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Myself and the other developer are running Windows 7 Enterprise 64 bit with 8GB RAM on different Gigabyte motherboards with Quad core Intel CPUs. Most of the time, it runs like a dream. We use VMware workstation a lot (hence the 8GB) and that works well.

Except... now and then, after the PCs have been on for a few days, the whole system starts getting really sluggish doing certain tasks. The other's developer's system is far worse than mine with it taking up to a minute to launch IE. Today, mine has gone sluggish but nowhere near as bad. For example, normally when I click on a new tab in IE, it's instant. Today, there's an obvious delay. Right-clicking in this window to trigger iSpell is normally instant, right now it takes about five seconds. I've got resource monitor open on my second monitor and when I did that right-click, there was no obvious peak in CPU, disk or memory.

A reboot does fix it so it does sound like a resource issue but haven't a clue what might be to blame. The two computers have similarities (same spec) but also differences (like motherboard, RAM & CPU models).

So I guess the question is, any pointers on diagnosing why a PC is sluggish? What could cause such a right-click slow down in IE for example? It sounds like such a simple operation.

NOTE: whilst typing this message alone, it was fine performance wise. I can click around the page no problem but right-click still is noticeable slow. Will reboot over lunch...

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Maybe try the Resource Monitor in Win7? – Svish Jun 11 '10 at 13:46
Are you running IE x86 or x64? I heard about some issue with IE x64 running on x64 based OS. – r0ca Jun 11 '10 at 13:48
As a developer I would have hoped you used something other then IE :( – MrStatic Jun 11 '10 at 14:25
Get 16gb ddr3 !!11 :) (Don't know what it could be sorry.) – Shiki Jun 11 '10 at 14:48
As a developer who lives in the real world, I have to work with the same browser that 100% of our pharmaceutical clients use. Would love to use Google Chrome all the time as the JavaScript engine is just so speedy but unfortunately, it's not compatible enough yet with many sites. One may say it's very compatible just that IE wasn't but everything now works with that. It's an unfair world sometimes and the best often doesn't win. But getting this back on thread, it is not specifically IE related but IE really suffers when it happens. – munrobasher Jun 13 '10 at 10:35

There are so many unknowns, that I can't give you a definitive answer as to what exactly is happening. However, I can point you to some resources that may help you in your search for what may be bogging down the system. (note: this is for sluggish systems overall and not just for your specific IE problems)

  1. Run a On/Off Transition Performance Analysis:

    Believe it or not, there may be a service that is starting that you don't know about and therefore over time sucking up resources. Following this guides will help you determine EXACTLY what is starting up when you boot up, and how long each service takes to start. Running the xbootmgr.exe with the -prepsystem command will boot your system 6 times optimizing for your boot-up, while capturing traces during those boots as well

  2. Is there a reason why you're leaving the systems on for days on end?

    Again, there may be a background service that is taking up resources that you don't know about. Also windows is notorious for hogging up system resources over time (although win7 has gotten better at this). I suggest turning the system off when gone for the day

  3. Consider a purchase of an SSD

    SSD's performance for read/write, boot-up times, and application starts are unsurpassable buy any regular HDD. If you're doing a lot of same data calling, application start-up and running, then I highly recommend using an SSD for you.

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Couple of ideas:

  1. Like one of the comments suggested, try the built-in Resource Monitor to home in on the culprit

  2. Check for viruses - if the problem is hared, you may have both installed the same infected program

  3. Certain applications tie themselves to Windows Explorer in a way that may slow down your system. I've "saved" at least 2-3 customers from TortoiseSVN. Like other Windows Shell extensions, it enumerates files on every directory access, especially right-clicks.

  4. Finally, it may be a network issue. If your network is extremely slow, or misconfigured, or has topology issues, and you have mapped network drives, those are enumerated every time you open an explorer window or IE. Try talking to your network admin on this point.

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Network issue is the anecdotal likely candidate from the development & IT support team as well. Tasks like network browsing have always taken much longer in W7 than in XP (there are quite a few references to this with some suggested fixes). It's a relatively simple LAN with a selection of Netgear gigabit switches. The main infrastructure is pretty standard Windows 2003 AD servers. We do now have some Avaya IP office phones on the segment downstairs and they went in the same time as Windows 7... – munrobasher Jun 13 '10 at 10:40
Whilst I could accept it maybe network related, there are two knock-on questions. Firstly, what does W7 do different to XP? Secondly, why does it degrade over time - what exactly is degrading? Queue lengths of something maybe? I don't think it's physical hardware. Often have an XP virtual machine running on the same W7 PC and the performance of that never degrades. – munrobasher Jun 13 '10 at 10:43
IMHO, degradation + the fact several people who share network point to a virus/malware of some kind. When things happen in groups, tend to look for the common denominator. – Traveling Tech Guy Jun 15 '10 at 6:45
Several scans at al run and nothing is showing up. One of the developers hardly uses W7 at all - he boots up and then spends all day inside a full-screen XP/VB6 development environment and his W7 host is worst of the lot. Equally resource manager is showing nothing unusual at all. It's all very mysterious... – munrobasher Jul 2 '10 at 9:32
I can't say that I've found the definitive answer to this but the last thing I disabled was offline files. Since then, my PC has been on for days and I have not noticed any visible degredation in performance. I'm going to turn it back on and see what happens. – munrobasher Oct 4 '10 at 11:02
up vote 0 down vote accepted

It's possible we'll never know the exact answer to this one as the problem has gone away over time. Maybe it was a bug in Windows 7 fixed with one of the many hot fixes or maybe it was a problem on our infrastructure & servers that equally faded away.

Cheers. Rob.

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