Laptop suddenly slow and sluggish

  nickmon 17:37 23 Dec 2009

Quite suddenly my 6 month old Acer Aspire 6530 has become rather slow and sluggish, when I'm writing text suddenly it freezes for a few seconds then it all appears, Youtube is virtually unwatchable very jerky and broken video quality, same with iTunes playback. I have installed the latest updates to Window Vista, run a virus check, and its no where near out of memory so I can't understand why this has happened. I have not installed any large new pieces of software either. System restore wouldn't work. What should I do? Is it possibly an un-detected virus or spyware? Would upgrading to Windows 7 solve the issue? Is there a good piece of software I can download to help repair it?

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 17:51 23 Dec 2009

1. Software

a) Clear out all temporay files and folders -- use Crap Cleaner click here

b) Scan for malware spyware and viruses --Free Anti Spyware :-
Superantispyware click here
Malware removal tool click here

Free Antivirus software
Avast4 click here
AVG antivirus click here

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) -- Rght click MY Computer - select propeties - Advanced tab - Performance - advanced tab - Virtual memory click change, you can put the page file on a differnt 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 startup -- Start - Run type msconfig - startup tab- untick everything except for firewall, antivirus and antispyware

and the services that run in the background. click here

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 17:51 23 Dec 2009

2. Hardware

a) Hard drives /

i) IDE Channels:
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 click here 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 or Vista, 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

  nickmon 23:35 23 Dec 2009

Thanks for the suggestions. I have downoaded the progmrams and searched for ny harmful programs, all that was turned up was a bunch of cookies, I also did the registry clean. None seems to have made much difference.

As for the other solutions using the 'My Computer', I can't see that on Vista, and when it gets to the advanced stuff I'm a bit afraid to alter anything! Is there a simpler way of explaining it to a novice like me?

Would upgrading to Windows 7 solve the problem and give me a smoother running laptop!? It's still freezing for a second every time I type, generally slow, Youtube videos very jerky and i've only had it 6 months and it still has 61% of hard disc fee!

  gigagiggles 01:03 24 Dec 2009

according to a net search, that's a 250 gb hd. 40% filled = 100 gb used. 10 - 20 gb is vista related.

80 gb in six months, and you're using novice to fall back on? LOL.

ALL teasing aside, do an inventory of installed programs. vista's add/remove programs applet will show a list. i prefer to use revouninstaller. it sometimes doesn't show a program that is on vista's list. but it uninstalls using the program's own uninstaller, and then checks for and cleans up most remnants.

once the programs are categorized and sorted, choose what to keep and what to uninstall. make SURE any previously sampled security programs are thoroughly uninstalled. make SURE current active security programs do not serve the same functions. otherwise, they'll conflict and tie up resources.

then choose a good non-vista defragmentation program. ccleaner's piriform also publishes defraggler. i use auslogics disk defrag utility.

the programs i've mentioned work well in default settings. but they may work better in advanced settings. so take off the novice cap and discover some new tools and tricks.

as for win 7, it may work wonders at the beginning, if the laptop is upgradeable to win 7. but eventually, you'll wind up in a similar situation.

  rdave13 01:24 24 Dec 2009

Right click the taskbar and select task manager. Select processes and click on 'show processes from all users'.
Check system idle and see what is using your CPU.
Idle should be about 90%

  nickmon 01:34 24 Dec 2009

I'd say most of the space I have taken up are media files from iTunes, not programs.

I feel confident about removing more recently installed programs (they are mostly programs I have downloaded to try and detect malware). Now this may seem a silly question, but how do I know which programs are safe to remove and which aren't?

For example, the computer came pre-installed with McAfee but I was already a Norton customer so I downloeded Nortin 360 and use that; even though the free trial period with McAfeee has expired, should I try and remove the pre-installed McAfee? Is it possible it is conflicting or duplicating Norton?

Also the sudden nature of my laptop slowing down makes me think it is a virus, but nothing has been detected. System restore only goes back a week and would undo the Service Pack 2; do I really want to do that?

Oh and another symptom is that the audio sometimes gets very distorted, I couldn't make out a Skype conversation due to it.

Thanks for your advice!

  nickmon 01:49 24 Dec 2009

Ok, I have looked on the Windows Task Manager, here’s what I got:

Image Name User Name CPU Memory (Private working set)
System Idle Process System 18-50 24k

At the bottom of the window:
Processes: 106 CPU Usage: 97-100% Physical Memory: 55%

All the above numbers fluctuate, I have no idea what they mean!

  gigagiggles 02:05 24 Dec 2009

"Processes: 106 CPU Usage: 97-100%"

oy vey!

sort the cpu column from highest usage to least usage. jot down the 10 highest and if there are no privacy concerns, post the file names.

mcafee and norton serve the same functions. mcafee and norton EACH has its own removal tool. you may have to use both to give norton 360 a clean slate to work with.

also, since norton 360 is a complete security suite, there shouldn't be ANY other ACTIVE security programs running at the same time, unless they have been deemed compatible by norton or user consensus.

  rdave13 02:09 24 Dec 2009

That's your problem . Too many security suits.
As you are paying for Norton, and it's installed, you need to remove McAfee.
Now try to open McAfee control center. (Called that I assume as I don't use it.) Now disable firewall and antivirus and antispyware in McAfee suit. Click OK to usual warning.
If I remember rightly you can now right click on McAfee icon in system tray (now called notification area) and select exit. Click on yes on the ' are you sure pop-up'.
Download the removal tool here and use their guide. Take your time to read the site.
Link should work.
click here

Never have any two security suits installed on a PC even if one is defunct.

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