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A few days ago, my computer went from being fast and capable, to being completely useless, overnight. It behaves normally for the first 20 seconds after loading Windows, but then it slows down to the point where programs just crash instead of loading, and when hovering the mouse over the taskbar, it just shows the loading spinner. This also means that I have to manually shut down the computer by holding the power button. After shutting it down like this 2-6 times, It works normally, but then goes right back to being useless after I restart it...

First I thought it was virus, so I did numerous scans including a boot-up scan, but nothing was found. Then I decided to purge the entire system and install a fresh copy of Windows 10 - still, no change. Then I tried updating chipset and graphics drivers but also with no luck.

Does anyone have experience with this sort of thing, who can point me in the right direction?

Also, here are my specs:

MB: MSI B250I PRO.
CPU: Pentium G4600.
RAM: 16GB Corsair Vengeance.
SSD: 500GB WD Black (M.2).
GPU: XFX R9 380

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Isolating hardware from software would lead me to remove the SSD and install another one. Setup Windows fresh and use for a few days (maybe far less by your symptoms). That would tell me if it is software or hardware. I appreciate that this is inconvenient but I have done this myself and it ultimately ended up being a problematic USB connected scanner. When a fresh install of Windows on a new SSD did not address the issue then I knew I could go back to the original SSD and start to eliminate hardware.

So, rewinding for a moment... start with unplugging / swapping / removing external peripherals. You may find a problematic device without needing to start with a fresh OS install.

Also, any noises ? Dramatic fan speed changes ? etc.

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  • The wierd thing is that nothing has changed, from what I can see. I am not using any new peripherals, there is no change in noise level and there is no elevated resource use during slow-downs. I've also tried running CrystalDiskMark which is telling me that the SSD is 100% healthy. If I can get a hold of another SSD I will try to eliminate that as the root of the problem. Mar 23, 2018 at 21:05
  • I've had Spinrite save some drives a few times in the past. Maybe worth a go if you have a copy. Mar 24, 2018 at 1:47
  • I think I have found the problem. It appears to have been my 3-week old USB microphone (Blue Snowball ICE) which was causing the problems. Mar 25, 2018 at 14:25
  • Aha ! Good find :) Mar 26, 2018 at 15:59

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