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Laptop suddenly slowed down for no apparent reason

  1. #1


    Posts : 7
    Windows 8.1 x64

    Laptop suddenly slowed down for no apparent reason


    Laptop is a Lenovo Ideapad Z560. Yes, I know its circa 2010 and fully expect 90% of the responses to tell me to buy a new computer, downgrade to Windows 7, or both, but as the title says, this slowdown is very sudden and inexplicable. My specs are decidedly mediocre:

    4GB RAM DDR3
    Intel Core i3 380M @ 2.53GHz (dual core w/ hyperthreading)
    Intel integrated graphics w/ 1.3GB memory
    300GB HDD @ 5400RPM

    However, the thing ran fine until just after Halloween. And by fine, I mean it could do Photoshop in 4k, play Simcity 4, Runescape, and Cities XL 2011 at max settings, run multiple mp3 downloads, and have 15 tabs open in Firefox. Not all at once of course, but it did everything at a decent speed while never going above 75% processor. Then, the day after Halloween, it suddenly slowed down. Like, literally one minute it was a decent computer, the next it felt like it was a decade old.

    The hard drive thrashed, Runescape played like a slideshow on minimum settings, photoshop wouldn't even open, forget any local games except Runescape, and I could almost take a nap in the time it took for Firefox to open. And once it did, it would scroll choppily and crash with more than 4 tabs open. And the whole time, the cooling fan was whining so loud I could hear it, even with nothing open.

    Now at this point, you might be thinking "virus!" Well, so was I. So, after running every maintenance program (Ccleaner, Disk Cleanup, Disk Checker, Defraggler, and boot time Defraggler, in that order), I scanned for viruses with Avast Free 2015, then ran a boot time scan. When that turned up nothing, I formatted and reinstalled. I installed all the updates (including Windows 8.1), copied my files back, reinstalled my programs (Adobe CS6 Master Collection, Office 2010, Firefox, Runescape desktop client, Avast, Rhapsody, the above maintenance software, and all dependencies), and ran all the maintenance again.

    It worked like a charm, my laptop was back to its old, fast self...for about a week. Now, my disk is at 70-100% most of the time, Runescape is back to slideshow mode on minimum settings, and Firefox takes 5 minutes to open (I timed it).

    My question is, WTF (sorry for the obscenity, but no other phrase sufficiently describes my frustration right now) is going on? The stupid thing worked perfectly for about a year (when I upgraded to Windows 8, I did a clean format and install over Windows 7), then suddenly it slowed down and there's nothing I can do except reinstall. Yes, reinstalling fixed it, but I do NOT feel like murdering my hard drive by reimaging every week. They aren't free.
    Last edited by seankurth; 07 Dec 2014 at 17:10. Reason: fans

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    United States
    Posts : 3,093
    Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit


    Restore point before it started doing this? What does hard drive SMART report, anything bad?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 7
    Windows 8.1 x64


    C:\WINDOWS\system32>wmic
    wmic:root\cli>diskdrive get status
    Status
    OK
    OK

    yup, looks good to me. "OK" is usually not a bad thing. Also, I've never had a SMART error that I know of, at least not an unrecoverable one (the only kind that would be obvious enough for me to know of).

    And for restore point, unfortunately not. It just randomly started acting up again (after I reinstalled) a few days ago, and nothing particularly eventful (to cause it to create a restore point) has happened since I finished installing all the updates and programs.

    As I said, I would prefer not to use restore points or reinstall, because although its a guaranteed quick fix, I don't want to unnecessarily stress the hard drive. It seems to be doing good, but you can't be too careful, especially since its nearing 5 years old. I have a full image backup and backups of all my libraries and programs, along with a few hundred to blow on a new hard drive (for a custom drive bay on a 5 year old machine, the price of a new drive, especially if I wanted a decent size, would be easily over $100), so I would lose nothing if it had to be replaced, but I would prefer not to do that.

    Basically, what I'm trying to figure out here is if there's some program I can uninstall or feature I can turn off or registry key i can change to 1.

    I suspect that either the Runescape toolbar (which is spyware, its built on top of a client connect toolbar, nuff said) might be causing this, or maybe my computer is no longer capable of running the increasingly bloated Avast. Or maybe its Onedrive and its constant syncing that can't be turned off without signing out. But I don't want to give up my instant game notifications, file syncing between PCs, or full suite virus protection until I'm sure there's nothing else I can do.
    Last edited by seankurth; 07 Dec 2014 at 19:41.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    United States
    Posts : 3,093
    Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit


    I don't think I can be of further help, maybe someone else here has other ideas. Personally, if I were that concerned about my hard drive age and its reliability, would take steps to replace it somehow. Just me.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Trnava
    Posts : 683
    Win 8.1.1 Pro x64


    Have you scanned your computer only with Avast or with something else?

    Emsisoft Free Emergency Kit: Portable malware scanner

    Quote Originally Posted by seankurth View Post
    It worked like a charm, my laptop was back to its old, fast self...for about a week. Now, my disk is at 70-100% most of the time, Runescape is back to slideshow mode on minimum settings, and Firefox takes 5 minutes to open (I timed it).
    Check, if Windows Update did not download new drivers. Sometimes older are more reliable than the new ones.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 7
    Windows 8.1 x64


    Quote Originally Posted by TairikuOkami View Post
    Have you scanned your computer only with Avast or with something else?

    Emsisoft Free Emergency Kit: Portable malware scanner

    Quote Originally Posted by seankurth View Post
    It worked like a charm, my laptop was back to its old, fast self...for about a week. Now, my disk is at 70-100% most of the time, Runescape is back to slideshow mode on minimum settings, and Firefox takes 5 minutes to open (I timed it).
    Check, if Windows Update did not download new drivers. Sometimes older are more reliable than the new ones.
    Yes, malwarebytes and spybot search and destroy. I'll try the one you linked. And as far as updates, I don't see anything, but I downgraded to the Windows 7 versions on Lenovo's website anyway. Actually, I think that might have been the problem. Whatever didn't give me an incompatible hardware error due to incompatibility with Windows 8.1 installed and worked good, and so far my graphics seem to be fast again. I don't know why my hard drive usage is back down since that driver is a kernel mode thing that I could neither find nor reinstall, but thank you, will mark as solved.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Laptop suddenly slowed down for no apparent reason
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