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Poll: What do you do first when your Windows system slows down significantly?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / February 8, 2013 6:59 AM PST

Poll: When my Windows system starts to slow down significantly, the first thing I do is:

-- Scan my system for viruses, spyware, and malware
-- See which programs are running in the background
-- Delete unused programs
-- Scan my system for errors
-- Clean my desktop
-- Defrag the hard drive
-- Do diagnostics on hardware components to see if any are failing
-- Check space used for Page filing
-- Others (Please tell us what it is?)
-- I don't use Windows

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usually running the old Regseeker and clean the register.. this usually gives a noticeable change.
then,,, run Autoruns to see what may have been slipped in that didnt get deleted when getting
rid of something,, then,,,, a quick check with Process explorer - which usually doesnt show much
Last,, run defrag on the C: drive partition and go do something else hahaha

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The first thing I do is to restart my system; I leave mine on 24/7 and this usually does the restart it to get out the cobwebs...
If it continues to run slow I will look into other areas but that rarely happens with my system.

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(NT) write down msconfig and delete all except your antivirus
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Defective registery system

Windows are always improving because they have so many drawbacks from windows v3 to windows v8 they remove some drawbacks but include new drawbacks.

Windows XP and vista on start up registry system gets so much complicated with time that windows searching itself for system files for half an hours in 2-3 years, also depend on usage.

For better results windows should be reinstalled in one year.

This is all based on only experiences.

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Sometimes the hassle is worth it
by jthelw / February 9, 2013 3:52 AM PST

I had been very afraid of reinstalling Windows. Now I've done it twice, once on a desktop running XP and a laptop running Windows 7. It is time consuming to reinstall everything, and some drivers, especially, are tricky (Never did get the webcam up and running again). However, the performance difference is remarkable.

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Windows slows down

Hi All
I have had 4 PC's over the years. And it seems they all slowed down in about a year of use. And I did all the house cleaning, defrag, clean up ect.
What I did after awhile is fork out a couple of hundred for a Windows CD and once a year I would wipe the hard drive clean and reinstall windows. This cleaned out any viruses that got through and all the cludder from the viruse updates. And my speed was back to normal.
I hate slow computers.
So when I got a few extra bucks I bought an iMac.I have had it for seven years now and have not noticed any slow down. Or viruses. There is no need to defrag and do that clean up stuff. It takes care of that stuff on it's own.

But no one could sell me an adapter to hook to my HD big screen tv.So I got another used PC fron a computer store.
Right away I noticed the slower speed and wasn't happy with the picture it gave me. It didn't have a HD output.
So on to ebay and I found a mini dvi to HDMI adapter for 20 bucks for the Mac. Wow what a picture it gave me.

My iMac came with 1 GB of ram and I wanted to drop a whole $19.95 for the new Mountain Lion OS. But it needs 2 GB of ram to operate. So I installed 4 GB and now going on line is almost instant. Can you tell I am a apple fan. No more slow PC's for me.
This is the only whey I now of keeping a computer up to speed with out all the hassle.

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When I get slow pcs I do the following

1: I check the users profile sizes, if they are over 1GB they will slow your PC when loading the profile
Check content stored on the desk top, this adds to your profile size
If you have a lot of photos, docs or videos stored in the default location these add to your user profile size
Relocate these folders buy going to the actual folder & right click & go to properties & select location & use this to set a new location for the folders most applications will follow the move & work as per normal

2: Check How much RAM is in your PC versus how much it is using at Idle, then check what the maximum load is

3: Download an application like cleanup 4.0 to clear your temp files etc, CCleaner is good but can cause issues if you are not careful

4: Update your Antivirus application to the latest version & scan, most AV creators have finally realised you want speed & security & have lightened the load caused by the AV application.

5: Download & run Malwarebytes full scan to check for possible rootkits & malware

6: Use an application like Whatinstartup to check for excess applications loading at boot, reduce what you can there, this will speed up boot & reduce what your machine is running at idle

7: Run check disk otherwise known as error checking in Win7 to correct any file storage issues
Right click C: drive, click properties, click tools, click Check now, ensure both options are selected in the dialogue then ok, you will be advised error checking cannot occur as the drive in use & will offer to schedule a scan at next boot, agree to this & the drive will be checked & file system errors will generally be resolved

8: Install & run Hard Disk Sentinel to check the drive log for faulty or weak sectors, cable or power faults
any faulty sectors suggest you should look at backup options, but does not always mean the end of the drive yet, regular scanning will indicate if the faults are increasing - this is always a best guess scenario as 1 faulty sector may kill the drive, but just a drive may work relatively well with several hundred faults

9: Remove applications you no longer plan on using

10: Defrag the drive

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First steps when Windows slows down significantly

My notebook is used in a room which gets nice and warm (30-35C/ about 90F) in summer, and slows down considerably when hot. Steps to rule out various other causes are:

1/ Shut down, wait a minute, start up. Is any software auto-updating? Is a scheduled scan in progress?

2/ run ProcExp - Process Explorer by Sysinternals (now part of Microsoft) to see whether any process is taking a large percentage of CPU capacity; then open the System Information window to get a quick view of System Commit and Physical memory usage, I/O, Network and Disk activity. In ProcExp, hovering over the process name reveals which services are involved, and in the case of Internet Explorer which open tabs use most CPU.

3/ run Speccy - by Piriform, to check on temperatures of CPU, disk and Mobo.
On the RAM page you will find green indicator squares which show at a glance how much memory is free; the CPU page will show core speed and multiplier - is anything maxing things out?; the Network page shows your link speed - is there any internet traffic at all?

4/ run CCleaner : Tools tab to view and disable Startup items; Registry tab to scan for issues; Cleaner to analyze and remove unnecessary bits.

5/ run either Disk defragmenter or Defraggler by Piriform - on XP and Vista I found that it significantly reduced the amount of disk space in use, and reduced loading time; less so on 7, but still worth a look.

6/ even though you may have plenty of physical RAM, Windows will place some content in the swapfile/ System Commit : as I type, 45% of physical memory is in use, and yet a greater amount resides in the System Commit on the hard disk.

As an aside: found that once a hard disk is approx. 2/3 full Windows starts to compress files; both compressing and decompressing take clock cycles and therefore slows things down. Therefore consider
a/ uninstalling all programs which are no longer used (on each update, previous versions are stored on the hard disk, this space is released when the program is uninstalled), and
b/ move archivable files to an external disk/ thumbdrive (again, previous copies of edited files are kept by the OS, and the photo editing software also keeps go-back copies - hence adjusting a photo increases the amount of storage needed threefold, all of which is released once the file is moved off the computer).

And finally, if the computer remains slow : externally store all files you want to keep, de-activate and uninstall all software, then do a clean install; it takes time, but on a Win7 netbook it sped things up considerably. Whether you'll recoup that time by shorter waiting times? Perhaps, perhaps not, but once you're annoyed enough ... .

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Three things that have always gotten me out of slowdown

1) Add memory
2)Update drivers from the manufacturers
3) Find a better antivirus program

Antivirus programs are notorious for slowing down your system.

I've also completely restored slow computers with new drivers. Windows update is only partially effective at doing this task.

Off-the-shelf computers typically have only the bare minimum amount of memory to run. It's like driving your car on with the fuel gauge on Empty. Adding memory is a cheap fix.

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Its from not imaging

From my experience, if you backup everything on a regular basis, and are careful in what you download or install, you don't have to worry about a lot of this. Because I'm still honestly using an eight year old computer with the same Windows installation, and it runs just fine.

I keep an image of my system and settings partitions no less than every month, and when I even suspect something is happening, I tend to restore a recent backup and it tends to solve any problem quickly and safely.

If people would do things a little more responsibly, from my experience, they don't have to worry about things slowing down after time.

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When system slows down?

I check to see what is starting with windows and take it out of the boot if it isn't really necessary. Actually my Avast Free Anti virus is running all the time, so when I get the report on that from Avast, it usually shows that in the past month it didn't find any viruses or that it might have stopped a virus from getting through. That has not been a big problem for me for years. Every night before I turn off, I turn off all my programs and run CCleaner. That gets rid of all the trash files that have built up during the day. It usually only takes 5 to 20 seconds. After that is done, I turn the system off. My computers uses smart defrag and that program runs continously, so there is never any fragmentation building up in my computer. Occasionally I run Advance System Care, and every few weeks run Eusing Free Registry cleaner. All of these program are free to use, and you just have to download them. It can be a good idea to get rid of programs that you may have used in the past, but don't use now. That is pretty easy to do. My Lenovo Desktop and Laptop with i7 processors are actually running as fast today as the day I started using them several years ago. Best computers that I have ever had. A powerful well running computer is a joy to use, and that is what you should be shooting for. An i7 processor with 8 gig of ram will be every bit as enjoyable in 3 or 4 years as the day that you started using it if you clean it up (electronically) regularly. Getting rid of marginal programs is especially a plus. Sometimes we just keep adding new program to the computer and even though we aren't using them, we don't get rid of them.

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Try Apple

OMG I am just about ready to buy a PC and then I see this. Rarely does my MacBook slow down significantly. If it does, I run a single program to clean it up and go about my work. This poll and answers reminds me how much time I spent over the years doing most of those items in the poll when something happened. I thought maybe the PC had evolved, but maybe not. Add to that, there are so many viruses etc being released to attack PCs that it is no wonder there are problems. I will think about the new PC a little more. True it is less costly and there is software that I cannot run on the Mac, but now I question my decision to buy another PC.

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The new popularity is earning Apple some viruses and malware
by Crash2100 / February 27, 2013 12:25 AM PST
In reply to: Try Apple

I hate to tell the Apple fans this, but the only true reason why Mac's have the fewer viruses and malware is truly because they're the less-popular computers, and the malware writers simply want the stuff to go anywhere they can, all at once. And with their new popularity, the Apple fans are earning themselves some new viruses and malware. Because they were initially to arrogant to even have security software, but now that's suddenly getting to be a more popular thing for their "perfect" computers.

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One problem.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 27, 2013 12:30 AM PST

I can't find a virus for that OS (Mac OS X) and let's be clear what a virus is. Malware can be put on any platform that allows folk to craft code and is open for you to load that app.

Are you suggesting that you are ready for a closed computer with the hood welded shut and no one can write apps for it unless they work for the maker? Example? Xbox, PS3.

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But malware includes viruses?
by Crash2100 / February 27, 2013 10:16 AM PST
In reply to: One problem.

I thought it's interesting to watch the Apple fans get blocked back into a corner, almost like in a cult. First they say absolutely nothing could ever hurt their precious Mac OS. Then, when you see that this has already happened, they start saying things like "it wasn't a virus, it's malware, and that can go anywhere." The funny irony there is that malware includes viruses and more malicious things. Get over it people, there are people to write nasty programs for any OS, and if you get programs from a legitimate source, you shouldn't have to worry about most of it.

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