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  1. #1
    Star Lounger
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    My Vista (Home Premium SP2, 32bit, running on a dual-core Turion64) seems to spend a lot of its time twiddling its thumbs with the infamous spinning circle and "(Not Responding)" applications.

    Why? What is it doing!? I assumed it was thrashing, swapping stuff in & out. But frequently it does this when there is little or no disk activity.

    E.g. right now I have 8 PDF docs open in Adobe Reader in addition to a number of other apps. I'm trying to search these files and jump from search result to search result -- but almost any action in the Reader search dialog (especially scrolling through the search results) causes Reader to lock up for 10-60 seconds. While Reader is (Not Responding), there is ZERO disk access. Meanwhile Task Manager says only 1.96GB of my 4.0GB (of which I can only access about 3.0 GB) is in use.

    Is there anything I can do to improve my system's performance and reduce these hangups?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Fritz View Post
    Is there anything I can do to improve my system's performance and reduce these hangups?
    Might be worth trying Foxit Reader instead?
    BATcher

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  3. #3
    Star Lounger
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    That might help the specific Adobe Reader problem, though I need some features in Adobe.

    But it's a general problem with many apps. Foxit Reader wouldn't help that. I need to figure out the root cause.

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Generally this spinning hour glass usually means some specific activity has not completed yet in the app your are attempting to manipulate. It is possible that RAM and/or CPU activity is maxed. I know you said your are only accessing about 1.96 GB of RAM out of an available 3 GB, but the Windows kernel itself uses memory as well, plus the page file uses memory. I'm not sure if these 2 uses are included in the 1.96 GB of used RAM. Check out this article for some more in depth explanation of Vista memory usage. Could the HD be indexing files? I'm not sure how much disk activity you would see if this is what is happening.
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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Is there anything I can do to improve my system's performance and reduce these hangups?
    Thanks!
    You could attempt to limit the amount of open apps or instances of apps you have at any one time to see if this makes a difference.
    Limit the number of running service processes to the 30's: wwwBlackVipercom
    Go through your programs and replace the resource intensive apps with more responsive ones and remove programs that start with the os.
    You might consider a 3rd party search and indexing application and turn off the os default search/indexing.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

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  6. #6
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    From what I have seen, Vista search takes more time and resources than does search and indexing in Windows 7. I would go with a 3rd party search and indexing app for Vista as well.
    Deadeye81

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  7. #7
    New Lounger
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    Get the Sysinternals tools from Microsoft. Run Process Explorer--that will tell you where your CPU is going. Process Monitor will show file and registry accesses.

  8. #8
    New Lounger
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    I've had this same problem on XP. I found that disabling the indexing service helped - For a while anyway.

    I changed my Anti-Virus, better A-V anyway, but it made little difference.

    Like you, my resources seemed to have lots of headroom left. Finally I worked it out - I was editing some family video camera footage into DVDs for the family and I had all the video files and .iso images on the desktop. I cleared a lot of the stuff off my desktop into folders and suddenly my computer is twice as fast and I don't get the XP equivalent of the spinning circle.

    It seems that everything on the desktop appears to get loaded into memory - So although you appear to have lots of RAM left, you do not have enough "workspace" and the system gets slowed down considerably. I was not sure whether it was the very large single files, or the two folers with lots of small files in them, but it was repeatable, put them back on the desktop and the mysterious slowdowns reappeared.

    I could not rule out it being something to do with the anti-virus checking every file on the desktop, each time a single file was opened, but it did not seem to be.

    I don't have the time to investigate this further, I just neede a working system quick - But I hate mysteries, so it has always puzzled me exactly what was going on... If anyone knows for sure whether everything on the desktop gets loaded into memory, or if it was the A-V or something else? I'd be glad to hear thanks!

    Anyway, I just wondered if it could be something like that for you? Are there many smaller files, or one or two very large ones on your desktop at all?

  9. #9
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Eight open PDF's can tax the resources of even a powerful PC with plenty of RAM. One clue that this is happening is a lot of activity in your drive light (the LED). That's called "thrashing", and it indicates that your physical memory is being overtaxed. Other system resources can be overtaxed as well, and CPU Usage in Task Manager would be very high, even with most of the activity being in the System Idle Process. Short form answer: close some of the open PDFs.

    Similarly, close unused open applications, as some of these can tax system resources and tie up files which are need by your current working application.
    -- Bob Primak --

  10. #10
    Star Lounger
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    Tee Kay, interesting idea! But it doesn't apply here. All I have on my Desktop is about 18 shortcuts.

    Bob, I understand thrashing. That's why I mentioned in my original post that the disk light is quite often totally inactive when apps hang up with (Not Responding) and the spinning icon.

  11. #11
    Star Lounger
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    Hmm, thought: I wonder if open network files contribute to this problem? Recently I've been working on a bunch of files across the LAN -- 3-4 of the PDFs I've got open, several Word files, a PPT or two. Previously I edited local copies but I've had to move to the shared copies on the LAN to avoid editing collisions. Long shot, but...

  12. #12
    New Lounger
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    Sorry Garry, that was my best shot at finding a possible cause.

    I did have one thought as I read about you explaining you knew what thrashing was with disks - I sometimes can hear one of my disks thrashing about, but the disk activity light is off. This is because it is only monitoring the first hard drive - I have two HDDs, so could it be something similar with yours then? Two HDDs, but only the first one works the LED? The question then would become what on earth is causing the second HDD to thrash???

    Sorry I couldn't be more help...

  13. #13
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    Nope, it's a laptop with only one HD. Nice try though.

  14. #14
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    I think something is hosed in my OS. I just rebooted a couple of times while updating software, and I started seeing sluggishness, spinny circles, and "(Not Responding)" applications within a few minutes of rebooting -- with CPU only 40-50% busy and only 1.4GB RAM in use. It shouldn't start running out of memory until it hits at least 2-2.2GB.

    I think it's something with the system itself. I'm pretty sure the system is clean malware-wise. I'm running Security Essentials and I just ran a Malwarebytes scan of my system. Everything is clean. As far as I can tell the system is in great shape -- except it runs like molasses.

    Maybe I just need to start over and re-install Vista. Again.


    EDIT: It's worse than I thought. I just rebooted again. All I had running was Thunderbird (plus whatever background processes), with less than 1GB in use, and I started getting spinning circles and "(Not Responding)" with that. This OS is just hosed. **SIGH** I'd be tempted to wipe it and install Win7 but this laptop is probably on its last legs, and I don't want to buy Win7 if I'm going to have to buy another laptop in a few months anyway. But I don't particularly want to reinstall Vista either.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Fritz View Post
    I think something is hosed in my OS. I just rebooted a couple of times while updating software, and I started seeing sluggishness, spinny circles, and "(Not Responding)" applications within a few minutes of rebooting -- with CPU only 40-50% busy and only 1.4GB RAM in use. It shouldn't start running out of memory until it hits at least 2-2.2GB.

    I think it's something with the system itself. I'm pretty sure the system is clean malware-wise. I'm running Security Essentials and I just ran a Malwarebytes scan of my system. Everything is clean. As far as I can tell the system is in great shape -- except it runs like molasses.

    Maybe I just need to start over and re-install Vista. Again.


    EDIT: It's worse than I thought. I just rebooted again. All I had running was Thunderbird (plus whatever background processes), with less than 1GB in use, and I started getting spinning circles and "(Not Responding)" with that. This OS is just hosed. **SIGH** I'd be tempted to wipe it and install Win7 but this laptop is probably on its last legs, and I don't want to buy Win7 if I'm going to have to buy another laptop in a few months anyway. But I don't particularly want to reinstall Vista either.
    I reinstalled Vista and it was a LOT less painful than I expected. Yes, back everything up before you start, but you may find that it keeps all your documents complete anyway. Yes, you'll have to reinstall your programs, but the outcome will be a machine that was just as slick as it ever was.

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