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How do I troubleshoot a Windows freeze or slowness?

How do I troubleshoot a Windows freeze or slowness?

A machine is described as being "really slow" or "freezing". How can I troubleshoot/resolve this issue? What should be the first steps to take?

Asked by: Guest | Views: 183
Total answers/comments: 5
bert [Entry]

"Assuming you are using a Windows OS...

Things to check:

PC has 10% at least of free disk space
PC has at least 1 GB of RAM for Windows XP and 2 GB for Windows Vista
If there are any hanging programs or drivers.
Corrupt system files. If that is so, run sfc /scannow in cmd and let it replace any corrupt system files. It may ask for your Windows CD. Or, if it is seriously damaged then perform a Windows XP repair install or Windows Vista repair install
A badly corrupted file system. This is from experience rather than knowledge.
Run chkdsk /r in the command prompt.
Due to the way Windows handles files, it will in inevitably get slow over time. Your MFT structure gets bigger and bigger over time. The only cure is a fresh install.
Malware. Download and run HijackThis, and then post the log here. It'll give us a decent idea of what's running and what could be hogging all your memory/CPU."
bert [Entry]

"First off, I check what is automatically started when the machine boots up.

Autoruns
Registry: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
msconfig
Run -> services.msc This will list all the services that are started up when your machine turns on. You can manage all of them here from this MMC snap-in.
Scheduled Tasks

I will then run process explorer and see what is running after it is booted and see what hogs up a lot of memory and CPU.

Process Explorer
Process Monitor
Task Manager

I will then make sure all the drivers are up to date, same with anti-virus, windows update and other critical applications such as web browsers, java, flash, etc.

Java Runtime
Flash Player

Then I will defrag their hard drive if it needs to be done.

Disk Defrag

Sometimes I will clear out their web browser history and cookies and also clean out their temp folders.

CCleaner
Disk Cleanup

I will also look through the event viewer to see if there are any errors being reported and check into them if they do.

Event Viewer

If all else fails and the system will support it, a RAM upgrade may be in order."
bert [Entry]

"To see if your machine is going to be slow, check

Amount of memory
Speed of CPU
Disk space available

There are many third-party tools available that give you information on your computer, but to do this quite easily without those you can use the Windows Task Manager.

To open ""Task Manager""

In the task bar, right click the mouse then select ""Task Manager""

On the performance tab you will see how 'busy' your CPU is also how much physical memory is available.

If CPU is consistently above 10% and there is less than 500000 K of memory available your machine is probably going to be running slowly.

Also if your hard drive is full, this could lead to poor performance. You should aim to have at least 15% of free space.

To check this, open Windows Explorer, you can do this by

At the same time, press the windows Key followed by the letter e

Select the C: drive with a mouse click. Then right click and select properties - this will tell you how much free/used space you have on your hard drive."
"To see if your machine is going to be slow, check

Amount of memory
Speed of CPU
Disk space available

There are many third-party tools available that give you information on your computer, but to do this quite easily without those you can use the Windows Task Manager.

To open ""Task Manager""

In the task bar, right click the mouse then select ""Task Manager""

On the performance tab you will see how 'busy' your CPU is also how much physical memory is available.

If CPU is consistently above 10% and there is less than 500000 K of memory available your machine is probably going to be running slowly.

Also if your hard drive is full, this could lead to poor performance. You should aim to have at least 15% of free space.

To check this, open Windows Explorer, you can do this by

At the same time, press the windows Key followed by the letter e

Select the C: drive with a mouse click. Then right click and select properties - this will tell you how much free/used space you have on your hard drive."
bert [Entry]

"Not without knowing what is causing the freezing as it is not actually causing a crash.

This sounds like at first guess that it is a hardware interrupt / bad device driver causing this, as for banging the keyboard - this is most likely just down to luck.

Try first looking through your system event log for any errors or warnings that could be driver related.

Next either uninstall the driver or if you do not find anything, I would first advise unplugging all extra USB devices as the easiest solution, then if that solves it, plug them in one by one until you find the bad one. If you do not find anything, you may actually need to uninstall drivers.

If you still have errors or want to rule it out earlier, I would advise running a memory test, and going to the command prompt to run a Chkdsk to scan the hard drive for problems.

I used to get this all the time on old machines, 99% of the time it was people buying cheap/unknown brand devices with VERY bad drivers - it gives Windows a bad name. If however you still getting problems after following this, please say and I will try to help further."
bert [Entry]

"Defragment your hard drive. For Windows XP Disk Defragmenter is located at
Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> System tools.

For Windows 7 or Vista see this question."