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Notebooks HELP! Laptop running grindingly slowly...

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by neil_b, 9 Sep 2015.

  1. neil_b

    neil_b Minimodder

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    We have a Dell Inspiron 1545, 3GB, 250GB running W7/64 (it's offering the W10 upgrade in the task bar - but I don't know if that might make things worse) and its running grindingly slowly and occasionally blue-screening (with a "Windows has closed unexpectedly" message) ... It takes >2-2.5 mins to start up, takes for ever for any apps to open.

    Running Task Manager/Performance shows the laptop seems to be using 2.2-2.7 GB of the 3GB of memory whenever ANYTHING starts/is running (is that normal/expected).

    I've tried;
    MS-Config settings to stop just about everything I can from automatically starting.
    Running Avast - nothing found (in the sense of malware/viruses).
    Running Malwarebytes Anti-Malware - again nothing found.
    Runing MS Check-Disk - nothing found.
    Defragged hard-disk - disk not in mess in a fragmented sense.
    Run CrapCleaner - run several times.

    I noticed last night that the screen flickered several times (whilst it was running slowly) something I've never seen a laptop do before. The flickering was of the sort you might get from a loose connector - but I couldn't get it to repeat the behaviour by bumping/gently knocking the laptop.

    I can see there are various error messages/events logged, but don't know how to access them for analysis/review (can anyone offer any advice on how to EASILY do this). I think also, some of the logs/error messages are in "hidden" folders - which I don't know how to access.

    The laptop is prob 3 years old, has never been abused and I can't work out what on earth is going on with it (one of the problems is it takes so long to start/do anything that it takes for ever to try anything). I'm 99.9% sure there's no malware involved in this - it seems to be something else...

    I'd appreciate any suggestions on how to get to the bottom of this, as I don't want to throw the thing away, but as it is, it's pretty well unusable....

    Thanks any suggestions!
     
  2. Pookie

    Pookie Illegitimi non carborundum

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  3. neil_b

    neil_b Minimodder

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    What's the easiest way of posting a screen-shot (the IMG is on my desktop - its not a "URL" as such)?
     
  4. neil_b

    neil_b Minimodder

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    Whilst I'm trying get the jpg off my desktop and onto here....

    All icons show green, however it also shows the following info:
    Health Status = Caution
    Temp 39c
    Read Error Rate Current=200 Worst=200 Threshold=50
    Spin-up Time Current=151 Worst=146 Threshold=21
    Reallocated Sectors Count=200 Worst=200 Threshold=140

    Significant or not?

    Thanks.
     
  5. mrbungle

    mrbungle Undercooked chicken giver

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    It wont be that that is causing performance issues, however it is a failing drive.

    I would get a cheap SSD and re-image, will be like night and day.
     
  6. neil_b

    neil_b Minimodder

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    That makes sense, however I'd really like to nail the performance issue I'm seeing, otherwise I may well end up with the equivalent of putting a turbo-charger (the SSD) on a sports car that's only firing on 3 of 8 cylinders?
     
  7. ElThomsono

    ElThomsono Multimodder

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    It could be throttling the CPU because it's overheating, any signs it could be full of dust?
     
  8. neil_b

    neil_b Minimodder

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    I'll check...it's not been kept in a particularly dusty area - but will have a look anyway. Any easy/quick obvious ways of telling (other than visible dust!)?
     
  9. ElThomsono

    ElThomsono Multimodder

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    Visible dust sometimes, or it will output a slow stream of hot air instead of a quicker stream of warm-ish air.
     
  10. neil_b

    neil_b Minimodder

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    Just taken back cover off, blown some air through and nothing dramatic apparent.

    Weird thing is, I've just re-botted the laptop and opened up Task Manager and from a starting point of 1.5GB memory usage (the line graph) the memory being usage has more or less straight line increased gradually up to 2.2GB being used, and is continuing to climb! There are no apps running (i.e. Outlook etc), and the Processes tab doesn't show anything using more than 10-15MB....

    As I watch, the mem usage is moving steadily up to (now) 2.6GB and that has happened in less than 2 minutes. Given that the laptop only has 3GB, I can see that something is causing nearly all of the available memory to be consumed - leaving only 200-300 of the total 3GB.... WTF?

    Is this the memory trying to cope with a sick disk - or something else? I've run Avast and MBAM and nothing shows...
     
  11. Shirty

    Shirty W*nker! Super Moderator

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    For the cost (approx £5-6 on eBay) I'd be tempted to grab a 2GB SODIMM to replace the 1GB one that you've got in there. In fact I'd probably try and grab a 4GB stick for just over a tenner to bring it up to 6GB.

    One of the issues you're facing with a measly 3GB in there is that the GMA4500 you're almost certainly running will allocate itself up to 1.2GB of system RAM - leaving you with sweet FA to play with and lots of HDD swapping going on. Couple that with a failing drive and you might go some way towards pinpointing your issue.

    TL;DR: Up your RAM to 4, 6 or 8GB and image across to a SSD, then upgrade to Windows 10, and you will be a happy camper.

    EDIT: Based on your last message (posted as I was typing this), I'd also run a few other AV scanners on the laptop, at least one of them from a live CD, to make sure nothing tasty is happening that shouldn't be! Also try disabling Aero and other graphical flourishes to see if memory usage drops.
     
  12. neil_b

    neil_b Minimodder

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    Additional info - just to be sure, I also re-seated the HDD, and noticed that with the drive out, if I moved the HDD around I could hear something that sounded like a loose part moving around inside - gentle tipping of the drive causes this happen consistently??? Is there anything that should do that (and the only thing I can think of is a g-sensor - but I doubt it!) or is something mechanically broken faulty?
     
  13. ElThomsono

    ElThomsono Multimodder

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    The clicky HDD thing is normal, some of them even state that on the sticker to stop you worrying.
     
  14. neil_b

    neil_b Minimodder

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    OK - thanks!
     
  15. neil_b

    neil_b Minimodder

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    "...Only way to be sure..."

    I think I'm going to take the "Aliens" route and take off into space and nuke the entire thing from orbit (while adding some memory and a cheap SSD)....

    This brings a question;

    1) I currently have the option (according to the task-bar) to upgrade the laptop to W10, and I'd like to do this (with the proviso I add more memory AND a cheap SSD) but I don't really want to upgrade the system "as-is" at W7 - I'd rather upgrade the h/w FIRST, and THEN move to W10 - how do I do this without losing the entitlement to the W10 upgrade in the process?

    2) If I just wack an SDD and memory in, can I somehow still get access to the free W10 upgrade?

    I'd rather not have to resort to "cloning" the current questionable W7 environment onto a new SSD, then install the SSD in the laptop and then upgrade it to W10... Is there a way to avoid this?

    Thanks.
     
  16. modd1uk

    modd1uk Multimodder

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    My advice neil would be:

    Clone windows 7 onto the SSD.

    Factory reset 7 on the SSD (if you clone it should take across all recovery partitions too).

    Boot up your SSD with the freshly reset windows 7, do all the windows updates (there will be a few) and then you will get the windows 10 upgrade promt, then upgrade to 10.

    So your laptop will have an SSD on that's been freshly formatted with 7, upgraded to 10 and registered on the windows servers with that SSD fitted.
     
  17. modd1uk

    modd1uk Multimodder

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    Alternatively if you have windows 7 media (I assume your license is OEM on your laptop), then you could just install 7 on the SSD from the media and use your key, you would then need to install all drivers/software etc which you wouldn't need to do if you cloned & factory reset (assuming it's a factory setup recovery partition).
     
  18. JamesRC

    JamesRC Minimodder

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    The simplest and cleanest thing to do would be:


    • backup HDD then install new SSD and RAM
    • re-install Windows 7 clean to SSD from a disk
    • use the Win10 media creator to download the 64-bit ISO and then install Windows 10, as an upgrade to 7 (MUST upgrade from 7 to 10 so that the hardware is registered and you get a 10 key - check Windows 10 is activated before clean installing)
    • once the upgrade install is activated, clean install 10.
    It's a few hoops to jump through, but there's no need to clone the HDD or install updates/drivers for 7 if you use the media creation tool (rather than updating through Windows update). You'll also have the HDD as a short-term backup until it dies...

    Win10 Tool here http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-10/media-creation-tool-install
     
    Last edited: 9 Sep 2015
  19. RichCreedy

    RichCreedy Hey What Who

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    might be worth checking heatpipes and fan, making sure you don't have a carpet built up in there

    blowing air through may not be enough, take fan out, or heatpipes, whichever is easier,
     
  20. neil_b

    neil_b Minimodder

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    I'm ok taking a couple of covers off, but going further than that would be a bit of a last resort. Might have to borrow Jeremy Clarkson's hammer for some subtle dust removal....

    Going to put 4GB of memory in later today and see how it behaves after that before reaching for the bigger tools!
     

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