Frequent stalls / laggy DELL Vostro 3550

  TheTopMark 02:26 07 Jan 2014

Hello there,

I am experiencing a problem with a Dell Vostro 3550 laptop, running Windows 7. I have started to experience a pause/stall/freeze approximately every 30 seconds, which lasts a 3 - 4 seconds with using the laptop. It is most commonly experienced when typing in Word 2010 or entering search terms into a internet browser, but it does happen when not typing also - scrolling an already-loaded webpage, switching between programs, browsing within Start -> All Programs menu, etc. It is a complete stall, loading indicators stop, windows don't update, any keyboard strokes are buffered and the text appears after the stall. I'm am familiar with computers and this isn't regular 'waiting for something to load', it feels very random, like loading is blocked/stalled, and is very frustrating! There is little rhyme or rhythm to it.

It tends to happen in some circumstance more than others, but follows no fixed rule. In Word, for example, a stall is more likely if I've reached the end of a line and the text is about to wrap to the next line. Or if I've recently alt-tabbed back into Word. It is not-Word specific. It happens in Firefox and Internet explorer also. Typing into Notepad is all fine; no problems at all. The same is true of Wordpad. Strangely, if I open Word in safe mode (winword.exe /safe) the problem is much worse, happening every....5 seconds if I start word in safe mode.

I've done everything I know to diagnose the problem and fix it, but have been unsuccessful:

  • Booted Windows into Safe Mode (problem persists)
  • Used msconfig to disable all non-Microsoft startup and services (problem persists)
  • Disabled all anti-virus software. (problem persists)
  • Ran a full scan using MalwareBytes - nothing found.
  • Been to the DELL driver site and updated all the drivers it recommended (2 video drivers and 1 other)
  • I've set the Windows options to bias towards performance rather than appearance.
  • Defragmenting the disk

The laptop belongs to a friend and is no longer under a DELL warranty. Googling has found a lot of similar symptoms reported by others, but they appear to be from 2008, and a lot are in relation to a background "PCMservices" which I can't find on this machine.

The only remaining thing I can think of is to re-install Windows - but that a) didn't solve anything for many people reporting this problem in the past, and b) is pretty extreme. Are there other things I should try? Also, the Vostro machine only has 2GB RAM - which seems a little low for Windows 7 + Office 2010 - but given the Resource Monitor sits at about 41% "Used Physical Memory", I assume this isn't the cause.

Many thanks for any help you can give


  spuds 10:56 07 Jan 2014

You seem to suggest that other people have had similar problems from 2008, and still no solution was really found.

Have you tried Dell support for advice and remedies, pointing out that the problem was being reported from 2008?.

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