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  1. #1
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    See what's bogging down any Windows PC




    LANGALIST PLUS


    See what's bogging down any Windows PC



    By Fred Langa

    When a Windows system — XP, Vista, Win7, or Win8 — becomes sluggish, a built-in tool could help point you to the culprit. Plus: Questions about the safety of password managers, undoing damage from a bad Registry edit, and a reader-recommended screenshot program.


    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/langalist-plus/see-whats-bogging-down-any-windows-pc/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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  3. #2
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    Fred Langa suggested a screen shot program called Greenshot. So I downloaded it, installed it, and started it up on my Windows 7 system, and pressed PrntScr. Now there is a something that looks like a target on my screen along with dotted lines indicating the target's location. But there are no instructions about what to do next, and no help instructions that I could find. What do I do next ? Thanks !!

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rfarmer View Post
    Fred Langa suggested a screen shot program called Greenshot. So I downloaded it, installed it, and started it up on my Windows 7 system, and pressed PrntScr. Now there is a something that looks like a target on my screen along with dotted lines indicating the target's location. But there are no instructions about what to do next, and no help instructions that I could find. What do I do next ? Thanks !!
    Click and hold at any corner of required area, drag to diagonally opposite corner and release:

    http://getgreenshot.org/help/
    Last edited by BruceR; 2014-07-17 at 08:13.

  5. #4
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    Great ! Thanks - works like a charm.

  6. #5
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    When I started to install this program, my Symantec Endpoint protection quarantined it stating that "There is strong evidence that this file is untrustworthy. This file has been seen by fewer than 5 Symantec users. Symantec has known about this file approximately 2 days." Anyone else have any reactions similar to this?

  7. #6
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    I have found my Windows 7 system bogging down often, but when I look at the numbers available in the Task Manager, or better yet, using Process Explorer (software from Microsoft, originally from SysInternals, which can replace the Task Manager, for free at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/s...rnals/bb896653), all of my numbers seem in the clear, always with more than 60% of the CPU going to the System Idle Process.

    I suspect that one of the critical system processes are encountering a time-out condition, where a request for a resource has been made, and the system waits x seconds for the request to return empty before continuing with other things. This wait time is dead space, leaving a process, or worse, the computer as a whole non-responsive, if the request is in a critical system thread. I'm finding it's happening more and more, with no good clues as to its remedy.

    How would I go about deducing what is causing this timeout?

  8. #7
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    What about the Windows snipping tool? I think it only appeared starting under Win7 but not sure. Mine is at:

    %windir%\system32\SnippingTool.exe

    K

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevmeist View Post
    What about the Windows snipping tool? I think it only appeared starting under Win7 but not sure. Mine is at:

    %windir%\system32\SnippingTool.exe

    K
    It's OK, but it doesn't have nearly as many useful features as Greenshot.

    For instance; after taking a screenshot with the Snipping Tool, there's no ability to print it without pasting it into another program.

    Bruce
    Last edited by BruceR; 2014-07-17 at 11:46. Reason: (copy not needed)

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Bragg View Post
    I have found my Windows 7 system bogging down often, but when I look at the numbers available in the Task Manager, or better yet, using Process Explorer (software from Microsoft, originally from SysInternals, which can replace the Task Manager, for free at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/s...rnals/bb896653), all of my numbers seem in the clear, always with more than 60% of the CPU going to the System Idle Process.

    I suspect that one of the critical system processes are encountering a time-out condition, where a request for a resource has been made, and the system waits x seconds for the request to return empty before continuing with other things. This wait time is dead space, leaving a process, or worse, the computer as a whole non-responsive, if the request is in a critical system thread. I'm finding it's happening more and more, with no good clues as to its remedy.

    How would I go about deducing what is causing this timeout?
    Under Windows 7, Google's Chrome Browser is reported to have issues relating to the way this browser sets Windows 7 System Ticks.

    What is a clock tick anyway, and why does it matter? In an OS like Windows, events are often set to run at intervals. To save power, the processor sleeps when nothing needs attention, and wakes at predefined intervals. This interval is what Chrome adjusts in Windows, so reducing it to 1.000ms means that the system is waking far more often than at 15.625ms. In fact, at 1.000ms the processor is waking 1000 times per second. The default, of 15.625ms means the processor wakes just 64 times per second to check on events that need attention.
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/ianmorri...aptop-battery/

    Google is reportedly working to fix this bug,
    http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/55984...tery-power.htm
    but it may not be unique to Chrome.

    The Process Explorer clue that something is waking up the system at intervals is a process called System Idle Process. If that process is showing a lot of activity, something may be working in the background and waking the processor at intervals. Find the program or process which is doing that, and the effect can be greatly reduced.

    Linux and certain other OSes are "tickless", meaning that they do not use this technique of waking the processor at intervals. On these OSes, this issue is not usually seen.

    This may help explain why my laptop has better battery life when running programs (especially browsers) under Ubuntu Linux than when running the same types of programs under Windows 7. For a long time I thought the problem was Avast 7's Scan On Access feature. But OS Ticks may also be involved, as under Windows, Chrome is my go-to browser.

    Remember also that Chrome has a lot of processes compared with Firefox or IE. Each Chrome Tab and each plugin instance is treated as a separate Process in Chrome. This is not always the case with Firefox or IE.

    If you aren't running Chrome, there could still be other programs which exhibit similar behaviors, changing the Windows Tick timing and wasting CPU cycles.

    System Idle Process should not be constantly running at rates as high as 60% on a well-managed Windows system.
    -- Bob Primak --

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  12. #10
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    One thing that may happen (depends on what "often" is in your definition) is some program wanting access to a drive on the network and not getting it. I notice this, for example, when I open FreeCommander XE or FileExplorer (which understands all of my server shares) when the server is sleeping. It then times out waiting for the network shares.

    K

  13. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    The Process Explorer clue that something is waking up the system at intervals is a process called System Idle Process. If that process is showing a lot of activity, something may be working in the background and waking the processor at intervals. Find the program or process which is doing that, and the effect can be greatly reduced.
    System Idle Process shows the percentage of time that the CPU is idle:

    Why Is The System Idle Process Hogging All The Resources?

    (Notice screenshots of 98% there and 99% here).


    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    System Idle Process should not be constantly running at rates as high as 60% on a well-managed Windows system.
    Check this MSDN video of Process Explorer where System Idle Process hovers around 98% throughout the 52 minute demonstration (e.g. at 3:00-8:00 and 40:00-50:00):

    Sysinternals Process Explorer walkthrough


    What percentage of CPU time does System Idle Process "consume" on your well-managed Windows system when no programs are running?


    Bruce
    Last edited by BruceR; 2014-07-25 at 02:13.

  14. #12
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    On my Win7/64 system...currently....I am not even seeing a "System Idle Process".

    K
    Attached Files Attached Files

  15. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevmeist View Post
    On my Win7/64 system...currently....I am not even seeing a "System Idle Process".

    K
    If you click the Show processes from all users button at bottom left, you should see it running under the SYSTEM User Name.

    Bruce

  16. #14
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    Ah, OK...see it now....see the attached screenshot.

    So, seems to me that the percentage column is a little deceiving in that it says "Percentage of time the processor is IDLE".

    K
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by kevmeist; 2014-07-25 at 10:36.

  17. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevmeist View Post
    Ah, OK...see it now....see the attached screenshot.

    So, seems to me that the percentage column is a little deceiving in that it says "Percentage of time the processor is IDLE".
    Why deceiving? That's what it means and displays.

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