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Author Topic: Windows 7 always slow after idle  (Read 798 times)

BGM

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Windows 7 always slow after idle
« on: June 11, 2019, 09:25 AM »
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.

Stats:
  • 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?

Ath

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Re: Windows 7 always slow after idle
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2019, 01:16 PM »
What AV are you using?
Are all drivers up to date (preferrably WHQL revisions)?

Curt

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Re: Windows 7 always slow after idle
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2019, 02:28 PM »
What screensaver are you using?

BGM

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Re: Windows 7 always slow after idle
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2019, 04:55 PM »
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).

Shades

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Re: Windows 7 always slow after idle
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2019, 07:54 PM »
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:
Spoiler
Do 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.

 

Ath

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Re: Windows 7 always slow after idle
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2019, 01:48 PM »
Besides that, the symptoms are not those of a virus.
Apologies, that's not what I was suggesting.
Most current AV systems are more like heavy duty system-intruders, resulting in unpredictable slowdowns, irregular fan-spinups, cause occasional high disk-activity, and stuff like that, including the symptoms you are describing. The Microsoft offerings with Windows 7 and 10 seem to be the most performance-friendly incarnations in AV-land.

All (hardware-)drivers are up to date (no beta stuff etc.), I presume? (You didn't answer that... :-\)

BGM

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Re: Windows 7 always slow after idle
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2019, 06:45 PM »
Ath - sorry!  No, no beta stuff.  Drivers are as up to date as I can get them.   I think it is something to do with the interaction of the idle process, the processor, and the graphics cards.

When the slowness starts, sometimes I can fix it by closing random applications.  It's as if one of the programs "locks" up the graphics.  Another time or two, I've fixed it by applying nVidia 3D settings to random applications.  But neither of those fixes is consistent, and I can't pinpoint any particular program to be a culprit.  There's something else going on.

I have, indeed cleaned the innards of the machine, not long ago, and have reset the RAM chips.  The motherboard, processor and RAM are all less than one year old at this point.  One of the graphics cards is also a year old or less, the other a year or two older. 

It seems like this is impossible to solve, that's why I've posted here to see if anyone has any ideas.  I can't find anything wrong with the HDDs or SSDs using diagnostics programs.

I never had these issues until I upgraded the motherboard.  I do still need to run the memtest.  But other than the unpredictable slowness, there are no other issues at all.  The only lead I have seems to be related to system idle, and I normally discover it in the morning when I begin to work, bringing my computer out of screensaver mode.

I've been running zzStarwars as the screensaver; I'm going to switch that and see if it helps.  And I'll try adding DisplayFusion and the .scr files to the exculsion list for MSE.

Ath

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Re: Windows 7 always slow after idle
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2019, 01:26 AM »
Did you install Windows 7 anew, or updated the existing installation from your previous hardware setup? That situation is known to sometimes (often?) cause undetermined trouble because of unneeded hardware drivers clashing with useful drivers.

Shades

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Re: Windows 7 always slow after idle
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2019, 01:43 AM »
You upgraded just the motherboard, or you upgraded motherboard and RAM (DDR3 to DDR4 perhaps?). The RAM modules you are using could have timing issues with the new board.

Whenever you buy a new motherboard, you usually get a manual with it that shows the brands and models of RAM modules that are certified to work. If you do not use modules from that list, your mileage will vary. While it should not be a big issue to have different brand/models of RAM, it can be. Errors can be really weird too and/or vague as well.

Also, now I have read some info about your board, disable any overclocking feature (RAM boost) in the BIOS/UEFI and see if that solves the issue. Never had really good or bad experiences with MSI products. More of an ASUS man myself.

How many RAm modules do you use on the mainboard? 1 or 2 modules? Or more? In those cases, you could still try to transplant the RAM in the different slots on the board. Maybe you accidentally put the module(s) in the less optimal set of RAM slots. Motherboards use nowadays different colors for each of the banks.

It might even be a good idea to take the RAM out and write down all the information that is mentioned on them. Most brands/models have a sticker or label that mentions the model number. Most of the time also the timing settings for the RAM modules. You can then apply the recorded timing settings in BIOS/UEFI. While such settings are usually managed by the board itself, it can be helpful to fill in the correct timing settings yourself.

Come to think of it, if you use more than one RAM module, are they all the same model or even brand? Mix-n-matching of RAM from different brands can lead to undesirable results. Sometimes even different models from the same brand are problematic.

In the case of multiple RAM modules, you might even have run with only one for a bit, just see if the problem still occurs. The new board might not be able the handle both modules at the same time, but separately each module might work fine. Something that can take quite some trial-and-error, before finding the working combo.

 

BGM

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Re: Windows 7 always slow after idle
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2019, 09:32 PM »
I haven't totally figured this out yet, but I swapped screensavers so that I was using anything other than the zzStarwars one (my favourite) and I haven't had the hangups for awhile. 

Another thing I noticed was my disk grinding alot with RAM consumed by ClipX (64bit) and NVDisplay.Container.exe  (nvidia's tray app).  I killed nvdisplay; of course, it restarts itself, but is better the next run.  For ClipX, I uninstalled the 64bit version and installed the 32 bit version and that seems to have calmed that one.  They were both running up to around 800MB RAM each. 

The only other big culprit for RAM consumption is Waterfox (runs up to 2GB sometimes), but you know how that goes.

If I figure out anything else, I will post it in case someone else comes a-looking for answers.