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Author Topic: Laptop... so... slow  (Read 6541 times)

scottydl

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Laptop... so... slow
« on: November 27, 2015, 09:35:00 PM »
In recent months my laptop has really begun lagging and running pretty slowly at times.  From loading internet content, to opening programs, to startup and shutdown of Windows 7, etc.  I have run virus scans, checked ongoing processes to make sure there is no unexpected bloatware, and defragmented disks, which is about everything I can think of to "clean up" the background. 

I don't run anything super-high demand, such as advanced photo or video processing.  If I have Itunes or Windows Movie Maker working, I can't do much else on the system without serious lagging.  My thought is that today's applications and content requires more resources than it did 7 years ago.

This is a ~7 year old HP Pavilion machine with an AMD Phenom II N850 Triple-Core Processor (2.2 Ghz) and 4gb of RAM.  I believe the RAM can be upgraded to 8gb, and I saw that the processor is easily accessed too and I could probably drop a replacement in there.  Of course that doesn't change the motherboard bus or hard drive accessibility speed.  The battery doesn't hold a charge like it used to either.

I guess my main question is whether I should put some money into this laptop to help it keep up, or consider replacing it instead.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2015, 09:43:35 PM »
Not all viruses can be detected by anti-virus programs. You might want to try a different anti-virus program.
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herekittykitty

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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2015, 10:03:47 PM »
The admiral is right. Couldn't hurt. Make sure it also checks for malware and rootkits. However...

This is one thing I've never truly been able to solve to my own satisfaction, and FWIW, a 7 year old laptop is considered ancient. It's 80 in human years.  :D

My oldest laptop has been relegated to "entertainment computer" status (haven't had an actual TV for years), so I don't ask much of it. All it has to do is stream stuff, which it does fine, but it takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r to open up a simple Chrome window. I deleted all the applications I no longer use on it, and all the Chrome extensions, and "upgraded" from 7 to 10, wondering whether that might help, but it makes no difference.

If you don't want to buy a new one right now, even a cheap one (stay away from the HP cheap ones - they run really hot and IME stuff often needs replacing that shouldn't on a new machine), you can always take the plunge and just back up your data to an external drive, and reset it back to its factory settings. That's a breeze for anything that came with Win 8 or 10, but can sometimes be difficult with Win 7 computers, as I found out with mine. If you happen to have the OS on a disc, though, you should be fine.

Look at it this way: If you can't solve this problem and it bothers you enough, you'll likely be buying a new computer, meaning you'll have to back up or move your data and reload all the programs you use anyway. Might as well see what happens with your current one when you try that first.

P.S. Have you kept up with all the OS updates? That's something else you can check.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2015, 10:07:06 PM by herekittykitty »
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2015, 11:20:02 PM »
If I had a dime for every time someone has said the same thing!  90% of the time the problems turns out to be toolbars.  Here's a good rule of thumb.  Toolbars are not your friend. They're usually sneak ware - bundled in with something else, like a Java, flash, or Adobe update. 

Go,to settings - add remove programs and click on sort by install date and look at whatever was installed most recently.

I use Spybot Search & Destroy (free) from www.majorgeeks.com fairly often.  Majorgeeks has several free stand alone virus removal programs as well.
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kdbgoat

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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2015, 04:23:41 AM »
X2 on Spybot. A simple program to get rid of day to day stuff is Ccleaner. Doesn't do anything for viruses,  but does get rid of history,  cookies,  and temp files etc very well.
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herekittykitty

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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2015, 04:35:07 AM »
I haven't found that CC Cleaner speeds things up, but that's not knocking it.

Toolbars and other PUPs (potentially unwanted programs) can certainly muck up one's system, true. When I get a new computer, the very first thing I do is install Chrome, and the second thing is to download and install a free program called Unckecky.

It's stopped me from unintentionally accepting all the crapware that can come along for the ride with some applications. As careful and wary as I normally am, sometimes I move too fast, or don't look closely enough. I'm really glad to have it.

Thanks for the link to MajorGeeks, 8Muddypaws. Have heard of them but not spent any time there, and the home page has links to a few things I'd never heard of. Just what I needed... more stuff...  :D
« Last Edit: November 28, 2015, 04:39:30 AM by herekittykitty »
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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2015, 06:38:15 AM »
There are basically 4 things that I can think of that S*L*O*W*! down a computer

Windows is damaged software,, So to fix the damage MIcrosoft sends you patch after patch after patch after patch (this goes on till end of life)  Well imagine how fast you could run with 20 or 40 or 100 layers of bandages on you legs.. Computer has same problem.

Second is malware infections.. Alas no single anti-malware product snaggs 'em all though a few come close Malware Bytes is what Staples uses to disinfect computers.

Next is hardware issues.. For example a bad RAM chip limiting your memory to half what it was last week.

Finally we have disc drive failure.

WIndows 7 can, as I recall, be upgraded to Windows 10.. This should "reset" the bandage level.. but I'd not guarantee anything.
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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2015, 07:30:34 AM »
If you haven't emptied your temp folders for awhile those fill up with junk files and can slow down many program operations.  Run the Disk Cleaner program in Windows first to see if that helps.  You'll also get back a lot of disk space as a bonus.

Also, open the Task Manager and click on the CPU heading.  See if there's one or more processes that are using a high percentage of the CPU time.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2015, 09:22:35 AM »
The brute force solution is to re-install a fresh copy of Windows. There are often a combination of things slowing it down, everything from excessive software add-ons to browser (e.g. tool bars), automatic checks for updates by a zillion apps, cluttered up Registry (compacting it may help), too many programs auto-starting (memory hogs), cluttered disk, etc.  These can all be addressed individually, but the clean install method is the most straight-forward method for many people. It's a lot of work, but so is finding and fixing all the molasses in Window's gear box.
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scottydl

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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2015, 09:53:45 AM »
I know this computer is "ancient" but it really does everything I want it to... it's just slowing down doing the same things as always. 

I usually run dual malware checks with AdAware and MalwareBytes, but I'll try the other programs mentioned too.  Nothing sticks out on processes and CPU usage, I keep a pretty close eye on that.  I also install the recommended Windows updates regularly.  I upgraded to W10 at one point and lost of bunch of the HP-specific drivers that ran things like touchpad functions and sound.  HP quit supporting this model with updated drivers due to its age, so I downgraded back to W7. 

I'd gladly do a clean install if I could, but I don't have any original media.  I've never quite figured out how to do it right otherwise.  I don't use toolbars (for the reasons mentioned) and delete unwanted programs regularly too.

I'll keep chipping away at things here!
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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2015, 09:58:42 AM »
I think you are on the bubble Scott. I agree with Gary, a new install of Windows is probably your best solution. And Windows 10 would be even better.  But sometimes it's like putting new shiny chrome wheels on that old truck you have had forever.  It looks great, but when you take it out for a spin the trans falls out.  It may be time to bite the bullet and reduce your stress level and just get a new machine.  I bailed on HP years ago after 3 HP machines failed on me in row, all with different hardware problems.  My current Acer is running pretty well, and the Win 10 upgrade is working well too.
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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2015, 10:05:56 AM »
Pull up task manager - CTL - ALT - DEL - then look at what is running (processes) and see if you can identify what is operating without any programs running - just windows. I found my old Norton anti-virus was a HOG - switched to ESET and problem went away.

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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2015, 12:02:45 PM »
If I had a dime for every time someone has said the same thing!  90% of the time the problems turns out to be toolbars.  Here's a good rule of thumb.  Toolbars are not your friend. They're usually sneak ware - bundled in with something else, like a Java, flash, or Adobe update. 

Go,to settings - add remove programs and click on sort by install date and look at whatever was installed most recently.

I use Spybot Search & Destroy (free) from www.majorgeeks.com fairly often.  Majorgeeks has several free stand alone virus removal programs as well.

Are you familiar with Apple and if so, is there a way to address the issue.  That said, I'm not sure my new iMac (April 2015) is slow because of our Internet connection (Time Warner with downloads of more than 200 mps), or because there are more commercial messages these days than actual info. 

Thanks for your thoughts.
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herekittykitty

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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2015, 08:39:17 PM »
I bailed on HP years ago after 3 HP machines failed on me in row, all with different hardware problems.  My current Acer is running pretty well, and the Win 10 upgrade is working well too.
I can second the Acer endorsement (since I already added my 2 cents about not getting an HP). Have 2 of them.

Stay away from Asus. They have a nasty attitude about known component failures. I dispatched my Asus laptop with a baseball bat. Felt great.

Since you'd have to pay for a copy of Win 7, you might as well pull the trigger and say sayonara to this laptop.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2015, 08:53:33 PM »
I have owned an Asus 17 inch Windows laptop for three and a half years. Cost me $450 and has been upgraded to W10. Best laptop I have ever owned. Never had a bit of trouble with it. Usually I wear out a keyboard in a year, this one is still working perfectly. My Chromebook is a 13.3 inch Asus that I have had for a year and it too is working perfectly it's entire life. The screens on both of them are flawless. No dead pixels, no hot pixels, gorgeous color rendition.
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HappyWanderer

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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2015, 09:01:43 PM »
Since you'd have to pay for a copy of Win 7, you might as well pull the trigger and say sayonara to this laptop.

As long as you have a valid product key (which is issued to the laptop), you can download Windows 7 for free from Microsoft.
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scottydl

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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2015, 09:21:00 PM »
I have the product key and will look into the fresh download.  That would be my preference anyway.
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docj

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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2015, 09:35:44 PM »
One thing that hasn't been mentioned is checking to see what apps/programs are being loaded at startup.  Over the years as you install various programs many of them want to have a presence in memory at bootup even though they really aren't needed until you want to run that particular program.  Example of this are Adobe programs which always have multiple startup apps in memory. 

Depending on what version of Windows the OP is using, the process for viewing startup apps is different.  I believe that for Windows 7 and previous versions the list of startup apps was accessible by running MSCONFIG from a Command Prompt.  For Window 8 and 10 the startup list is one of the screens of Task Manager.

I go through my startup lists periodically and I don't hesitate to disable most of the apps I find.  You'll be surprised how many you probably have running and what an improvement you will get by disabling them.  For computers with limited RAM (the OP said his had 4GB) this can be very important.
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scottydl

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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #18 on: November 29, 2015, 06:01:16 AM »
So let's say I might be interested in replacing this machine... after all, Cyber Monday is coming up quite soon.  ;)  If I can find a good enough deal, I'll probably go for it since I'm sure I'll need to replace this HP sometime in the next year.

What should I be looking for in terms of laptop processor/RAM standards and other features these days?  I follow tech news a bit, but I admittedly don't keep up on ever-changing computer peripherals nearly as much as I used to, as long as my machine is working fine.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2015, 06:05:56 AM by scottydl »
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SeilerBird

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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #19 on: November 29, 2015, 06:05:16 AM »
The processor/RAM is pretty meaningless to me. The biggest slowdown is Windows and your Internet connection. Compare the speed of downloading something on the machines you are interested in. There doesn't appear to be any correlation between processor size and download speed on the ones I have tested. I always shop by price and screen size. I get the cheapest laptop in the size I want. They are so cheap today that it is easier to discard it once a year.
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scottydl

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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #20 on: November 29, 2015, 06:06:15 AM »
About my only request there is a 17" screen.  Our "home" laptop doesn't travel a lot so weight/size is not an issue.  I buy a lot of stuff from Woot.com and here is one page of some of their 17" laptop deals (lots of HP's, a few Acers, a few Dell's).  Brand name does not mean as much to me as the innards.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #21 on: November 29, 2015, 06:30:29 AM »
Wow, they have a 17 inch Acer for $259. Can't beat that with a stick.
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scottydl

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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #22 on: November 29, 2015, 06:52:45 AM »
I saw that too, stats are no better than what I have now though... 500gb HD and 4GB RAM, Windows 8.1 preloaded although I guess W10 upgrade would be free.  It's a quad-core processor instead of my current triple-core, but I don't know if that would make a noticeable difference.  For a "new" computer and several hundred dollars out of pocket, I would at least like some performance upgrades.

The only other issue I have with their "Reconditioned" laptops is that the Microsoft product key stickers are usually ripped off (or at least it was that way in the past), so I can never legitimately reload the OS.  I had that problem on another refurb laptop that I bought from Woot.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #23 on: November 29, 2015, 07:28:48 AM »
No matter which one you buy the only performance upgrade will come with the fact you have a fresh install of Windows. A bigger hard drive, more memory and more cores won't really do anything for you.
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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #24 on: November 29, 2015, 10:58:37 AM »
I have the product key and will look into the fresh download.  That would be my preference anyway.

Just a word of caution here.  What you are looking for is NOT the Product key, but the Activation Code...which is the 5x5 (25 digit number) on the sticker at the rear of your HP Laptop.  There is a big difference.
Personally, for what you are looking at (unless you pick that HP 17.3" screen,  I7-5500M processor, nVidia Graphics chip and 1 Terrabyte SATA HD,) you would be just as well off to just load a fresh install of Windows 7. As stated, you can likely just download it for free or just ask a friend who might have a disk copy of Windows 7.  You can install from any Windows 7 Disk and when it asks for the Activation Code, you insert the one you have from your Laptop.
I just did this last week on a client's HP Laptop.  All went well.  As for Drivers, you may not find them on the HP site but there are third party sites which will have them, such as www.drivers.com or www.driverdownload.net.  They aren't always free, but you can usually find some of the sites which will provide them free.  You can also order a Drivers Support Disk from HP at a reasonable price. As well, when checking the HP Site, look carefully for a link named "Archives" and/or "Discontinued Models".

Gord

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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #25 on: November 29, 2015, 12:04:38 PM »
Just a word of caution here.  What you are looking for is NOT the Product key, but the Activation Code...which is the 5x5 (25 digit number) on the sticker at the rear of your HP Laptop.  There is a big difference.

Someone better tell Microsoft...
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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #26 on: November 29, 2015, 12:45:59 PM »
Yes, of course you are right. 

I was referring to the other code (the Product ID:) which is a 20 digit number in the format XXXXX-XXX-XXXXXXX-XXXXX , as the Product Key rather than its correct name.

My Bad! :-[

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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #27 on: November 29, 2015, 01:12:24 PM »
Over the last couple of years we've replaced both our old laptops with MSI GT-70 laptops.  They have 17 inch screens which also was a major criterion for us.  We got mine first and it has a glare-proof screen which is good because there are windows behind me at home.  Jerry got his later and it does not have the same glare-proof screen.  Otherwise they're the same and both have Windows 7.  I tried an ACER and returned it.  Jerry tried an HP and returned it.  Then he tried a Dell and also returned it because of the "dreaded blue screen" problem.  The Dell model has not been on the market since then.  Anyway, he ended up with the same MSI as me and we've both been very happy with them.  The MSI is billed as a gaming computer but we don't use it for that purpose.  I would recommend the MSI.

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scottydl

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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #28 on: November 29, 2015, 01:43:42 PM »
Personally, for what you are looking at (unless you pick that HP 17.3" screen,  I7-5500M processor, nVidia Graphics chip and 1 Terrabyte SATA HD,) you would be just as well off to just load a fresh install of Windows 7. As stated, you can likely just download it for free or just ask a friend who might have a disk copy of Windows 7.  You can install from any Windows 7 Disk and when it asks for the Activation Code, you insert the one you have from your Laptop.

There are a few other age issues with this HP that are pointing me toward replacement.  Only 1 out of 3 USB ports work anymore (I've tried Device Manager driver reinstallations to no avail), HP does not offer drivers/support any more for my model because of its age, several keyboard keys are faded off, battery does not hold a charge well anymore, and hard drive makes an unknown random click/beep noise every so often that makes me fear it is near failure.

The cheapest MSI laptop with a 17" screen is over $1000 at Walmart, so I'm afraid that brand will not be an option.  It's tough for me to spend anything in that range when $250-350 laptops in the same size are readily available.  I realize there are component differences and the MSI is no doubt superior there, but not worth 3x-4x the price for my needs.  Kinda like a new $200,000 DP versus a used $20,000 gasser.  ;)
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- 1995 Chevrolet Suburban C2500 tow vehicle
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SeilerBird

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Re: Laptop... so... slow
« Reply #29 on: November 29, 2015, 01:59:17 PM »
The cheapest MSI laptop with a 17" screen is over $1000 at Walmart, so I'm afraid that brand will not be an option.  It's tough for me to spend anything in that range when $250-350 laptops in the same size are readily available.  I realize there are component differences and the MSI is no doubt superior there, but not worth 3x-4x the price for my needs.  Kinda like a new $200,000 DP versus a used $20,000 gasser.  ;)
I had not ever heard of MSI so I looked them up and their prices are as obscene as Apple. But if that is what you like and you can afford it then go for it. I always shop just by looking at price. Give me the cheapest laptop every time.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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