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Why is my whole computer system suddenly extremely slow?

Why is my whole computer system suddenly extremely slow? This is a pattern that has been going on for several months: All of a sudden everything works in slow-motion on my HP Compaq nx7300 Business laptop (processor: Intel Celeron M). I'm almost certain it's no virus. Internet, opening folders, opening programs: everything goes very slowly and is so frustrating, can't do anything. Tried to restart both laptop and internet connection but nothing helps.

My laptop is several years old so I think there is hardware problems: I had HP Service Center in Hong Kong to do a quick vacuum cleaning inside it and afterwards it worked much better. But that was about two months ago, and now it's back to that sluggish state again, sometimes works perfect, sometimes is very sluggish.

Is there any emergency solution to this (I need my laptop to work on, translate for customers) until I've bought a new laptop? Such as optimizing everything that is possible to optimize?

I have Windows XP Pro SP3, 32-bit. I always use Mozilla Firefox and not IE.
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hermesalpha
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hermesalpha
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11 Solutions
 
Wayne BarronCommented:
Have you thought about reinstating your system?
Just backup your data and then plan to reinstall your system.

Carrzkiss
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John_ArifinCommented:
Try:
- Disk Cleanup (Accessories - System Tools - Disk Cleanup)
- Disk Defragmenter (Accessories - System Tools - Disk Defragmenter)
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Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
Sudden occurrence of a speed problem, in my experience, means one of two things - a virus infestation, or thermal problems.  Since laptops are designed to degrade without crashing due to thermal problems, overheating may not be noticeable until it becomes severe.

Thermal problems can be checked by downloading and running any of the common freeware thermal monitors such as RealTemp, SpeedFan or CoreTemp.

If the system is thermal throttling, the only way to solve this is to open the case and remove the plug of dust, hair and lint clogging the tiny heat sink.

If the system is running within normal thermal limits and not throttling, then other avenues can be investigated with more confidence.
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
I received a message that "The add-on Adobe Flash has crashed" (for Mozilla Firefox I think). Can this have anything to do with the problems?
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
I'm starting now to clean up the files on my laptop with Disk Cleanup utility.
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Wayne BarronCommented:
Check out your EventView

My Computer | Administrator Tools
Event Viewer

View these 2 tabs.
ApplicationSystem

See if your see any RED Exclamation Points
These will let you know if there are a lot of issues with your system.
The SYSTEM is the big one, this will let you know if your system is becoming unstable or if their are drivers that are causing the issues.

APPLICATION will let you know if there are issues with your software.

Carrzkiss
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nobusCommented:
you can also look if the disk is running in DMA mode, not PIO : http://winhlp.com/node/10      
or just run a disk diag on it  - a bad disk is always a cause for slowness  :  http://www.tacktech.com/display.cfm?ttid=287      
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nobusCommented:
also - open task management, and check what programs are using your cpu
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
I've finished Disk Cleanup utility but it's still worse then ever, very sluggish. Will try your other suggestions now.
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
carrzkiss,

the situation is really bad judging from what  I could see in the Event Viewer:

http://screencast.com/t/yUc0KciKe

Lots of red exclamation marks for "disk" and a few also for "DCOM". The long list in the Event Viewer continues when I scroll it down and there are red exclamation marks for "disk" and "DCOM" until the beginning of this month.

What should I do? I have an old internal HDD that I swapped long time ago, from 160 GB to the current faulty on 250 GB. But I need 250 GB. Should I go and purchase a new internal HDD and move everything to that? Is that possible, so I don't need to reinstall anything?

Or can I do anything with the current disk?
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
No, I have an unopened 250 GB internal HDD! But how do I check the current internal HDD's size?
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
Here is some information from the Event Viewer:

The device, \Device\Harddisk2\D, has a bad block.

I have four partitions: C, D, E, F.
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Wayne BarronCommented:
Backup your data on this drive NOW!!!

After that, go to the Hard Drive manufactures website, and download their disk utility tool. This tool will boot from a Floppy or CD or USB drive.
Run the Long Extended test on the drive.
If it is bad, it will give you a number to use to create an RMA with the Manufacture of the Hard Drive, assuming that it is still in warranty. Most drives come with a 3 year warranty.

Now, if the Extended test PASSES, run the Low Level Format on the drive.
(MAKE SURE YOUR BACKUP YOUR DATA FIRST) The low lever format will wipe the drive completely clean, so all partitions will be lost and all data will be lost.

Once this is completed, either Reinstall the system, or hopefully get another hard drive.

Good Luck, keep us informed.

In addition, if you cannot find the tool from the Manufactures website, let us know what the drive is, and we can assist in getting the url for you to download the tool.

Carrzkiss
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
So I should run the long test first, and if the HDD is bad I'll get a number so I can claim my warranty from the manufacturer?

If the HDD passes the extended test, can't I just use my own White Canyon's WipeDrive? Instead of running the Low Level Format from the manufacturer?

Anyway, I'll have to run the extended test the first thing I do. But which of these three diskdrives is my internal one?:

http://screencast.com/t/PEcMewo2iQ

I think it's the Samsung (exactly the same as the extra Samsung internal HDD I have in the drawer, sealed unopened 250 GB).

Alternatively, if the HDD passes the extended test, instead of wiping the disk, couldn't I change it to the new one I have besides me (wouldn't that be quicker)?

And under all circumstances, I need to move all my installed software from the current HDD to the new one (I think the two HDD's are exactly the same model: Samsung 250 GB). What would the best software be for doing this, moving installed software and configurations from old HDD to new HDD? (The type of software you use to move configurations and installations from old computer to new computer.)
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
Yes, the sealed unopen HDD I have in my drawer is exactly the same as the faulty one that's inside my laptop right now: SAMSUNG HM251JI. So if I just can move configurations and installations on the faulty HDD to the new HDD I wouldn't loose much time. But how to do that? I mean, before taking out the old HDD, I need to get configurations and installations over to the new HDD somehow. I have a small ASUS EeePC 1000He if I could use that, but probably not.
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Wayne BarronCommented:
Since this is a Laptop, then you should have
2 USB External HDD's (Correct?)
If so, then then disconnect them, and you will get your HDD that is internal.

As for the Low Level against your wipe drive software.

Low Level puts the drive back to factory specs.
The software that you have, I am not certain what it does.
I would use the Low lever Format from the Manufacture.
Reason:
If the Extended Test misses something, the Low Level Format will pick up on it and give you a Number for an RMA.
To where your Software you have, will not give you nothing.

Good Luck
Carrzkiss
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
So there is no way to simply move the installations and configurations to my new HDD...? I had planned anyway to set up a dual-boat with XP Pro and Vista Business so I'll take the opportunity now to do that.

The Start-menu is very comprehensive and contains a lot of sub-folders. Instead of having to manually write down each and every program that is in the Start-menu, can I copy it to my external HDD and then just view it when I create the new Start-menu folder structure on the new HDD?
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
I'll also check now when I purchased the HDD, I think I did it more than 3 years ago. If that's the case, there would be no point in running any tests, just throw it away and replace with my new one.

It doesn't seem to be much hope for the current HDD:

http://screencast.com/t/m5WGhGwzbt

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nobusCommented:
you can still try HDDRegenerator to revice it : http://www.dposoft.net/hdd.html      
then you can clone it to your new disk - and use that
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
No, it's only 2 years old so it might still be covered by the warranty.
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
Isn't it possible to use Acronis Migrate Easy?:

http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/migrateeasy/

And move everything to the new HDD.
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nobusCommented:
yes that is possible, if the old disk still runs
personally, i stopped using it and moved to the free Paragon software for that : http://www.paragon-software.com/home/db-express/      
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
You saved me 80 dollars! Thanks nobus, I'm installing Paragon now. I will do a dual-boat system with Vista Business/XP Pro SP3 when I reinstall everything. Not sure though where in the process I should do this. I will have an empty new HDD, should I just follow the step-by-step guide that you, nobus, gave me in this previous posting I made about dual-boot installation?:

http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/Windows_Vista/Q_27290761.html

And after that, when I have XP Pro/Vista Business installed, I move the old system to the new HDD (partition with XP Pro)?

What are the odds that the whole system gets moved from old to new HDD without any problems, that everything will work (installed software, settings) on the new HDD?

When I swap HDDs, nothing to think of except nothing is electrostatically charged?
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
Also marsilies gave me some advice in his posting with ID 36488881 how to use command-line parameters for the disk shrink command:

http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/Windows_Vista/Q_27286584.html

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nobusCommented:
>>  dual-boat system   <<  are you on the sea?  or do you mean dual Boot ?
the guide is for installing a new dual boot system - if you do that on the new disk, no need to move it
or did i miss something?
i have no experience with the disk shrink commands, but i know Bootit Bare Metal does it without problems
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hassanwarraichCommented:
user operating system may become corrupted re-install it
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
Yes, the harddisk has bad sectors, I have got it confirmed. Luckily I have another internal harddisk of exactly the same model and manufacturer in the drawer, unsealed unopened, so I will install everything on that now. And reinstall all programs because it didn't work to create an image/backup due to the faulty harddisk.
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nobusCommented:
post results
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
I installed XP on the new harddrive and then installed the drivers and extra applications from the manufacturer's CD (HP). Now I'm updating everything, to SP3 etc. But I'm not sure if everything is as it should be because the laptop is behaving strange, very slow from time to time, so maybe I should have updated completely immediately after installation before installing the HP-CD applications. I created four partitions during installation and installed xp on number one. So I'm beginning to think I have to start over again, and install xp again...
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
But I'm not sure because maybe it will get better once I get all the updates installed. If it's the same after all updates are installed I have to reinstall.
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
For example, during update now (106 updates/16 Mb, about 2 hours), when I try to login to hotmail it's just spinning and waiting and I never get to the login page. When I finally get there it's a distorted login page. But it's only hotmail on second thoughts, when I try other webmail accounts (GMX and my domain name webmail) it's quick, even without any installed VPN. And opening folders is quick, now it's only hotmail that is slow, and downloading the 106 updates (almost completed, 14.6 Mb of 16.1 Mb).

Perhaps everything is in order, I'll try updating completely and see what status Windows and internet will be in after that.
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nobusCommented:
what i would do is
-first test the new drive - it may have problems also..
-check if cpu and ram are correctly seen in windows

post results
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
I give up this computer soon... I've tried two or three reinstallations. Nothing works!

Even this new harddrive, all of a sudden everything is in slow-motion. I'm downloading all the security updates before SP3-update. I remember something about this long ago, I think I did the mistake to download SP3 before the security updates (at least I did that yesterday), and it didn't work. So now I try to download the security updates first, then I will download the SP3-update.

But during downloading now of security updates, one has already failed, and 16 Mb takes an hour or so. And I can't do anything else on the computer, white blank screen when I try to go to my webmail account, finally the login screen appears.

CPU is low. It's only IE6 yet. I've installed the software and drivers from HP (worked fine before that, but I installed the drivers and software exactly as I did before long time ago and that worked fine, I have had HP explain to me what is necessary and what is not).

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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
Update KB970238 failed. White blank screen when I click on tabs to switch to another web page.
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
I checked Event Viewer (System).

No red crosses during the last two hours, but many red crosses about two and a half hours ago:

X SideBySide        N/A (with reference to whether SYSTEM or not; this SideBySide appeared a lot about two and a half hours ago but nothing after that up until now).

X W32Time           N/A (with reference to whether SYSTEM or not; this W32Time appeared a lot about three hours ago only).

X Psched              N/A (with reference to whether SYSTEM or not; this Pshced appeared only one time about three hours ago).



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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
I checked Error Properties for those three errors, doesn't seem to be any serious though, one was related to my ESET Smart Security.
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
The 75 updates have been downloaded now and are being installed one-by-one. I'll get confirmed after everything have been installed and rebooted if I have to throw this laptop or not. If it's still slow then I really don't know what the problem can be. I could check immediately with my old harddrive because it works pretty fine if I don't use it for too long time in a row. If internet works on the old drive I know the internet connection is ok. This was the case last time: the new harddrive had slow internet connection but when I swaped to the old harddrive the internet was fast.
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nobusCommented:
did you test the drive ?
is the cpu and ram reported correct?
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
Now after the first batch of security updates for SP2 it works fine, only during download and install of these updates was the computer extremely slow. I rebooted and it works fine, have just started a new batch of security updates but this time it's not slow. Also in the first batch of updates was IE8 which is installed now, think it's quicker than IE6.
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
I think I did right when I installed all the security updates for SP2 and waited with SP3, probably that was part of the problem I had with the last reinstallation when I skipped the security updates for SP2 and did the SP3-update immediately. So hopefully, in the end after updating everything, it will work now.
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nobusCommented:
>>  Now after the first batch of security updates for SP2 it works fine  >>  probably it downloaded a driver also, i would guess a disk driver (iaastore ?)
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nobusCommented:
BTW -did you install all the drivers for your motherboard??  that's probably the cause
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
I think so, at least I chose to download all the drivers from HPs CD-ROM.
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
The bootup is still very slow but it's because I've connected my two external harddrives (250 GB each) so they get included in the bootup (system was much quicker before I connected them). I unchecked the checkbox for Password in msconfig Startup, will have a look at next bootup if it gets quicker or not.

Also found this site which gives advice on optimizing services and settings in XP, will try that after updating everything:

http://www.optimizingpc.com/
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nobusCommented:
i never install a pc with devices connected other than needed; it is only asking for problems
connect devices AFTER complete install of OS and drivers only
for bootup - try soluto : www.soluto.com
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
I don't know what's going on with my OS, completely unpredictable from minute to minute, no matter how many times I reinstall! I'm desperate now, my best customer is waiting for me to complete translation jobs and I can't get my laptop to work no matter how I proceed. For the moment perfect internet connection, next moment completely unresponsive (completely fresh install of XP, happens after two new installs). If I can't get it to work within the next 24 hours I will loose this my best customer.

I have never any devices connected when I install XP, haven't even connected them yet, only two external HDD.

Now I only get ClearType font in both IE8 and Mozilla Firefox, even when I uncheck the option for that in Internet Options/Advanced in IE8.

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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
And now my SDL Trados Studio 2011 crashed, got several error message for the first time (just installed it, worked perfect five minutes ago).
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
I don't know if it's any idea to install a third time, it seems it goes right to hell at once even when the OS is freshly installed each time.
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nobusCommented:
try running from a live Knoppix  cd  ftp://ftp.gwdg.de/pub/linux/knoppix/KNOPPIX_V6.7.0CD-2011-08-01-EN.iso
if thet runs ok, your hardware looks ok - if not : bad hardware
test if you can access internet, copy from disk to external usb, change video resolution

or just install ubunto on your drive to test
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
I'm downloading the Knoppix cd now, just to burn it to dvd first then, then boot from it?

What do you mean with that I should install Ubunto? Is that a Linux-distro?

The new harddrive works even worse with internet, much slower. On this old harddrive I can at least use internet somewhat. And I reinstalled OS on the new drive three times! Each time new problems almost immediately, all relating to slow system and freezed windows. Can it be possible that the configuration on this old harddrive (although it has bad blocks) somehow puts less strain on the damaged hardware than the configuration on the new harddrive?

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nobusCommented:
>>  just to burn it to dvd first then,  <<  that is an ISO, and must be burned with an ISO burning tool to a cd
yes ubuntu is a linux distro :  http://www.ubuntu.com/
it is a free OS and you can use it to check your hardware with

i never found if you tested the disk drives yet?
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