Virtual memory takes over when you are out of RAM and this memory is really slow considering that it relies on the hard disk for information storage. Lacking enough RAM for your needs can also slow speeds. Give up apps you no longer need and re-launch the rest that you are using.
If your RAM is not enough for your needs, then it should be time to consider a RAM upgrade. It is very common to find users with tons of icons on their desktops. The fact is that every icon is drawn as a window and previews the content which can take up plenty of resources when things are moved around.
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