Troubleshoot your Windows 7 performance issues

  RISC OS user 10:30 02 Oct 13
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"Pavilion dv6 - 6b08sa" Thank you "secret squirrell" for your previous reply, whilst I am not a novice to computing, I would be pleased to receive any help you are willing to give re trouble shooting Windows 7 performance issues. I already have a disc image of both my windows computers on an external hard drive. I see that Microsoft are releasing Windows 8.1 as a free download this October. I think this is a very large patch, so would believe that if I were to purchase a copy of windows 8 I should be able to upgrade,(patch) it later. I would also believe that installing windows 8 over 7 would not be much different to what I did when I installed Windows 7 over XP on another PC a couple of years back. As your mentioned it would be best to clean install the OS, and yes it would be a lengthy operation but better in the long run. Do you think my AMD Laptop should be as fast as my i5 desktop? I look forward to reading your comments etc.

  Secret-Squirrel 12:52 02 Oct 13

" I am not a novice to computing..............I would be pleased to receive any help you are willing to give re trouble shooting Windows 7 performance issues."

OK, here you go:

Task Manager is a good tool for troubleshooting performance issues. Boot your computer, open all the programs you'd normally have open at the same time and allow the computer time to "settle down". Open Task Manager and click the "Performance" tab. Look at the "Memory" bar graph, and what's shown in "Physical Memory (MB) - TOTAL" and report back your findings.

Next, keep an eye on the "CPU Usage" bar graph for a while. When you're not doing much on the computer it shouldn't be showing more than 15% or so. If The CPU is constantly very busy (>70%) then let me know and I'll tell you how to troubleshoot the cause(s).

If your computer's only slow sometimes then do the above when it next happens.

Regarding Windows 8, a clean install would be better, and if things don't work out, you can restore things back to how they were with your disk image. Note that this wouldn't work if you take the upgrade route. When you upgrade your Windows licence is updated to Windows 8, and if you restore Windows 7, Windows Activation will fail so it's a "one way street".

" Do you think my AMD Laptop should be as fast as my i5 desktop?"

I doubt it. Mobile processors are usually slower than their desktop equivalents, and AFAIK, AMD now trail behind Intel in performance.

  RISC OS user 14:16 02 Oct 13

Memory bar graph steady at about 2.98 to 3.4 with Firefox, Thunderbird,Xara Extreme and Virtual Acorn running (all except Firefox minimised. 6GB of RAM present, Available 2.547 GB, FREE 87MB, whilst typing this CPU usage dropped at low as 5%, and whilst streaming video it went up to 47% and then fluctuated down to about 20% or less. There are 90 processes running,,handles 131679 and climbing all the time, Threads 1145. Not sure what all this means. The main slowness seems to be with Thunderbird and Firefox they both take along time to load and display on screen, likewise Xara and Virtual Acorn. I have just launched Chrome and the CPU went up to 80% until the BBC news pages loaded (my home page). I closed Chrome down and they re started it the CPU usage reasched 97% to a few seconds, higher than the time before. Hope this means something to you. Thanks for your help.

  Secret-Squirrel 17:01 02 Oct 13
Answer

Thanks for the info.

You've confirmed that Windows sees 6GB of RAM so we can rule out a failed memory module. You've obviously got plenty of RAM spare so that's not the cause of the problem.

Your CPU usage appears fine too. Sometimes when I go out to troubleshoot a slow PC I find a rogue process constantly using all the CPU cycles. That's obviously not happening to you either.

Given the above info, there's no need to worry about the number of processes. If you had an underpowered laptop low on RAM then it would be worth doing some pruning of nonessential processes but it's not necessary in your case.

Do you notice the laptop's hard drive activity light on a lot more than seems normal? If the drive's busy doing something then loading programs will be a lot slower. In the same Task Manager window, click the "Resource Monitor" button at the bottom. When the program opens, click the "Disk" tab then keep an eye on the graph on the right. The left-hand section shows the processes using the hard disk. You can sort them by clicking on the column headings so the busiest ones are at the top.

If however webpages are also slow to load then take a speedtest here and report back the results including the ping.

To give you an indication of whether a clean install is likely to make a difference, create a disk image and restore your laptop back to its factory settings. If its performance improves dramatically, and that's what I'm expecting, restore the image and consider getting Windows 8 or plan for a reinstall of Windows 7. I've noticed that Windows 8 does seem the more responsive and is quicker to boot up but I can't give you any guarantees.

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  RISC OS user 22:01 02 Oct 13

Thank you for your information. The Broadband speed is 4520/321 and the ping is 62ms. My line is rated at 2.5 M bits but has at times been giving 5600. The network is LAN (wired). The disc light does not flash often. I was not sure which one it was, so had to load a programme to get it to flash!

The disc information in Task Manager/ resource is still a mystery to me, it appear that system is the biggest user with the most reads and writes.

I will try setting back to factory setting etc. after having re-made the disc image. I will report back via a new thread how I get on but it will not be completed for at least a week or more! I will close this thread in a few days. Just one more question I used to get emails to advise me when a new post has been added, but this has not happened for the last to question I have asked, no they are not in the spam folder. I have looked at my profile and options and cannot see a box to tick.

  Secret-Squirrel 08:26 03 Oct 13

Thanks again for the info.

As there isn't a lot of disk activity taking place then there's no need to examine the Resource Monitor information closely.

Your laptop's got masses of RAM, its CPU isn't overly busy, your broadband speeds are OK, and disk activity seems normal so it's disappointing that I couldn't identify the cause of your performance issues.

Cutting down on the number of non-essential startup programs and services may help but it could be a time consuming task and possibly fruitless.

Regarding notification e-mails, mine have virtually stopped. Have a look at this recent thread.

  RISC OS user 12:04 03 Oct 13

Thank you again for all the help and advice you have given. I am still not sure if I will upgrade with windows 8 or buy a new machine.

All the best.

I will close the threads/question.

  Woolwell 12:41 03 Oct 13

One thing that I don't think that has been mentioned is the write speed of the hard drive. The laptop's drive is 5400 and the desktop is likely to be 7200. This will probably make a difference when using page file.

  Secret-Squirrel 16:31 03 Oct 13

With 6GB of RAM the page file will be barely used.

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