Recently my laptop has become really sluggish. I have Windows 7 and Windows Explorer often freezes or the hour glass comes up and never goes away. I often can't close windows, and when I do, again the hour glass comes up and spins forever!

I will then check task manager and no programs will be running, a lot of processes are happening, but just becoming very aggravating. Often have to restart once before I can simply use the internet. I did upgrade to internet Explorer 9 (big mistake) but I can deal with Firefox, but often have the same overall issues!

I do have spyware and virus protection, and have done a few FULL scans and nothing comes up, I just downloaded malwarebytes also and did full scans and again nothing comes up.

I really would love to have this fixed, without simply formatting and reinstalling Windows.

If you want me to, I can post a HiJackThis log file, in case that would be helpful.

  • 1
    First, check the task manager to see if anything is running. Be sure to check/click the "show processes from all users" box/button and sort on the CPU column. If you don't have a virus and something is running out of control, you will see it there. – e40 Sep 16 '11 at 0:44

Perform a "Clean Boot" if performance returns to normal while clean booted, you know it is a startup program or third party Service that is causing it.

To Boot Clean in Windows 7 and Vista

Accessing the System Configuration Utility

  1. Click Start type msconfig in the search box and press Enter

Configure Selective Startup options

  1. On the General tab, choose Selective Startup
  2. Uncheck Load Startup Items
  3. Select the Services tab
  4. Check Hide all Microsoft services (important you do this before step 5)
  5. Click Disable all
  6. Click on OK
  7. Click Restart.

If it does perform normally while clean booted you can enable Startup items (Startup Tab) one at a time and restart the PC, do this until performance degrades, then you know which Startup item is causing it, do the same for non Microsoft Services. Leave the problem program or service disabled. Now you can try and determine which 3rd party software is related to the Startup program or service and either update it or uninstall it.

If Clean Boot does not restore performance, restore your system to normal boot by doing the following:

  1. Click Start type msconfig in the search box and press Enter
  2. On the General tab, choose Normal Startup
  3. Click Ok
  4. Click Yes, when asked to restart your computer
  • thanks, i have checked into the event viewer but im not to sure what i was looking at, i cant seem to update windows, not sure why. i did do a boot clean, and de-selected items and seems to be running a little better, but still not great. any other thoughts..... – Doug Andreocci Sep 19 '11 at 1:58
  • Run a – Moab Sep 19 '11 at 23:58
  • i tried that, still got no where, everything came back normal :( – Doug Andreocci Sep 20 '11 at 17:25
  • Check for malware, see my post… – Moab Sep 20 '11 at 17:43

You should be able to uninstall Internet Explorer 9 by going to Start -> Control Panel -> Programs and Features. I don't think it in of itself caused your overall system slowdown, though.

Have you been keeping up with Windows Updates?

Possible causes off the top of my head:

  • Hard drive may be almost full
  • Hard drive may be going bad
  • Network drive may be mapped but not able to connect
  • Attached USB device might be malfunctioning. Disconnect all USB devices.
  • Optical drive might be going bad. Try disabling in BIOS and see if there is an improvement.
  • Laptop might be throttling down speed because it is too hot. Blow out the vents and remove the dust and see if there is an improvement.
  • Try disabling your antivirus and see if you get a speed increase. If you do, switch to a different antivirus program.
  • Try uninstalling all programs you don't use. Especially toolbars.
  • You might have a virus or rootkit that isn't detected by your antivirus programs. They can't catch everything.

Time to check Start -> Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Event Viewer -> Windows Logs -> Application and Security to get more information on what is going "under the hood." This is a good place to start to get more information if the cause is not immediately apparent. You are looking for "errors" in the log; usually a quick search will uncover what they mean and what you can do about it.

  • The OP said Windows Explorer, not IE. – Moab Sep 16 '11 at 1:03
  • Does that imply that IE cannot possibly be causing the issue? There are links between IE and Windows Explorer. The rest of the answer is quite valid. – Steve Sep 16 '11 at 5:00
  • I simply added the IE uninstall info because @Doug Andreocci seemed to want to uninstall it. Didn't imply it had anything to do with system slowness. – LawrenceC Sep 16 '11 at 10:05
  • thanks guys, i may do that either way, because it sucks, and im new to this post, so sorry if i put a reply in the wrong spot. – Doug Andreocci Sep 19 '11 at 13:47

Only thing that helped me and many others was starting/rebooting the laptop, going into the BIOS setup and in the "Performance" section, disabling the Dell "Speed Step" feature. If your "Speed Step" feature was enabled, when you reboot after disabling it, you should notice a pretty decent increase in your laptops performance. Be sure to watch for overheating, and clean the cooling fan and vent grill/radiator frequently with canned air and maybe a fine wire with a very small hook formed on the end. The wire can help loosen and remove dust buildup IF the canned air didn't do the job.

Man! You all know we all hate slow computer but this maybe fix:

  1. Open you PC/Laptop Case
  2. Find the RAM
  3. if you are using PC and your RAM slots are full try to remove the bigger RAM size. For Laptop you can just unplug one RAM stick then try to run it back

If that options won't work try this:

  1. open your PC/Laptop case
  2. Find the BIOS Controller
  3. Reset it

If still try my last option:

  1. Check your 'regedit" setting
  2. Press Windows Key+R
  3. Type "regedit" (no quotes"
  4. Explore all key in there if you got some key that you feel is not valid. Go to Next Step
  5. Press Prnt Scrn in your keyboard.
  6. Open Paint
  7. Press CTRL + V
  8. Save it then email me at

i hope one of that option is work

  • It is very impractical to check Windows registers manually especially for inexperienced users. It is much better to use some tool like HijackThis. – pabouk Nov 12 '13 at 8:32
  • I down voted. Personally, I think your answer of exploring the registry key by key looking for something that feels invalid is ridiculous. And Open your PC/Laptop case, find the BIOS controller, Reset it? And then, last but not worst - or maybe. Try to remove the bigger RAM size? Laptop can just unplug one RAM stick then try to run it back? I think it is great that you are trying to help someone that is having a problem, that you took the time to type all this out - but it is really just a horrible answer. – Jeff Jan 7 '15 at 0:30
  • Maybe edit this to say 'Upgrade your RAM, Restore BIOS to defaults, run a Registry checker/cleaner? – Jeff Jan 7 '15 at 0:30

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.