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I use a Lenovo W520 laptop with 4gig of memory, 64bit Windows 7, intel i7 processor, 7200 rpm hard disc.

The computer seems to be very slow at times and when it's slow I look at my disk-hit LED and notice that the hard disk is being accessed during these times. When I look at memory usage I am at about 3gig of 4gig used.

Even when I'm in Outlook and I hit the right mouse button to bring up a context menu the system sometimes takes a while to bring up the menu. During this time I look at the disc LED and it's hitting the disc.

I've done some disk analysis with some tools and defragged the disc and run some other tests and it passes all tests.

What can I do to make this thing run better?

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What's using so much RAM? It looks to me like your machine is slowing down because windows is having to offload RAM to the hard disk. –  ForeverWintr Apr 26 '13 at 23:09
    
If I'm only using 3gig of 4gig of RAM why would it be ofloading RAM to the hard disc? Here's what I run regularly: MS Outlook, a trading application, Google Chrome, Firefox, A specialized home-inspection application. Those are usually always running. I open others as needed. –  Martin Newmark Apr 26 '13 at 23:23
    
I'm not familiar with the algorithms involved, but it's not too hard to imagine that the OS might page memory to keep a certain amount of RAM free. Does the slowdown only occur when you're using 3+ GiB? –  ForeverWintr Apr 26 '13 at 23:28
    
Good question. I don't know. I'll have to try and exit some programs when I'm not using them and see. –  Martin Newmark Apr 26 '13 at 23:36
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3 Answers

Use the Resource Monitor to see which programs trash the HDD so much.

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Also check with RAMMap where your RAM is wasted:

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and disable the programs and services that you don't need. If you do both of these things the PC should be faster.


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I can bring up Resource Monitor but I don't really know what to look for. What column and what section should I focus on? Also, I downloaded RAMMap and I can't tell where RAM is wasted. Can you be more specific? I have a 64bit Win7 system with 4G RAM and only 3G is used regularly. Wouldn't the system use up all 4G before becoming slow? Thanks! –  Martin Newmark Apr 30 '13 at 3:38
    
save the RAMMap Data as RMP and upload them. In Resource Monitor, look which program has a large amount of read/write activity. –  magicandre1981 Apr 30 '13 at 3:48
    
I've uploaded a RAMMap to: dropbox.com/s/8fwehzlr5zjtkz1/RAMmap-Martin%205-1-13.RMP Thanks for your help! –  Martin Newmark May 2 '13 at 3:17
    
a program thinkorswim.exe uses 500MB of RAM. 1.7 GB of the usage comes from the large amount of tools you run all the time. Stop some of them or upgrade the RAM. I think that Windows pages some data out and this causes the disk IO. Look in resmon is SYSTEM writes to the poagefile.sys. –  magicandre1981 May 2 '13 at 4:05
    
Would the system be paging out some data even if I have 4G of RAM and I'm only using 3G most of the time? Thanks! –  Martin Newmark May 2 '13 at 15:16
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Check to see what your pagefile settings are. Your system may be struggling with a shortage of RAM. Also run some tests on your HDD as it may be failing.

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Where do I see what my pagefile settings are? What am I looking for? What HDD tests do you recommend? I ran HDD and RAM tests that I donwloaded from the lenovo.com site and they passed all the tests. –  Martin Newmark Apr 30 '13 at 3:26
    
@MartinNewmark My Computer > System Properties > Advanced System Settings > Advanced > Performance > Settings > Advanced > Change. –  ryansworld10 May 2 '13 at 1:19
    
My pagefile setting is for windows to auto control the size. –  Martin Newmark May 2 '13 at 3:28
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I was reading about pagefile.sys and found two options. One is to eliminate it if I have enough RAM, the other is to change the FileSystem Memory Cache. I found out that my FS Memory Cache is set to 0 and the default is 1, and 2 would possibly give better performance. I've set it to 2 and I'm finding that my system is using more RAM and running a bit faster. I'll see over the coming days. I've also ordered another 4G of RAM. Thanks for your help! –  Martin Newmark May 2 '13 at 17:05
    
@MartinNewmark I'm glad I could help! –  ryansworld10 May 3 '13 at 17:41
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I think what we need is a battery of tests to help.

First download and run hijackthis (do a system scan and save a log file): http://sourceforge.net/projects/hjt/

Then upload the log to a pastebin type site like http://pastebin.com/

This will show us what's running, services, and what is in startup.

Autoruns from sysinternals digs a little deeper and may help - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb963902.aspx

Oh and ditch task manager for process explorer: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896653

Edit after OP posted hijackthis log:

Here is my opinion - before I paste the information DANGER DANGER WILL ROBINSON even though I'm fairly good at picking out apps that are useless - simply disabling something as innocent as "BingDesktop" could leave your system unstable or unusable (this is VERY VERY unlikely though - you probably have a better chance of getting cancer from the sun) - you have been warned and my advice carries no guarantees. With that said here is my analysis:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\GoogleToolbarNotifier\GoogleToolbarNotifier.exe - remove/kill

C:\Users\Martin\AppData\Local\Akamai\netsession_win.exe - remove/kill
http://www.hanselman.com/blog/CSIMyComputerWhatIsNetsessionwinexeFromAkamaiAndHowDidItGetOnMySystem.aspx
C:\Users\Martin\AppData\Local\Akamai\netsession_win.exe

C:\Program Files (x86)\NETGEAR Genie\bin\NETGEARGenie.exe - remove/kill

Do you use this software?
C:\Program Files (x86)\Ilium Software\ListPro\ListProAlarms.exe
C:\Program Files (x86)\Ilium Software\ListPro\ListProSync.exe
C:\Program Files (x86)\ScanSoft\PaperPort\pptd40nt.exe

Remove:
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [BingDesktop] C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft\BingDesktop\BingDesktop.exe /fromkey
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [QuickTime Task] "C:\Program Files (x86)\QuickTime\QTTask.exe" -atboottime
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [swg] "C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\GoogleToolbarNotifier\GoogleToolbarNotifier.exe"
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [Akamai NetSession Interface] "C:\Users\Martin\AppData\Local\Akamai\netsession_win.exe"
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [NETGEARGenie] "C:\Program Files (x86)\NETGEAR Genie\bin\NETGEARGenie.exe" -mini -redirect
O4 - Global Startup: ListProAlarms.lnk = C:\Program Files (x86)\Ilium Software\ListPro\ListProAlarms.exe
O4 - Global Startup: ListProSync.lnk = C:\Program Files (x86)\Ilium Software\ListPro\ListProSync.exe

Disable/remove:
O23 - Service: NETGEARGenieDaemon - NETGEAR - C:\Program Files (x86)\NETGEAR Genie\bin\NETGEARGenieDaemon64.exe

This is VERY CONCERNING:
R1 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings,ProxyOverride = *.local;127.0.0.1:9421;<local>

There is nothing that really jumped out at me - just some normal bloatware. I would be really interested to see the CPU utilization over time to see what processes are sucking the CPU. Processor explorer would show that. Also I wonder if the CPU is getting throttled down - you could check the BIOS for power saving or something.

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I downloaded hijackThis and the output is here: pastebin.com/Ly5VsH1S I've downloaded and installed autoruns and process explorer but don't know what to do with them at this point. Guidance would be helpful. Thanks for your help! –  Martin Newmark Apr 30 '13 at 3:22
    
Updated post with my analysis. –  Nathan Adams May 1 '13 at 5:33
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