I've been having trouble with a laggy laptop, and after asking around, a friend suggested that I use HiJack This and post a log at a reputable forum (he recommended this one). Below is a summary of my problem.
My laptop has been unusually and illogically slow quite often lately. The problem first arose in Europe three months ago but went away after a while. Essentially, my computer would lag on basic actions that I know should not (and never had before) bogged down my computer. Things like viewing a YouTube video on Firefox, or watching any video on Windows Media Player. Now, however, my computer seems to be lagging all the time, to the point where clicking between tabs on Firefox creates a delay of several seconds.
- When watching a video on YouTube, the video lags and skips, and audio even sometimes gets choppy.
- When watching a video on Windows Media Player (especially .wmv files; less so with .mpeg files), video becomes choppy, although audio seems to hold up ok.
- When using Photoshop, type does not render fully until I finish typing AND click on another icon to set the text.
- When using Adobe Premiere, video and audio is choppy and skippy when previewing the production.
- When viewing photos on Windows Media and Fax Viewer (which is like the simplest XP program ever), there is noticeable lag time (a few seconds) before next photo loads.
- Programs take twice as long as usual (or longer) to open.
I've noticed that this is because my CPU Usage often shoots up near 100% when my computer starts lagging. I understand why the lag occurs, since maxed out CPU usage typically leads to that. What I fail to understand is why it's getting up so high in the first place. Something like WinAmp or Windows Media Player often goes into the 50% range simply from playing an MP3. The same applies to Firefox. I know for a fact that under normal operation, they should rarely exceed 10%. Somehow, my computer is using up resources much more than it used to, and I'm not sure why.
Things I've tried to fix this problem that have not worked:
- System Restore to a date when computer was more stable.
- Scanning computer for viruses with Norton Anti-Virus.
- Scanning computer for spyware/malware with Spybot S&D and Adaware.
- Defragging lap top hard drive.
- Defragging external hard drives.
- Deleting excess/unneeded files off my hard drive (this shouldn't even matter, since it's only a little over half full--I currently have 30.9 GB used out of 52.9 GM available--but my computer has mysteriously gotten slower before after I passed the halfway mark on my hard drive usage).
- Clearing Temporary Internet Files and Internet History (not that the second should really do anything, but anyway).
Model is a Dell Inspiron 9100 laptop
3.2 GHZ Pentium IV processor
512 MB RAM
Windows XP Pro
Short of reformatting my computer (again), is there anything else I can try to fix this? Maybe some utility or something, or another trick I haven't thought of. This problem doesn't actually seem to harm my computer in anyway, but it's extremely annoying, because it makes work very slow. I don't want to be stuck with a computer that takes fifteen minutes to save an Illustrator file (this happened last semester in France), or anything like that.
Also, I reformatted my laptop back in late August. Before then, I had gone over two years without reformatting, and had not ever experienced any lag problems as inexplicable as this (where even basic functions were using up way too much CPU processing power). I don't think my computer can go to crap in less than half a year after a reformat, but I could be wrong.
Any and all help would be greatly appreciated!
P.S. I just realized to clarify: typically, my computer has seemed fine the first few minutes after I turn it on. Then, the lag seems to set in, mostly when I'm using Adobe programs or watching videos. The lag between tabbing occurs at the worst cases, but not all the time.
A friend (not from this site) has suggested that it may have to do with not having enough RAM, but I found that odd because this had never been a problem before. However, he pointed out that Windows grows with the updates with time, so while my RAM may have been enough six months ago (before I reformatted), updates since then may have pushed the computer over the edge.
Just thought I'd see if that's a viable cause or not.