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This issue started early last week with my laptop. It boots up just fine, but after about five to ten minutes of usage, applications slow down, then eventually stop responding altogether, and I have to restart my laptop. These applications include important ones such as the screensaver, desktop, and taskbar.

I've had to boot my laptop in Safe Mode every day for the past week just to get things done. I tried running not one, not two, not three, but four deep scans, all of which lasted over four hours. The antivirus programs couldn't find any malware, which leads me to believe that this probably isn't because of a virus. Now, I don't want to make any assumptions; it could very well be because of malware, but my laptop doesn't normally do this. I've run a check through every application I've installed, and they all came up clean; no malware.

I've also tried going into the Task Manager and closing out programs that I don't need running; doesn't work.

Please help. I don't want to keep having to go without sound and other services that are available to me in Normal Mode, but not in Safe Mode, because it'll eventually cause my work quality to suffer.

Thanks! :)

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One method of troubleshooting from the early days of Windows is to use msconfig.exe to identify and temporarily disable programs that you can recognize as not being critical for the moment.

Select the startup tab and scroll through the programs listed. It is recommended to remove the tick from only those programs you can recognize and don't need. Many programs install monitoring or reporting packages that may be corrupted/damaged or otherwise slowing your machine. My computer has quickbooks installed and there is at least one background operation supporting that program. If I had to track a problem, that would be one of the first to be disabled.

From a practical standpoint, it is easier to disable all of the ones you can identify as not required for the moment. If your system then operates at an appropriate level of performance, turn on only one or two of the previously disabled programs. This may help to narrow down the culprit, but it requires patience.

You may also have a conflict between two programs that when disabled, improves your computer's performance, but when re-enabled, will cripple it again. Alternatively, the process of turning off and then on some of these programs may change the order in which they execute, removing the problem without narrowing it down.

Also note that there is a Services tab in msconfig.exe. You may want to identify startup programs that have their counterparts in the Services tab and temporarily disable them as well. My experience is that if you steer clear of the Microsoft Services, you are unlikely to cause complications.

I have also run into computer slowdowns that vanish in safe mode, but are unrelated to the above methodology. The problem was later determined to be a section of the hard drive that was failing. Some of the disabled programs were trying to access the damaged area! If you can afford a commercial hard drive checking/repair program such as HDD Regenerator, it will remove that question from the picture.

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