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  1. #1
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    The Question That Does Not Go Away...

    Please, I know this is one of the hoariest, most-asked questions in any help forum, but in 20-plus years of Windows use I've never found a definitive answer: why does my computer always eventually run slow?

    I know the usual answers given: run CrapCleaner (or equivalent), MalwareBytes, change your AV, de-frag, disable (certain) services and start-at-boot-up progs, fresh install the OS and so on, but only one ever works: a fresh install, preferably with a re-partition beforehand. Suggesting RAM upgrades and an SSD is helpful but to do so would only mask the inner deterioration that seems to be occurring. Modern(-ish) OSs are now so-oo big and their post-install updates so huge that even the 'fresh install' route is almost too tedious to contemplate.

    Has anyone actually closely observed, quantified and dissected the deterioration in OS performance and come up with a clear list of what is rotting/clogging/distracting the OS from doing its job in a spritely manner, please? Do these observations (if they exist) also apply to all other modern OSs, too?

  2. #2
    jwoods
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    Minus hardware and corruption issues, the short answer is usually bloat, and often a lack of regular maintenance.

    Windows 7 and 8/8.1 can be re-installed using the no-reformat, non-destructive method that Fred Langa has written about, which preserves your personal data.

    Windows 10 can be repaired using an in-place upgrade.
    Last edited by jwoods; 2015-12-10 at 20:36.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    H.C.

    Decay, Deterioration, Entropy, Hardening of the Bits, Congestion of the Data Lanes, Loss of Memory, Heat, Wear and Tear, Dust, Pet Hair, etc. Like any thing it ages. We get new software that takes more cpu cycles, memory locations, storage, internet data access, etc., than our now aged hardware was designed to accommodate in its shiny new state. Then take in to account the average computer users total lack of regular maintenance (what would happen to your car if it was ignored). At this point, IMHO, it should be self evident.

    Personally, I've never noticed the problem except when loading new software like Operating Systems and or MS Office. But then I do regular maintenance including quarterly cleaning the pet hair and dust out of the box! YMMV!

    HTH
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  4. #4
    2 Star Lounger
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    Mine doesn't. Last PC (XP) ran for 8-9 years and still booted in 25 seconds, never had to reload Windows. Current Windows 7 notebook is about the same. New Windows 10 PC is in early days, but looks to be pretty solid over the last 4 months. Boot is not slowing down and response if still snappy. No change after 1511 update.

    I've read plenty about this happening to people and I'm curious as to what they are doing to their computers to make them behave this way.

  5. #5
    Silver Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    Well my XP start menu has 134 items under Programs and another 54 under System Tools! Too much dross! But still running 12 years on with a change to dual core. Yeah I got used to starting before coffee.
    David

    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

  6. #6
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    Well, in my 35+ years of experience, one thing has never changed..... every computer, like every car, required regular maintenance.

    I'm not sure about their cars, but most people will NEVER do any PC Maintenance. They just expect their PC to keep on running the same, even though they grab on to every new game, movie or ????? that comes along.

    So, for my PC customers (and me as well) I wrote what could well have been the first Junk Removal program. That was many years ago. I still use the same technique today.... with a well written batch file that deletes all the files from specific folders. It runs daily, on boot up, from the "Startup" folder.

    Only the names of some folders have changed and others have been added, but my Cleanup.bat program still works the same, even on Windows 10.

    Then there are other professionally written programs that do a very good job of cleaning out JUNK from the hard drive. Two favorites of mine are,
    Win Utilities and AVG Tune Up. But both have to be run by the user. Both clean out junk files as well as bad or dead entries in the registry.

    I think of a computer, a little bit like a 1/4 ton pickup truck. When the truck was new, with nothing in the bed, it ran great, with fast acceleration and good MPG.
    But, if every day, the owner tossed a cement block into the bed of the truck, before long the truck would start to slow down. Acceleration and MPG would begin to suffer. Then one day, he empties out the bed of the truck and it starts running like new again.

    I have a little Temp Cleaner program that empties out all the temp folders in the PC. I run it every day, in the startup folder, so my PC always starts up with minimum overload. But when I run the program manually, at the end of the day, it can take out as much as 10MB of junk.
    My favorite saying is, "Minus Crud is Cool".

    Good Luck, and Happy Holidays!
    The Doctor
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  7. #7
    Silver Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrWho View Post

    So, for my PC customers (and me as well) I wrote what could well have been the first Junk Removal program. That was many years ago. I still use the same technique today.... with a well written batch file that deletes all the files from specific folders. It runs daily, on boot up, from the "Startup" folder.

    Only the names of some folders have changed and others have been added, but my Cleanup.bat program still works the same, even on Windows 10.
    Dr Who
    So glad to hear you have a good batch file tool, we have been waiting for years for you to actually post a copy.....

    David

    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

  8. #8
    5 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by HappyChris View Post
    why does my computer always eventually run slow?
    Entropy. It's the same reason that it tends to become harder and harder to find something in the basement.
    Odds and ends accumulate and disorder increases.
    Graham Smith
    DataSmith, Delaware
    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dogknees View Post
    Mine doesn't. Last PC (XP) ran for 8-9 years and still booted in 25 seconds, never had to reload Windows. Current Windows 7 notebook is about the same. New Windows 10 PC is in early days, but looks to be pretty solid over the last 4 months. Boot is not slowing down and response if still snappy. No change after 1511 update.

    I've read plenty about this happening to people and I'm curious as to what they are doing to their computers to make them behave this way.
    Three reasons I can think of immediately:

    1. Almost every PC is different - even from known hardware manufacturers. Different hardware, different quality of that hardware and so on. Literally millions of permutations.

    2. People use their PCs for different things, from basic stuff through to bleeding-edge tech.

    3. We tend not to hear of the many, many millions of users who have no trouble; or very little trouble and easily repaired. Only the bad stuff gets reported: hence the disparity of problems versus nothing.

    Combine just these two reasons and there are billions of different scenarios of PC hardware type and usage, so in fact, it's a marvel that MS software - and other PC software runs as well as it does. We can be thankful for that.

  10. #10
    4 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    <snip>
    But then I do regular maintenance including quarterly cleaning the pet hair and dust out of the box!
    I have two identical HDs on my main machine. Once a year or so, I arrange all the 1s on one drive, and all the 0s on the other.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by irjc View Post
    Three reasons I can think of immediately:

    1. Almost every PC is different - even from known hardware manufacturers. Different hardware, different quality of that hardware and so on. Literally millions of permutations.

    2. People use their PCs for different things, from basic stuff through to bleeding-edge tech.

    3. We tend not to hear of the many, many millions of users who have no trouble; or very little trouble and easily repaired. Only the bad stuff gets reported: hence the disparity of problems versus nothing.

    Combine just these two reasons and there are billions of different scenarios of PC hardware type and usage, so in fact, it's a marvel that MS software - and other PC software runs as well as it does. We can be thankful for that.
    What annoys me is the people who state that a Windows PC always slows down over time. It doesn't. Same as the people that say Windows 10 will screw up your PC. Again, it will do it to some but not most.

  12. #12
    WS Lounge VIP access-mdb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dogknees View Post
    What annoys me is the people who state that a Windows PC always slows down over time. It doesn't. Same as the people that say Windows 10 will screw up your PC. Again, it will do it to some but not most.
    When I got my new PC with an SSD and W8 pro, i was amazed at how quick it was. Gradually I though it was getting slower and slower, but then I booted my wife's W7 laptop (it's Vista vintage). Then I realised that I was just getting used to my new PC's speed.

    I'm sure that some/a few/many PCs do slow down over time but as has been stated, who knows what stuff has been added wittingly or unwittingly over time.

  13. #13
    5 Star Lounger
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    Midichlorian buildup over time allowing the evil empire to dominate the entire boot drive.

  14. #14
    5 Star Lounger
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    There are two things that I do that have consistently sped up a computer that I had been using for a year or more:

    1) Reinstall the OS and my apps. There is just something about accumulating a lot of junk over the course of a year (larger register, more stuff for the indexer to index, larger start menus, large winsxs directory, etc.) that tends to just slow things down. I tend to reinstall Windows about every 18-24 months. But then I tend to download and install a lot of stuff over the course of 2 years, and a lot of it doesn't get reinstalled. Perhaps if I just uninstalled a lot of that stuff it would speed up things just as much work just as well, but starting fresh just seems easier.

    2) Pop open the case and use a can of compressed air to blow the dust off of all the cooling vents. My old Dell laptop had removable cooling fans. At one point I noticed that operations that used to take seconds were taking minutes. And the fans were running full speed all the time. I popped out the fans and remove what looked like pieces of felt for the cooling vents - it was compacted dust! Suddenly my laptop was its speedy self. I clean out the dust on my desktop twice a year, and watch the CPU temperature and listen for the fans running to let me know if I have to do it more often. I am concerned about my Sony ultrabook because there is no easy way to crack it open and clean the cooling vents; but then when the fans don't come on often and when they do I can feel a lot of air coming out of the opening, so the vent must not be that filled with dust yet.

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