen.

#2 Startup Clog

Beautiful mature woman working while typing with a laptop.

It’s quite a bit more likely that Sophos will slow down your computer’s startup procedures. 

When you first turn on or boot your computer, it runs through a checklist of operations before you can start using anything.

Sophos, by default, adds to the list of startup operations. 

Sophos has to load rules and protocols in order to actively protect a system. 

So, the startup process is more involved when Sophos is active and running.

Since the overall list of actions is longer, it takes longer for the startup to finish, and you’re likely to notice that you can’t start doing things with your computer as quickly as used to be the case.

#3 Heuristics and Disruptions

Confused Asian lady using laptop looking at screen

At its core, Sophos is designed to disrupt malicious behavior as it relates to your computer. 

If a hacker is trying to access the computer, Sophos is trying to prevent that access. 

If malicious software is downloaded, Sophos tries to find and isolate the bad software.

In order to do this, Sophos uses something called heuristic functions. 

This is a form of artificial intelligence that tries to identify dangerous behaviors and bad software, even if Sophos has never come across them before.

When Sophos works correctly, interrupting bad behavior stops installations and prevents communication with bad actors.

That’s disruptive to how you use the computer.

But, things can go a little deeper.

Since the heuristic functions are taking educated guesses as to what should and should not be allowed, they will sometimes be wrong. 

So, Sophos might prevent you from doing something that is harmless because it triggers a false flag. 

That disruption makes it harder to use your computer, and it can also translate to slowing down important processes for things you want to do.

#4 Big Updates

woman working with laptop at home or modern office with confused look.

The last common way Sophos is known to slow down a computer is when it downloads and installs a major update. 

Some updates can be rather large, and until they finish downloading, they can eat up a lot of bandwidth.

Basically, internet activities will slow to a crawl until the download is done.

Once the update is downloaded, it has to be installed. 

At this moment, Sophos is more likely to eat up a bunch of the core resources mentioned above, and your computer might run slowly until the update finishes.

How Does Sophos Speed Things Up on Your Computer? (3 Ways)

Thoughtful professional woman watching to the side in front of the computer

Sophos isn’t always slowing computers down.

There are some cases where it actually improves performance.

This doesn’t happen because Sophos magically runs more efficiently. 

It’s always going to utilize computer resources, but when the software is effective, those used resources still lead to better performance and an improved user experience.

For the most part, Sophos does this by mitigating bad things that slow down the computer. 

But, the security software can also impact how you use the computer, and if that impact is positive, it can lead to a faster overall experience.

#1 Removing Bloat

Young man using a laptop while working from home

Sophos scans disk drives and the computer in general. 

It tries to root out malicious software and activities, but it can also weed out or eliminate bloat files. 

These files aren’t actively harmful, but they clog up the computer and eat up resources, leading to worse performance.

Any time Sophos finds and removes these types of files, it contributes to greater overall performance.

The same can happen with software. 

If Sophos flags a software package as malicious, that software package can’t eat up resources unless you overrule Sophos. 

If it’s flagging something that you don’t really need, then you end up having freed resources that help the computer run better.

#2 Isolating Malicious Software

Young man looking stressed working on computer in dark home office at night

When it comes to computer performance, the most important thing done by Sophos is isolating and containing malicious software. 

More often than not, malicious software is rough on computer resources.

It can max out the CPU, RAM and/or disk usage, and then your computer struggles to do anything at all.

This is common with adware, viruses, and plenty of other types of malicious software. 

Since these programs are bad for computer performance, it’s a good thing when Sophos finds and eliminates them. 

It’s not hard to see how this leads to a faster computer and a better user experience.

#3 User Confidence

Young beautiful smiling woman using laptop lying on the couch

This is a little less obvious, but Sophos can effectively speed up computer usage by helping you find more confidence in the system. 

If you’re trying to browse the web and feel the need to carefully read all of the fine print on every site you visit, it’s going to take longer to accomplish any tasks with your computer.

If Sophos boosts your confidence, you can browse more efficiently and trust the software to protect you.

This is a specific example, but generally speaking, having confidence in your security software helps you use the computer more efficiently overall. 

This doesn’t technically speed the computer up, but it speeds you up, and that’s worth considering.

How Can You Control Performance With Sophos? (3 Options)

Young lady sitting in cafe while using computer

Sometimes the software makes things faster. Other times it slows everything down. 

Can you control which is the case?

More or less, yes. 

You can dictate some of Sophos’s behaviors in order to optimize computer performance. 

You can tell Sophos when to run or how to interact with different websites and software. 

Through this customization, you can overcome some of the most common situations that make the computer run slowly.

Still, you get protection from Sophos, and the potential performance boosts that come with that protection.

#1 Change Startup Behavior

attractive woman working on the laptop.

This is the big one.

You can use Windows settings to prevent Sophos from automatically launching at startup. 

If you do this, Sophos will still be able to function properly, but a number of the systems won’t be tied to startup.

This helps you get the computer booted and operational a little faster, and you don’t have to sacrifice your security software along the way.

You can also go through Sophos settings to adjust how it behaves when you launch the computer. 

In either case, minimizing startup impact will help your computer get up and running that much easier.

#2 Control Scans

hands of man working on the laptop in the office.

Scans are often the most resource-intensive function of security software. 

If they’re slowing down your computer, you can remedy the situation in two ways.

First, you can try scheduling scans for convenient times. 

If you leave the computer on and run the scan when you aren’t actively using it, it won’t matter if things slow down for a bit.

Conversely, you can opt for less intense scans.

Light scans are still useful for rooting out a lot of bad software, but they don’t take as long or use as many resources. 

You can do deeper, more involved scans less often to get a better user experience.

#3 Whitelists

Smiling business woman working with laptop

Whitelists will mostly impact internet performance. 

Sophos is constantly trying to assess network connections to prevent any bad connections. 

Sometimes, you’ll try to access a site or application that is flagged by Sophos, and you have to manually override things to make it work.

It’s a slow process.

Instead, you can whitelist sites or programs that you use and trust. 

Sophos will allow these connections by default, and you save all of that time and hassle.

Does Your Computer Slow Down When Your Internal Drive Is Full?

Frustrated young woman confused by laptop computer problem sitting at desk

Do you have the feeling your computer slows down when your HDD, SSD, or NVMe is full?

You’re right.

No matter what kind of device your computer uses for its primary data storage, if that storage is full enough, it will bog down your computer’s performance.

In extreme cases, your computer will slow down to a point that makes it feel completely unusable.

Fortunately, there are remedies to the problem.

Learn all about how a full internal drive affects your computer’s performance here.


  • Theresa McDonough

    Tech entrepreneur and founder of Tech Medic, who has become a prominent advocate for the Right to Repair movement. She has testified before the US Federal Trade Commission and been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, helping influence change within the tech industry.

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