Breathing some life into a laptop

aferris2

Veteran
Location
Up over
WIndows decided it was going to update today so I had to go through the tedious process of restarting my PC. 30 minutes later it's back in the land of the almost living and I can use it again.

Basic summary of this laptop is:
584024

This summary suggests the disk is SSD, but it isnt!

It's had a varied life since new. I started off with Vista, then moved on to Win7 and finally made the jump to Win10 in January this year. Obviously during this time it's had all sorts of applications installed, updated, and removed. Most of this has been software development (eg MS Visual Studio, Borland RAD studio, WAMP, various CAD packages, Adobe, web development apps to give some idea) in addition to the more common MS Office (2010 currently installed), Firefox, Chrome, Thunderbird.

Malwarebytes reports no malware. Avast doesn't find anything bad either. Full system clean by Disk Cleanup. Disk is regularly defragmented (bought new in Jan so should be OK). The disk is partitioned so C: (windows) is about 40% full, D: (Data) is about 60% full.

Today I timed the start-up which weren't quite as bad as I thought, but nowhere near what I would hope for.
Startup to safe mode: 3 minutes 30 seconds to start Task Manager
Startup to normal mode: 10 minutes 56 seconds to start Task Manager

First off: This will be a windows machine. I don't want to change to Linux or anything else.

Now to the actual questions:
1. Should I just bite the bullet and buy a new laptop
2. Should I replace the disk with an SSD? (RAM is at the maximum so cannot change this)
3. Would a complete re-install to the existing disk (or a new SSD) be a better option? I think I have the original install media for all the apps that I use now.
4. Am I likely to run into issues with not having the Win10 install disk? I do have the original WIn7 disk but this is pre service pack 1 (if this matters)

Any suggestions on a good SSD? There's a huge difference in price for a 2TB disk. Anything from about £180 up to £600 or more (and that's just after a very quick look)
 

ColinJ

Puzzle game developer
Buying a new laptop would obviously be the ultimate fix!
laugh.gif


I would want to find out exactly what it is doing that takes so long though. Is it only slow when booting up?
 
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A

aferris2

Veteran
Location
Up over
Buying a new laptop would obviously be the ultimate fix! View attachment 584030

I would want to find out exactly what it is doing that takes so long though. Is it only slow when booting up?
A new laptop is going to be £700 plus and I don't want to spend that much.

Generally It's Ok once it has started but every now and then it slows right down for several minutes. Not been able to pin this down, but suspect it's something to do with windows updates (can't switch over to task manager because it's busy doing whatever. Disk light is on continuously though). Trouble is, I don't think it's very stable. I've had more crashes (total lockup, no mouse, no keyboard, and strangely no BSOD) in the last few months than I have in years with Win7.
 

swee'pea99

Legendary Member
First thing I'd do is a win 10 reinstall. What have you got to lose? Oh, and it's really easy - I did it recently, and I'm a lot less techy than you sound to be. Just google it. You download it to a usb stick, change the bios to start from that, and that's it. If that doesn't sort you out, you've lost nothing and can start thinking plan b, but my guess is it would give you a pretty mega improvement. (The laptop I'm typing this on is 11 years old, has 3gb of RAM, and starts up completely in not much more than a minute.)
 
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HMS_Dave

Grand Old Lady
Location
Midlands
Its a perfectly serviceable laptop. It has a rather weak GPU but it is at least a dedicated GPU. An SSD is the obvious upgrade. I had a Clevo laptop in last week. A Clevo P370SM with a pair of Nvidia 880m in SLI of which one of the GPU's was faulty. A beast of a thing.

With regards to your lockups, when was the last time the system fan/CPU heat sink cleaned out on it? It could be a thermal issue, which is typical on an aging laptop. It could also be a sign of a knackered HDD. Laptops get dropped and that ruins HDD's...
 

ColinJ

Puzzle game developer
Disk light on continuously is something I've had with over-aggressive antivirus software. You mentioned in that other thread that you run Avast. I do too and I have had it tie up my machine so I run it as much in the background as I can, leaving foreground processes to run quickly.

I find Process Explorer better for monitoring what is going on than Task Manager.

I had a fault once that meant that interrupts were taking about 10-20% of CPU time rather than < 1%.

If you poke around long enough you will spot something that doesn't look right.
 
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aferris2

Veteran
Location
Up over
With regards to your lockups, when was the last time the system fan/CPU heat sink cleaned out on it? It could be a thermal issue, which is typical on an aging laptop. It could also be a sign of a knackered HDD. Laptops get dropped and that ruins HDD's...
Treated to a vacuum and new paste in January. Was getting up to nearly 90C sometimes before that!

First thing I'd do is a win 10 reinstall.
Will that leave all the apps in place? I think I remember Win7 just cleaning everything out so you end up with just windows and nothing else. DOn't know if Win10 is the same.

@ColinJ Not seen problems with Avast but I have had other antivirus apps in the past and some of them can be really bad at getting rid of. Interrupts are very low CPU. Had that before with a failing disk.

SSD and clone the HD - really simple job.
Would like to understand why its so slow at the moment though. SSD does make a big difference, but if I can fix the underlying issue first that would be better.

Lots of ideas to work on. WIll try some things in the morning.
 

Seevio

Veteran
Location
South Glos
What they all said.

First, grab windows for microsoft (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=691209) and then try a clean install on your current hardware. If the startup times are much faster you can keep installing things until you find the one the slows the system down.

An SSD will make a noticeable difference in startup times. Due to the age of the laptop you're going to be looking at a SATA drive rather than NVMe so just pick one you like: They will all saturate the SATA interface.

In the end though, if the laptop had Vista on it, it's pre-2009 which is ancient in tech terms. The processor is slower than current models. While the amount of RAM is good, the speed of it is positively sluggish. The laptop has had a good innings but at some point you are going to have to bite the bullet and get a new one.
 

HMS_Dave

Grand Old Lady
Location
Midlands
What they all said.

First, grab windows for microsoft (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=691209) and then try a clean install on your current hardware. If the startup times are much faster you can keep installing things until you find the one the slows the system down.

An SSD will make a noticeable difference in startup times. Due to the age of the laptop you're going to be looking at a SATA drive rather than NVMe so just pick one you like: They will all saturate the SATA interface.

In the end though, if the laptop had Vista on it, it's pre-2009 which is ancient in tech terms. The processor is slower than current models. While the amount of RAM is good, the speed of it is positively sluggish. The laptop has had a good innings but at some point you are going to have to bite the bullet and get a new one.
It can't be a pre-2009. The IVY Bridge series of processors weren't launched until 2012. It is a 4 core/8 thread part and will be fine for most tasks. Not sure why Vista would have been on it though...
 
Would always recommend an SSD upgrade, without this you're driving your car with the handbrake permanently on.

We have a few laptops here at Crank towers, all run W10, and just with Windows Defender. The friendly staff at your local PCWorld would disagree I suspect, but I don't see why you need 3rd party antivirus software - unless you, er, get commission from selling it.
 
I coughed up a bit more sometime ago for an Apple laptop and found it worthwhile. All upgrades and patches are automatic and done late at night. Apple is religious in terms of privacy and malware. I don't have any anti-virus software hogging resources or slowly the system down. Most of the night updates from Apple are in fact security patches.

I am no longer slave to my laptop. It is my workhorse. In view of reliability, it is now the family repository of all documents, important and the usual. I also use the free cloud allocation as my backup.

Never had downtime, never had to do safe mode. I set aside money each month for machine upgrade every 5 years or more.
 

MartinQ

Veteran
I've had problems after an upgrade where the disk usage hit 100% for several (~10) minutes after startup. Tried a few fixes, but the one that seemed to work was simply to create new account(s) on the machine.
 
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