What processes do I need to kill on my PC to get performance back again?

Or rather, what are the essential processes that I should NOT kill? Windows 7.
A handy list would be great so if needed I can just blitz whatever is hogging processing time.

Maybe there is even some standalone exe or bat file to do this?

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Trenton KnewOwner / Computer WhispererCommented:
you should start with some basic stuff first.  

#1, check/clean the heatsink/fans if they are dirty.  If the computer can't get cool, it won't run fast.
#2, run msconfig.exe and look for unnecessary start-up programs like "adobe reader speed launcher" or java updater and disable them
#3, use the resource monitor to try to determine if the bottleneck is with the processor, HDD read/writes, RAM,  If you leave the CPU tab running for a while, you can see the "average CPU" instead of just the current usage like in the task manager.

Also, check for obvious stuff.  How full is your HDD?  is it almost at capacity?  Hard drives will run slow if they have less than say 25% free space available.  does it need a defrag?

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Agreed with Trenton.  I am using and have recommended CCleaner to friends for quick hard drive cleaning.  Some agreed that CCleaner made their computer quicker.

You can download the free one and try it.

Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor Commented:
I'd run an anti malware scan with MBAM for example:
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Create a reliable backup. Make sure you always have dependable copies of your data so you can restore your entire system or individual files.

Trenton KnewOwner / Computer WhispererCommented:
both suggestions good, but ALSO make sure you disable the autostart for both CCleaner and Malwarebytes.  If you're trying to improve performance, you don't need more startup programs ;)  Otherwise, those two and hijackthis are good tools, but you really have to know what you're looking at for hijackthis.  Run TDSSKiller too, if it's ALARMINGLY slower, than you might be rooted or infected.  Also, CCleaner has a nice registry tool also to look for errors in the registry.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Before you go trying to tweak services and processes, what makes you think your PC is slow?  Where is the bottleneck?  That is, what is slowing you down?  The fastest CPU will perform horribly if you don't have enough RAM and it's constantly paging out to a slow hard drive.  You can do little tweaks to improve performance, but odds are you need to upgrade your hardware somewhere - add more RAM, or upgrade to a faster (SSD) Hard Drive.  Both of these can result in DRAMATIC performance increases.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't understand what is running at startup, but most PC, if not bogged down with malware, have 60-80 processes OR MORE running all the time NORMALLY.  And they use VERY LITTLE resources.  One place to review is the BlackViper web site - http://www.blackviper.com/service-configurations/black-vipers-windows-7-service-pack-1-service-configurations/
xeniumAuthor Commented:
Thanks a lot.

Trenton that's very helpful thankyou. #2 seems to be the best hit, I had some things i kept having to close off manually but disabling them now helps.

#3 is also new to me and looks worth investing some effort in. I would still like to have a black/white list of processes to look out for, if anyone has a guide that would be great.

Not too keen on downloading anything. Would rather have the knowledge to just tap into whatever PC i'm on without messing about with installs.

Trenton KnewOwner / Computer WhispererCommented:
You can use the Microsoft sysinternals team Process Explorer if you want really detailed information about running processes on your machine.  Think of it like task manager on steroids.  You can also lookup processes on sites like processlibrary.com for descriptions of what the processes do.  I haven't see a list of windows processes though since XP on this blackviper site back in the day.  You can look at applying his tweaks, but make sure you understand any processes you tweak.

xeniumAuthor Commented:
hi Lee, re your questions:
"what makes you think your PC is slow?"
Video not playing smoothly as it usually does

"what is slowing you down? "
I was not sure, that is why i was posting here.

"but odds are you need to upgrade your hardware somewhere"
No i don't, i just needed to close the processes that were hogging processing power, eg Plex server when not needed. Seems much better now.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
"what makes you think your PC is slow?"
Video not playing smoothly as it usually does

What video?  Flash?  Quicktime?  On Web Sites?  AVI videos?  Have you looked at task manager as the video is playing to see what's going on?  Your computer is multi-threaded and video tends to be a single threaded process so unless your PC is REALLY old, you're likely having other issues and NOT CPU intensive issues.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Many processes use memory but not much CPU if properly set up. Open Task Manager and choose the option to Hide when Minimized. Minimize it. Now it sits in the system tray and should be dark green.  If it is, then processes are not the issue.

Lots of times, a build up of temporary files can bog things down. Run Disk Cleanup from Admin Tools and choose most of the options for deleting temp files.

Rule of thumb:  A CPU should run < 5% more than 95% of the time.
Trenton KnewOwner / Computer WhispererCommented:
You can also use a free tool like HWMonitor to check for heat and temperatures of your CPU and GPU.
video problems can come from overtmperature, bad video card, and a lot more cause
do you have the latest video driver - and other drivers for th mobo?

it may be you find the cause fast - but sometimes it can be very time consuming also

that's why you can use in most cases :
-system restore to a date it was ok
-or a fresh install
to remedy this in the most efficient way

you also asked "Maybe there is even some standalone exe or bat file to do this? "  i would like to have that - but it does not exist, the problem maybe coming from hundreds of thousands of files in a Windows OS
Trenton KnewOwner / Computer WhispererCommented:
Oh! I just realized that Lee W posted that black viper link 10 minutes before I did.  LoL  Great Minds I guess...
xeniumAuthor Commented:
Ok thanks, good points! Looks like i may need to study this some more...
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
@xenium - Any feedback?  My Windows 8.1 machine works perfectly well, always has over 110 processes running, none ever have to killed and the machine is very fast.
xeniumAuthor Commented:
After closing all applications, I just tried killing every process I could (some were access denied), about 5 processes were left, then the video ran smoothly.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Processes use memory and so if killing processes smoothed out video, you may need to add memory.  That is unless badly installed services are using CPU as well.
xeniumAuthor Commented:
Thanks all for your time and feedback.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You are very welcome and I was happy to help.
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