Windows 10: Mysterious System Slowdown

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  1.    3 Weeks Ago #1

    Mysterious System Slowdown


    I'm posting this on behalf of my old friend and colleague, Herb Martin, who used to teach Windows NT desktop and server curriculum at his company LearnQuick.com back in the day when I was first getting into that same area (which puts it around 1994-1995). He still works with Windows every day, but primarily on the Server side of things. He's having some mysterious performance issues best described as "chronic and persistent system lag/slow response" on an HP Envy laptop with a Haswell i5, 4 GB RAM, and a 500 GB conventional HD. He's looking for ideas on things to check and look out for to try to improve system performance.

    In checking Task Manager, Process Explorer, and even Resource Monitor, he's not seeing any obvious standouts that could be sucking up large amounts of resources. That said, he is likely to have half-a-dozen applications open at the same time, including two different Web browsers, each with 10 or more open tabs, plus a development platform, a code editor (like NotePad++), and one or two other tools.

    He's inclined to think that context switching among the many open processes is involved in this lag, but neither he nor I know of any effective ways to get a handle on that through performance monitoring. My only thought is to keep an eye on paging activity and working set size, both of which much surely be stressed in this kind of computing situation. I also told him to keep an eye on Reliability Monitor and Event Viewer since these two facilities are particularly able and informative when it comes to catching and diagnosing hardware-related issues.

    All this said, here's my appeal to the community: what else would you folks suggest that Herb do to try to speed things up? He's already planning to buy a new and presumably more capable laptop later this year, so he doesn't want to buy an SSD or add more memory to sink older, more expensive parts into an older machine, just to turn around and spend more money on that new laptop shortly thereafter.

    All suggestions, ideas, and advice welcome. Thanks!
    --Ed--
    Last edited by EdTittel; 3 Weeks Ago at 11:57. Reason: Fix typo: Even --> Event
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  2.    3 Weeks Ago #2

    No solution to recommend, Ed, but I wonder - has he had updates of OS/BIOS/Firmware relevant to the security vulnerabilities identified over last few months (a la “speculative execution side-channel attacks”/Spectre/Meltdown)? I recall many people were concerned about performance degradation as a result of some fixes being issued. Not sure how widespread it is that people are seeing any performance downside to these patches.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    3 Weeks Ago #3

    Hi,With only 4 Gb of RAM and a spinning disk (I guess 5400 rmp) and a lot of workload, your friend can't expect much performance on this configuration.
    As you already know, the disk is the primary bottleneck. and I suggest he do some disk health checking.
    If the disk health is good, then he should check if the Superfetch service is enabled.
    If the Superfetch is enabled, then he could try to repair the prefetcher mechanism by running this command: xbootmgr -trace boot -prepSystem -verboseReadyBoot

    this reboots Windows several times, does a defrag and trains the prefetcher again. It can take several minutes. So patience is needed
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  4. Posts : 3,242
    3-Win-7Prox64 2-Win10Prox64
       2 Weeks Ago #4

    Hi,
    Asus has had issues with haswell with the microcode mess has he update it lately ?
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  5.    2 Weeks Ago #5

    Thanks for all the great suggestions @ThrashZone, @zinou, and @Word Man. I'm not disinclined to suspect slowdowns from the Spectre v2 patch -- if he's applied it -- owing to the age of the machine. I'm leaning toward telling him to put a gimlet eye on the pagefile and working set sizes, too. Methinks he's asking the machine to do more than it can gracefully handle, especially given an older 5400 RPM spinner as the main (and only) drive.
    Thanks again,
    --Ed--
    Last edited by EdTittel; 2 Weeks Ago at 11:35. Reason: Catch all respondent notifications
      My ComputersSystem Spec


  6. Posts : 3,242
    3-Win-7Prox64 2-Win10Prox64
       2 Weeks Ago #6

    Hi,
    Yeah the Intel patch was released and withdrawn fairly quickly but you never know how paranoid people are in jumping on releases

    I was thinking also add an ssd for goodness sakes I didn't think anyone installs os's on hdd's anymore :/
    10 is such a clean install os with these large build updates it's almost automatic to reinstall at some point
      My ComputersSystem Spec


  7. Posts : 11,928
    Windows 10 (Pro and Insider Pro)
       2 Weeks Ago #7

    ThrashZone said: View Post
    Hi,
    Yeah the Intel patch was released and withdrawn fairly quickly but you never know how paranoid people are in jumping on releases

    I was thinking also add an ssd for goodness sakes I didn't think anyone installs os's on hdd's anymore :/
    10 is such a clean install os with these large build updates it's almost automatic to reinstall at some point
    Agree about SSD. IT pro and his main work tool ... This is capable machine, but with SSD and another 4 GB stick.

    Also check, if there is any unknown drive or CPU activity, but you are aware of this, I'm sure. Coin mining in browser is awful and you never know it, if not checking for it.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  • Posts : 3,242
    3-Win-7Prox64 2-Win10Prox64
       2 Weeks Ago #8

    Hi,
    Yeah this is a good one you probably already know about if now well worth using
    Protecting yourself from In-Browser Miners Solved - Windows 10 Forums
      My ComputersSystem Spec


  • Posts : 19,510
    Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17083
       2 Weeks Ago #9

    EdTittel said: View Post
    I'm posting this on behalf of my old friend and colleague, Herb Martin, who used to teach Windows NT desktop and server curriculum at his company LearnQuick.com back in the day when I was first getting into that same area (which puts it around 1994-1995). He still works with Windows every day, but primarily on the Server side of things. He's having some mysterious performance issues best described as "chronic and persistent system lag/slow response" on an HP Envy laptop with a Haswell i5, 4 GB RAM, and a 500 GB conventional HD. He's looking for ideas on things to check and look out for to try to improve system performance.

    All this said, here's my appeal to the community: what else would you folks suggest that Herb do to try to speed things up? He's already planning to buy a new and presumably more capable laptop later this year, so he doesn't want to buy an SSD or add more memory to sink older, more expensive parts into an older machine, just to turn around and spend more money on that new laptop shortly thereafter.

    All suggestions, ideas, and advice welcome. Thanks!
    --Ed--
    First off, you've presented us with the old "locked-room" mystery.

    "Herb" doesn't want to do either of the two most necessary solutions for more speed; he doesn't want to spend the money for an SSD drive and/or more RAM, so to my mind, there's absolutely no solution to his problem.

    The only "solution" I see is that he speed up his purchase of the new laptop.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  •    2 Weeks Ago #10

    Maybe it would be a good idea for Herb to Join TF so the gurus could ask him questions directly ?
      My ComputerSystem Spec


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