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Recently, I've noticed that my computer is getting less response. I have a 4 year old Vaio currently running Windows 7. (Win7 was installed less than a year ago.) The "progress spinner" mouse cursor appears frequently - once every two seconds, lasting about 3/4 of a second or so.

Sometimes when I reboot the computer, the problem goes away. Sometimes it doesn't.

Looking in the task manager reveals 15+ instances of rundll32.exe running, as well as wdm.exe taking up the most memory.

The machine is not particularly hot.

What can I do about this?

Update: Event Viewer reveals that Windows Live Mesh is perpetually crashing and restarting. Interesting. The problem is now gone; and the Mesh errors aren't showing up any more. Perhaps that was the issue.

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Check the event viewer (Start->Run, type eventvwr, hit enter). Look in the System and Application logs for anything obviously error-like (big red Xs are not your friend) and post info. – phoebus Oct 18 '10 at 21:13
Check the task manager. Show processes from all users with no applications started. Sort the CPU column so the one using the most CPU is at the top. Anything other than System Idle Process taking a significant amount of CPU is bad. Post what you find. – ChrisF Oct 18 '10 at 21:19
Thanks for accepting my answer, but I was wondering what did it for you? – William Hilsum Nov 19 '10 at 19:09
@Wil there were many programs running in the background. I disabled a bunch of background services, and now it's zippier. Sometimes I need to manually restart the services when I need to use them, but aside from that it's been a good tradeoff. – Nick Heiner Nov 22 '10 at 17:31
up vote 1 down vote accepted

From what you have told me, if I was to get a computer with someone reporting this, I would say it is one of the following:

  1. The computer is under specification and simply is not designed for the work load you are giving it.

  2. The hard drive is starting to fail.

  3. You have installed a load of "junk" programs.

For 1., there isn't a lot you can do - uninstall as many programs that run in the background. Look at something like Microsoft \ Sysinternals Process Explorer to give you ideas of what yuour machine is running.

For 2. And addition to 1. Again, use Microsoft \ Sysinternals Process Explorer and click on one of the graphs at the top. This will show you a history graph and you can hover over the peaks of CPU in order to see what process it taking up the most resources at any moment. If you see Hardware Interrupt or similar, this could be the signs of a failing hard drive.

(Example - This is for Disk, but you can do the same on the CPU graph.)

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For 3. I would advise using either MSCONFIG \ Microsoft configuration utility or Microsoft \ Sysinternals Autoruns and remove programs that you do not need (Warning, use with caution - do not remove/delete just because you think you do not need it.

Extra note 4.! Make sure you are not using two anti virus programs - I see this trend increasing and is one of the worse things you can do!

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