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  1. #1
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    Sluggish CPU, slow starting programs

    Hi,

    I have this pc with Vista. All of a sudden it takes ages to start up. But not only that als programs like Word and Google take several seconds before they start. Checked things with msconfig and other tools but nothing seems to be wrong.
    When I start Taskmanager I can see that after starting a program the CPU goes to 0% for these seconds (5 to 10) and then the program wil start immediately with a high peak. Can't seem to find a cause why this is happening.
    It's a dual core processor with 2Gb memory. Taskmanager says there's about 1,1Gb in CPU cache and 5Mb free.
    So, the real problem is not the sluggish start-up but the period of inactivity of the CPU before starting any program.
    Besides updates on Vista and Java nothing was installed lately.
    Anybody any idea?

    TIA
    Sjors

  2. #2
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    Sorry it has taken 24 hours to reply.

    Is it hardware or OS (load)? You have ruled out some things.

    Check to see what percentage of disk space remains on your HDD. There should be at least 25% though I usually don't see notable slowdowns until much less space remains.

    On an old machine I always suspect a failing hard drive on suddenly long boot times and app access times. This is best tested via the HDD maker's diag testing app found on their tech support download site (may be boot or Windows based). Have a flash drive plugged in first so you can write any log file info generated to it for your records if it is recognized.

    If an error code is generated be prepared to write it down. I would assume with Vista the drive is likely out of warranty. DO NOT accept any offers to fix the drive by the testing app (free) until you have backed the drive or at least whatever you care about first. I usually examine the SMART data (with Parted Magic).

    It is possible--but unlikely--that memory is causing this (though it is possible only having 2Gb may cause slow behavior after an Windows update has been applied). You can test RAM by booting up and running MS Diag Memory app or memtest86 or memtest86+. (free)

    Is this a netbook with a dual core Atom CPU or some other fairly wimpy low power using mobile CPU? I have to ask as this class of CPUs does not lend itself to performance.

    I will post back with some Windows diagnostic aids (the software side) to check as soon as I find them. Plus there is a rule out technique I may include.
    Last edited by Fascist Nation; 2014-08-14 at 14:19. Reason: added SMART code link

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  4. #3
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    OK, the software side. I had to check to make sure some things were available in vista that are available in Win7 to test performance issues. In most cases yes, but sometimes lacking some features.

    Boot into Safe Mode. Is it still slow to load apps? If yes, then a driver or startup app is likely the culprit. How it was recently changed or corrupted needs to be addressed. If no, repeat using a Clean Boot.

    Since this is acute, assuming the boot hard drive tests fine [BTW you should temporarily disconnect any other hard drives as I had a secondary drive going bad that accounted for sudden slow start/app load times.] and it doesn't seem to be drivers or startups, I would test for malware next.

    Run Malawarebytes Anti-Malware.

    It would also be a good idea to download on a trouble-free PC and burn an ISO of a Rescue Disk from a vendor other than the AV app you currently use. Boot it up, download the antiviral updates and then test your system. I prefer AVG or Kaspersky, but there are several other free bootable rescue disks.

    If it passes it is likely malware free. Could still be a root-kit but lets worry about that later.

    Since it is acute likely something recently installed is responsible for the slowdown. Check out Reliability Monitor.

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/950685 [safe mode, clean boot, reliability monitor and Windows Experience Index directions]

    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/fixin...ting-tools/437

    http://windowssecrets.com/best-pract...ing-a-slow-pc/ [One of the best articles I have read on the subject.]

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/959062 [always dubious of automated fixes myself] Many of the suggestions are for slowly accumulating performance issues not the acute slowdown you describe.

    You can try booting up a LiveCD, but effectively you already did this with any boot disk you tried. If it too was very slow to start and work. (Bear in mind until it loads into memory it is loading from an much slower than a HDD optical drive or faster flash drive so some latency will normally occur.) If it loads and works just fine then it likely points to a problem with either the currently not utilized Vista OS/drivers/services/startups or boot drive. If it too is seriously sluggish then a hardware problem. I would still suspect the boot drive even with a pass and temporarily try a known working drive. But it could also be a bad SATA data cable, SATA controller, PSU or SATA power cable... and other less likley things too.

    There are a couple of other things short of a clean install that can be tried. In order: SFC /scannow and a Repair Install. If you do either make an image backup of the drive first. While these are supposed to be non-destructive fixes don't take a chance.

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  6. #4
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    A great tool is CCleaner. Works great to eliminate unnecessary startup items for both Windows and browsers. Great for uninstalling unnecessary programs, too.

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    sjors (2014-10-17)

  8. #5
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    Don't feel too bad. My Vista 32 bit rig usually takes 3 to 4 minutes for a cold boot-up.
    Instead of shutting it down each day I usually just put it in sleep mode. Start up the next day is only about 15 seconds, including password login.

    rstew

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  10. #6
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    Love my 30 second to Win 7 with my SSD's

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    sjors (2014-10-17)

  12. #7
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    My experience with vista on both a laptop and a desktop is that it Vista has become very slow and requires much patience to use. I am an experienceduser and have done all the maintenance, system cleaning etc. that I know of to speed it up, but Vista will remains slow and draggy. I don't know of anything that will make it run better. I still tolerate it on my desktop because of the Windows programs on it, but I removed it from my laptop and installed the latest version of Linux Mint. It's hard to beleive how much of a difference it has made. My 6 year old laptop with Linix Mint installed runs super smooth and super fast as though it is a newly manufactured system with high end hardware. So unsless you need to rely on Windows give Linux Mint a try, otherwise you should add more system memory (RAM) and upgrade to Windows 7 or 8.

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  14. #8
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    I think with something like this I would back up personal stuff and factory reset then go to the vendor's support site for the important drivers such as Chipset/Video and then onto the driver manufacturer's site for the likes of audio and networking drivers.

    A factory reset will clean out the clutter that has accrued in the registry.

    The vendor support site may even have a BIOS update to the one that came with the computer when new.

    You could also remove the RAM modules to ensure the pins were clean - simply reseating them can freshen the contacts and that could be all that the machine needs.

    As a quick test for the condition of the HDD, you can run chkdsk without any parameters and that will report if any KBs in bad sectors.

    Wonder if the OP is likely to be coming back on this ?
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2014-08-30 at 18:46.

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  16. #9
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    sorry for not replying (I never got e-mails about your answers/tips).
    In the meantime the problem solved itself (after some published patches).
    And as you can imagine I didn't check things you suggested.
    Nevertheless, tnx.

    Sjors

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