How do I troubleshoot speed issues on Windows 8.1 laptop?

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Bren Everything went to hell after Empire.
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You might recall I installed Win 8.1 and Classic Shell on a laptop prior to giving it to somebody who is not tech savvy.

She is now complaining that the computer has slowed way down. I uninstalled Avast in case it was slowing things down, but Firefox and Chrome both still seem a bit sluggish.

She does not appear to have intentionally installed any software, but I can't rule out the possibility there's malware hiding somewhere.

All she does with this thing is e-mail and Internet.

Can y'all please suggest some things I can do to determine whether the laptop really is having speed issues, and to diagnose and fix those issues?

Since I'm entitled to free Norton Antivirus as an Xfinity customer, I'm thinking about installing that and running a scan, but I am, naturally, worried about Norton's ability to slow things down.

Thank you!
dv
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Does the laptop have an SSD?

Open resource monitor and watch to see if page faults are happening. It will also tell you if a particular process is using a lot of cpu or hitting the disk a lot.

Open event viewer and see if there's any history of system errors. (Might be indicative of defective or failing hardware.)
Bren Everything went to hell after Empire.
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Thank you DV! How do I open those things? LOL
Bren Everything went to hell after Empire.
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Never mind, Classic Shell made it easy to find and open!
Bren Everything went to hell after Empire.
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And yes, it has an SSD.
Bren Everything went to hell after Empire.
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Next dumb question: How can I see if page faults are happening?
Bren Everything went to hell after Empire.
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Is it normal for Event Viewer to show me lots of errors under Administrative Events?

I'm seeing lots of "driver install failed," with the source as "Microsoft-Windows-DeviceSetupManager/Admin"

Among other things.
arkayn Aaarrrggghhhh
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Try checking the Performance and selecting best performance for her, she does not need all the pretty stuff.

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Bren Everything went to hell after Empire.
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Thank you Arkayn, great suggestion. I did, however, keep the smoothing of screen fonts turns on, 'cause it looked awful otherwise.
Pariah Know Your Enemy
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Windows code rot.
Windows 10 has a performance boost on the same hardware as 7 or 8. 8.1 is about the last os before they started to take optimizing seriously.
dv
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Bren posted:
Next dumb question: How can I see if page faults are happening?


Memory tab in Resource Monitor, third graph "Hard Faults/sec"

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A few spikes are normal, but if you see a constant stream of them while the computer is in use, you don't have enough RAM.
dv
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Bren posted:
Is it normal for Event Viewer to show me lots of errors under Administrative Events?


Yeah. There's always a few errors going on.

Quote:
I'm seeing lots of "driver install failed," with the source as "Microsoft-Windows-DeviceSetupManager/Admin"

Among other things.


Screenshots would be helpful, including General and Details tab from the event info. Driver installs failing can be either because you have defective hardware or the wrong driver installed, which may be causing some slowdowns depending on what the hardware is, how it's being used, and so on.
Bren Everything went to hell after Empire.
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I think replacing Linux Mint with Windows was a terrible idea.

This lady does not do anything but e-mail and Internet. I'm going to put Mint back on this computer.

Is there anything I should know before I get started?
dv
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Bren posted:
I think replacing Linux Mint with Windows was a terrible idea.

This lady does not do anything but e-mail and Internet. I'm going to put Mint back on this computer.

Is there anything I should know before I get started?


Don't take any wooden nickels?
Bren posted:
I think replacing Linux Mint with Windows was a terrible idea.

This lady does not do anything but e-mail and Internet. I'm going to put Mint back on this computer.

Is there anything I should know before I get started?

As a last ditch I'll for one more time recommend installing Windows 10 as you can get it for free.

Otherwise the Linux Mint installer should handle wiping the drive no problem.
user Stupid cockwomble
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Betonhaus posted:
As a last ditch I'll for one more time recommend installing Windows 10 as you can get it for free.

too stick fiddling expensive
user posted:
Betonhaus posted:
As a last ditch I'll for one more time recommend installing Windows 10 as you can get it for free.

too stick fiddling expensive

... Based on what i said the only context I can infer from your comment is a lame joke or a stupid joke.
user Stupid cockwomble
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neither

even free is too much for windows
Bren Everything went to hell after Empire.
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If I could remember which e-mail address I originally used to register the free copy of Windows 10 I got back when I used this copy of 8.1 on my Boot Camp partition, then I might thing it was plausible I could get 10 for free.

Given that I have no idea which login credentials are associated with that copy of 10, I don't see how I'm going to convince MS to give me a 10 upgrade for free at this late date.
maurvir Steamed meat popsicle
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user posted:
neither

even free is too much for windows


He has a point. I have deeply regretted downgrading to Windows 10. :squint:
Bren posted:
If I could remember which e-mail address I originally used to register the free copy of Windows 10 I got back when I used this copy of 8.1 on my Boot Camp partition, then I might thing it was plausible I could get 10 for free.

Given that I have no idea which login credentials are associated with that copy of 10, I don't see how I'm going to convince MS to give me a 10 upgrade for free at this late date.

1. I'm not sure how that would work as the Windows 10 upgrade licenses are usually not transferable.

2. I have linked to the instructions for getting a NEW free upgrade legally though Microsoft multiple times now. It's not a loophole but still officially sanctioned - just not being heavily advertised.
https://www.zdnet.com/article/heres-how ... 0-upgrade/
Pariah Know Your Enemy
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If you want to leave windows as a backup just in case Mint does not fill the bill for whatever reason the Mint installer will easily re-partition the drive to accommodate both OSs and setup grub for the dual boot.
Bren Everything went to hell after Empire.
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Betonhaus posted:
Bren posted:
If I could remember which e-mail address I originally used to register the free copy of Windows 10 I got back when I used this copy of 8.1 on my Boot Camp partition, then I might thing it was plausible I could get 10 for free.

Given that I have no idea which login credentials are associated with that copy of 10, I don't see how I'm going to convince MS to give me a 10 upgrade for free at this late date.

1. I'm not sure how that would work as the Windows 10 upgrade licenses are usually not transferable.

2. I have linked to the instructions for getting a NEW free upgrade legally though Microsoft multiple times now. It's not a loophole but still officially sanctioned - just not being heavily advertised.
https://www.zdnet.com/article/heres-how ... 0-upgrade/


But people said this is not legit and you, sir, are a mad man!
Bren posted:
Betonhaus posted:
Bren posted:
If I could remember which e-mail address I originally used to register the free copy of Windows 10 I got back when I used this copy of 8.1 on my Boot Camp partition, then I might thing it was plausible I could get 10 for free.

Given that I have no idea which login credentials are associated with that copy of 10, I don't see how I'm going to convince MS to give me a 10 upgrade for free at this late date.

1. I'm not sure how that would work as the Windows 10 upgrade licenses are usually not transferable.

2. I have linked to the instructions for getting a NEW free upgrade legally though Microsoft multiple times now. It's not a loophole but still officially sanctioned - just not being heavily advertised.
https://www.zdnet.com/article/heres-how ... 0-upgrade/


But people said this is not legit and you, sir, are a mad man!

You literally go to Microsoft website and run the upgrade tool and follow its directions. That's about as legit as checking for updates in settings.
Bren Everything went to hell after Empire.
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Cool, thanks!

This laptop is pretty low-end, though. It has only 4GB of RAM. I forget which processor it has, but I know it's something from the modern Pentium family.

I'm sure Win10 is designed to function on low-spec machines, but I'm also convinced Mint would play quite nicely with such weak hardware.
Bren Everything went to hell after Empire.
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Well this is weird. Speedtest.net reported abysmal connection times on this laptop via WiFi.

The laptop didn't come with an ethernet port, so I ordered an ethernet-to-USB adapter for it.

Connected via USB and ethernet, Speedtest.net reports a less horrible connection time of 27.16 MBPS download and 10.75 Mbps upload.

But when I perform the same test on my iMac, using ethernet, I get a download time in the range of 296 Mbps.

You might recall I had to use a USB stick to install a driver to make the Bluetooth/WiFi card on this thing work before it would connect to the Internet via WiFi.

That wouldn't have in any way affected the laptop's ethernet connection speeds, would it have?

That is to say, is it possible this laptop's networking hardware, whether wireless or wired, is a bottleneck?

Oh, I just ran Geekbench 4 on the thing.

Geekbench score is 1031 single core, and 1247 for multi core.
Chances are that the transfer speed bottleneck is the USB port, most likely USB 2 given the vintage of this machine. That would limit that speed to under 480 Mbit/sec or 60 MB/sec even under ideal conditions.
Bren Everything went to hell after Empire.
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I just ditched Windows 8.1 in favor of Linux Mint, and the WiFi connection speed was something like 40 Mbps, while the wired connection remained slow. So yeah.
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How do I troubleshoot speed issues on Windows 8.1 laptop?