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Author Topic: Slowed Down My PC  (Read 5591 times)
bob99
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« on: April 25, 2008, 01:36:25 PM »


Somehow or another I happened across the SC page a week or so ago and viewed the demo.  I liked what I saw and downloaded a copy to try.
I loaded it two days ago and started trying it with a couple of different programs I would like to get screen shots of.  After a while of that I closed down SC and started doing other work.  I noticed that my other programs were running slower.  I re-booted to see if that would help but it didn't.  Each program I tried loaded slower and ran slower.  Outlook, Adobe, Word, etc.  Toolbars are opening slower, searches taking longer, etc.  And when I would shut down in hibernate mode it even took longer.
So I un-installed SC using SC's un-install to see if I could get everthing back to speed.  No luck.  Everything is still running noticeably slower.  I am even hearing some distortion out of the speaker at times.  Hibernate is now taking over a minute to shut down and longer to start-up than when it was pre-SC.  This is a laptop running XP Pro.
I really like the SC program and would like to donate and continue to use it.  Any suggestions on what could have caused this?  And how I can get things back to the way they were?   Thanks.
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mouser
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« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2008, 09:06:36 PM »

It can't be Screenshot Captor that is causing this problem.  The program simply does not install any system files or services or anything that could possibly do it.

I don't doubt that you are having the problem but it can't be related to Screenshot Captor.

See if you can't figure out if there is a single process causing the slowdown (hit ctrl+alt+delete and sort the Processes list by the CPU column and see if you spot something using up a good chunk of the cpu).

It could also be your antivirus or firewall, since these are programs that are always running and tend to auto-update and so problems can start spontaneously.

One thing you could try if you suspect its a firewall or antivirus issue would be to disconnect from the internet and uninstall your antivirus and firewall, then see if the speed problem is fixed, and then try installing different ones.

Also make sure you allow your laptop plenty of time to start up before you start expecting it to behave at top speed -- windows needs some initial time to load everything into memory, etc.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2008, 09:08:07 PM by mouser » Logged
bob99
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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2008, 02:24:38 PM »


Thanks for responding.  I've been involved in other things and not been able to get back to you sooner.
I wasn't sure if there may have been anything added or tweaked to assist in creating the captures.  I've heard of, & had it happen to me before, of slight conflicts between different programs when a new one is installed.  Not intended... just happens.

I checked the system performance as you mentioned (have it running now), and I my CPU usage isn't bad.  So "slowed my pc down" maybe isn't the best description?  But my programs are taking a LOT longer to load and at times process.  Even though the cpu usage never indicates over about 53%.  In one instance I tried printing a pdf document and after about 10 minutes of waiting for it to print, just cancelled it out. I was monitoring it through the task manager and it would keep toggling between no response and running.  My printer operates fine.  I had printed just before the the pdf and just after.  And the pdf is one I've printed before.

Does that make any sense, the cpu usage is normally low to a max of just over 50% and it is taking longer and longer for programs to load?
I need to try and figure out what's happeneing.  Seems like this thing is slowing more and more every day.  At times it is even slow to switch between 3 open programs/windows.

Anyway, I know this isn't the place/forum to try and diagnose the problem with my machine.  Just that the problems started after loading SC and I wanted to find out if it may have made any changes to any settings.  Ends up it is just coincidence.  If there is another site you can suggest that may help me sort this out it will be greatly appreciated.  Once I get this back up to speed I'll definitely be using SC.

Thanks!
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f0dder
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« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2008, 06:02:56 PM »

On a normal system, CPU usage of 50% is a lot - especially if it's a dualcore, since that means an entire core is maxed out. Normal idle CPU usage, even on a machine with a lot of background apps running, generally shouldn't hit more than 5% or so.

Is there any single process using up all those CPU cycles?
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bob99
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« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2008, 06:24:31 AM »

F0dder,

Thanks for the info.  It is a dual core.  I ran sysinternals Process Explorer but don't see anything hogging the CPU on a continuous basis.  At times I'm seeing interrupts of some type that will get up to 20 & 30% for a short while.  Not sure how to determine what they are.  And occasionally deferred procedure calls.  Any way of determining what the hardware interrupts are, if it is the same one every time, etc.  I AM running Norton IS 2008.  2006 was a pain and caused some problems but 2008 has been running fine since I installed it over a month ago.  I've already turned off auto-update to make sure it wasn't a conflict.

Thanks again!
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f0dder
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« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2008, 07:21:43 AM »

Hm... so you're saying that CPU usage is continuously at 50%, but you don't see any single process item in Process Explorer hogging the CPU? O_o .

OK, this is a very wild guess - but try looking here. Sorry for giving a google link, but it's a lot faster than me trying to explain the issue. That could give you similar symptoms (but so could a lot of other things).
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bob99
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« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2008, 10:33:56 AM »


It's not continuously at 50% but while looking at the sysinternals graph I'm getting wide peaks at 40-50% for periods of time.  Then it will drop back to 0-10% range for a while with just occasional spikes.  Then again get 40-50% periods for awhile and back down.

The PIO/DMA settings articles you sent me to may be it.
Here's what I show...

Primary IDE
Device 0
Device type: Auto Detection (grayed out)
Xfer mode: DMA if avail.
Current xfer mode: PIO Mode

Device 1
Device type: Auto Detection
Xfer mode: DMA if avail.
Current xfer mode: Not avail

Secondary IDE
Device 0
Device type: Auto Detection (grayed out)
Xfer mode: DMA if avail.
Current xfer mode: Ultra DMA Mode2

Device 1
Device type: Auto Detection
Xfer mode: DMA if avail.
Current xfer mode: Not avail

Does this look like the problem to you?

Thx.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2008, 01:50:26 PM »

What is attached to your Primary IDE interface? Presumably a hard disc - if it is running in PIO mode you have a problem somewhere. Do you know what kind of drive is installed (make and model) ? If you don't know try running SIW to find out.

I presume your Secondary IDE interface has a CD or DVD drive attached - in which case DMA Mode 2 is probably correct.

This article may help: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/817472

Try the workaround before you try the hotfixes. This has happened on my system before now and everything grinds to a halt. Using the workaround will help solve the problem.

You may also want to check your hard disc hasn't got bad sectors before that though. Disc errors are a common cause for IDE drives reverting to PIO mode.

Go to START > RUN > CMD.EXE

and for each of your hard drive partitions run: CHKDSK C: /X /R /V

each time replace C: with the drive letter.

For drive C: (and possibly others) it won't run because Windows can't release the drive while it is up and running. When prompted allow it to do a scan on next reboot.

When you have checked all the other drives reboot your system and allow the locked drives to be scanned too.

This check will do a complete surface scan of your hard discs (an if you have a large drive it will take some time). It will help identify any bad sectors on your hard discs and map them out so they won't be used in future. If files are currently using bad sectors it will attemt to recover the files and move them somewhere else. If it can't do that the files are salvaged into the root folder of the drive and given a name something like ******.CHK. Depending on what files are damaged it may account for why Windows isn't working properly and you may have to do a repair install of Windows to replace damaged system files.

Even though it takes a long time you may want to sit and watch as the boot time scans are done so you can see which if any files are having problems. Have a bit of paper hand to note them down.

If you need any more help post back again with what happened.

Good luck.
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f0dder
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« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2008, 05:44:14 PM »

Seems like I was right wrt. "xp reverts PIO".

Definitely time to get a S.M.A.R.T monitor and check the "reallocated sectors" count, and if nonzero - BACKUP and replace the drive. You will definitely want to hack the drive back into DMA mode before backing up, though, otherwise it'll take an eternity (it will most likely revert to PIO sometime during the backup because of bad sectors, but hopefully not until midway or later).

Now, reverting can happen for other reasons than bad sectors, but since you only have a single drive on your primary channel, bad sectors sound likely Sad
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bob99
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« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2008, 08:07:33 AM »

f0dder & Carol,

Thanks to both for your tips & suggestions.  Looks like I'm back up to speed.  It was the PIO revert.
It took a while to get back to this point since backing up my data files and the chkdsk both took a reeeaal long time at the slower speed.  Close to 7 hrs total for the two.   Only 23 GB of backup on the data partition and running chkdsk on the 35 GB program partition.  Chkdsk did not indicate any bad sectors.

Now if it happens again I need to think back to what may have caused it.  In my case it may have been my CD/DVD.  I remember a little while back it did seem to be struggling while burning a CD.  In one of the tips you referred me it mentions reverting to PIO can be caused by updating the HD driver or repeated timeouts on a CD/DVD burner.  Since I haven't updated my HD drivers it only leaves the CD/DVD, I hope.

I haven't applied any of the Hotfixes yet, just did the driver uninstall for the primary IDE and let it re-install.  One place I read said XP SP3 will include this fix.  Since SP3 only came out y'day I'll wait a little while before I update.  Want to make sure SP3 fixes don't break something else.

I noticed there have been quite a few reads on this post.  If anyone is experiencing the same problems give f0dder & Carol's recommendations a try.  Sure beats re-formatting and re-installing everything.

And so there is no confusion, let me repeat something I said in an earlier post.  Screenshot Captor didn't cause the problem!  It ended up just being a coincidence that the slowdown started at the same time I installed it.  I'll be re-installing it and sending in a donation.  The short time I used it, it looks to be a fantastic program and will be a big help for the needs I have in mind.

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f0dder
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« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2008, 08:11:08 AM »

Very nice that your problems went away, and you didn't seem to have harddrive problems after all!

And yep, "screenshot captor shouldn't cause DMA problems" - that might even be a candid 'customer review' tagline for it Wink
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2008, 08:29:29 AM »

Glad its sorted.

FWIW the PIO revert is usually drive specific - I have two DVD+-RW on one IDE channel and when encountering bad blocks on discs it is not uncommon for one of the drives to revert to PIO but not the other. I think it unlikely that your optical drive would cause your hard disk to change mode.
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f0dder
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« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2008, 08:33:19 AM »

I think it unlikely that your optical drive would cause your hard disk to change mode.
It can happen, but should only happen if they're on the same channel...
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2008, 08:34:14 AM »

It shouldn't happen with ATA100 cables!
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f0dder
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« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2008, 08:37:58 AM »

It shouldn't happen with ATA100 cables!
Actually, if you have drives on the same interface (cable), it still can - windows will see, for instance, the CRC errors from a scratched DVD, and doesn't distinguish them from a bad cable.... and then it drops the the DMA to PIO for both devices on the cable. OTOH, I've never seen DMA->PIO revert from a bad cable smiley
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2008, 08:58:16 AM »

Not been my experience - the only times I have had ATA drives revert to PIO mode have been from disc errors (eg. scratched DVDs). In every case the PIO mode was only applied to the drive with offending disc - even though there were two drives on the cable. AIUI ATA100 cables should clearly distinguish between drives because they have separate connections to each drive on the ribbon.
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bob99
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« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2008, 09:01:39 AM »

Carol,

I think my brain also reverts to PIO at times so let me ask...
When you say "bad blocks on discs" are you meaning blocks on the CD/DVD disc or hard drive disc?
I've heard people use "disc", "hard disk", "disc drive", etc interchangeably at times.  Do it myself if I'm not careful.
If you are meaning hard disk, could there still have been bad sectors on the hard drive chkdsk didn't report.  And I know bad sectors can pop up at any time.
I need to read up on IDE channels to get an understanding.  I am typically a pc user.  And learn "what is under the hood" as needed or when problems occur.

Thanks again!
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2008, 10:12:43 AM »

If you have run a CHKDSK on your discs with full checking of data and non-data areas (the /R switch) then every block on the hard disc visible to Windows has been checked and any errors will have been fixed unless there is a phyiscal problem with your hard disc and it is generating bad blocks at random, or a problem the controller built into the drive, or a problem with you IDE interface on your mother board!

If you have run CHKDISK C: /R and it comes up clean and your drive is now in DMA mode then I would suggest not worrying too much. Perhaps give it a quick check again in a few days and look in your system logs for any problems. If you don't find any issues put it down to experience - it is just one of those things.

If you find errors cropping up regularly you will need to investigate a bit harder - cross that bridge if/when you come to it.
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