Office 2010 slow on XP laptop

Scott Helmers
Scott Helmers used Ask the Experts™
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I rebuilt a four-year old ThinkPad (2GHz processor; 3GB memory) over the weekend, reloading the Windows XP factory build, then applying SP3 and 100+ updates. In general, the machine performs very nicely -- a pleasant improvement over its former self.

Instead of reloading an older version of Office I loaded Office 2010. While everything else I've loaded performs quite well, Office 2010 apps are unusable. I don't just mean they run slowly, they are ponderously slow. For example, if I type 10 characters into Word or Excel, the characters appear one at a time and it will take -- I'm not making this up -- 30-40 seconds before they all appear on the screen.

I've used Office 2010 on other PCs without any problem, so clearly there's something unique going on here. I also realize that this laptop is old, but everything else seems to run fine. So I'm just looking for suggestions before I uninstall 2010 and revert to Office 2003...

One other potential factor, and the reason I'm including this question in the ACT zone, I've also installed ACT 2011. It's running fine on another PC that also has Office 2010, but because ACT 2011 also installs SQL Express and a few other things I thought I'd mention it.

Thanks,
Scott


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Mike LazarusAct! Evangelist - CRM Consultant

Commented:
Is ACT! also slow, or is it just Office?
It is unlikely ACT is causing this issue - If you had said that only Outlook was affected then I would have said it could have been the ACT integration as that does slow things marginally, but this should not affect Excel as the integration is not as extensive.

How much RAM memory does the machine have? and what is the processor (including single/multi core)?
In older machines low RAM is the most likely cause, as Office 2010 requires a lot and as you say, things like SQL also require some.  If this is an issue, I have found a good test of available RAM is to get the machine in a position where it is doing this, then open the 'System Information' from the Accessories folder (or use the plugin feature in Office by going through Help > About Word > System Information) and look at the Available Memory.
Scott HelmersVisio Consultant, Trainer, Author, and Developer
Most Valuable Expert 2011

Author

Commented:
Good question, Mike. Turns out that just after posting the question, I tried ACT again and it was running as slowly as Word/Excel.
Notice I said "was". I've since rebooted and performance is back to normal?!!? I'll wait a couple of hours before declaring the problem solved though, because ACT ran just fine just after installing it. The performance hit came later.
Perhaps there was/is some rogue process that was causing the issue. What is particularly odd is that CPU and disk usage during the slowdown were perfectly normal, so there wasn't anybody hogging CPU cycles or clogging disk I/O. Also, the system is clean as I've scanned it with both VIPRE and Malwarebytes.
I'll watch it and report back...
 
Act! Evangelist - CRM Consultant
Commented:
It's possible that the Windows Search Indexer was compiling the data from the newly installed apps and any data and that (maybe combined with any anti-virus) might have been causing the slowness.
Scott HelmersVisio Consultant, Trainer, Author, and Developer
Most Valuable Expert 2011

Author

Commented:
Apparently, I cried wolf too soon. Perhaps it was the indexer (though there was no discernable CPU activity during the incredible slowdown), perhaps it was cosmic rays... Regardless, the problem has gone away.

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