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Windows 7 always slow after idle

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My computer has some slowness issue that I can't figure out.  It happens everyday, and I can't really pinpoint what causes it or when exactly it happens.


* Motherboard: MSI 7370 PC ProMSI Z370 PC Pro
* RAM: 32 GB DDR4
* Processor: Intel i5-8600K (not overclocked)
* Windows 7 Pro
* Dual Graphics cards: MSI GeForce GT 710 & MSI GeForce GT 730 - using the same driver
* Three monitors - All the same: Dell S2415H (one connected via VGA, the other two via HDMI)
Now, Intel's 8th gen processors do not "support" Windows 7, therefore the onboard graphics do not work at all because there is no driver available, so I have to use the two graphics cards.  However, Windows 7 runs just fine otherwise.

Also, I am using an internal SSD drive to accelerate my C drive (HDD) with Intel Rapid Storage Technology.

Thunderbird and Waterfox files, profiles and applications are kept on an internal NVM disk - as fast as you can possibly get.

The slowness happens, from what I can tell, after I leave my screensaver on overnight - so I'm suspecting it is on account of system idling.  Slowness consists of certain programs not reacting instantly - there are lags when I type, lags when I click the mouse, if I run the Nox Android Emulator, it is slow to react and sometimes freezes for a second or two before reacting.

I can fix it all by rebooting.  Sometimes if I close programs (doesn't matter which ones), one of them will "release" the lag and everything will go back to normal speeds.

I've defragmented everything.  The machine is not consuming much RAM or CPU - the meters never run past half the total available amount.  Crystal Disk Info reports a "good" health status for all my disks.

The only thing left for me to do is a memtest.

Any other clues here?

What AV are you using?
Are all drivers up to date (preferrably WHQL revisions)?

What screensaver are you using?

For AV, I'm just using Windows Security Essentials.  Our network is behind a fancy high-end firewall, so I've never needed anything more.  Scans with Malwarebytes produce no results and the machine is clean.  Besides that, the symptoms are not those of a virus.

For screensaver, I let DisplayFusion "manage" my screensavers, so I use ZZstarwars on monitor 1 and the other two are blank (just black).

Use Process Explorer from SysInternals to have a better idea about which application is causing the problem. It is free to use and no developer/prosumer should be without it.

Run it (and leave it's window open) before the screen saver kicks in. When you disable the screen saver, you can immediately read the content of the Process Explorer window (without going through the usual sluggishness).

From your description I get the impression that the caches created during normal use in your setup are either offloaded to a slow disk drive in your system and reloaded when your system stops idling, or that they are being rebuild after your system stops idling.

* Run:   CHKDSK <drive letter>: /F   (command-line is more thorough than the GUI version) on each drive/partition you have in this system. The GUI version in Windows often reports that a drive check is not needed, but when you go ahead anyway, it does find errors.
* If you have the time, use MHDD to get a really up-close view which section(s) of your spinning drive is getting slow. This is a hard core tool that can do way more than check your drives, use with caution. All the time this check is running, the PC is out of commission. And depending on the size of the drive this can take several hours. 
Drive I/O issues should be reduced and slowness would become explainable after you have done both.

Other general advice:
SpoilerDo you clean the insides of your computer regularly? Every 6 months to 1 year is advisable. Dust builds up quick if your computer is on the floor and/or in a draft and/or close by a walkway with lots of traffic and/or carpeted floor and/or pets. You would be amazed how much dust there is to blow out (with a can of compressed air), even after 6 months. Don't forget the power supply during the blow-out. A computer without dust remains cooler in normal operation, hence functions better and lasts you longer in my experience. Just make sure you check or re-seat cables (on both ends!!) after you are done.

Get RAM in better shape by taking the module out. Only do that when the computer is completely turned off. Never touch the gold plated ends from the RAM with your fingers. Instead, fold a blank piece of standard printing paper, fold it between your fingers and move the folded paper gently over the gold plated ends. Paper is very slightly abrasive and you'll quickly see a lot of black gunk on the paper and a (much) brighter shine on the gold plated ends. Make sure the RAM slot is clean as well and put the RAM back in. Repeat for every RAM module in your system. When done, you have cleaned and re-seated your RAM.

This is all preventative maintenance. Nothing more, nothing less. I keep this regimen very strictly and it does make computer last. The oldest one, still in active duty (specialized automated Linux backup solution that includes creating compressed archives) is a Pentium 4 3GHz computer, which I maintain for 14 years like this. It is older, but the previous admin didn't keep records, so I don't know how much older it actually is. Still, it operates just fine, doesn't get hot and generated backups test OK too. 

Even though most computers in my care are 5 years or older, no-one complains about machines being slow. Good quality power supplies, keeping machines clean, re-seating cables once in a while, it does make a difference. Not that this is helping you right now, but it is something to keep in mind if you want to use your computing gear for a long time in the best of its abilities.



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