I searched here and couldn't find a similar issue to mine but apologies if I missed it. I've searched the web and no one else seems to be having the same issue either.

I'm running Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit on a pretty high spec. machine (well, apart from the graphics):

Asus M4A79T Deluxe

AMD Phenom II 965 black edition (quad core, 3.4GHz)

8GB Crucial Ballistix DDR 1333MHz RAM

80GB Intex X25 SSD for OS

500GB mechanical drive for data.

ATi Radeon HD 4600 series PCI-e

Be Quiet! 850W PSU

I think those are all the relevant stats, if you need anything else let me know.

I've updated chipset, graphics and various other drivers all to no avail, the problem remains. I have also unplugged and replugged every connection internally and cleaned the RAM edge connectors.

The problems:

Video LAN (VLC) and CDBurnerXP both take ages to load, I'm talking 30 seconds and 1 minute respectively which is really not right.

Copy and paste from Open Office spread sheet into Fire Fox, for example, is really, really slow, I'll have pressed control V 5 or 6 times before it actually happens, if I copy and then wait 5 to 10 seconds or so it'll paste first time so it's definitely some sort of time lag.

Command and Conquer - Generals: Zero Hour. When playing it'll run perfectly for about 10 or 20 seconds then it'll just pause for 3 or 4 then run for another 10 or 20 seconds and pause again and so on. I had the Task Manager open on my 2nd monitor whilst playing once and I noticed it was using about 25% of the CPU, pretty stable but when the pause came another task didn't shoot up to 100% like others on the web have been reporting (similar but not the same as my issue, often svchost.exe for them) but dropped to 2 or 3% usage then back up to 25% when it started playing properly again. Very odd!

But it gets even odder... I had a BSOD and reboot last week, when it rebooted the problem had completely gone, I could play C&C to my heart's content and both the other apps loaded instantly, copy and paste worked instantly too. I did an AVG update earlier this week which required a reboot, rebooted and the problem's back. I don't think it's AVG related though, I think it was just coincidence that's the app that required a reboot. I think any reboot would have brought the issue back. A number of reboots later and it hasn't gone away again.

If any one could make any suggestions as to the likely cause and solution to these issues I'd be most grateful, it's driving me nuts!

Thanks, Mike....

  • 2
    The cpu pegging at 25% doesn't mean as much these days, it just means that 1 core worth of processor time is in use, typical of a single threaded program working hard on a quad core system, it can only use the equivalent of 1 cpu's worth of time. Only a true multithreaded application will peg any modern system at 100% and generally it won't as most threads are tied together either requiring synchronization or common data so one thread will wait for another leading to <100% cpu usage. – Mokubai Jun 4 '10 at 18:29

I would suspect hardware problems, as though strange it may seem.

  1. Check reported CPU/MB/video temperatures. Stopping for a few seconds strongly reminds automatic overheating protection. Also check fan speeds of your CPU and video. Maybe case cooling is not good enough? Modern quad-core AMD CPU should be cooler than 30C (depending on ambient temperature) when idle, and shouldn't get hotter than 55C when fully loaded.
  2. Does it matter if the program your are starting (or a game you are playing) is on SSD or on HDD? I've read something about parallel access problems of SSDs - so if something is reading from your SSD (like a search index service), that may significantly slow down all disk operations. To test that, try installing some game onto your HDD, running it in a benchmark mode, recording FPS, and then reinstalling onto SSD to record FPS there. If there is a significant difference - here's your problem! :)
  3. Is any component of your system overclocked? Was it overclocked when the system was performing normally? Could you accidentally have activated some 'easy overclocking' feature, or installed an auto-starting overclocking app?
  4. (Far-fetched one: there might be some kind of hardware or drivers conflict. We'll check that after other options are proved wrong.)
  5. (Another yet-unlikely non-hardware option: you may have a fresh, yet-undetectable trojan, which is actively working with the filesystem thus slowing down your file operations. That reboot you mentioned could have somehow bypassed trojan startup and make your PC fast again. This unlikely theory is easy to check: when your computer is idle, open task manager to have a look at CPU and RAM use. If any of those are high - that might indicate a trojan horse virus, which you may then identify by the process name, then look it up in the online virus databases, and find a proper cure. I once fixed a similar issue on friend's computer, which also unexpectedly became slowish and was actively consuming internet traffic; that trojan was only 2 weeks in the wild, and wasn't detected by his antivirus.)

Let us work this problem out. Please respond in comments for me to update this answer.

May I also suggest booting from any LiveCD to verify if the problem is there as well, to rule out software? Or, if your system is multiboot - do you have same problems under a second OS?

  • Hardware failure gets my vote, I've got a system that has similar problems (works fine for a while then judders playing games and then back to fine again) and my suspicion is something to do with the processor as I swapped the dual core processor for a single (yeah, old system) and everything went fine. Could be something to do with the built-in memory controller? – Mokubai Jun 4 '10 at 18:36

The anti-virus can really slow down the computer.

Checking if the problem is in AVG or not is easy enough. Just uninstall AVG and reboot.

I also had some issues with AVG, which is why I switched to Avast.

  • I'd say remove avg and get microsofts security essentials, seems to be a lot cleaner/meaner then most av packages! – user33788 Jun 4 '10 at 15:10
  • Yes, antivirus can, but not in the manner described by Mike. On my 4-core AMD system with AVG, for example, VLC takes definitely < 10 seconds to start (can't measure right now, I'm at work). – chronos Jun 4 '10 at 15:50
  • On second thought, if and only if Mike's AVG resident shield is configured to scan all the files, scan on close, and also has cache disabled, and also has a very frequent scheduled scanning - then it might be the case that computer gets sluggish at times. But it is quite unlikely. – chronos Jun 4 '10 at 17:55

I contacted AVG support and ran their rather nifty little diag. app which gathers info and sends it. Got a very quick response from them (on a Saturday too!) to try disabling various components of it which didn't resolve anything but I wasn't satisfied with just disabling some of the components, the tray icon and associated control centre were still running. So, I went into msconfig and disabled all AVG related services and unticked the option for it to run at boot. Rebooted the system and problem gone. Re-enabled just the services, rebooted, problem back. Disabled the services and re-enabled the run at boot option, rebooted still had the problem. Disabled the run at boot part again, rebooted and problem gone. It seems there's something right in the very core of AVG causing this, I have to either completely uninstall it or completely disable the whole thing for the problem to go away.

I'm sad to say it was AVG causing the problem, I'm sure that the uninstall and the complete disablement approaches prove that there is an issue with it here. I hope they can come up with a fix for me. I'm confident, they've been very good so far and I have been pretty happy with their products for years.

  • This is not a forum. Please merge your answers on this question. – Bobby Aug 27 '10 at 6:40

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