Sunday, July 12, 2015

Windows 7 Slowness

My wife's Toshiba notebook runs Windows 7, and until recently worked very well indeed.  But for the last several months, it suffers periodic incidents of severe slowness, even when there are only one or two apps running.  I have installed Norton Security to protect from viruses, I run SpyBot S&D regularly to remove spyware, and the problem keeps reappearing.  It seems to appear after she visits websites that show song lyrics,  Occasionally I refresh Firefox, and that helps.  RAM and CPU use suggest that something is running in the background to cause the slowness, but when I show applications and processes in the Task Window, I see nothing obviously poisonous.  Any suggestions?


  1. I have a lot of problems with Adobe Flash Player, particularly with Firefox. It wasn't always this way, but over the last 18 months or so, FP embedded in various websites (especially ESPN and ones like it that have "walls" full of FP-enabled content) will just kill the browser's speed - sometimes putting it in a full non-responsive state. I typically just "kill" FP via the Task Manager when I'm on sites that I know have them running in the background and I don't care about their enabled content. Give it a try and see if that helps.

  2. Did you click the box to show processes from all users?

    I have recently had performance issues when Bitdefender (anti virus) is running - especially in the morning, but I rescheduled it and tha helped.

    I dumped Firefox and (somewhat regretfully - I'm not a fan of Google) but I have no problems with it. You might consider trying it.

  3. I just spent a good part of last night and this afternoon tackling the very same problem on my Dell desktop and an Acer notebook, both of which run Windows 7. I sometimes run into the problem at work, which I think is also a Windows 7 machine.

    In my case(s), there seem to be two sources or cases. One is when I visit any kind of news or political sites, the machines bog down terribly. This does not happen at web logs (such as this one), gun forums, and other non-commercial sites that are fairly simply constructed. I am speculating that all the ads, tweet sidebars, auto-starting videos, and all the the gimcracks and geegaws that news and political sites put up are overwhelming my machines. Instapundit and in general really drag performance down, and I don't even visit Breitbart any more for this reason.

    That may be a hardware issue, none of my machines are new, I'm in the process of trying to figure out if a RAM upgrade or some such will help, since both the desktop and the notebook only have 2GB of RAM and older processors.

    The other this is that Task Manager shows (when the "Show Other Processes" button is pushed) that the Windows system itself eats up a considerable chunk of CPU cycles and RAM. This was really bad on my Acer notebook -- I would get a svchost.exe process that would just grow and grow until it consumed nearly all the RAM (2GB)and most of the CPU cycles. I tried killing it and it just restarts and begins growing again. I know which Windows tasks are encompassed by it, but I don't know if I can disable any of them and still have the laptop run -- I am not savvy at all about the technical part of Windows.

    Also, on my desktop, my internet provider, AT&T, has apparently installed a task or process called McciServiceHost.exe that will eat up the CPU. I can kill it manually through Task Manager and that improves things, but I am afraid of disabling it or removing it entirely because I cannot find out if is required to maintain the internet connection at startup.

    I spent some time Goodling this weekend and my have made some progress. Based on what I found I took two major actions: I ran MalWareBytes(.com) and DeCrapMyComputer ( The first is supposed to find and remove malware missed by standard antivirus programs (I use Microsoft Essentials), and it seemed to removed quite a bit of stuff, especially from the Registry.

    The other, DeCrap, is supposed to let you remove "bloatware" and other unwanted programs, both from their directory locations and from the registry. Trouble is unless it is really obvious I don't know which programs can be dispensed with and which ones are actually needed to handle the various hardware bits. So I used it sparingly, in manual mode, and I think I came out alright.

    The good news is that background processes that were running wild (like certain svchost.exe processes) seem to have been brought in check.

    The bad news is that visiting the news and political sites really bogs things down.

    I have a new-to-me used laptop on order, as soon as I get it I am going to upgrade its Ram from 2GB to 8GB, and if that helps, may retrofit at least my desktop.

    None of this probably helps you, but good luck anyway.

  4. Well I've been seeing nothing but performance trouble with IE, Firefox and Chrome (the latter two with both Windows and OSX). As has been pointed out Flash is a major resource hog anymore that unfortunately these script kiddies just love loading up pages with.

    If stopping the browser and restarting it fixes it at least for a while are you keeping the number of open web pages down to just a few? Seems like anymore more than maybe 6 pages open and the CPU and memory utilization just spikes anymore. Even on decent systems with 12 or more GB of RAM.

    So is Firefox or an associated plug-in the main resource user shown in task mgr at that point of the slowdown?

    I seem to recall hearing complaints about performance hits with Norton as well as many of the other virus programs. Maybe you can try browsing some of these song lyric sites with Linux to see if you also see the slowdown on another OS.

  5. As noted if the site not only shows lyrics but plays music then Flash Player can use a lot of resources and even more if it crashes. Some browsers will reference a long running script or banner as Flashplayer has crashed warning. In the alternative or maybe in addition the system may be buffering a song or worse a video and passing the buffer material through Norton. Once triggered Norton can use a lot of resources - occasionally known as the virus you load yourself.

  6. I am thinking Flash Player may be the issue, because it only appears after using Firefox a lot, and there are complaints appearing about stopped scripts. So I have uninstalled Flash Player. Thanks for all the suggestions.

  7. Make sure you only have one antivirus running at a time. Running more than one AV will cause performance problems.

  8. Installing AdBlock Plus or uBlock Origin can help if sites are loading a bunch of ad scripts or Flash ads. I also turn on any browser feature that prevents plug-ins from loading automatically.

    Some anti-virus programs scan webpages when they load and that can be a resource hog.

    Chrome comes with a built-in version of Flash and I only use that for webpages that require Flash. It might be safer or perform better.

  9. I'd be inclined to dump Norton. I've seen advice to do this by a number of computer security people. I had nothing but headaches the last time I had it loaded. It would lock or crash constantly. Uninstalled it, and the problems went away.

    Check on
    and see if Chris has a post or two on your problem.

    Use CCleaner to clean up after sessions.