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Last post Author Topic: Windows 7 always slow after idle  (Read 1658 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.

Cloq

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Re: Windows 7 always slow after idle
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2019, 07:04 PM »
Have tried looking into your power settings options?

Disable HD sleep (Turn off HD after x minutes.. set to 0)
Set link state power management to off

Wouldn't hurt to see if there is a bios upgrade to your MB. From experience, I have had several quirky (USB issues, memory compatibility, AHCI) things magically fixed after doing a bios update.

https://www.msi.com/...370-PC-PRO#down-bios

BGM

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Re: Windows 7 always slow after idle
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2019, 09:42 PM »
I think it has to do with RamBox.  Or at least Rambox seems to trigger it.  Sometimes I have to close it and then look for some other not-often-used application to exit out of, and the combination will sometimes free up the lag.  I've already disabled HD sleep.

I'm sort of afraid to update BIOS - my processor, as I've mentioned, doesn't officially support Windows 7.  I'm using Winddows 7 Professional SP1.7601 with an Intel if-8600K (not overclocked).  BIOS is American Megatrends 1.00, 9/4/2017  (custom machine) on a MS-7B49 board.

Right now, the non-supportableness seems to be limited to the use of the onboard graphics card - I can't use it because there are no Win7 drivers for the processor.  So I have to use 2 PCI graphics cards to support my three monitors.

@Cloq - so according to the page you linked me to, I AM behind in BIOS versions.  The latest is 7B49v17, and I'm using 7B49 - I guess v1?
Do you think it would be safe?  I mean, do you think it will impose some strange restriction?

BGM

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Re: Windows 7 always slow after idle
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2019, 11:57 PM »
OH, NOW I'VE DONE IT.  I tried to flash the bios and it was too new, and Windows wouldn't boot past the loading screen and then gave a BSOD of 7b.  But I had also tried to install an updated Intel Management Engine which failed.  So I flashed back the original bios, but now I still can't boot into windows - neither normal nor safe mode.

I tried system restore, but it isn't working.  I used the install disk and ran startup repair, but it didn't fix it - talks about not finding the boot disk (the 7b error's definition, actually).

I think it's a driver, because when I boot into safe mode, it always stops when it loads the drivers. 

I've got a PE running and and doing chkdsk and sfc at the moment.

Shades

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Re: Windows 7 always slow after idle
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2019, 12:44 AM »
Is the BIOS setup to expect your boot drive to be in a specific (SATA) port on your motherboard, while it is physically connected to a different (SATA) port?

If so, turn your PC completely off and either change the hard disk cable of your boot drive to be in the configured port, or adjust the configuration to expect the drive to be in the port that it is currently connected to. Whatever you feel is the most easy to do.

Some motherboards come with 2 different SATA chip-sets. It might be the case that your hard disk is connected to the one that is not allowed or able to boot from after the BIOS update. It always helps to read the change log from the BIOS update you upload into the BIOS of your motherboard. It might be that lots of people encountered problems when booting with older BIOS versions and that they chose to disable booting from the problematic SATA chip-set.

4wd

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Re: Windows 7 always slow after idle
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2019, 05:10 AM »
I've usually found that when I've done a BIOS update, changed/reset BIOS, moved a system drive to another motherboard, or something similar and the system crashes on Windows start consistently (including in Safe Mode) then I've done something stupid like specified AHCI i.l.o. SATA (or v.v.) in the BIOS.

Changing it back to SATA (or AHCI) has normally fixed the problem - this can also apply to any 3rd party SATA i/face chipsets.

BGM

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Re: Windows 7 always slow after idle
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2019, 08:18 AM »
Ah! That did the trick, actually!  In my BIOS there is a switch for AHCI/RAID and I had to change it back to RAID.  Shewwie! Thanks for that tip.  I figured it was something simple like that, and in other threads I read about that too with error 7b. 

But it's so much different when you get advice from a place like DC.  It's kind of like living in the same town.  When I look at y'all's member block and see "Joined in 2006" with over 2000 posts then I know you are probably a decent advisor.

Okay, now that it's working, The MSI page says for compatibility, that my i5-8600K is only compatible with bios version 7B49v10.  The latest BIOS is 7B49v19.  I know that compatibility just usually means what they support - do you think a newer BIOS will work for this board anyway?
https://www.msi.com/...370-PC-PRO#down-bios

Cloq

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Re: Windows 7 always slow after idle
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2019, 06:46 PM »
@BGM

It should be fine updating the BIOS. Modern motherboards are designed to support at least a generation or two of processors. Typically they are limited by socket type. Reading downloadable PDF Manual for your MB, it says Intel 8 Gen processors. If your current bios is v10.. yeah you would definitely benefit from bios update. Each version up seems to add/fix compatibility issues.

Mobo's generally aren't locked to just one processor, it's generally a generation or two (depending.. in the case of AMD.. they are pretty awesome in how many generations one slot type can support).

Yes.. different vendors play games with (sata operation) AHCI/RAID settings. Especially laptops.. had my share of games that vendors play. Machine has 1 HD yet.. one model has to be AHCI and the other RAID.

Glad you are up and running.

BGM

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Re: Windows 7 always slow after idle
« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2019, 10:46 PM »
I'll try updating the BIOS again - maybe it *will* help some.  I think it will work.

4wd

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Re: Windows 7 always slow after idle
« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2019, 05:25 AM »
The MSI page says for compatibility, that my i5-8600K is only compatible with bios version 7B49v10.

You want this page: CPU Compatibility

The i5-8600(T/K) is listed which means it's supported until they say it's dropped from the BIOS in later versions - which they haven't.

ie. The version listed against a CPU is the minimum version of the BIOS required to support that CPU.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2019, 05:42 AM by 4wd »

BGM

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Re: Windows 7 always slow after idle
« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2019, 04:20 PM »
@4wd - yes, I was reading that page.

Okay, so, I tried updating the bios past v10, but any other bios says my RAID configuration is invalid and won't boot Windows.
Does it matter if I'm running IRST?  I don't have any RAID configuration set up beyond that.  IRST uses an SSD to accelarate my C drive HDD.  Maybe I have to disable that first, before I update the bios?

BGM

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Re: Windows 7 always slow after idle
« Reply #20 on: August 14, 2019, 04:32 PM »
I called MSI tech support, and they say they've only gotten Windows 7 to work on this board in 25% of their tests.  The tech says the lag probably comes from the Win7 OS not playing well with the motherboard.  Of course, he has to say something like that since Microsoft doesn't want to support Win7 and have paid the manufacturers to not support Win7 on their hardware.

I'm kind of stuck.  I hate Win10 and don't want to upgrade, and don't want to rebuild the system.

Cloq

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Re: Windows 7 always slow after idle
« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2019, 08:39 PM »
@BGM

I too dislike W10.. and purposefully haven't bought new hardware (using intel gen 6 processor). That being said,  5 months down the road.. you won't have a choice.

Is it worth the stress and headaches trying to make your hardware run an OS that isn't  "properly" supported anymore? I am not trying to discourage you, just food for thought.

Either upgrade to W10 or Linux (Mac is another expensive option), assuming you want your OS to be security patched and vendor supported (drivers and such).

Little OT.. What really ticks me off is that software now is being (artificially in most cases) written for W10 build specific (1607, 1709, 1809 blah blah).

Cloq

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Re: Windows 7 always slow after idle
« Reply #22 on: August 14, 2019, 08:57 PM »
Does it matter if I'm running IRST? 

It is very possible that when you update your bios, it resets to default settings and sata raid isn't typically the default setting. to be on the safe side, I probably call MSI and ask them if updating bios affect any raid settings.

The Z370 chipset supports sata raid. Updating the bios shouldn't affect the usability of it, unless as mentioned above, settings get reset to default. It would be very crappy move on the vendors part if they wiped out raid pertinent settings.

I can already see this from a mobo vender.. oh hey.. urgent update your bios to mitigate intel's latest cpu vulnerabilities.. oh btw your will lose all your raid configs.  :o


Shades

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Re: Windows 7 always slow after idle
« Reply #23 on: August 14, 2019, 10:11 PM »
I can already see this from a mobo vender.. oh hey.. urgent update your bios to mitigate intel's latest cpu vulnerabilities.. oh btw your will lose all your raid configs.  :o

If you are afraid of that, don't use the built-in RAID options of your motherboard. Either get a dedicated 3rd party RAID card or go the software RAID route.

In case you go for dedicated hardware, buy two of the (exact) same cards. That will save you a lot of money when you want to retrieve data from your RAID setup when (not if) it fails. Data retrieval from RAID drives is difficult, time-consuming and therefore really expensive. You think that extra card is expensive? You easily pay 2 or 3 times that price before the data retrieval company even wants to look at the RAID mess you got. Advantage from dedicated RAID hardware is speed. You think you have good speed with the built-in RAID hardware? Dedicated hardware trumps it. Easily.

Software RAID is also quite fast, only slightly less than the built-in RAID hardware. It is more stable, usually relatively easy to repair/reconstruct and won't be affected by a BIOS update. I am running one for over 14 years already (on a Linux machine) and has not failed on me. At one time the original motherboard got fried after the unstable grid fried both the UPS and the motherboard. Maybe I should have said baked the UPS, as there was a small, but nonetheless open fire involved.

It was running on a Intel-based mobo and there was only a spare AMD-based mobo available. Swapped out the motherboards and started the machine back up. It showed warning messages about the different hardware that was detected, then the Linux software downloaded whatever drivers it needed automatically and one reboot later the whole server, including the software RAID, was spinning like nothing had happened. That was the experience I had with Ubuntu Server LTS.

Before I changed to that distro, the company decided that it should run on CentOS as that was the distro other developers were using to develop on. The hours of rebuilding the RAID that were lost after grid "hiccups" with that distro...amazing in a very bad way.

Of course, my experiences are anecdotal, but in this place no more CentOS. Ever.

On a side note: Had to do the same trick on the mail server I run on-premise, only now from AMD to Intel, worked again with Ubuntu Server LTS. Oh, there is something to mention, none of my Linux servers have a GUI installed. I assumed that helped a lot when swapping motherboards/processors.

Anyway, the software RAID does improve the speed and reliability of the data you store on it. And in my experience way more stable than any hardware based RAID solution.

Although, nowadays I wouldn't even consider RAID. The file systems: BRTFS, ZFS and the like, have practically all good qualities of RAID already built into them. Makes RAID redundant (pun intended). Just get fast drives.

Linux and BSD operating systems have the option to install these new file systems, if those aren't already included in the OS. While Windows is still stuck with the NTFS file system. Sure, you have a choice between NTFS and FAT32. Two aging systems. Yes, I am aware the NTFS has gotten a lot of new features over the years, and it is reliable within reason, but having the possibility to add different file systems would have been very welcome by now. When Windows Vista was being developed ("LongHorn", anyone?), Microsoft happily announced they were busy developing a new file system that would do most of what BTRFS/ZFS can do. Yet MS couldn't kill that attempt of progress quickly enough. Instead, only a small subset of those features have found their way into NTFS. Better the devil you know, I'll guess.

[/rant]

BGM

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Re: Windows 7 always slow after idle
« Reply #24 on: August 14, 2019, 11:06 PM »
I too dislike W10.. and purposefully haven't bought new hardware (using intel gen 6 processor). That being said,  5 months down the road.. you won't have a choice.
Is it worth the stress and headaches trying to make your hardware run an OS that isn't  "properly" supported anymore? I am not trying to discourage you, just food for thought.
Either upgrade to W10 or Linux (Mac is another expensive option), assuming you want your OS to be security patched and vendor supported (drivers and such).

I have to use Windows and not linux, because I am a global administrator for our office365 platform.
Yeah, I know Windows 7 "expires" in 2020, but I'm thinking of continuing to use it anyway.  We have a good firewall and I'm not worried about assaults on an old OS.
However, I do understand that as software advances, sooner or later, I won't be able to get software that will work on Win7 - just like it is happening now for WinXP.
But this is a different discussion.
Right now I don't want to discuss Win10, because it diverts from my current objectives of getting Win7 to work flawlessly on this partiuclar board.
B&H suggested this board to me for Win7, and they led me astray, and now I have to deal with it (Win10 aside).