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Windows Slow Down

Posted on 2003-03-07
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Last Modified: 2010-04-25
A friend of mine has a fairly new computer, Intel Celeron 1.1GHz CPU with 512MB Ram, 2 hard drives (on the same IDE), and a CD Burner.

When the system starts up it runs at a good speed, applications open fast, fast saves, etc. etc.

Over time (minutes/hours) the system gets slower and slower, until it gets so slow (after about 3 hrs) that the system needs to be rebooted.

After reboot the system is back to full speed and will agin slow down over time.

Any hints on what to try?
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Question by:RayFrye
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CrazyOne earned 200 total points
ID: 8090530
You did not say what operating system.

If it is Windows 95, 98 or ME then

System resources is probably the most misunderstood thing about Windows. It would be benifical to the user if it was named "Operating Sytem Resources" becuase it has very little to do with the machine itself or its hardware. It is not the mystery it appears to be and causes more misdiagnosis when troubleshooting Windows than just about anything else. Software is about the only thing that affects it and adding more RAM will not do anything for it.

**************

Windows Memory & Resources are two entirely different things. Main memory or RAM (Random Access Memory) refers to physical memory that is internal to the computer.

System resources are areas of memory that are used by the input manager (USER) and the graphic display interface manager (GDI) for keeping track of all of the windows that are open in a session and for drawing objects on the screen. Stored in memory in  these heaps and the size of each heap is fixed.

16-bit User heap (64K)
32-bit User window heap (2MB)
32-bit User menu heap (2MB)
16-bit GDI heap (64K)
32-bit GDI heap (2MB)
http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q190/2/17.ASP 

If any of these segments becomes full, programs may fail to load and Windows may become unstable - regardless of how much other free memory there is.

Each application that is loaded, and each window and child-window that is open, consumes system resources. Typically an application consumes 2-8% of system resources, and each child-window consumes 1-2%. Certain programs (eg Print Manager and some TCP/IP communication programs are particularly bad culprits) are much more greedy for system resources than this. Closing an application should release its allocated system resources, but some software is not as well behaved as it should be and this release may not happen. If the free resources fall below about 10-15%, serious problems may be encountered and Windows should be restarted as soon as possible. These problems are somewhat less severe than they used to be because Windows 9.x manages system resources more intelligently than 3.x But it is still a very common cause of memory error messages and program crashes.

Q & A
Q:
My Resources sometimes drop below 50%. What's wrong? Should I worry?

A:
This is not a problem at all. You can easily have resources drop to 15-20% without a problem. When Resources get below the 15% range, it is time to think about shutting down some programs.

For compatibility reasons, Windows does not free system resources abandoned by Windows 3.1-based programs until all Windows 3.1-based programs have been closed. Only when there are no Windows 3.1-based programs running can Windows safely release abandoned system resources.
http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q146/4/18.asp?FR=1


Q:
Can I increase my systems resources by adding more RAM?

A:
You cannot increase resources by adding RAM, because the size of the two categories (USER & GDI) of resources is a fixed memory segment.

http://www.windows-help.net/techfiles/win-resources.html

**************

Windows system resources, is NOT part of your hardware system's storage or memory capacities.

Windows 9x retains Windows 3.x's system resource structure--two 64KB sections plus 32-bit User window heap (2MB), 32-bit User menu heap (2MB) and 32-bit GDI heap (2MB)  of memory that are set aside for specific jobs. The GDI (Graphics Device Interface) resources section stores

Window/Menu Handles
Timers
COM/LPT ports
Listbox items (per listbox)
Listbox data (per listbox)
Edit control data (per control)
Regions  
Logical pens, brushes
Physical pens, brushes
Logical fonts
Installed fonts
Device Contexts

When applications run, the user segment has a 16 bit heap and two 32 bit heaps. One of these 32 bit heaps stores WND (window) structures. There is a WND for every window in the system. The structure holds important info about the window. The other 32 bit heap stores menus. The 16 bit heap stores things like window classes, message queues etc.

Every program you open grabs some system resources, but some programs don't properly relinquish them once they've been closed. As you repeatedly enter, use, exit, and reenter apps, the amount of available resources continuously decreases. Short of restarting Windows, the only way to free up resources is to close down programs.

**************

The USER heap contains information about windows being used by active applications. The data structure for each window, including any minimized windows, is stored in this heap. Examples of windows include application windows, dialog boxes, and controls (such as buttons and check boxes).

The GDI heap contains graphical objects, such as pens, brushes, cursors, fonts, and icons.

**************

As you open more applications, each one uses the resources in the heaps, leaving a smaller percentage of the resources available. Since the User and GDI heap sizes are fixed, system resources may become low even if a large amount of RAM is installed on the computer. Eventually, resources can become so low that Windows cannot perform the functions applications request of it, like displaying dialog boxes or toolbar icons, and may behave erratically. Fonts may be substituted, graphics may become distorted, or you may not be able to switch from one application to another. Windows may return General Protection Fault errors in Gdi or User when it can't complete a task. Other symptoms of low resources include a change in screen color, sluggish mouse movement, unusually slow screen draw, or Windows unexpectedly closing or freezing.

-------------------

Some possible useful information at these links

Free System Resources Do Not Return to Previous Value
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q146418

A program that "leaks memory" is a program that does not release your computer's system resources (or memory) correctly. This can lead to your computer's system resources becoming so low that your computer may become unstable. If you restart your computer, all of your system resources should be available.
http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q185/8/32.asp?FR=1

For compatibility reasons, Windows does not free system resources abandoned by Windows 3.1-based programs until all Windows 3.1-based programs have been closed. Only when there are no Windows 3.1-based programs running can Windows safely release abandoned system resources.
http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q146/4/18.asp?FR=1

Computer Speed and Performance May Decrease
http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q259/1/61.asp?FR=1

http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q194/9/24.ASP?LN=EN-US&SD=gn&FR=0&qry=system%20resources&rnk=9&src=DHCS_MSPSS_gn_SRCH&SPR=SDK3.

http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q248/0/18.ASP?LN=EN-US&SD=gn&FR=0&qry=system%20resources&rnk=10&src=DHCS_MSPSS_gn_SRCH&SPR=SDK3.

http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q190/2/17.ASP.

..If your system resources are substantially less than they were before you started the program, the program may be creating a memory leak. To resolve this issue, contact the manufacturer of your program to inquire about the availability of a fix for this issue. To work around this issue, restart your computer after you quit the program.
http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q259/1/61.ASP?LN=EN-US&SD=gn&FR=0&qry=free%20system%20resources&rnk=6&src=DHCS_MSPSS_gn_SRCH&SPR=W95


http://content.techweb.com/winmag/columns/explorer/2000/11.htm
http://content.techweb.com/winmag/columns/explorer/2000/12.htm
http://content.techweb.com/winmag/columns/explorer/2000/13.htm
http://content.techweb.com/winmag/columns/explorer/2000/14.htm
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Expert Comment

by:rrhunt28
ID: 8090936
Dude, you could have given him alittle more information, your getting stingy.
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Author Comment

by:RayFrye
ID: 8092670
OS is Windows-98
0
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Expert Comment

by:CrazyOne
ID: 8092708
Well did you take a look at the System Resources?
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Author Comment

by:RayFrye
ID: 8092781
My friend has not contacted me yet.
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Expert Comment

by:CrazyOne
ID: 8092865
Oh ok thanks for letting us know. Usually the System Resources is culprit in the situation you described.
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Author Comment

by:RayFrye
ID: 8124617
The answer is in there someplace, my friend is trying a number of the suggestions and following the links given by CrazyOne.

And CrazyOne don't let the others without answers change your style; I'd rather see an error on the side of too much information than not enough.
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by:RayFrye
ID: 8124633
The answer is in this information someplace we are certain.

And CrazyOne don't let the people without answers change your style.  I'd rather see an error on the side of too much information than not enough information.
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Expert Comment

by:CrazyOne
ID: 8124724
:>)
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