I have an application/game that ran smoothly a few months ago but lately I've realized it runs more sluggish than usual (the frames per second get quite low).
I thought maybe something I installed is causing this application to lag so I terminated all unnecessary processes (including explorer.exe) leaving only the core processes. I even shut down any non-essential services. Other thing I turned off was my antivirus so my OS shouldn't have any unnecessary tasks running in the background at this point.
When I loaded the game, it still had a fairly low FPS.
Knowing that I have not made any hardware changes since that time, and wondering why the game still ran slowly with all available resources, the next thing I tried was to setup another partition with a fresh copy of Windows 7. I then reinstalled the game on that partition and surprisingly it ran smoothly like it did a year ago.
Switching between the two partitions, I can tell a big difference between the FPS of the game, even when I run my "Kill_Unnessessary_Processes.bat". I've even noticed my browser loading and scrolling webpages and flash videos faster.
The only difference between the two partitions at this point is that the old partition has a lot more programs installed but are inactive. Which leads me to my question, when considering "software bloat", does having a lot of programs installed on your hard drive slow it down overtime, even if it is not in running in memory?
I can think of two reasons why this might be: 1) it would take longer to lookup stuff in the registry and 2) I could have some rootkit that I don't know about quietly stealing my resources on the first partition.
I would like to hear about any other possibilities that could cause this. If at all possible, I would like to switch back to one partition.