Slow Laptop

Posted on 2014-11-21
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2014-12-07
My  Gateway laptop has slowed to a crawl over the past couple of months. There has been no change in software demands or workload, but I suspect malware infestation. I have tried Ad-Aware, AVG antivirus, and  PC-MATIC, nothing has helped performance. Internet Explorer pops up window denoting "long running script" and asks to stop script or continue, as does Facebook. Most programs show crawler box at bottom of screen " XXX (program which is executing) is not responding" . If I do nothing the program will eventually execute. Looking at Task Manager reveals no mystery programs running.

What I would like is help finding just what is causing the "long running script" pop-up and perhaps a "triage list" on how to go about identifying services or processes that may be running in the background that have nothing to do with the desired executables.
Question by:LarryForehand
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LVL 97

Accepted Solution

Experienced Member earned 668 total points
ID: 40458925
I think a first step would be to cleanup temporary files by running Disk Cleanup (System Tools) followed by Disk Defrag (also in System Tools).

Then get malwarebytes (malwarebytes.org) and run it. See what it finds.
LVL 31

Assisted Solution

Frosty555 earned 668 total points
ID: 40458948
Believe it or not, most of the time "invisible" viruses and malware isn't the cause of slowness. It's usually obviously present junk programs "junkware / bloatware", which is easily removed, but not usually not caught by antivirus software. Slowness can also be caused by inadequate hardware, or sometimes failing hardware.

The "long running script" warning happens automatically for any web page that runs a script that takes a long time to execute. This is usually a side effect of poor performance, not the actual root problem.

If you are running Windows Vista or higher, you do not need to defrag or run disk cleanup. These things happen automatically and deleting temporary files or defragging will give you minimal benefit.

First check if anything is consuming large amounts of system resources:

Go into Resource Monitor and check (Go to task manager->performance->resource monitor).
   - Is your memory usage >80%, and if so, investigate processes consuming large amounts of memory. If you have <3GB of RAM, consider adding more memory to the system
   - Is your disk I/O or queue length usually high? Investigate processes that are hitting the disk hard
   - Is your CPU usage high, does anything stand out consuming large amounts of CPU?

Go to My Computer, check that your hard disks have >15% free disk space.

Make sure you are not running multiple antivirus products simultaneously.

Uninstall programs that attempt to integrate features into Windows Explorer (e.g. backup products, dropbox, SVN, or anything else that puts a foreign presence in Explorer).

Next, check that the hard drive is in good working order.

A failing hard drive can hang the system while it sits in deep recovery trying to reallocate bad sectors, that would cause the problems you are experiencing. If this is the case, the disk will probably fail shortly down the road. You need to make sure this is not the case.

Download the trial edition of HD Tune, and check the Heath tab to ensure the SMART status of the drives is good. Run an Error Scan. If you have SMART errors or heath issues, backup your data immediately and replace the drive.

Run a Benchmark test and a Random Access Test in HD Tune, and make sure you get reasonable results. You should get >50MB/s peak read and write speeds in the benchmark test, and >60 IOPS peak speeds in the Random Access Test. If you're getting much lower than that consider replacing the drive.

Next, clean up obvious evidence of junkware or adware on the computer

This is obvious malware such as ads and popups, browser homepage or search bar hijacked, and foreign content being injected into the websites you visit.  Clean that up:

     - Attempt to uninstall the offending program via "Control Panel->Uninstall a Program"
     - Use SysInternals Autoruns and HijackThis to examine the programs that run on startup. Clean out stuff that you can verify is malicious or unnecessary
     - Run a scan of Malwarebytes Antimalware, quarantine anything it finds
     - Manually go into each of your browsers (e.g. IE, Chrome, Firefox etc.) and fix their settings:
            - Put the home page and search bar back, remove add-ons and extensions, reset the proxy settings
LVL 10

Assisted Solution

10023 earned 664 total points
ID: 40460013
It would help to know which gateway laptop it is Model number:???? && which operating system, 32 bit or 64 bit.
You said:   "There has been no change in software demands or workload, but I suspect malware infestation."
My reply:  Is windows update working and updating...assuming you are a windows user.  Your proprietary drivers can be updated through windows update..They have logged chronology.
Did this problem happen suddenly or was it a gradual slowdown?? or don't remember.
First I would download the free version of ccleaner and run it with defaults.
https://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download             ...have you tried it...
I did not see anyone suggest booting into safe mode to eliminate the culprit driver quickly..but run ccleaner first.  Safe Mode is F5 or F8 at startup.  Check and let us know how your computer runs in safe mode
Don't forget to check your logs.. I am assuming windows 7 here...this is an informative page which includes  analyzing logs that your OS uses to keep track of behaviors. Go to  first...Troubleshooting Events and Errors
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LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 40460069
Try running Process Explorer from SysInternals. This is a very useful tool for seeing what is calling generic processes such as svchost.exe, and can also identify processes that don't show in task manager.

Author Comment

ID: 40469867
Thanks to everyone so far for the help. With the holiday week and a busy schedule, I have not had a chance to implement the suggested fixes, but I certainly will next week. I will either post more questions or award points as soon as I have had the chance to try the above advice.
LVL 97

Expert Comment

by:Experienced Member
ID: 40469877
Cleaning up temp files and defragging can make a big difference. Also getting rid of malware can help.

If the suggestions do not work well enough, consider backing up the laptop, formatting and reinstalling Windows. Doing that carefully can result in a laptop running as fast it is capable of running.
LVL 97

Expert Comment

by:Experienced Member
ID: 40485786
Thank you and I was happy to help.

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