Microsoft 365 is a subscription version of the Office productivity suite.

Q: I use Microsoft 365 for word processing, spreadsheets, etc. Lately it has been extremely slow on my computer and I don’t know why. What can I do to speed it up?

–James T., Fort Pierce

A: Microsoft 365 is the subscription version of the software giant’s popular Office productivity suite.

For this, one buys an annual subscription (usually between $60 and $100 per year depending on the version installed) and for this you get full installations of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and others, as well as access based on the cloud to these programs, 1 TB of cloud-based storage space on Microsoft OneDrive, and continuous program updates for the duration of your subscription.

By comparison, the standard Microsoft Office suite includes all of the above except 1TB of cloud-based storage and continuous program updates, meaning what you install is what you get up to. unless you purchase and install a newer version of the suite.

For more information about Microsoft 365, please visit this URL:

Given the cloud-based foundations used by Microsoft 365, the program’s speed for its applications can indeed fluctuate at times, with the main causes of slow performance often being sub-standard system resources, network congestion with your internet connection or a combination of both.

While 365 updates regularly to make sure its programs work best for you, this feature can sometimes increase the base system requirements for the program suite over time. So, if your system is already at the limit of the minimum specs needed to run 365, these updates can eat up any free resources left after installation and cause slow performance. This is especially true for older computers.

The regular use of large files and databases (including large mail profiles) in applications would further complicate this issue. These are also resource intensive to catalog and run, and if the programs themselves are already taking up a set percentage of your specs just to stay open, then those files will most likely eat up the rest of those specs, resulting in a speed of lower running all around.

Realistically, the best course of action here is to upgrade your computer’s hardware, such as adding more RAM and/or installing a faster processor, which should increase overall system speed. However, in some cases, and especially if you have an older machine (more than five years old), it may be cheaper to buy a new computer than to upgrade an old one. Consider talking to a local technician about your options if you’re interested.

On another front, as so much of 365 is cloud-based, performance speed will also depend on the strength and reliability of the internet connection you’re using. If your connection is unstable or weak, continuously or intermittently, programs will take longer to connect to their servers when needed, which can also hang apps or freeze the system for a while.

In this case, you’ll want to work with your ISP to assess your signal strength and see whether or not you need to upgrade your modem, router, or other connectivity equipment to maximize internet speed for the programs themselves.

That said, if these two factors are not to blame, the next step would be to examine which program add-ons are active for the various apps in the suite, and then disable any that might be consuming too many resources. The plug-ins mentioned here are small tasks that often run automatically within the programs themselves in order to help the user with functionality. Examples include connecting Bluetooth devices to the suite, integrating extensive autocorrect functionality into Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook, and displaying real-time tooltips, to name a few- one.

Since many of these add-ins use both system resources and an Internet connection to function, they can sometimes hog resources and slow performance, especially if they are stuck on an unknown task and/or have difficulty connect to their server base. Disabling them avoids this possibility. The following site offers several tips for disabling things like these:

Beyond that, your next step would be to work with Microsoft’s support team, since your 365 subscription includes their services. They can be reached via the information found at this URL:

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