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I never had issues with my laptop performance till some windows 8.1 updates earlier this week. At first, I thought it might be some malware, so I run all kind of tools and scans (it took me a really long time), but no issues were found and the laptop was showing an extremely bad performance: folders, programs and websites taking several minutes to load, as if I/O operations had slowed down by 20x, Chrome saying "waiting cache..." Then I went for a system restore, which fixed other kind of issues in the past, but for some reason I had a single restoration point and the rollback didnt solve the issue.

Then I came across this question: windows 7 fast in safe mode but extremely slow in normal mode

Exactly my problem, in safe mode, I'm able to use everything normally (but laptop overheats a lot, so its a temp workaround to be avoided)! Then following the advice there, I tried to restart in debug mode, and progressively turn on different services, but as someone suggested, MS isnt likely to be the one causing the issue, so I selected all the Windows services and I turned all of them on... Guess what, the problem is back again.

So now my question is, how do I find which service is causing the issue so that I can disable it? There are several to go for the trial-error approach, and many of them have dependencies to each other...

Thanks in advance, any help is really appreciated!

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Use Windows Task Manager to find out how CPU time is being used, if that is an issue.

  • Press CtrlShiftEsc to open Task Manager.
  • Click on the Details tab.
  • Click on the CPU header to sort by amount of time being used.

Task Manager Details

  • Usually, Services run under svchost.exe, and there are many instances running simultaneously. Find the Process ID (PID) of the offender, in this example, 1808.

Task Manager Services

  • Click on the Services tab.
  • Click on the PID header to sort by the ID.
  • In this example, regrettably, there are three Services running under that ID, but at least this narrows the issue down to one of those. Turn off one at a time to find the culprit.

Microsoft's (Sysinternals') Process Explorer (PE) would give additional information. In particular, if the issue is due to excessive disk IO, PE can display disk IO information.

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  • When checking the CPU usage (I was exceptic about it since the values often seem to be quite weird, ie. why there's always so much idle CPU?), I realized the guilty of the slow system was Microsoft Windows Defender Antispyware (MSMpEng.exe) with an average usage of 13-20%, which doesn't sound like a lot to me, as allegedly there's almost another 85% left... But since it may monitor resources and files, might become a bottle neck tho. I´ve disabled it and I managed to start the system quite smoothly, not sure if as much as prior to this issue, but we'll see. – Dane411 Jul 21 '18 at 9:49
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Services may also use more memory and it causes slowing Chrome which also need more RAM. To filter the services with respect to memory usage use the following command with tasklist:

TaskList /SVC /FI "memusage gt 12345" /FI "imagename eq svchost.exe"

What doest the command do? In words, this command shows all the Services (/svc), then filter out (/fi) the processes with executable name svchost.exe and with memory usage greater than 12345. Change this memory usage upper limit as you want. To understand the full command, separate the long command in pieces:

  • TaskList /SVC: Show all the services
  • /FI "memusage gt 12345": Filter out the processes with memory usage greater than 12345.
  • /FI "imagename eq svchost.exe": Filter out the processes with executable name svchost.exe.

The output will be something like this:

Image Name                     PID Services
========================= ======== ============================================
svchost.exe                    772 BrokerInfrastructure, DcomLaunch,
                               SystemEventsBroker
svchost.exe                   1412 BFE, mpssvc
svchost.exe                   1612 Winmgmt

There may be more than one service in one svchost.exe process. From Windows 10 Creators Update, if machine has more than 3.5 GB RAM each service will have it's separate process.

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