For questions concerning computer, or computer-related, performance. Please include metrics in your questions.

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358
votes
8answers
65k views

Why don't websites immediately display their text these days?

I've noticed that recently many websites are slow to display their text. Usually, the background, images and so on are going to be loaded, but no text. After some time the text starts appearing here ...
83
votes
7answers
6k views

Does a computer use fewer resources when programs are minimized?

When programs are minimized in Windows 7, do they use less memory and CPU than leaving them maximized?
69
votes
23answers
5k views

Why does Microsoft Windows' performance appear to degrade over time?

Windows XP/2003 and earlier (can't attest to Windows Vista, but I suspect it's the same) all appear to become more sluggish over time as applications are installed and uninstalled. This is not a ...
52
votes
5answers
10k views

Why are USB flash drives so much slower than solid-state drives?

From what I understand, USB flash drives and solid-state drives (SSDs) are based on similar technologies, NAND flash memory. But, USB flash drives are usually quite slow, with a read and write speed ...
51
votes
9answers
7k views

Why have CPU manufacturers stopped increasing the clock speeds of their processors? [closed]

I have read that manufacturers stopped concentrating on higher clock speeds and are now working on other things to improve performance. With an old Desktop machine with Intel® Xeon® Processor E3110 ...
51
votes
8answers
7k views

Are computers with more RAM potentially faster if not all memory is usually in use?

Let's say I have a computer with 16 GB of memory. If my computer is usually only using about 4 GB and never reaches 8 GB, is it any faster than a computer with only 8 GB of (the same type of) memory? ...
50
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is piping 'dd' through gzip so much faster than a direct copy?

I wanted to backup a path from a computer in my network to another computer in the same network over a 100 Mbit/s line. For this I did dd if=/local/path ...
49
votes
6answers
3k views

Why can't old PCs view modern sites? [closed]

The reason for this question is that many times clients, friends and parents ask me why their perfectly working old PC cannot be used online anymore. I am looking for a good answer to those people ...
43
votes
10answers
41k views

Speed of TrueCrypt whole disk encryption

I'm getting a new development laptop soon, and I'm thinking of using TrueCrypt to encrypt the whole disk. What kind of performance drop can I expect? 10%? 30%? More? Also, assuming the workload has ...
38
votes
16answers
71k views

How do I troubleshoot a Windows 7 freeze or slowness?

A machine is described as being "really slow" or "freezing". How can I troubleshoot/resolve this issue? What should be the first steps to take?
38
votes
10answers
4k views

Which malfunctions cause old computers to slow down and crash?

I've had a few computers of my own break after a few years of use, and I've seen computers owned by friends and family do the same thing. They either slow down (even running the original software ...
34
votes
8answers
37k views

How can I produce high CPU load on a Linux server?

I'm currently in the process of debugging a Cacti installation and want to create CPU load to debug my CPU utilization graphs. I tried to simply run cat /dev/zero > /dev/null, which works great, ...
34
votes
5answers
8k views

What is the proper way of debugging a slow Windows installation?

You know the drill - you've been asked to check why your cousin's computer is running slow. I was right there yesterday. Being a Mac user since 2007 I haven't really dug deep in Windows internals in ...
33
votes
12answers
35k views

How can I produce high CPU load on Windows?

For testing purposes I need to generate high CPU load on a Windows Server 2003. I cannot install any software but have to make do with what Windows provides. What would be the best way to achieve ...
33
votes
7answers
34k views

Does Windows ReadyBoost have a meaningful impact on performance?

Does Windows ReadyBoost technology, available in Windows since Vista, have a meaningful impact on performance? Are there well-known benchmarks that compare systems with, and without? Does the speed ...
32
votes
8answers
5k views

Why does my computer run fast after a clean install?

I recently formatted and reinstalled Windows on my laptop. It now runs much faster. I have been doing this about once a year for the past decade. Why is this needed? I always figured this had to do ...
32
votes
7answers
8k views

Why is my computer really slow despite of having a considerable amount of free memory?

I have a Lenovo g560 3-4 years old, Intel i5, with 2GB ram and with a Geforce 310M. It always had some issues during startup or when starting a new program, but recently it just went crazy. From the ...
32
votes
4answers
14k views

How badly do SSDs degrade without TRIM?

SSDs have been out for a few years, and have seen all kinds of usage patterns. Windows and Linux support the TRIM command, with Mac OS still trailing behind here. Update (2011): It appears OSX Snow ...
31
votes
12answers
17k views

Any reason not to disable the Windows pagefile given enough physical RAM? [closed]

The question of disabling the Windows pagefile has already been discussed quite a bit, for example here and here and here. People continue to upvote answers that say "you should not disable your ...
28
votes
7answers
22k views

Top causes of slow ssh logins

I'd love for one of you smart and helpful folks to post a list of common causes of delays during an ssh login. Specifically, there are 2 spots where I see a range from instantaneous to multi-second ...
28
votes
4answers
11k views

How does NTFS compression affect performance?

I've heard that NTFS compression can reduce performance due to extra CPU usage, but I've read reports that it may actually increase performance because of reduced disk reads. How exactly does NTFS ...
27
votes
10answers
6k views

Why does hardware get slower with time?

Why does hardware get slower with time? I have been a PC owner since 1990 and every computer I have had in my life became really, really slow after 3-4 years (even with a full system-reinstall). It is ...
27
votes
3answers
1k views

Do disabled Firefox extensions make Firefox slower?

Do disabled Firefox extensions make Firefox slower? I know that extensions make browsing slower, but what about extensions that are disabled and not in use?
26
votes
7answers
6k views

How important is having 64-bit programs on 64-bit OS?

I recently upgraded to 64-bit OS(Windows 7) from my old 32-bit version. I noticed that while several applications are available in 64-bit(e.g. DC client, Tortoise SVN, Graphics driver), many are still ...
26
votes
6answers
20k views

How can I log my hard drive activity by program?

I am using Windows XP and am looking for a utility that can tell me the percentage of hard drive activity a program is using. Basically, I'm looking for something like Task Manager and its ability ...
25
votes
12answers
8k views

Reclaiming disk space on Windows

A lot of disk space is taken up by a default Windows installation in various temperory and backup data that may never get cleaned up on its own. Eventually you realize that the large multi hundred ...
25
votes
3answers
48k views

Linux: find out what process is using all the RAM?

Before actually asking, just to be clear: yes, I know about disk cache, and no, it is not my case :) Sorry, for this preamble :) I'm using CentOS 5. Every application in the system is swapping ...
24
votes
2answers
2k views

Why are start-up times faster on Windows 8? [closed]

A few people have done benchmarks comparing Windows 8 to Windows 7. Many features don't improve, but consistently, startup time is better. Why does Windows 8 start up faster compared to Windows 7? ...
23
votes
5answers
3k views

Is it possible to format a hard-drive too often?

Every couple of months I find my computer becomes sluggish, so I format the hard drive then reinstall Windows to keep it running fast. I've been doing this for about a year without any adverse ...
23
votes
2answers
42k views

How to diagnose slow booting or logon in Windows 7?

When I start my PC, it boots into Windows (Windows 7 32-bit) quite happily, I login and the main Windows screen appears. At that point, however, the system is extremely unresponsive for up to 5 ...
22
votes
10answers
22k views

Computer slow after installing 32GB RAM

I'm currently running very large network simulations for my PhD research, for which I need lots of RAM. I have a Core i7 2600K processor with a Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3 motherboard, running Windows 7 ...
22
votes
3answers
7k views

Confirming that Windows 7 is using SSD optimizations

Took the plunge and installed Windows 7 on my computer. Even better, I installed it on my new Intel x25m (got to love that SSD goodness.) Vista was known to thrash, throttle, and otherwise wear out ...
22
votes
7answers
5k views

How can I simulate a slow machine in a VM?

I'm testing an AJAX-heavy web-application. I develop on a new Mac, but I use VmWare Fusion (currently 3.1.2) to test in Windows XP, using IETester to simulate older versions of IE. This lets me see ...
22
votes
5answers
745 views

The Inevitable Windows Slow Down

So my mum brought her laptop over last night and asked if I can do anything about the fact it runs noticably slower than it did when she got it. It's a low end Toshiba running Vista Home Premium. ...
20
votes
3answers
5k views

Which have better performance Two 2GB RAM sticks or One 4GB RAM stick? [closed]

I am planning to buy a new PC. The mainboard has 4 memory slots, The PC has Windows 7 64-bit installed. Which approach is better regarding the performance buying: Two memory sticks of 2GB? One ...
19
votes
7answers
2k views

Is defragging relevant to improving disk performance anymore?

Does it stil make much difference, now that we have much faster and larger HDDs? Generally I find if disk performance is getting too slow, it's probably because of too little free space, and the ...
19
votes
3answers
17k views

How to change I/O priority of a process or thread in Win7?

Process Explorer is able to show the effective IO priority of a given thread, but not change it. Seeing as IO priority support is a comparatively new feature, most programs don't set their own IO ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

How to tame Linux responsiveness, memory, and paging

First question on overflow =)... +100 bounty. Couldn't think of something I really cared about until now: I'm really fed up with the state of Linux desktop responsiveness, e.g. ...
19
votes
4answers
32k views

Windows 8 hard disk usage 100%

This is a problem I've seen described in many places: Super User (here, here, here and so on) Microsoft support forums (here, here...) The Lenovo forums have some users complaining about this too ...
18
votes
7answers
2k views

What to do with a ton of extra memory?

I have 8gigs of RAM in this machine. I never really use more than say 4gigs (includes my virtual machines I use for dev testing). What can I do with this extra space to best improve system ...
18
votes
4answers
11k views

Does changing Windows XP theme to classic enhance performance?

A lot of my colleagues and friends who are still using Windows XP use the Windows Classic theme (i.e. the Win98-like theme, unlike the XP theme). Some of them just like it, but some others say that ...
17
votes
7answers
855 views

Why is distributing random pieces of a file faster than a contiguous transfer?

Why is it said that BitTorrent is faster, partly, because it transfers random pieces of a file instead of transferring it from start to finish in a contiguous/linear fashion? EDIT: But why do they ...
17
votes
2answers
712 views

Why upgrade to solid state hard drive on desktop computer

Why upgrade to a solid state hard drive on desktop computer if non-solid state hard drive speed = 6GB/s and solid state hard drive speed = 6GB/s Will I just be paying more to get less space? they ...
17
votes
7answers
2k views

How to measure disk performance? [duplicate]

A friend has asked me to perform maintenance oh his computer. The described symptoms point to a performance issue with the hard drive. I want to objectively confirm this suspicion by measuring the ...
17
votes
6answers
2k views

How do I conduct a perfomance test of my internet connection?

Right now I'm in the process of possibly switching from a Cable provider to a DSL provider. I have both connections live, and before I cancel one or the other, I'm wanting to do some exhaustive ...
16
votes
2answers
6k views

How can I identify the culprit of my slow Windows shutdown?

My computer is taking a very long time to shutdown. How can I identify the culprit? I don't want to wait minutes for my computer to shutdown... Is there a program I can use to track how long it ...
16
votes
2answers
7k views

Is Windows Hibernation Bad for SSD's? [closed]

I recently got an SSD, and I was wondering if should still continue using Windows Hibernation. My fear is that hibernation would cause significant wear-and-tear on the drive. I have about 8GB of ...
15
votes
8answers
21k views

How to measure disk-performance under Windows?

I'm trying to find out why my application is very slow on a certain machine (runs fine everywhere else). I think i have traced the performance-problems to hard-disk reads and writes and i think it's ...
15
votes
5answers
936 views

Why do HDDs suffer from performance loss due to capacity decrease?

Today I was looking over my HDD datasheet(a Western Digital 500GB WD5000BPKT) and I noticed that for its entire family, the "Performance" row "Host to/from drive (sustained)" is nominally decreasing ...
15
votes
1answer
7k views

Google Chrome is slow to localhost

For some reason Google Chrome is slow when I'm working against localhost. I had the same problem in Firefox 3.5 but I changed some IPv6 setting in about:config which fixed the issue. I think the same ...