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PC started to lag dramatically

Tigro

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Jun 16, 2009
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So I'm using Windows 7 on my PC and since quite some time ago, it's slowed down tremendously. Not only does it boot a good few minutes but also is really laggy after that - Firefox tends to white out with as little as two tabs opened, Spotify often freezes for some 30 seconds after launching, many simple applications generally. It does not happen every single time but still, it does happen way too often to use the machine truly comfortably.

What's most curious, though, is the fact that CPU usage at those moments stays in 15-30% range while memory usage is 65% tops. When looking at the processes, one can see that the computer is pretty much idling. What can be the culprit here? The computer is almost 6 year old so maybe it's HDD? Is there any way to tell?
 

B_S

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Over time Windows use means a lot of small programs and stuff is installed on the PC. If programs are running in the background this can impact performance. Especially at system startup, since that's when those are loaded.

Usually recommended is to sweep the PC for virus/malware.

Internet browsers can be the same way in that you install lots aff addon applications/browser extensions. These can make the browser slower.

Another thing that can happen with PC's over time is that they collect dust inside the case, which increases temperature and can make the PC throttle down to keep temps low, thus decreasing performance.

Another possiblity could be that the system is the power management profile. Make sure it's on high performance.

But, it might be that the HDD is slow as you said. Starting programs and windows is when the HDD is most used. And windows shows that your CPU and RAM is not the bottleneck. So it makes sense that the HDD could be the problem.
 

Tigro

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Oh yes, I forgot to mention a few things which you addressed:

- PC was scanned both with Norton and Malwarebytes, nothing apart from tracking cookies was found
- I haven't installed any Firefox extensions since I-don't-know-when, one or two maybe. Same problem happens when opening Chrome, which I sometimes do and it's a clean install so I'd rather rule this out as a problem
- I regularly clean my PC, the fans in the case and so on.
- Only one power management profile on my PC which is high performance

Installing lots of bloatware doesn't seem to come into account either - I don't install too much unnecesary stuff and if anything, it certainly happened a lot less frequently in the last years since as I said, the PC is 6 year old so most of the software was installed a lot earlier anyway.

How can I check if HDD is the problem? What diagnostics can I perform to have anything more than a guess?
 

B_S

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I'll try to find some program for that.

Could you also post the rest of the system specs? Like how much RAM, what CPU and so on. Sometimes older machines might have very limted RAM. Like my dad had like 1-2gB or so on his laptop. Limited RAM can be a bottleneck.

Of course, over the years the requirements for running ordinary office programs will increase, as it is adapted to more modern hardware. Apart from that 6 years I think is a pretty long time for a PC to function at all. My laptops battery just recently stopped taking a full load. It's about 5-6 years as well. And over time the HDD will degrade.

Btw do you regularly run "defragmentation"?

Any slow PC gets really laggy if there's some slightly cpu intensive program running like a virus scanner. And A virus scanner would also be accessing the HDD, so then it would take longer to open a program from the HDD. Slow startup is pretty common with older PC's even having just a few programs on autostart, like a virus canner for example. I think there is an option to "delay" the start of such startup programs. To allow the rest of the system files to load before starting up.
 

B_S

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Another thing that sometimes helps is to reinstall window/reformat HDD. That will clear out any unnecessary file and such. IF you don't mind spending time first backup up your files and then looking up all the right drivers, reinstalling programs etc.
 

Tigro

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Sure, the specs are:
MoBo: MSI P35 Neo-F
CPU: Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5200 @ 3.9GHz & 1.3v BOX
RAM: A-Data DDR2 2x2048MB Extreme Edition VITESTA CL4
GPU: Gigabyte Radeon HD4850 Zalman 512MB
HDD: Samsung SpinPoint F1 HD753LJ 750GB 32MB cache
Power: Pentagram Silent Force PSF 460-P12S 460W
Case: NZXT Apollo Red

I regularly defragment, have the latest drivers for everything and all that jazz. I know 6 years is a lot for a PC (even more so for the one like which certainly wasn't some splurge high-end device even when I was buying it), just wanted to know if I could pinpoint the problem and - in case it's not HDD's fault - do something about it to comfortably work before I buy a new machine (which will happen in the next month or two anyway).

OK, will read on performing diagnistics with HDTune and see what it tells, thanks :)
 

B_S

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Well those system spec's look pretty good. Just wasn't sure at all what type of hardware you had.

Perhaps it could instead be your internet connection?
 

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