My problem is the following: after a boot up, my laptop can find itself in two states, seemingly at random.
- runs fine: the laptop runs as it always did, no slowdown or anything.
- runs slowly: as the name implies, every program runs slowly, from Firefox to video games (offline, so it's not just an internet connection issue).
As far as I can tell, which state the computer will settle in is set at boot up or wake up from hibernation mode. I've never seen my laptop go from "runs fine" to "runs slowly" while I was using it, even after running all day long. Same way, if it's in the "runs slowly" state it's noticeable as soon as I launch any program just after boot up, and it doesn't get better or worse after using it all day .
Another symptom I noticed recently is that as soon as I launch a game while in the "runs fine" state, I can hear both the CPU fan (shortly) and GPU fan (continuously) kick up a few gears, which I take to mean both CPU and GPU are put to use. This has always been the laptop's behaviour, even before this problem appeared. However, when playing a game while in the "runs slowly" state, the CPU fan will remain quiet and the GPU fan will only go a bit faster from time to time before returning to quiet speed. It seems as if the whole computer gets lazy and don't want to put any effort.
I first took notice of this whole behaviour around the end of March/beginning of April of this year, though in retrospect the "runs slowly" state may have shown up once or twice the months before that, but I didn't recognise it as such. Lately, it's much more frequent to be in the "runs slowly" state than the other. I can't really say it's been degrading over time either: it was 50/50 around the time it first appeared, then all was good for 2-3 weeks, and it's been at its worse these last two weeks.
So far, here are the things I tested.
I don't remember installing or uninstalling anything back when it first appeared, except for software updates, and I didn't install any new driver or hardware either. I've tried to rollback the few Windows updates from that period thinking they may be the cause (those were updates for upgrading to Windows 8 or 10, KB2952664 and KB3035583 I think), but it made no difference. I did some clean up of unused programs or other assorted bloatware since then, to no effect. The whole fan thing made me think of a GPU problem, but switching to the integrated graphic card once again made no difference on which state the computer settles in. Checking the processes/services in the task manager gave me no clue either. No processes or services are running in one state but not the other. There's no noticeable difference in CPU or memory usage between the two states. For reference, according to the task manager we're talking roughly 10% CPU usage and around 2.5GB (out of 8GB) memory usage with my usual programs running in the background.
I've reached the limit of what I can troubleshoot by myself at this point.
Do these symptoms look like faulty or aging hardware? Or perhaps a process or service responsible for the allocation of ressources sometimes fail to start, maybe because an update broke it? Or maybe there's conflict between two programs? Or did I merely catch a malware?
For information, here are my laptop's specifications: http://speccy.piriform.com/results/l0RL7uCHpkk77ReXA6w8lKr
I also have a dual boot with Ubuntu which I haven't launched in years, so it's not high on my list of culprits (it's installed on partition 3 on the hard drive).
And that took a lot longer to explain than I anticipated. Anyway, any help would be appreciated.