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Author Topic: what's wrong with my PC? (it's often soooo slow)  (Read 5873 times)

brotherS

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what's wrong with my PC? (it's often soooo slow)
« on: September 22, 2010, 10:32:33 AM »
Hi folks,

since a few weeks my PC sometimes behaves weird: programs (and the mouse cursor) freeze for a few seconds, Skype conversations (or youtube videos) come to a screeching (or crackling) halt (they sometimes recover after 20 to 30 seconds). Sometimes Vista even totally freezes. If I want a regular Skype conversation I now have to shut down Chrome before I start Skype. Even typing this is randomly slowed down/paused for a few seconds. Sucks. :(

It's as if the HD can't keep up... and defrag doesn't help. I can't connect the beginning of the problems with any action I took - I didn't install new software or hardware.

I'm curious if you have any ideas...

mouser

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Re: what's wrong with my PC? (it's often soooo slow)
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2010, 10:35:45 AM »
next time it happens, quickly hit ctrl+alt+delete and sort the running processes by CPU usage -- see if it's one program eating up all your cpu.

Gwen7

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Re: what's wrong with my PC? (it's often soooo slow)
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2010, 11:43:38 AM »
install mouser's process tamer app and note what process gets tamed when it cuts in. you can also check its log file for clues.   

you'll have a better idea what to do next once you've identified your resource hog.  
« Last Edit: September 22, 2010, 11:49:58 AM by Gwen7 »

sajman99

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Re: what's wrong with my PC? (it's often soooo slow)
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2010, 12:08:59 PM »
Check Event Viewer or Nirsoft's MyEventViewer for any errors or warnings.

Perhaps do a malware scan to make sure you didn't pick up some baddie. If nothing shows up in MBAM, SAS, etc., then at least you can eliminate that possibility.

f0dder

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Re: what's wrong with my PC? (it's often soooo slow)
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2010, 03:55:24 PM »
Could be bad sectors on your harddrive. Any nasty clunking sounds? (Not that they *have* to be present when a drive is dying).
- carpe noctem

superboyac

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Re: what's wrong with my PC? (it's often soooo slow)
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2010, 04:38:55 PM »
When I've experienced this, it was usually due to some kind of security software that has to constantly monitor your pc.  If you search the forums, I had one issue where everything would pause every 7 seconds or so.  It ended up being some antispyware program that I had recently installed.  i removed it and everything was back to normal.  So I'd check all the security type kind of software installed on your pc.

Curt

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Re: what's wrong with my PC? (it's often soooo slow)
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2010, 04:45:27 PM »
it could also be that some memory 'block' has died, leaving you with maybe half as much memory as you used to have.

("You", being the machine!)

Curt

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Re: what's wrong with my PC? (it's often soooo slow)
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2010, 04:53:05 PM »
The thing that over time has slowed my pc the most, is real-time web protection. (maybe read superboyac's post: http://www.donationc....msg218537#msg218537 ). Today I am using Outpost Security Suite 7 > "Relaxed"-setting, for the web. It has helped a lot on the speed.

f0dder

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Re: what's wrong with my PC? (it's often soooo slow)
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2010, 05:20:55 PM »
it could also be that some memory 'block' has died, leaving you with maybe half as much memory as you used to have.
That would have different symptoms, and most likely result in crashes rather than hangs.
- carpe noctem

brotherS

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Re: what's wrong with my PC? (it's often soooo slow)
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2010, 02:22:07 AM »
Wow, thanks for all the pointers!

No nasty clunking HD sounds, and nothing really bad in the Event Viewer. mouser's comment about CPU usage (when those problems occur CPU usage sometimes seems to be at 100%, sometimes not - I need to monitor this more) reminded me of something I *did* change some time ago: I set my PC's (it's a laptop) energy options from "energy saving" to "balanced" in hope of a better system performance. I now reversed that back to "energy saving", and the PC behaves way more smoothly. Interesting (and a bit strange)... I'll see what will happen next.

Deozaan

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Re: what's wrong with my PC? (it's often soooo slow)
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2010, 03:02:03 AM »
It might be your hard drives being put to sleep after a short time. Windows 7 had it set to about 20 minutes by default on "Balanced" so any time I'd do something that needed a hard drive it would have to spin up again.


brotherS

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Re: what's wrong with my PC? (it's often soooo slow)
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2010, 03:34:43 AM »
It might be your hard drives being put to sleep after a short time. Windows 7 had it set to about 20 minutes by default on "Balanced" so any time I'd do something that needed a hard drive it would have to spin up again.
Indeed, that's set to 20 minutes in both profiles in Vista too! If that options works as it should it shouldn't be a problem, but I can remember at least two times where the problem occured roughly 20 minutes after starting a Skype conversation... I now changed the 20 to 0 (= never), thank you!

mouser

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Re: what's wrong with my PC? (it's often soooo slow)
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2010, 03:40:19 AM »
Quote
It might be your hard drives being put to sleep after a short time.

that's a good guess.

brotherS

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Re: what's wrong with my PC? (it's often soooo slow)
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2010, 03:43:08 AM »
Strange thing about this is that these issues never showed up during the first 2 years after I bought it... weird.  8)

Deozaan

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Re: what's wrong with my PC? (it's often soooo slow)
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2010, 03:45:59 AM »
Maybe it was in a recent Windows update? I've had Windows 7 since about the time it was released and it was only recently that I started encountering problems with my HDDs spinning down, too. Then again, I did just recently format and do a fresh install. . .


Stoic Joker

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Re: what's wrong with my PC? (it's often soooo slow)
« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2010, 06:33:25 AM »
Heat is also an option, how much dust has collected on the heat-sink and power supply?

First things I check when I run across a machine that is slow/lagging but not spiking the processor are heat/dust and file system corruption (run chkdsk /r).

gorodskaja

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Re: what's wrong with my PC? (it's often soooo slow)
« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2010, 08:20:40 AM »
I`m assured that CHKDSK will help, the main thing to check up all system.  ;)

brotherS

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Re: what's wrong with my PC? (it's often soooo slow)
« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2010, 09:25:36 AM »
Maybe it was in a recent Windows update? I've had Windows 7 since about the time it was released and it was only recently that I started encountering problems with my HDDs spinning down, too. Then again, I did just recently format and do a fresh install. . .
Yeah, let's blame some recent Windows update for the time being. (I remembered that I did go through those settings after purchasing this machine, so probably a recent Windows update DID change that.

I'll hunt for other causes should the problem persist (doesn't seem to though - fingers crossed!). Thanks to all you.

f0dder

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Re: what's wrong with my PC? (it's often soooo slow)
« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2010, 01:55:32 PM »
Is there harddisk access when the freezes happen?

When monitoring CPU usage, be sure to show kernel timings. If the lockups have high CPU usage and lots of time spent in kernel-mode and there's disk activity, your disk might be failing. You might want to check if your controllers have reverted from DMA->PIO mode.
- carpe noctem

brotherS

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Re: what's wrong with my PC? (it's often soooo slow)
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2010, 02:49:38 AM »
Is there harddisk access when the freezes happen?

When monitoring CPU usage, be sure to show kernel timings. If the lockups have high CPU usage and lots of time spent in kernel-mode and there's disk activity, your disk might be failing. You might want to check if your controllers have reverted from DMA->PIO mode.
Thanks, I'll ask you how to check that if the problem persists - which it thankfully doesn't seem to. And just to be safe, I'll backup my data more frequently.

Bamse

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Re: what's wrong with my PC? (it's often soooo slow)
« Reply #20 on: September 24, 2010, 07:52:29 AM »
Can you check Windows updates for new hd-controller driver? I have had similar mystery freezes on desktop computer when using MS drivers for troublesome Jmicron crap. Actually I think it was ahci mode vs. MS drivers. Just take a look at changelog ftp://driver.jmicron.com.tw/jmb36x/XP_Vista_Win7/ReleaseNote.txt I am not sure you will see such driver freezes via Task Manager.

J-Mac

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Re: what's wrong with my PC? (it's often soooo slow)
« Reply #21 on: September 30, 2010, 03:33:23 PM »
Better yet, DON’T check Windows Update for any of your hardware drivers! I recommend searching the manufacturers' websites for the latest correct drivers. Windows Update, while a little better than in the past, still lags pretty far behind on 3rd party drivers.

Jim

f0dder

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Re: what's wrong with my PC? (it's often soooo slow)
« Reply #22 on: September 30, 2010, 03:35:25 PM »
Better yet, DON’T check Windows Update for any of your hardware drivers! I recommend searching the manufacturers' websites for the latest correct drivers. Windows Update, while a little better than in the past, still lags pretty far behind on 3rd party drivers.
Personally, I use WU for everything but graphics drivers - don't usually need the latest-and-greatest for other stuff, and WU is convenient :)
- carpe noctem

J-Mac

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Re: what's wrong with my PC? (it's often soooo slow)
« Reply #23 on: September 30, 2010, 03:40:28 PM »
It definitely is more convenient but I have had two instances of getting older drivers - both card readers and didn't hurt any - but I researched it and found a lot of recommendations against it. Techrepublic, Windows Secrets, and even one MS-MVP on the social.answers.microsoft.com forums. Maybe those were shaded against the MS drivers for some reason, but I do know firsthand the pain that can come from a bad driver! (Not a WU one, btw).

Thanks!

Jim