Laptop so slow to run applications

  Marko797 18:54 10 Aug 2011

Grateful if anyone can advise on this please as it's driving me mad.

Laptop (Vaio) on XP (4 yrs old) and 2 gb RAM, is just so slow to open any programs, even including IE8, you would think it was going backwards. Even Outlook 2010 or infact any application at all (Word, Excel etc) takes an absolute age to open. Trying to open more than one program is impossible.

I've scanned for malware (& in safe mode), and all clear; done the same with antivirus (no problems); taken the battery out just in case it was this, no problems. Have done a CCleaner, plus reg cleaner session all to no avail. I'm doing a disk clean-up as we speak, but this is also taking ages. When that's done - maybe tomorrow when disk clean up has finished - plan on defragging the hard drive.

Capacity of hard drive is 55 gb, with 14 gb free.

This all started last week; no new software installed and regularly update and scan with malware bytes anti malware, super anti spyware, and also avast.

If I start the machine in safe mode (which reduces number of drivers) then it seems ok.

Left the machine on all last night and tried to open Outlook this morning and all was ok. Also able to open IE8 and other programs, so it's as if it needs an excessive amount of time to start to work 'normally'. Maybe the hamster inside needs feeding more often? I shut it down then tried a restart, then the old problem came back - ultra slow.

Is the machine knacked, or are there other steps I can take to resolve this? Grateful for any advice, so thnx in advance.

  woodchip 19:07 10 Aug 2011

First thing to try after what you have done above, Is Windows Updates Set to Auto Download and Install? if so set to Manual, Try running Restore back to before the Problem Started as it may have been a update that is the problem

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 19:13 10 Aug 2011

1. Software

a) Clear out all temporary files and folders -- use CCleaner

b) Scan for malware spyware and viruses --Free Anti Spyware :- Malwarebytes Superantispyware

Free Antivirus software MicroSoft Security Essentials Avast

c) Clean the registry -- Use the tool in Crap Cleaner its very safe and also allows you to back up the registry first.

d) Pagefile (Virtual Memory) -- Right click MY Computer - select properties - Advanced tab - Performance - advanced tab - Virtual memory click change, you can put the page file on a different drive (if you have one), click custom size and set Initial size to one and a half times the amount of memory you have fitted i.e. 512MB memory = set to 768MB, set maximum to double your memory amount i.e. 512MB memory = 1024MB click ok. If your hard drive is full and there is not enough room for the pagefile this can slow down, freeze or even cause the PC to crash (restart).

e) Cut down on the programs that load at start up -- Start - Run type msconfig - start up tab- untick everything except for firewall, antivirus and antispyware

and the services that run in the background.

2. Hardware

a) Hard drives /

i) IDE Channels: (Not required if you have SATA drives) Check the transfer rate, you need to have the transfer mode set to DMA not PIO. Right click My Computer - Properties - Hardware - Device Manager - Expand (click the + ) IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers right click Primary Channel - Advanced Settings Tab - If transfer Mode is PIO then follow the instructions at to change.

ii) Check for errors and defrag your hard drives -- My Computer - select drive - properties - tool tab - Error checking / Defragmentation.

ii) If you are using Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 it's a good idea to convert your system drive to the NTFS file system if you have not already. In addition to providing numerous security and data recovery improvements over FAT32 (the file system of choice for Windows 9x/ME and XP Home) it can also speed up your system slightly.

In fact, the only real reason for sticking with the FAT32 file system for any of your data is if you have more than one operating system on your PC and the other OS's can only see FAT32 partitions (as would be the case with Windows 98, for example, which is incapable of reading NTFS data).

To convert your drives to NTFS: Right click on 'my computer' and select 'manage' From the computer management window, expand storage and select 'disk management.' Using the 'file system' column of the upper pane of this window, you can easily check what file system each of your logical drives is using. Make a note of this information. Now open a command prompt window by going to 'start\run' and typing 'cmd' To convert a disk to NTFS, type 'convert (drive letter): /fs:ntfs' So for example, if you were going to convert your C: drive, you would type 'Convert c: /fs:ntfs' at the prompt.

b) Drivers Obtain the newest drivers for your hardware This may seem a bit obvious, but keeping your system's drivers up to date can give both your performance and stability a boost. Video card manufacturers release updates especially often, and these can often give "significant boosts" to gaming performance as video card in question is "optimized."

Don't neglect the other components of your system either. Your motherboard manufacturer may have released newer versions of its Input/output drivers for your board, and sound cards and other peripherals can also benefit from newer software.

c) Memory Add more physical memory, this of course means opening the "box" and fitting a memory module, make sure you buy one that is suitable for your PC. Crucial will guide you through the process of selecting the correct memory. for a guide to fitting memory.

  Marko797 19:39 10 Aug 2011

Fruit Bat

Have done most of these things and some time ago moved the page file. Can't get onto ie8 to download anything (MSE), but have done all that u mention on malware/virus/ccleaner. Have reduced the start up progs in msconfig.

Windows update set to auto. Tried restore (back to start of July) but altho it does restore to an earlier time, no improvement I'm afraid.

Drivers all ok but can't get to internet bcos can't open ie8 anyway, and drives are NTFS. Not sure if more memory is the problem. Anything else?

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 20:04 10 Aug 2011

You have a small drive is it IDE?

Check device manager look at 2a in my previous post.

  T0SH 21:06 10 Aug 2011

Using windows system restore to go back to a date before this problem happened, will speedily identify if this is a software (if so it will resolve the issue) or a harware issue (which it will not resolve), even if it does not solve the issue you can always use the "undo my last restore" feature to get back to where you started

Cheers HC

  Marko797 21:23 10 Aug 2011

Fruitbat - I have 2 drives, or one partitioned (55 gb & 48 gb) at least, and yes it's set to DMA.

I've altered the page file size to max 4012 and things are now running ok. However, if I go for a restart I fear things will return to the poor functioning state. ?? I guess I need to try this anyway ultimately.

Tosh, I mentioned I had done restore to no avail.

  wee eddie 21:51 10 Aug 2011

Just a guess. One of your Partitions is close to full.

Personally, I can't see the advantage of Partitioning a single Drive, except where it is needed to isolate one part from another, as in, a Recovery Copy of Windows.

  Marko797 22:00 10 Aug 2011

wee eddie, it came with the partition, I didn't do it. I think it might have a recovery 'bit' on 'D' but unsure. I'm defragging C as we speak, but a further option might be to use the vaio recovery facility which restores things to a default/original state - must be like a reformat of sorts as all programs will be removed?

  Les28 08:01 11 Aug 2011

After following advice received, how many items are now ticked in the Startup tab in msconfig?

Also how many processes are now shown in Task Manager, at bottom left of Task Manager's page and also alongside that what CPU usage % is shown?

Any recurring problem showing in Event Viewer?

Did you move the page file from C to D partition? Did you leave a small page file on C?

Have you tried reducing windows allocated space for system restore, recycle bin and temp internet files, just to increase your system drive free space a little?

Have you got or downloaded the manual for your specific laptop model?

Sounds like it has a drive fairly evenly split into two partitions, one for system C drive, one for Data D drive which some manufacturers do and then probably a hidden much smaller sized EISA partition for factory restore somewhere accessed by pressing F10 or Alt and F10 at boot time maybe if need be, check in your manual for this.

Do you know if system restore is monitoring the D drive, which isn't necessary if it's only a data storage drive?

  Marko797 10:12 11 Aug 2011

Well I did defrag last night, plus increased the file page as mentioned earlier. I left the machine on all night doing the defrag. Everything opened very quickly this morning, post the defarg. Even opening 6 programs at the same time proved no problem!

However, I did the 'acid test' of restarting the machine, and unfortunately it was back to original problem; everything so slow.

I'll need to check on your points Les once it's running normally, as everything I do currently causes it to stall.

I'm leaning towards the vaio recovery bit now.

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