Is your Windows 10 PC lagging/stuttering Part 1?

The question of why Window 10 is laggy or stutters is a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) on technical blogs, websites and in Microsoft forums.  Anything that is mentioned here will most likely speed up Windows 7/8/8.1 too.

This post addresses possible software fixes.  There are also some straight forward hardware fixes that I will address in part 2 of this post.

There are several “choke points” or places that can cause a computer to pause from responding to your keyboard/mouse and/or displaying a change (like the letters you just typed) on its screen.

  1. If the cpu gets busy, “thinking”, then there will be a pause.
  2. If you ask for something from your Hard Disk Drive (HDD) there will be a finite pause while first it “finds it” (seeking time) and then reads it.  If the file is in pieces in multiple locations on your HDD it will require a find it for each part of that file.
  3. If the memory (ram) of your computer gets too full, then it will start writing copies of what is in memory out to “virtual storage” aka: Paging File.  This is called “Paging.”  Then when it needs that part of the memory it will read that part of the memory from the Paging File back into memory.  This is massively slower (writing and reading) than accessing anything still in memory.
  4. The more “useless files” you have on the HDD, the more time it can take for the cpu and operating system to look at and reject using them.
  5. If the gpu (video card) is busy “thinking” there will be a display pause.

So how can you decrease any or all of the above items from slowing down your computer?  There are straight forward actions that you can do, that will (usually) effect more than one of the items above.

For instance, setting the paging file to a fixed size will reduce the amount of time the cpu spends thinking about if it should increase or decrease the file size.  Defragmenting the Paging file will speed up the writing and reading from the file.  Defragmenting the rest of the HDD will speed up starting up any program, including the operating system.  Deleting “junk” files will reduce the amount of time the cpu and HDD spend deciding if some file should be used or not.

All of these “howto’s” are available all over the internet so I am going to link to examples for you to consider and use.

This post from Techlyfe addresses making the Paging file a fixed size as well as the time honored method of speeding up the video display by turning off much of the “eye candy”.  Reference #1-#3 and #5 above.

This free system cleaner from Piriform seems to be one of the most comprehensive files and registry cleaners out there.  Yes, I use it on all my Windows 7 and Windows 10 machines. Reference #4 above.

This HDD defragging utility includes a “defrag the paging file” in its “settings.”  It is another really useful utility from Piriform.  Reference #2 and #3 above.

Another time honored method of reducing how busy your cpu is (and incidentally reducing the amount of power used while on a laptop battery) is to turn off background applications.

I also ran across a slightly different Point of View (POV) that talks about how to reduce the Internet Lag of your system.  I don’t agree with the 4 letter word in the title but I do agree that many of the early steps he writes and illustrates are very easy to implement.

I hope this helps you.

TlG

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Another interesting fact about Windows 10’s Edge web browser

Ever since I got my latest HP laptop I have been “playing” with both my favorite web browser (Chrome) and with Edge.

I have even imported my bookmarks into Edge’s favorite system.

  1. Some how because of the way Edge offers up it’s favorites, I have to get used to “doing it differently”.
  2. It certainly has a different “look and feel” from Chrome and the Chromebook I have.
  3. Edge is claimed to use 35% to 50% less power from my Laptop battery than Chrome.
    1. This got my attention.  It was in the help information provided by Microsoft.
    2. I am shooting to have at least 6 hours available on my Laptop battery.  I was getting 3 1/2 to maybe 4 hours even after I set the “Battery Saver” to start at 80% of my battery level and running the “Power Saver” plan.  I had also turned off a lot of “background” tasks to save cpu cycles.
    3. I discovered that I could track which applications were drawing the most power using settings -> system -> battery -> “battery usage by app”.  And Chrome was the “winner” at 35% of my battery.  So I went into Chrome’s settings and turned off the “run in the background when Chrome is closed” because I don’t need assorted background services from Chrome.
    4. I am now trying to get used to using Edge even though I am less than enthusiastic about the way it presents its Favorites.  I am used to being able to click on the bookmarks on the bar right below the search box/url box.
    5. I have been having trouble getting it to “open” links on pages.  I have to right click and select “new tab” to get it to open reliably.  I really would like to simply double click and be done with it.

TlG

What do you need help with?

I have a range of technical and Informational knowledge that could be useful to you.  But you need to say “I need help with…” or “How do you solve…” or “Talk about….” to me.

I recently bought a manufacturer refurbished HP 15-ba009dx laptop from Ebay.  It cost less than $200 USD for a 15.4″ laptop.  This is the “Desktop Replacement” form factor. Once I got it, they were right.  I have never had a laptop with such a large screen. I have had “old iron” laptops that weigh this much (about 5 lbs) but never one so thin and with a seperate 9 key number pad.

I ran across a review of the laptop in “best under $300 gamer laptops” at the Laptop Ninja website.  Then a few days later I saw Office Depot/OfficeMax offering it for sale in my area.  So I went looking on Ebay to see if I could beat their price.  The main thing that the refurbished version didn’t have was a 1 year license of Office/365.  This wasn’t a problem, for me, since I have a copy of MS Office 2010 for Home and Professional Office.  I also have been using an ASUS Chromebook 300MA which had gotten me very used to using the Google Docs wordprocessor which is available through any modern web browser (http://docs.google.com)

This is not a “high end” machine.  It is powerful enough for everyday tasks like Word processing, doing research on the Internet, watching videos, taking the majority of online courses at small and large institutions etc.  It doesn’t have the keyboard of a Ibm Thinkpad/Lenovo but who else does?  It has 4 logical cpus and a integrated video system (an AMD R4) so it is pretty good at juggling things (lots of tabs open in the Chrome browser while also typing in Word etc.  It has a built in DVD drive a reasonable selection of ports (usb, rj-45, hdmi etc) and a SD card reader.  In some ways it feels like an “overgrown” Netbook.  It’s not very fast (I have been running the Boinc/Seti project on it, believe me, it’s not very fast) but it works nicely for straightforward office tasks.  It has the DVD drive and a full sized keyboard with the  seperate 9 keypad on the right just like a typical desktop keyboard.  Those are not things you find on any Netbook I have used/owned.

Like way too many users once you have had any laptop or laptop appliance (my Chromebook) with a really high level of endurance (like 11-12 hours to a charge) you do get spoiled.  This one runs 3-5 hours per charge (depending on how bright I set the screen and how hard I work the machine).  Since I have had “old iron” that run 2.5 hours or less per charge having a machine that regularly runs 3+ is nice.

So how can I help you?

 

 

 

 

Lenovo X140e Ultrabook

On Saturday, November 26, I received a new-to-me Ultrabook.  I subscribe to e-mails from Discount Electronics and they were offering this ~ $900 PC for $144 plus S/H.  Since it was an “Ultrabook” I jumped on it.  I already own an HP’s 3105mHP 3105m Netbook.  This new machine is lighter and faster.

But there is one catch.  It is shipping with Windows 8.1.  Most of you who have suffered through the transition from Windows 7 to Windows 8 to 8.1 to Windows 10, remember the “Metro” interface and how the “workflow” so to speak of Windows 8.1 was significantly different from Windows 7.  Ouch.

I gritted my teeth and found a Youtube tutorial video on how to get around in Windows 8.1. I wasn’t impressed.  So I googled (everyone’s friend 🙂 something like “how to make windows 8.1 look like windows 7.”  Ask and you shall receive.  I found this page and downloaded the classic shell.  After installing it and clicking on a couple of choices about how I wanted my Ultrabook to look like as a Windows 7 machine I had it back.  The workflow, the menus, (I kept the new file manager though) and every other thing I was used to.

So I am happy as a clam (gorilla? chimpanzee?) Whatever.  🙂

Tlm

 

Want more than a Chromebook with a turnkey installation?

If you have tried CloudReady, the excellent software only clone of a Chromebook and it either won’t install or you need the flexibility of a user-friendly Linux as well as features of the Chromebook, I would like to suggest CUB – Linux.  CUB – Linux was previously known as Chromixium but Google asked them to change the name.

The goal is the same.  To provide a near Chromebook look alike, with easy access to Linux features.  If you have used the Chrome browser in Windows but mostly not anything else in Windows, you will get the same general feeling except that CUB – Linux will run on older intel hardware that won’t run Windows 10 or CloudReady.

CUB – Linux will co-exist with Windows as well as another Linux installation.  If you have XP/Pro and want to upgrade but Windows 7/10 etc are not usable choices you should try CUB – Linux.

If you have very old intel hardware that won’t run CUB – Linux fast enough, then you may find that Puppy Linux will run on it.

HTH,

Tom

RISC vs. Intel cpus in the Chromebook world

One of the original main advantages of a RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) was that it used less power than a CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computer).  The Intel cpu that is at the heart of most Windows and newer Mac’s is a CISC.

When the Chromebook first came out and began to sell like hot cakes some vendors were taking advantage of the RISC cpu/motherboard to sell systems with longer battery times and lower costs than the Intel/AMD-based cpus.

Intel has been designing lower power draining cpus/motherboards for laptops for years.  They apparently got busy and created something for the Chromebook line(s).  That is why you have Intel-based Chromebooks with 10+ hour battery times and lower costs than the RISC-based systems.

Tom M

Turn your older laptop or desktop into a Chromebook clone

Recently I received great news.  “CloudReady has a Chrome OS platform ready for your non-chromebook hardware”  If that link to the article on Tech Republic doesn’t work, here is the website.  You are probably interested in an individual copy of the Chromebook clone product.  It is free for individual use.

If you have an Intel PC hardware platform (usually a windows laptop) that is 8 years old or younger that you would like to run a fast, robust operating system on but it isn’t up to running say  Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, then this is a turnkey solution.  I have successfully installed it on 2 out of 3 laptops and a desktop I tried.  It failed on a non-standard old SSD netbook.  They have a list of tested hardware that is quite extensive on the website.

The User Interface is exactly like my ASUS Chromebook.  You will experience the Chromebook exactly except for two things.  1) If you are used to the 7 second boot time for many Chromebooks, you won’t get that.  It will boot exactly as fast as a Linux distribution would on the same hardware (around 30 seconds on mine).  2) The hardware-based security features are mostly not present.   For most people, School districts or Companies neither of the above will be deal breakers.

You will need a 8 GB Flash drive to install the Chromebook clone OS from.  The native setup only supports standalone booting and UEFI “dual booting”.  If you choose, standalone booting, all the previous information on the hard disk is deleted during the install.  With UEFI “dual booting” the previous operating system remains and is also bootable.  You will need either a fairly fast internet connection or quite abit of patience to download the operating system.

If you have a Chromebook or a Chrome browser and sign in with a Google id, CloudReady will download/clone all your extensions, applications and allow you to access your Google Drive-based data on your “new” cloned Chromebook.

Because I have an ultra-thin Chromebook I have not been motivated to move over and use this product full time.  I have one very slow (1 GHz) sub-notebook that “barely” runs Windows 10.  I may turn it into a CloudReady notebook again.  I have turned a Dell Optiplex 760 (desktop) into a Chromebook.

If you have been wanting to experiment with a Chromebook or have wanted a Chromebook but couldn’t afford a couple hundred bucks for a new/used on on E-Bay this is your path.  Educational and Commercial licenses and support are available.

If you are a school with obsolete laptops available this is an excellent, very low-cost way to repurpose them into Chromebooks.  Both Educational and Commercial licenses and support are available.

Any questions?  Post a comment.

Thanks.
Tom M