Reviving a slow laptop from 14 minutes to 36 seconds

vbimport

#1

A colleague at work talked to me about getting a new laptop as he said his was getting very slow and thought it was not worth getting cleaned. I asked him to have a look at it and it actually had reasonably good spec for a 6 year old computer, such as a Intel Core2Duo T6670 with a similar PassMark score to current entry level laptops and it had Windows 7. He was interested in Windows 10 and sure enough there was the ‘Get Windows 10’ icon in the task tray, but kept getting stuck at the “Preparing to download…” screen.

I had an unused 240GB SSD as I recently upgraded my desktop to a 480GB, so I suggested that I could give his laptop a fair improvement just by replacing its hard disk with an SSD. He already seen how his workplace desktop significantly sped up, but didn’t have high hopes for his laptop as it was roughly 6 years old. I figured if this worked out, this would also let me sell my used SSD without having to put it on eBay and an SSD migration is generally a fairly straight forward 1:1 copy with Linux.

When I booted his laptop, I was really surprised to see just how slow it started up, especially bringing up the web browser. While it did have a few unnecessary start-up items such as Skype and the Java updater, I have no idea how he managed to find the patience for it even if it took half as long to start up and launch its applications.

So using a stopwatch, I timed how long it took to reach the logon screen, followed by the desktop, Chrome browser, Internet Explorer and Word 2010 open. I picked these three as he had the Three icons in a row in the task bar. It’s worth noting that I ran CCleaner before this, which itself was a tedious wait.

Timings with the original hard disk, rounded to second:

[ul]
[li]Log-on Screen: 1:28
[/li][li]Desktop: 2:38
[/li][li]Chrome: 4:49
[/li][li]Internet Explorer 11: 11:37
[/li][li]Word 2010: 14:28
[/li][/ul]

As per the title of the thread, this laptop took almost 14.5 minutes from powering on to having Chrome, Internet Explorer 11 and Word 2010 all fully open.

Internet Explorer is actually a pretty good test to see when Windows has finished loading all its services as it will not load the homepage until most of the Windows services are running. This is also the reason I launched Chrome first as the laptop was so slow starting up that Internet Explorer took over 10 minutes from a cold boot to display the homepage! Even Microsoft Word took 3 minutes to load.

At this point, I did a 1:1 copy of the hard disk to my SSD using a USB bootable Linux stick. The only preparation I did was shrink the last partition by 30GB as the Internal hard disk has a 250GB capacity and the SSD has a 240GB capacity.

I then allowed the laptop to boot, go through its ‘Found new hardware’ and reboot. I then powered it off and back on, timing the same stages as above:

[ul]
[li]Log-on Screen: 23s
[/li][li]Desktop: 39s
[/li][li]Chrome: 1:05
[/li][li]Internet Explorer 11: 1:45
[/li][li]Word 2010: 2:01
[/li][/ul]

Straight away - that’s an improvement! Let’s see if we can do better… :cool:

I then had a look at what start-up processes I could remove and uninstalled Java and a few old clean-up utilities.

I then powered it off and timed the start-up stages again:

[ul]
[li]Log-on Screen: 18s
[/li][li]Desktop: 29s
[/li][li]Chrome: 44s
[/li][li]Internet Explorer 11: 1:04
[/li][li]Word 2010: 1:11
[/li][/ul]

While I’m sure there are more tweaks that could be made, 71 seconds is still a very impressive improvement over 14.5 minutes!

Now it was time for the Windows 10 upgrade. I tried the Windows 10 icon, but it just sat at “Preparing to download…”, even when I left the laptop aside for a few hours. In fact, it’s the one time I actually wanted to proceed with a Windows 10 update that it just didn’t want to budge. It was similar for the Media Creation tool where it reached the stage “Checking for updates” and just went no further.

For curiosity, I disabled Windows updates and re-ran the Media Creation tool and this time it went through the full upgrade process just fine. Once in Windows 10, it then downloaded its updates automatically.

Once the updates were complete, I then did one final last timing. I admit this is with Windows 10’s ‘Fast start-up’ enabled (enabled by default), but figured it’s still realistic as this is how the laptop would be typically powered up apart from sleep mode and rebooting.

[ul]
[li]Log-on Screen: 13s
[/li][li]Desktop: 20s
[/li][li]Chrome: 29s
[/li][li]Microsoft Edge: 33s
[/li][li]Word 2010: 36s
[/li][/ul]

Not bad for a 6 year old laptop - From powering on, booting to having Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Word 2010 open all in 36 seconds.

I’m sure a newer PC could do better, but for someone who just mainly uses their laptop for checking e-mails and web access, it’s better than another laptop thrown away as e-Waste.


#2

[QUOTE=Seán;2772209]I then had a look at what start-up processes I could remove and uninstalled Java and a few old clean-up utilities.[/QUOTE]
Did you take notes of everything you did here? It was likely just one or two things that made the huge difference…

I have revived friends’ computers they had deemed unusable; your post would have much more value if it included details of the before/after. I think my worst enemy has always been “Norton”.


#3

I wasn’t initially going to post about it as I had the timings mainly to show my colleague.

I disabled Skype from automatically starting up and removed the following:
[ul]
[li]AVG Free edition 2014
[/li][li]Super AntiSpyware 2012 free edition
[/li][li]Two installations of Java (don’t remember the versions)
[/li][li]Roughly 80 potentially unwanted objects reported by Malwarebytes
[/li][li]McAfee security scan
[/li][/ul]


#4

Just changing to SSD from HDD made a world of difference from the looks of it.

That’s why I have slowly been changing mine over to SSD


#5

[QUOTE=Seán;2772214]I wasn’t initially going to post about it as I had the timings mainly to show my colleague.

I disabled Skype from automatically starting up and removed the following:
[ul]
[li]AVG Free edition 2014
[/li][li]Super AntiSpyware 2012 free edition
[/li][li]Two installations of Java (don’t remember the versions)
[/li][li]Roughly 80 potentially unwanted objects reported by Malwarebytes
[/li][li]McAfee security scan
[/li][/ul][/QUOTE]

That’s funny, 80 “unwanted objects” despite having (too many) protection softwares together on 1 PC.

Congrats on sorting it out. I hope you lectured him on picking one AV and sticking to it…


#6

That is an impressive improvement. I need to start moving to SSDs.


#7

^ It is my experience that the speed gain is in the range 60-90% Depending on how much other junk you remove in addition to just swapping a magnetic harddisk for SSD.
My own laptop used to use 2 minutes 45 seconds to boot up from harddrive and after just swapping to SSD, it took 26 seconds to fully boot up (I did nothing else, only migrated the HD to SSD) and so Yes, I think it is worth checking out :iagree:

Great post Seán :flower:


#8

[QUOTE=Xercus;2772335]My own laptop used to use 2 minutes 45 seconds to boot up from harddrive and after just swapping to SSD, it took 26 seconds to fully boot up (I did nothing else, only migrated the HD to SSD) [/QUOTE]
Still, I would say 2m 45s is “normal slow” vs the OP’s which had something seriously wrong with it at 14.5 minutes. Yes the SSD made a huge difference by itself but there was something wrong for sure.

I have upgraded every PC that it makes sense to with SSDs; wouldn’t go any other way EXCEPT this PC I’m on now, despite having a Q6600 and otherwise working very serviceably, was not at all happy when I tried to put an SSD into it as C: drive (W7HPx64). I needed it to “sleep” properly and it refused to do so until I finally gave-up and am back on a spinner! I’m assuming mine’s a motherboard/ancientBIOS problem of some sort…

:sad::frowning:


#9

Here’s what I think…but since we have no idea what make/model of laptop it is this makes it hard to guess what can be upgraded to make it better?

  1. Reinstall the O/S - first thing that should be done…
  2. Upgrade RAM from 2 to 4-8-16 helps alot
  3. Upgrade the CPU to Core2Duo or Quad core or Extreme assuming the chipset can go that high - But only for iNtel forget AMD upgrades.
  4. Clean the Heat sink and fan and vents and reapply the thermal paste - heats a laptops worst enemy
  5. Upgrade to SSD - will help boot times and access time for Windows
  6. But in the end you can only go so far before hardware failure becomes a fact of life it will reach it lifespan eventually and hopefully by then you have a different system that is still going.

#10

[QUOTE=coolcolors;2772412]1. Reinstall the O/S - first thing that should be done…
2. Upgrade RAM from 2 to 4-8-16 helps alot
3. Upgrade the CPU to Core2Duo or Quad core or Extreme assuming the chipset can go that high - But only for iNtel forget AMD upgrades.
4. Clean the Heat sink and fan and vents and reapply the thermal paste - heats a laptops worst enemy
5. Upgrade to SSD - will help boot times and access time for Windows
6. But in the end you can only go so far before hardware failure becomes a fact of life it will reach it lifespan eventually and hopefully by then you have a different system that is still going.[/QUOTE] “1. Buy a new computer” seems like a better choice than doing all of those.


#11

[QUOTE=DrageMester;2772439]“1. Buy a new computer” seems like a better choice than doing all of those.[/QUOTE]
As long as it is an alternative :bigsmile:


#12

The laptop finally decided to keel over. On Wednesday he showed me his laptop and when it’s switched on, its power LED lights up, but nothing shows on the screen. I checked with an external monitor and nothing showed up on it either, but then again, its HDD and Wi-Fi LEDs did not light up as they normally would during boot.

He said it was brilliant for a week and as he was using it, the screen went blank and just the power LED remained lit. He tried forcing it off, taking out the battery, etc. He tried it again the next day and it came on for about 3 minutes and went out again and said that was the last time he could get it to come on.

Talk about timing… :doh:


#13

[QUOTE=Seán;2773513]The laptop finally decided to keel over…Talk about timing… :doh:[/QUOTE]

Hopefully you did at least make a full image backup of the thing before working on it. I have helped friends with “slow computers they were about to toss” and PCs that died and “omg but we have priceless stuff on them” and have been fortunate (to this point anyway) to never have done that one thing that causes them to hate me…!

;):sad:


#14

I gave him a full image of it as well as another copy of all his personal files on a separate 64GB stick at the time, so just needed the past week rescued.


#15

Talking from experience, a ram upgrade can really make a world of difference! It’s pretty cheap too if you shop around and don’t be afraid to ask the online store’s customer service to make sure its compatible with your laptop.