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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger
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    Is it just me or are other people finding W7 hanging with the the little circle just going round and round.

    It is very noticable when running programs such as Adobe Acrobat, Corel Draw, etc. The various office programs also exhibit this but less so.

    Programs also take much longer to load.

    It isn't as if my machine is slow, Athlon Dual Core 4200+ - 2GB of RAM and a couple of fast disks.

    On a regular basis I run CCleaner (including 'Old Prefetch Data) and defrag my disks.

    Some people have pointed a finger at Kaspersky AV, but I have never had a problem in the past with this.

    Anyone got any ideas?

    David

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    2 GB RAM will allow Win 7 to run, but not well, especially with many of the visual effects turned on. When you start running programs that require more RAM, your PC automatically uses virtual memory which is significantly slower than RAM. How many apps are running in the background? In my experience every app you install wants to run at windows startup and does just that. Use an app such as Autoruns for Windows by MS or Whats In Startup by Nirsoft to see what is starting with Windows, and to disable many of these. In my experience the extra milliseconds it takes to start an app not already running in the background is more than made up in slow downs because too much is running in the background.

    As an example, if I check msconfig.exe or Autoruns, I only have 2 apps running in the background, MSE (AV/AM) and Alps Touchpad (laptop PC) I have disabled everything else. They just do not need to run in the background. My PC screams along pretty quickly. See if this helps.
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  4. #3
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    How frequently do you run CCleaner, David?

    If every week or so, clearing the old prefetch data can slow things down a bit as well. When prefetch is cleared out, Windows has to rebuild it, which causes your applications to take a little longer to start until Windows has finished with the prefetch entries. Windows patrols the prefetch folder, does housekeeping and replaces older entries with fresh ones behind the scenes. Of course, your mileage may vary as the time involved in rebuilding prefetch depends on the number of applications installed on your disk.

    When you defrag, are you calling up Windows Disk Defragmenter to manually run a check? Windows 7 by default is scheduled to start Disk Defragmenter every Wed. at 1:00AM. If you computer is powered off at that time, defragmenter will start the next time you boot your computer. But it will only perform defrag operations when your computer is idle for a few moments. However, defragmenter is still loaded into memory, and has to start and pause depending on your use of the computer. If you regularly run Defrag, then consider disabling the automatic schedule as you already have defragging covered. As Ted said, too many things running in the background will consume CPU cycles and gobble up memory.
    Deadeye81

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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    It looks to me like more a combination of weak hardware and too many top heavy application usage than anything.

    There are any number of thing you can do to improve performance and responsiveness in Windows 7;
    Disable indexing, remote assistance, and system restore.
    Go into your services section and start disabling uneeded services. Get them down to a managable 35 or 40.
    Clear your taskbar icons near the clock to bare minimum. That will mean removing all startup apps except the essentials, like AV software.
    Remove any pre-installed crapware that may have come with your computer.
    Ensure that all of your core drivers are up to date.
    Compute within your means; Don't have a zillion apps open at once. Your already somewhat cripled in your hardware, no need to make it any worse.
    Check and remove all items in the "Startup" folder of the all programs menu in your start button area.
    Ensure scheduled tasks arn't running at startup. Remove all scheduled tasks period.
    Remove extra fonts if you have applications that have added them.
    Consider adding more RAM to your computer if you are able.
    Go to BIOS settings and disable 'seek floppy drive' option. This saves time for those who do not use floppy drives.
    There are also some BIOS hacks like Enabling Quick Post, Disabling Boot Delay.


    Speed Up Windows 7 – Ultimate Guide To Make Windows 7 Blazing Fast

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  8. #5
    Silver Lounger t8ntlikly's Avatar
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    Adding to what Gerald said, 2G of RAM IMHO is just not enough. My laptop is an AMD Turion64 and came with only 2G. I went down and bought a 4GB flash drive and formatted it to 2GB for Ready Boost. Works amazingly well. (putting helmet on) I have Acrobat 9 Pro and it loads quickly. So if you have a card reader I would try the Ready Boost.
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  9. #6
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    So, adding more RAM will do very little if anything, program cleanup and driver updating is good, messing with registry and other system components when not needed is bad, and if you want to do some things that garner big results to measure and compare immeadiately, make an image of your system as it is now for preservation, pop a new drive in and install 7 again and run it, add an app, maybe 2 and run those for a time, a week maybe, add 2 more, run, compare and contrast, do a real comparative analysis instead of throwing bandaids at it.

    That's what I do at any rate instead of thinking I know what I think I know. My 1.67 Ghz Atlon with 1 gig of 266mhz (or maybe its 333) RAM and full Aero Glass (Win7), nothing turned off, runs like a top (barring video games and rendering of course). My 801 Mhz with 512 MB of RAM and full Aero Glass(Win 7), nothing turned off, runs like a ...ok, it runs slow but not horribly slow, more like a slow blink of the eye in transitions (ok maybe two slow blinks).

    There's nothing wrong fundamentally with the hardware at 2gigs and dual core 4200+, that's the real beauty of Win 7 in that it can and does run as well as XP on older systems if there's at least 1 gig of RAM and the video card specs are near to 3.0 on the scale. I have at least a dozen with lesser specs in processor and RAM and half of those are running 7 great, without a problem, 0 with a problem.

    Its the inadvertent program interferences, poor driver performance and inability to leave well enough alone and think by tinkering a little, major performance increases can be had or maintained. I'm not smarter than a room full of engineers...dumb as I might think some of the stuff they do is, they do see some of the unintended consequences of actions several steps down the line and not just the immeadiate ones, and of course the ones that might be marked as nescessary evil ones, like security software, which is the number one invasive software cause for system slowdown.

  10. #7
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    Thanks for the replies, most of which I already implement.

    I only have 3 programs in 'startup'
    All the video tricks of Aero and the like are diabled.
    I never knew about the scheduled running of defrag (but that doesn't explain the other 6 and a half days)
    I haven't had time to trawl through all the artcles suggested by Clint, but that looks hopeful.

    Looks like another computer re-build for me!

    David

  11. #8
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Guaranteed best results will come from a clean install with the omission of a few select known resource intense programs.
    I would start uninstalling some programs to see which ones are causing the problems first. Finding a replacement for Adobe would be
    my very first priority.
    Adding another gigabyte of ram will also go a long way with programs like Corel Draw, and others that need decent amounts of memory.
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  12. #9
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadeye81 View Post
    How frequently do you run CCleaner, David?

    If every week or so, clearing the old prefetch data can slow things down a bit as well. When prefetch is cleared out, Windows has to rebuild it, which causes your applications to take a little longer to start until Windows has finished with the prefetch entries. Windows patrols the prefetch folder, does housekeeping and replaces older entries with fresh ones behind the scenes. Of course, your mileage may vary as the time involved in rebuilding prefetch depends on the number of applications installed on your disk.
    Incorrect. CCleaner does not flush the contents of the prefetch folder, it only removes the pointers to programs that are no longer installed and those that have not been run for many weeks. Analyse it and see for yourself.

  13. #10
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by satrow View Post
    Incorrect. CCleaner does not flush the contents of the prefetch folder, it only removes the pointers to programs that are no longer installed and those that have not been run for many weeks. Analyse it and see for yourself.
    Thanks for pointing that out Satrow. I was incorrect in the way I described CCleaner's operation. Since CCleaner clears out entries in the manner you stated, it does not remove all the contents of the folder. However, Piriform leaves the the items under the Advanced section unchecked, and most users should leave it that way. Also, some users disable the NTFS Last Access Time Stamp for performance reasons, and those who do will find that CCleaner will do away with most if not all entries in the folder.

    As Windows does a good job of housekeeping the Prefetch Folder, there is no valid reason for it to be checked when running CCleaner.

  14. #11
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadeye81 View Post
    Also, some users disable the NTFS Last Access Time Stamp for performance reasons, and those who do will find that CCleaner will do away with most if not all entries in the folder.

    As Windows does a good job of housekeeping the Prefetch Folder, there is no valid reason for it to be checked when running CCleaner.
    That's not CCleaners' behaviour on my netbook as even after running it with the remove old Prefetch checked, I still have entries there that haven't been accessed this year. Perhaps CCleaner doesn't clean the old Prefetch files if NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate is set to something other than 1?

    By default (or should I say design?), Windows does nothing in the way of housekeeping to the Prefetch folder until the limit of entries is at the maximum allowed - 128 - and then it only removes what it needs to to add newly started apps, even if they are temporary installers that may never be used again. I often (probably monthly) visit the Prefetch folder and clear out anything referencing installers and other temp. exe's anyway.

    @David: I think ReadyBoost of 2-4GB and a swapfile/pagefile of 4092 min. and max. on your 2nd drive should alleviate some of the issues you're currently seeing (if they're not caused by recent MS Updates); ReadyBoost does take some time to 'train' but it can help a lot under certain circumstances, esp. start times of programs that involve loading lots of small files.

    You might also consider temporarily reducing your local A/V settings when you're working primarily 'offline', there's little point in having the A/V scan both on reading and writing of files.

  15. #12
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by satrow View Post
    Perhaps CCleaner doesn't clean the old Prefetch files if NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate is set to something other than 1?
    That may very well be the case, but I do not know the answer.

  16. #13
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    A crippled machine is often is the result of drive errors. You should run CHKDSK to find out if there are errors, and to repair them. If windows is running, go to Accessories – Command Prompt – and run chkdsk [Drive Letter(s)]: /f /r (note the spaces). If you want the royal treatment you can right-click “Command Prompt” when you are in Accessories, and that will run it with elevated privileges when you enter the command. The operation will take some time, especially if it finds errors, but run it in full to be on the safe side. If you cannot get into Win 7 at all, then you will have to run it from a boot disk such as the Repair Disk.

    If you suspect that a given program is causing trouble, then click Ctrl-Alt-Delete and select Start Task Manager. In Task Manager select the Processes column, be sure to have it sorted by size (the column heading toggles between ascending and descending), and that will show you what is using memory. Normally you should have several standard items (Explorer.exe, for example) which are at or near the top all the time when nothing else is going on, and which should be left alone. If a program seems to be consuming a lot of resources, click END PROCESS at the bottom right corner of the window. That will shut the application off and let you see how it affects performance. (Normally this would be a program for which you are the user.) The other main column to check is Performance (give it time to settle down after starting it), and at the bottom of the Performance window, there is the even more interesting Resource Monitor.

    From Control Panel you can also go to System and Security and in Action Center “Troubleshoot common problems”, and in System you can Check the Windows Experience Index. From this the Help files have some interesting links and Advanced Tools are of interest as well. I’m a bit lost in the jungle myself at the moment, but there is actually an option to “let Windows choose the best (performance) settings for your computer”. You’re flying blind if you choose it, but set a restore point first and see if it helps.

    Finally there is a (strictly beta) program called Soluto, which has been discussed in the newsletter several times, and which will help speed things up, but whether you will realize a net gain with your computer is hard to say.

  17. #14
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    I agree with some others that you ideally ugrade to 4 Gb. I also use Kaspersky 2011 and it is OK on my dual core Dell laptop at 2.2 Ghz and Win 7 HP but a bit slow on XP.

    Overall, if you had two identical modern PCs with one loaded with XP and the other with Win 7 then XP is MUCH faster / instantaneous. This is one of the reasons that I reverted to using XP on my main business laptop, plus the higher level of details and productivity offered by XP and Office 2003 compared with the pretty shades but more intrusive Win 7 and Office 2010.

  18. #15
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    Arrow Windows 7 in 2GB of RAM?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarbo View Post
    So, adding more RAM will do very little if anything
    Gotta disagree--in general, 4GB RAM will always make Win7 run faster, unless it's being processor-limited (which an old single core would, and maybe even an old, slower double-core). I've seen enough benchmarking tests looking at the 2GB vs. 4GB issue posted online to convince me of that.

    If you're running an old single-core system which maxes out at 2GB, then all the suggestions about making Win7 less overhead-intensive will help enough--but you've got to ask yourself if it's worth the bother. I upgraded my old Athlon 64 / 2GB system from XP to Win7 (clean install, dual boot), then decided that it wasn't worth it--life's too short to be waiting around that much or working that hard to make it faster, when XP did the job well enough (and if it doesn't, then start saving up for that new computer that can handle Win7). I ripped out the Win7, and it's still doing everything I need it to do with XP.

    The hours you'll spend trying to pare down Win7 (and take away a lot of the things that make it enjoyable to use) will never be adequately repaid with meaningful performance improvements over XP, IMO.

    Of course, if your mainboard can handle an extra 2GB and you can get it for less than $100 (perhaps a big if on an older system), why not just take the easy route to faster performance? Anything more than that should really be put into the kitty for a new system.

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