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Thread: Computer getting slow

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Computer getting slow

    My computer is growing slow after a few years what programs are there to make sure that it runs faster? Any suggestions other than new RAM?

  2. #2
    "Assume Good Intentions" SuperModerator Williebee's Avatar
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    Assuming this is a PC, running Windows?

    Free and useful:
    Malwarebytes
    Windows Defender
    You may also need a registry cleaning.

    But it may or may not be processes bogging you down. How full is the hard drive? What, specifically, are you doing when it slows down?

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  3. #3
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    I just went through a lot of the hard drive. It has about 141 gigs left. I usually just restart, but lately its been getting slow if I leave it alone or if its been on standby for a while. For some reason restarting helps. I've been known to use that dreaded power button sometimes.

  4. #4
    you didn't come and help me kuwisdelu's Avatar
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    How much RAM do you have?
    (a blog.) ...last updated 15 June 2015

  5. #5
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    2 gigs. Should be enough right?

  6. #6
    you didn't come and help me kuwisdelu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueCricket View Post
    2 gigs. Should be enough right?
    I would want at least 4 GB to be comfortable these days.

    Go into Task Manager and look at your number of page-ins vs page-outs.

    If the page outs are a significant proportion of the page ins (like, say, 10,000 page ins and 1,000 page outs) then you're paging memory to disk, which will cause significant slow down. If this is the case, this can be fixed with more RAM.

    ETA: Do this when it starts to slow down. Not after restarting.
    Last edited by kuwisdelu; 12-28-2012 at 07:32 AM.
    (a blog.) ...last updated 15 June 2015

  7. #7
    The Crazy Man in the Sun. Feel me. WillSauger's Avatar
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    2gbs is just fine for normal productivity.

    The main problem I see with computers getting slow is that many programs are bogging them down in the background.
    You can hit Ctrl+Alt+Delete, click Start Task Manager (for Windows 7), and in the Task Manager click the tab that says Processes to see all the programs running.

    Download the free version of Revo Uninstaller (you only need the free version), install and run it, and start uninstalling programs you don't use, nor do you know what they do. (Do make sure you didn't pay for them, it sucks to delete ones you have paid for)

    Too much space taken up on the hard drive can be a problem, but with 141gb free, that's nothing.
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  8. #8
    It's a doggy dog world benbradley's Avatar
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    Got antivirus? If so, get the latest update and do a full scan. Otherwise, download and do a full scan with one of these"
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/w...tials-download

    http://www.safer-networking.org/

    A computer can slow down for several reasons, but malware is one of the most common reasons.
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  9. #9
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    I'll check for Malware, but that's never been a problem. I use McAffee, but may run through the list. Thanks again guys.

  10. #10
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    No threats detected. About 166 page out to 72 page in. Looks good. May simply need constant upgrading?

  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW benbenberi's Avatar
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    I don't know what the technical diagnosis is, but I've observed that, at least for Windows machines, crud inevitably accumulates in the system over time (esp. in the registry) and slows it down to a fraction of its original speed. Culling unnecessary processes is a useful step, but you might also want to look into tools (I know they exist, don't know specifics) that can help purge the crud -- clean out the registry, dump the various caches, etc. that are clogging the works.

  12. #12
    Travelling around the sun cbenoi1's Avatar
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    > lately its been getting slow if I leave it alone or if its been on standby for a while.

    The Anti-virus might be kicking in when it senses the system is unattended. Also, assuming you are running an old version of Windows, if you have been moving a lot of files around - renaming, loading, installing, etc, then the file indexing service (IIS) might be trying to catch up.


    a) remove all temp files. Start with IE. This is where the bulk of the temp files are anyway. Set the temp file life span to days instead of weeks to get the amount of temp files under control. Repeat with other browsers you have installed. They are using their own temp directories.
    b) Defragment the disk. Once a month is usually good. This will help file loading performance a lot.
    c) Run a full scan anti-virus once a week. It may take a while each time, but will lower the accumulated workload that needs processing.
    d) If you are running WinNT or Win2K, you should disable the Indexing Service. It will make file searching slow, but it's no longer going to bother you when you need your PC the most. This feature is only useful for servers and workstations dealing with tons of documents.
    e) More RAM will help a lot. As others mentioned, some applications install background services to 'make things faster' but in fact, makes them slower because there isn't enough RAM for this and the system goes into what Kuwi describes as 'thrashing' - when memory is swapped in and out to disk.
    f) Cleaning the registry is a good idea. Getting a full checkup is even better. Check out Microsoft's Fix-It Center at http://fixitcenter.support.microsoft.com/Portal for the tools.


    Hope this helps.

    -cb
    Last edited by cbenoi1; 12-28-2012 at 08:30 PM.

  13. #13
    Resident Alien Reziac's Avatar
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    Systems don't physically "slow down" with age. But they do need regular maintenance, just like a car. The main culprits if your Windows machine is getting slower and slower are registry cruft, fragmentation, a glut of tempfiles, and malware.

    Best registry cleaner:
    EasyCleaner by ToniArts, freeware
    I've hand-vetted what it wants to clean out, and in 12+ years have never seen it make a mistake. Run this religiously once a week.

    Defragmenter: the safest route is to use the Windows defragger. However, depending on a bunch of factors, defragging can destroy data, so make sure you have good backups first. Every PC should be defragged once a week (or at the very least, once a month), whether it claims to need it or not. Fragmentation is the #1 cause of slow, unstable systems, especially with regard to web browsers.

    You can considerably reduce future fragmentation by putting your browser cache on its own partition, or on a ramdisk. Dataram RAMdisk is free for personal use; I make it 200mb and point my browser cache at it. (The Mozilla/Firefox/SM family are really dreadful for making a mess with their cache, so it's best isolated.)

    Tempfiles lurk in places like
    C:\Documents and Settings\user name\Local Settings\Temp
    Regularly inspect this folder and kill off zero-byte files, and whatever else looks like junk. (Usually it's fairly obvious, by the garbage name.) There should be few or no files left when it's "clean".

    If you use IE, clear its tempfiles regularly, and with older versions be sure to check "delete offline content" or it really won't do much housecleaning.

    Malware can also put the slog on your machine, because it's busy doing Something Else for someone else's benefit.

    As to malware protection, McAfee and Norton are not good choices for home users, and all by themselves can slow down performance by several orders of magnitude (no, I'm not exaggerating, I've seen both make a 3GHz machine take 20 seconds to respond to a mouse click). FProt and Avast are not nearly as piggy, and both do a better job. Also recommended is Microsoft Security Essentials (which was a high-end enterprise product that MS bought).

    It's a good idea to check Task Manager to see what's going on. Get familiar with the list of "Processes" after a clean restart and when you run your everyday programs, and watch what each uses. (Note: "System Idle Process" is a measure of what's NOT being used.)

    Also, beware of add-ons like toolbars, "Incredimail", and other "freebies" -- many are system hogs and spyware to boot.

    Another thing to watch out for are "Control Centers" such as are installed by a lot of printers and video cards -- these are often real hogs, and seldom necessary.
    Heavily armed, easily bored, and off the medication

  14. #14
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    geeze guys... I think a bottle of Cuervo will make it run just as fast. Thanks guys those registry cleaners ought to help.

  15. #15
    you didn't come and help me kuwisdelu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueCricket View Post
    No threats detected. About 166 page out to 72 page in. Looks good.
    Err, that's really weird.

    Only 72 page in and 166 page out is really low if you're been working on it for a while. You didn't check right after restarting did you?

    Page outs shouldn't be greater than page ins. When that happens, it's definitely a problem of insufficient RAM.

    But both of those numbers are so low, I wonder if you are looking at the wrong numbers or checked without having used it for a while.
    (a blog.) ...last updated 15 June 2015

  16. #16
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    Its been on a little bit. But I haven't restarted it yet.

  17. #17
    Resident Alien Reziac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuwisdelu View Post
    I would want at least 4 GB to be comfortable these days.
    2GB is overkill for WinXP or before (and it can only see 3GB tops), unless you're doing something RAM-intensive like video editing... heck, my 14YO XP-media machine works hard and it never uses over 500mb (with NO pagefile). The only apps I've seen use more are the Moz/Firefox family, which can use over 1.5GB after a few days of continuous uptime (apparently due to a resource leak because of its crappy cache handling).

    Someone mentioned the Indexing service. Turn the damn thing off, it does nothing useful for the average person and slows the system down to about 1/3rd of its nominal speed.
    Heavily armed, easily bored, and off the medication

  18. #18
    you didn't come and help me kuwisdelu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reziac View Post
    2GB is overkill for WinXP or before (and it can only see 3GB tops)
    64-bit Windows XP exists.

    Is the OP using XP? It's almost 2013.
    (a blog.) ...last updated 15 June 2015

  19. #19
    Travelling around the sun cbenoi1's Avatar
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    > 64-bit Windows XP exists.

    The 'Pro' version (64 bits) was sold separately as opposed to brand computer sales which came with the 'Home' or 'Media Center' editions (32 bits).

    > Is the OP using XP? It's almost 2013.

    Good question. We've been assuming that 'old computer' meant WinXP and not Win7 as most skipped Vista as a viable upgrade between the two.

    -cb

  20. #20
    Resident Alien Reziac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuwisdelu View Post
    64-bit Windows XP exists.
    True, but it's hardly ever seen, and even more rarely on home systems.

    Quote Originally Posted by kuwisdelu View Post
    Is the OP using XP? It's almost 2013.
    Well, there was mention that it's an old box...

    Hell, I use WinXPPro (never Home, it's too broken) and even Win98 on my everyday machines (I don't even have a Vista or Win7 box). I really don't care if it's "outdated", only that it works for what I want and doesn't drag the machine down too much.
    Heavily armed, easily bored, and off the medication

  21. #21
    The grimflits are out to get me Matera the Mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueCricket View Post
    I'll check for Malware, but that's never been a problem. I use McAffee, but may run through the list. Thanks again guys.
    Running McAffee is probably like tossing a big anchor over the side.
    Inspiration can be as destructive as any other form of fire.

  22. #22
    Outline Maven Tirjasdyn's Avatar
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    As others have said, run a registry cleaner regardless if it's xp or later. I tend to like CCleaner, the free version will clean out a bunch of temporary junk, and do a registry clean.

    And I know this sounds obvious but I always have to ask....When's the last time you shut down/restarted your computer. If it's been awhile, do it.
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  23. #23
    Resident Alien Reziac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tirjasdyn View Post
    And I know this sounds obvious but I always have to ask....When's the last time you shut down/restarted your computer. If it's been awhile, do it.
    Just to be contrary... My WinXP Pro media machine routinely runs 24/7/365, well over a year without a restart, in fact was restarted exactly five times in 8 years, once to mess with the hardware and four times for power outages beyond the UPS's capacity. I think this is normal.
    Heavily armed, easily bored, and off the medication

  24. #24
    Derailed WriteMinded's Avatar
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    I'm using XP with a mere 1535 MG of RAM. My machine is fast. Why? Let's see, I don't keep the internet running all the time, I turned off all the Windows Services that I don't need. I don't use heavy duty graphics editing software (at least not while I'm doing other things). I keep a watch on start-up programs and everything that runs in the background.

    My advice: Get rid of McAfee. Replace it with something that's not a hog, like Avast! Try WinPatrol to find out what's running. Anything you don't need, get rid of it. Best to leave registry cleaners alone. They do NOT speed up your PC, and they have the potential to kill your system and, yes, SLOW it down by removing things that should not be removed.

  25. #25
    Resident Alien Reziac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WriteMinded View Post
    Best to leave registry cleaners alone. They do NOT speed up your PC, and they have the potential to kill your system and, yes, SLOW it down by removing things that should not be removed.
    While that's true of a lot of 'em... I will vouch for EasyCleaner (freeware mentioned above) and I've hand-vetted its work. It's a very mature program despite the simple interface.

    There was a fairly extensive review done on registry cleaners a while back. EasyCleaner came out on top, and only two others actually did the job correctly (I don't recall which, they were commercial products). The rest were from mediocre to dishonest:

    The problem with most of the trialware registry cleaners is not so much what they kill, but that a LOT of them actually ADD junk to the registry, so they can ALWAYS demonstrate something that "needs cleaning". I certainly can't trust a program like that to do the rest of the job correctly!
    Heavily armed, easily bored, and off the medication

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