Windows 7 PC slows down to a crawl

Posted on 2013-02-02
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-02-04
Hello, I have been trying for a week to recover full functionality on my friend's computer, I've tried everything that I usually do on customers' computers to no avail.

Here's what happens: after a short while using the pc, it slows down to a crawl. There were no symptoms before last Sunday, it started all of a sudden. The task manager doesn't report high cpu or ram usage. But the computer takes ages to open software and basically do anything. I'm talking about minutes to open a web browser, for instance.

Here's the system specs:
W7 Professional 64bit
Asus P6T Deluxe
Intel Core i7
6GB Ocz DDR3
AMD Radeon HD5970
Enermax 1000W
Other 3 mechanical drives for data

Now keep in mind this system has worked fine in this configuration for about 4 years, so hardware incompatibilities are out of the question.

Here's what I did up to now:
-Backed up, trimmed SSDs in IDE mode, recreated array, recovered backup
-Checked for viruses with: Kaspersky recovery disk, Bitdefender recovery disk, Combofix, Spybot, Superantispyware, Malwarebytes
-Checked startup items with autoruns, nothing strange
-Startup with msconfig.exe, still happens even with everything unchecked

That's it, and I'm out of ideas. He's doing a repair install right now, but I'm almost sure it won't change anything. I'd like to understand what's happening before resorting to a clean W7 reinstall.

So do you guys have any other suggestions?
Question by:Daniele Brunengo
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LVL 30

Assisted Solution

IanTh earned 500 total points
ID: 38846455
it could still be a virus I have seen virus' that a window av suite cannot even find I currently use a linux boot cd for fixing these as the virus hide in protected system files where windows doesn't think a virus can reside so the linux boot cd can access the virus as it can read the protected system files as its not windows !

This is the one I use

LVL 12

Accepted Solution

TomRScott earned 500 total points
ID: 38846456
Fall back to a system restore point prior to last Sunday. While doing so check what will be rolled back and make note of any application installations that are not part of Windows Update or another update service. I'll refer to it/them as the "New Software" (as opposed to updates of existing software).

After the rollback, see how the system works for a while.

If there was/were any New Software installations that were removed in the rollback only install them again AFTER some testing without them (below...).

Once satisfied you have a known-good setup, if all updates are not automatic, install them now.

If further testing indicates a known-good setup, make another restore point and THEN install the New Software. If there was more than one New Software application, consider installing them one at a time and testing after each installation with new restore points between installations.

 - Tom
LVL 85

Assisted Solution

by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
David Johnson, CD, MVP earned 500 total points
ID: 38846482
use speedfan to check your cpu's temperature.. I had the brackets (plastic) break on my cpu cooler and suffered the same problems as my cpu throttled back to keep the temperature in line.
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LVL 16

Assisted Solution

terencino earned 500 total points
ID: 38846501
Couple of other checks:
1. Is there much space left on the boot disk?
2. Does it work OK in safe mode?
3. Do you have the latest firmware for your SSDs?
4. Can you test your disk performance, maybe one of the SSDs has gone down

Author Comment

by:Daniele Brunengo
ID: 38846636
@IanTh: both the AV boot disks I tried out boot from linux. Anyway your link doesn't point to an AV boot disk?

@TomRScott: sorry, rolling back was the first thing I tried and didn't work. I forgot to include some things in the list because I really tried a plethora of stuff.

@ve3ofa: forgot to include that too in the list. I checked all hardware temperatures and they're fine.

@terencino: space is ok, about 25%. I didn't have time to test it for a sufficient time in safe mode with network. It SEEMED to work fine. The SSDs are updated to the latest firmware. I tested disk performance with some benchmarks on a WinPE and it's up to par, no slowdowns. Also I think the raid array would break if one of the disks was dying.
LVL 50

Expert Comment

ID: 38847014
Maioneis--What is the status after the repair install?

Author Comment

by:Daniele Brunengo
ID: 38847085
It looks like the repair install fixed it. I don't like it when I don't know what it was that got fixed, though.
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 38847102
I don't much like magical fixes either but sometimes that is all you get.

Probably either malware that was replaced or corruption that was replaced by the repair.

Never hurts to have a UPS, especially if you have flaky power at your location. Brownouts allow the computer to keep running but can result in corruption to data and even the OS. Surge suppressors only save the hardware.

 - Tom
LVL 50

Expert Comment

ID: 38847245
Maioneis--This is a very brief summary of what a Repair Install does.
"What it does is actually repair most everything including the registry. It also removes some drivers like the chipset drivers and the Service Pack that you are using, so you have to reinstall chipset drivers and the service pack."

from http://www.techsupportforum.com/forums/f10/solved-what-does-a-repair-install-do-308022.html

Getting rid of corrupt Registry entries is most likely what fixed things.

Author Comment

by:Daniele Brunengo
ID: 38848204
My friend's got an UPS if I recall correctly.

About the registry being fixed, that's probably it or some system files getting corrupted for whatever reason (although I had checked for that).
LVL 30

Expert Comment

ID: 38848216
a virus can be fixed this way cant it especially if its an infected system file think about it
this is the one I use


I know its called a rescue disk but it is my choice of linux boot cd for fixing virus' as it allows if the pc is on the net to update itself

Author Comment

by:Daniele Brunengo
ID: 38848221
I don't think it was a virus, I checked with a lot of AV boot disks, mostly all the disks you can fit on S.A.R.D.U., which is a tool you can find here:


Great tool if anybody wants to take a look. It will create a multi-boot cd or usb drive and you can download all the diagnostic boot disks'ISOs directly from the software interface.
LVL 30

Expert Comment

ID: 38848231
Last year I have seen a lot of these virus' that cannot be found or removed by a windows av suite

that sardu looks good I am going to have a look later

Author Closing Comment

by:Daniele Brunengo
ID: 38851007
Since the repair install fixed it, I decided to distribute points among all guys who suggested a solution.

Thanks everybody.

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