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What is the proper way of debugging a slow Windows installation?

I recently feel my Windows machine slows down a lot.

Formatting is not an option as I cannot afford the time. I diasbled all I can in msconfig startup. I also have defraged the computer and canceled all fancy Windows graphics.

What else can be done?

Assume that my hardware cannot be changed and the System can't be formatted. I see many programs that promise to help but all of those look suspicious. I use both XP and 7

This is what I've done so far:

  • Windows+R -> msconfig -> Startup -> Disable all -> OK -> OK

  • Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Performance -> Defragment -> Analyze -> Defrag

  • Right Click My Computer -> Properies -> Advance -> Performance -> Adjust For best Performance

  • Open the computer case and removed dust, as per this Microsoft guide.

  • Ran CCleaner.

Firstly, you will need CCleaner to clean your Windows. And you should schedule cleaning too, so it will help you clean your computer automatically.

Secondly, Windows will run slower by time. So if you can, you should reinstall your Windows. And backup and restore are needed every time. Try Norton Ghost or Acronis True Image Home. There are plenty of free software with the same functions, I just list out the populars.

Thirdly, disabling msconfig items only helps your boot time faster. It doesn't help boosting performance of applications.

Lastly, consider Linux as an alternative.

  • "Secondly, windows will run slower by time. So if you can, you should reinstall your windows." - This is completely false. My Windows 7 installation is 2 years old and runs just as fast. – user12459 Apr 1 '12 at 8:25
  • @Mayankswami what is true on that subject is that with time more things often get installed and it often gets slower – barlop Apr 1 '12 at 12:30
  • @Mayankswami: I had trouble understanding you, could you move to a quieter place? – Lie Ryan Apr 1 '12 at 12:30

I suggest going to Add/remove programs and removing programs you don't want, and look at the size of them.

Also look how much space is left on your drive.

A computer can go very slow from programs occupying too much of the ram, and another cause is a very small amount of hard drive space left.

For freeing some hard drive space, if you need to do so, then you can grab treesize free by jam(google it), and that can help identify large files and if you need to free space then you could move some files eg videos, to another drive.

You will need to free up RAM. Do ctrl-shift-escape to bring task manager up and order them by ram they take up eg descending order. Then see what comes first. End task them, see if comp speeds up. Consider alternatives or uninstalling it.

Uninstalling programs can potentially free RAM(which you'll probably need to do), as well as freeing hard drive space.


You can disable some Windows services for example windows update, windows index, removable media autoplay, print spooler, virus defender, event log, etc. In fact you can disable a lot. It's also help to free ram. There are some program help you to automate this task (Tune-Up). If you can afford it add some ram and update to a 64-bit Windows. Also update every driver you can. To speed up internet install a traffic shaping program like cfosspeed.


Lack of available random access memory is a common culprit for a slow system, but freeing up space does not necessarily speed things up. Only when memory is nearly entirely used, will programs have to read from and write to the swap file on generally much slower drives. If you have multiple cards installed, RAM throughput may reduce somewhat if one of them is almost full, but this will only happen occasionally and only slightly harm performance.

In other cases, having a lot of memory used, but not quite all of it, is not slower than a similar system with most of its RAM available. Free RAM doesn't do anything. It does not improve perfomance. It is completely useless.

If lack of memory was not to blame in the first place, shutting down services and programs to free up memory space might actually slow the system down further. If these programs are eventually used, they would run faster if they were loaded already, instead of temporarily keeping memory blank that would be required anyway.

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