I open these applications in my desktop computer:

  • Visual Studio 2010 Professional
  • IBM Lotus Notes
  • Google Chrome

And when it is idle for an hour and I restore the windows, the user interface responds very slowly. My computer auto-lock itself after being idle for 5 minutes. I also minimize the applications using a docklet (RocketDock).

Why is it slowing down and how can I prevent it from slowing?

My OS is Windows XP Professional SP3, Pentum(R) Dual Core @ 2.80 GHz, 1.99 GB of RAM.

  • Hi John,questions here are related to user experience and not system analysis,so we wont be able to answer your question – MFrank2012 Mar 7 '12 at 6:10
  • @MFrank2012 Please help, in what SE site should I ask this? Please move it there.. Please.... – John Isaiah Carmona Mar 7 '12 at 8:41
  • Please be more descriptive than saying it is slow. How is it slow? Slow compared to what? How do you notice it being slow? For how long is it slow until it behaves normal again? How does the behavior compare to a different machine? – Der Hochstapler Mar 24 '12 at 16:00
  • @OliverSalzburg The user interface loads slowly and responds slowly. As in the buttons, panels, and controls pop-up one-by-one per-second (I think). – John Isaiah Carmona Mar 26 '12 at 1:50

You need to open Task Manager and find out if you are having high CPU usage or high memory usage.

Paging could be a possible issue, especially if having all these applications open are consuming near the total of your physical RAM. When you minimize a window, you're telling Windows it's okay to page out that application more aggressively so if there is a lot of resource contention on the system when you restore it, it can take some time to "swap-out/swap-in".

Installing more physical RAM would help. Also installing a SSD.

If you have pages open in Chrome that are running Javascript, they might be consuming RAM and or CPU in the background. It's possible that things running in Javascript can use more memory over time. If you have "Predict network actions to improve performance" enabled in Chrome it might cause Chrome to use more memory over time, but I've never tested it.

Furthermore, it's possible that one or more of those applications can either have memory leaks or something active within them that consume more RAM over time.

  • 1
    Oh, I remember, I already solved this, the problem was just because of the background checking of Sophos scheduled at that time. Thanks for the tips though. It is really helpful and I'll try to implement that also. – John Isaiah Carmona Mar 26 '12 at 1:55

It took ages to solve idle issue, but finally cracked it for my XP.

Windows XP very slow after idle appears to be issue with page file system cache (PF Usage) taking up excessive I/O activity on the disk (writing to hard drives) due to highly fragmented pagefile.sys file. Hence no real CPU usage showing, and changing PF Usage levels may not have much effect as it is not the size of PF, it is the fragmentation of the PF (normal defragment tools do not touch this file).

There is no more slowdown after I did a defragment of pagefile.sys with a tool that can actually access it (PageDefrag v2.32 By Mark Russinovich). An even simpler solution may be to set computer to clear pagefile on shutdown (I didn’t try this but probably works too - see below).

The high I/O was not from a rogue program or virus. It was slow buildup in pagefile.sys file fragmentation, the disk area storing current virtual memory blocks. My pagefile.sys had something like 264,000 fragments. Virtual memory is stored in 4KB blocks, but the fragmented block pattern was taking up excessive I/O for the drive to read after computer had been in idle.

During idle lots of application data is sent to pagefile rather than kept in RAM. Then when you start using applications again the computer is getting it back out of pagefile.sys: but if the pagefile.sys is highly fragmented then it can be painfully slow disk read speed. i.e. I sit there with almost nothing happening for 30 seconds, or watching webpages load almost one pixel line at a time.

I defragmented pagefile.sys, but maybe it is simpler to clear the file, something like:

  1. Click Start
  2. Click Control Panel
  3. Click Administrative Tools
  4. Click Local Security Policy
  5. Click the "+" next to Local Policies
  6. Click Security Options
  7. Doubleclick "Shutdown: Clear Virtual Memory


  1. Start Registry Editor (Regedt32.exe).
  2. Change the data value of the ClearPageFileAtShutdown value in the following registry key to a value of 1:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management

    If the value does not exist, add the following value:

    Value Name: ClearPageFileAtShutdown
    Value Type: REG_DWORD
    Value: 1

Good luck!



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