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I've noticed that if I leave a document open for a couple days (i.e., in word or excel) when I log into my computer, it is running very slow. It has happened on the past couple computers I have worked on, but couldn't really pinpoint the problem.

At the end of the day, instead of saving everything closing out and logging off... I just save my document and lock the computer with ctrl+alt+del. The next day I come in, everything seems to be working as it should. Then usually on day 3 of the document being open, I notice my computer is very laggy until I close out of my document.

What in the world would be causing that?

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If you close the documents and open them again, is the speed improved? Is it only with specific documents? Can you replicate this behaviour under a different username or on a different computer? – user3463 May 3 '12 at 15:53
If I close them and reopen the speed is improved. I haven't tried under any other username or on other computers yet. But I can replicate in on my machine pretty much whenever I want. – C-dizzle May 3 '12 at 17:09
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Different things can cause sluggishness. Use Task Manager or Resource Monitor to check whether word.exe or excel.exe display abnormally high RAM or CPU usage or disk access. Perhaps the problem lies somewhere else entirely.

Also, it would be helpful if you gave some more details, like your computer's specs, any anti-malware programs running in the background, etc.

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Dell Optiplex 780, Windows 7 32-bit, Core 2 Duo @ 2.93 Ghz, 2GB ram. Has Symantec Endpoint Protection on the PC but it's not scanning at the time of slowness. Windows updates aren't running either since they are managed by the domain controller. – C-dizzle May 3 '12 at 17:12
@C-dizzle Well, try the tools I suggested and see if they can help pinpoint the problem. – Indrek May 4 '12 at 6:30

I believe what you're experiencing is probably the result of a memory leak. This is a programming error which causes a process to use incrementally larger amounts of RAM until it's stopped. Older versions of Windows were infamous for this which is why it was very unlikely to see a Windows 98 machine (for instance) be online for more than a week or two between rebooting. I'm sure that the office programs also suffer from these types of memory leaks.

It's a good practice to close your documents at the end of the day anyway. If your system receives updates that require a reboot you risk losing some data otherwise.

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