Very Very Very Slow PC - Hardware Problem??

My PC is EXTREMELY slow and I suspect a hardware problem. Any help would be appreciated...
This is the strangest PC/Windows problem I have ever seen. I hope that someone might steer me in the right direction.
My system:
Gateway SX2802-03
Intel Core 2 Quad
6GB ram
1 TB HDD (Western Digital Caviar Green-WD10EADS-00M2B0)
Windows 7 Ultimate
My Problem:
At times, the PC runs EXTREMELY slow when a Windows action is requested. For instance:
1. Opening Windows explorer will take 2 minutes from click until it is open and ready for use. During the wait time the little 'wait' icon just spins. During the two minutes, parts of Explorer gradually appear. It's like slow motion.
2. Boot-up of Windows 7 may take 10 minutes and just as long to shut-down.
3. Opening WMP takes about a minute from the time I double-click on a video to play. Once started the video plays fine, except if you request Windows to do any other task, like open IE, then the video also goes into slow motion while IE is loading.
I could go on and on but simply put, the PC, with Windows 7, runs ULTRA slow whenever I open an application. Applications run from CDrom run just fine. One other note...when in 'slow motion' the HDD activity indicator light pretty much stays solid ON. During normal speed operation, like playing a video, it blinks off and on periodically.
Actions I have taken:
1. Ran 'memtest86' from CDrom. Ran overnight with NO errors.
2. Ran Western Digital HDD diagnostic. Both Quick test and Extended test (3 hours) show NO errors.
3. Deleted ALL partitions from HDD. Did basic format (Format c). Installed Windows 7 from scratch and did not connect to Internet. This action should eliminate ANY probability of a virus or malware. The install from CDrom went about normally as data was loaded from the CDrom but as Windows started to initialize it took much longer than 'normal' (about 45 minutes). With the new install the same ULTRA slow problem exists.
4. Repeated step 3 a second time with the same results!
I'm 'slow motion' stumped! Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated? If I have posted this in the wrong category please tell me where to go....

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(NT) Are you running Win 7 - 32bit or 64bit ?
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VAPCMD answer...


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Try turning off BitLocker
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samkh answer....

BitLocker is off and has never been turned on since Windows 7 Ultimate install

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A machine

with 6GB usually comes factory loaded with 64bit W7 so you must have erased it and installed 32bit Ultimate. !!! Anyhow, try removing 1 stick each of 2GB and 1GB DRAM and make sure the remainder are in slots recommended when there are 2 sticks only.

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"you must have erased it and installed 32bit Ultimate"
Yes, that is correct.
I will remove 1 stick each of 2gb and 1gb DRAM and get back to you with the results

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4gb max for 32-bit

32-bit OS works best with only 4gb installed. Depending on your PC, uinstall to what best serves that purposes. I relaized that answre is already give, you'll find it will acknowldge the 4Gb but actually use less than that amount. I hope that settles it. Also, if you haven't already be sure all dribers are installed as best as possible as possible to complete the full install in the PC as the day it came from day-1. If you have access to the 64-bit version, you can use the full 6Gb w/o ram issues.

tada ----Willy Happy

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samkh and willy,
Thanks for the suggestions.
The pc had the following ram config:
Slot 1 - 2Gb
Slot 2 - 1Gb
Slot 3 - 2Gb
Slot 4 - 1Gb
I understand from the Gateway site that this is the correct factory setup.
I removed the dimms from Slots 3 and 4 and restarted the computer with a total of 3Gb of ram.
The performance was the same. Whenever I access the hdd it is extremely slow. It takes, for instance, 1 minute to open WMP to play a video. It took 20 seconds just to open the Recycle bin! To boot the computer takes about 10 minutes!
So, removing the ram did not make any difference in my slow problem.

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Check your manual ...I'm thinking you should have

a 2GB DIMM in slot 1 and a 2GB DIMM in slot 3...and when your system boots should show something like "128bit Operation" or Dual Channel Operation.

Give it a try and post back.


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Now have 2Gb in Slot 1 and 2Gb in Slot 3. System Information in Win 7 shows 4Gb installed.
Symptoms of problem did not change.....

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OK... and does it show 128bit or dual channel operation

during bootup ?


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Just a test
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Answer to Bob b

Bob B,
Thanks for your suggestions.
I took it a little further. I did the following:
1. Replaced full 6Gb of ram in slots where the were originally.
2. Full format of hdd
3. Installed Win 7 Home Premium x64 from DVD
4. Installed Intel Chipset drivers from Gateway
5. Installed SATA drivers from Gateway
After all of this the extreme slow problem still exists. Not all the time, but so often the computer is useless. It may take 2 minutes just to open windows explorer when in 'slow mode'. All the time, the hdd activity lite is lit.
I also reran Western Digital's Data Lifeguard Diagnostics v5.19 from CDrom. Ran Quick test with no errors (took 3 1/2 minutes). I have run the extended test before with no errors (3 hours).
Since this problem seems, to me, to point to a hdd hardware problem, does anyone know of a different or better hdd diagnostic.
Thanks all....

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2 more ideas.

This chipset appears to use the INTEL RST app. It may help.

How long has it been since the CPU heatsink compound was changed? By doing that we assure ourselves it's on proper and clean.

PS. We have 2 similar machines in the house. HP's d4999t and d5000.

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Swapping parts.
This is where the PC shop has an advantage.
If they suspected a HD problem they would just reach up on the shelf and grab a spare.
Pop it into the machine and test.
Most home users don't have that luxury.

Something to check.
If I use device manager and look at my sata ports I see they are set to use DMA.

W7 has a basic benchmark tool called "Windows experience index"
Start>control panel>performance information and tools.
Might be worth a shot just to see what it has to say.

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Many possible issues.

For one we have THAT DRIVE.

I'm not going to write in depth about it.

Next we have Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit. It's an odd choice as well as why no mention is made about drivers. Even the Intel RST app was not listed.

While I'd guess it could be that HDD, the fact it's 7 Ultimate and how many times we've gone over the drivers too many times with owners using Microsoft's supplied drivers makes you wonder how much longer everyone will put up with this issue.

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I guess I don't understand the driver 'problem'.
I checked the WD site for my hdd drive and they do not supply a driver for it. I checked Microsoft and they say that the driver for my wd hdd (sata caviar green) is included in Windows 7.
What am I missing here?

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Did not write about driver for the HDD.

I linked to a discussion (one of thousands) about that drive. No need to do anything but the tests they did.

I noted an APP, not a driver. Some forget this app and lose out on many fronts. Some write back it's for RAID and that's a sure sign they did not do the homework.

Finally we have those folk that are new to Windows and are only caught by surprise that we have to install drivers. That's the problem I noted. As the users have changed, Microsoft issues an OS that thinks that everyone is a PC Guru.

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We have yet to tackle software issues.

As we worked the similar issue at 7723-6122_102-510824.html we found software conflicts.

What I've discovered is some folk are very slow to remove such items. I can't figure out why.

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Sorry to bug you, but I just don't understand what you are trying to tell me about drivers and the like, above. Is there something there that could cause my ultra slow Windows 7 problem?
As I mentioned, WD has no drivers for my drive. Microsoft says that the necessary drivers are in Windows. Is this true or am I missing something?
Thanks for your patience....

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Yes you are.

Right there where you wrote "Microsoft says that the necessary drivers are in Windows." is a problem.

I can wait for you to learn this first hand there this is untrue.

As to the WD HDD I can only wait for you to read my first supplied link where the HDD owner had to discover what was amiss with their drive. It appears you need time for all this to sink in.

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1. You say that it is 'untrue' that "Microsoft says that the necessary drivers are in Windows." OK, if that is so, where do I get the drivers for my WD sata caviar green drive?
2. Concerning the link: I have read all 8 postings, 5 times. I am probably pretty thick but I don't see anything in that thread that applies to my situation (it seems to deal mostly with OP's test results and a bad sector on his WD drive). Could you PLEASE tell me exactly what it is you are waiting to 'sink in'?
Thank you...

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In short.

1. At no time did I suggest there are drivers for the HDD. I linked to a discussion about the drive and its issues. Also in that discussion was how they tested the HDD.

I'm unsure why you are asking again about this.

2. I'm waiting because many folk need time to get the concepts down or to read it again or "other." I can't guess why you are delaying this.

Back to drivers and apps. We know that the microsoft drivers are good enough to run the machine but usually with sub-optimum results. Your discussion is typical of this issue with a few twists. The HDD being one of them.

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pc hardware problem

Use the general diagnosis table below as a guide to finding the problem component. We have separate diagnostic pages for each component of the PC.
kindly check this site

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pc hardware problem(try this)

1Before you start this initial functionality test, UNPLUG YOUR COMPUTER and the other attached devices. Make sure NO ELECTRICITY is coming into your system. On a positive side, oftentimes an unplugged system is the root of all the dysfunction. Best practices in computer repair demands that you start with the most obvious, thus the simplest, problems. This saves time and expense.By doing this you may discover the cause right off the bat. Now, how did it get unplugged? I'm afraid I can't help you with that one! By the way, ALWAYS complete Step 2 before plugging the computer in, if you discover this is the issue.2As weird as it sounds, inspect and SMELL YOUR COMPUTER BOX. If it smells like burning metal or plastic, or something looks melted or darkened, go no further. Do not attempt to start your system as there may be a fire hazard inside of it. Do the same with your monitor.3Check to see if your computer components are CONNECTED CORRECTLY. Again, start simple. You never know when someone has accidentally and inadvertently moved a wire. If you have your computer's instruction booklet (you did keep that, didn't you?), get it out now. Make sure even small things, like your mouse, are correctly installed. Yes, something small like that could hang your system.4Assuming all parts are correctly plugged in, and there is no smell of burning, now PLUG YOUR COMPUTER INTO AN ELECTRICAL SOURCE. Again, do not do this if you suspect something is burning.5Before you start your computer, please get ready to listen for sounds. Your computer technician may ask you about the nature of any sounds at startup. Get a small piece of paper and a pen - be prepared to write down a description of sounds. Now, START YOUR COMPUTER.6WRITE DOWN SOUNDS. I know that seems weird, but use such words as "whirring" and "scratching" or "high pitched," whatever describes the sound best.7TURN OFF THE COMPUTER at the first detection of a burning smell, or of a high pitched sound that irritates your ears. If you notice one of these things, shut the computer down, unplug it and call your technician. If this is the case, you will not be able to repair this problem.8If your computer boots normally and there are no strange sounds, your system may not have major hardware issues. Over time, however, LISTEN to make sure the SYSTEM FAN COMES ON. As the computer heats up this should kick in. A burned out fan can age a system rapidly. Run a large program, such as a web browser. If the fan makes strange sounds, shut your computer down immediately.If the fan does not come on after about ten minutes, it may not be functional.If your hardware starts failing over time, be prepared to tell the technician about this fact.9LISTEN for any kind of SOUNDS as the DISK DRIVE LIGHT flashes. There should be a "normal" hum as the disk drive spins and searches for data. Again, if you hear a strange sound, shut your computer immediately down (if necessary, disconnect power).10MAKE A LIST of any HARDWARE CHANGES you made in the last month or two. Your technician may want to know about anything you added.11If everything is working properly, consider having a technician do a "once-over" check and a CLEANING OF THE CASE. Sometimes burning smells come from dust inside your box. You should get a qualified computer technician to inspect your computer once a year or so.12If you are still having problems, CALL YOUR TECHNICIAN and make sure you have a list of sounds, computer changes, and your computer model and specifications available. Be able to describe what is going on. Any information on sounds, changes and hardware that you can give that person will be helpful.13Keep your TECHNICIAN'S PHONE NUMBER on your computer. Use a sticker on the side. On that sticker make sure you describe your computer's model number, manufacturer's name, what operating system you use, and how much memory is in your computer.Read more: How to Diagnose General Computer Hardware Problems.

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Problem Update!

For reference...below, I refer to my 'slowness' problem as a 'matrix' problem, because it exhibits itself very similar to when everything goes into slow motion, as in the movie 'Matrix'.

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You've found a good reason.

"which does not find any errors on my hard drive"

That's good but all these posts and it looks to be that you never installed the Intel RST (google finds in it fast) for a test run. Seems you are close but the HDD may be the cause. I've seen folk take months to install the Intel app or swap out a wonky drive.

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I just fixed this same problem on my own, after weeks of dealing with Best Buy's "Black Tie Home Premium Protection Plan" (wasted money!). The only way I was able to solve it was to totally System Restore to the date of purchase, erasing EVERY program on my computer, as if I had just taken my computer out of the box. It took me less time to restore the computer with the latest updates and programs than it did to try to problem solve! Yes, I did lose some valuable documents and photos that I copied prior to erasing my computer and starting from the beginning. However, I have a NEW, WORKING computer and no lingering frustration 2 days later.

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32 bits

its because 32 bits ca support up to 4gb RAM meanwhile 64bit up to 16TB RAM

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