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Old 12-13-2015, 07:41 AM   #21
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If you need to copy a disk to another disk Clonezilla - About.
I would recommend against that. The "better yet" jim584672 mentioned involves not carrying over the baggage from a previous installation of an operating system.
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Old 12-13-2015, 09:15 AM   #22
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If, malware/virus issues have been ruled out, the next most obvious reasons for slow computers are Security programs and simply too many programs installed.

1. Security programs (Windows Defender, for instance) must prevent programs from running in "real time" in order to inspect for new attacks.

2. Many programs continue to operate in the back ground even after being "shut down" using up memory.

The two programs I use to inspect the inner working of my computers are:

System Information for Windows
and
Belarc Advisor
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Old 12-13-2015, 09:34 AM   #23
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First--THANKS to all for the helpful ideas so far. There's a lot of expertise out there, and I appreciate the effort taken to pass it along.

More details: She's running Win 7 on an Asus laptop configured per the recommendation of a local computer shop after she told them she was using PhotoShop Elements 9 and Elements Organizer.
Intel Core i5-3210M CPU @ 2.50 GHz 2.50 GHz
Installed memory RAM 4.00 GB (I haven't checked to see if there's room for more memory or if it is hard to access the board)
64 bit operating system
Intel HD graphics 4000
She stores most of her data on an external HD.

The processor, memory, and graphics aren't optimum for PS, but she wanted portability and a moderate price. It was okay (not great) when she first ran everything (including the supplied bloatware) , but has declined in performance. It lags and is slow even when not running PS.
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Originally Posted by Car-Guy View Post
When I first buy a new PC, I make two full backups to an external HD. The first is a image copy of the brand new PC load that came from the factory. The second is a full image copy after I have loaded and configured all my applications.
That's an outstanding idea, and we'll do it next time.
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Originally Posted by jim584672 View Post
If you need to copy a disk to another disk Clonezilla - About.
I'll probably use this to execute Car-Guy's recommendation when we buy a new computer (or do a wipe and fresh install on this one).

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Originally Posted by Meadbh View Post
. . . I used Uniblue Power Suite. It was a godsend and kept my Toshiba laptop functioning for a decade. I see that it was the lowest ranked of 10 disk optimizer programs in the review below!
Compare Top 10 PC System Optimizer Utilities 2015
One of these might be just the ticket as a regular maintenance item after I get things running well.

1) I think we'll first try the easy "this might work, worth a try" approach of using the MRT (thanks Bflotomny) or Malwarebytes (as recommended by easysurfer, et al) to check for nasties, then CCLeaner (as recommended by Theseus) to clean up registries, get rid of unused/orphaned scraps, then a focused effort on Photoshop cleanup (thanks, Target2019). Maybe this will do the trick.

2) If it doesn't, then a clean install is in order This seems to be the predominant recommendation. It might not be too bad: We have the Photoshop on disks, almost all her other software is downloadable again (FireFox, OpenOffice, drivers for printers and scanners) or she runs it online. It would probably make sense to do the Win 10 upgrade if I'm going this route, but I'm not sure how to go about that (without inadvertently importing any conflicts/troubles she's now having). I just want a clean Win 10 install.

Any thoughts/recommendations on putting Photoshop (program and data) on an external SSD or hybrid drive? She uses PS from a desk/table (not on her lap, in the airport, etc), so the external drive wouldn't be a problem, and she'd still have everything else on the laptop for use when traveling.

Also, any thoughts about advantages/disadvantages of "upgrading" to a newer version of Photoshop? She's very happy with the features of her present version, and my experience has been that newer versions of most software tend to increase their demands on hardware. She does not want cloud-based APS.

Windows 10: Can I really get by without any add-on antivirus software/firewalls/etc?

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Originally Posted by Lakewood90712 View Post
Just drop it off at a trusted local computer shop , shouldn't cost more than $75- $100 , and do so once a year , or whenever things get slow. Like you did before. Money well spent IMO.
Finding that shop would be the trick. The knowledge needed to maintain home hardware/software changes so fast and is so specialized that I'd be happy to pay someone $100 every year to keep things running smoothly, give us unbiased advice about connectivity issues, etc. It's not efficient for each household to maintain this expertise.

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Originally Posted by W2R View Post
Honestly, what I would do in that situation is to buy her a brand new computer and re-install her software there. Quick and easy. Buy her a high end one made by a reliable company, with a fast processor and lots of RAM.

The logic to this (in my mind), is that this is the kind of thing that can be solved most easily by throwing money at it. Besides, "Happy wife, happy life".
It's actually not that painful of a suggestion in our case. As it happens, my laptop computer is on the way out (some sort of memory issue, I can only run it in safe mode). It's older, less capable. We could get her a new machine and I could inherit hers (I don't do anything processor-intensive). But, 1) whatever slowed down her old machine will probably soon slow down a new machine. Seems silly to buy a new car whenever the old one needs an oil change. 2) If I inherit her old machine, I'd still like to get it running as well as possible .
Staples is giving $200 for used laptops toward a new one. I could trade mine in toward her new one, but it would require some days in between to swap all the data, etc. I don't know if they'd go for that.
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Old 12-13-2015, 09:40 AM   #24
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Staples also has a computer repair service.

https://www.staples.com/sbd/cre/stap...logy-services/

I've never used them so can't comment on how good/bad or price. But know they have one.
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Old 12-13-2015, 09:55 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by samclem View Post
First--THANKS to all for the helpful ideas so far. There's a lot of expertise out there, and I appreciate the effort taken to pass it along.

More details: She's running Win 7 on an Asus laptop configured per the recommendation of a local computer shop after she told them she was using PhotoShop Elements 9 and Elements Organizer.
Intel Core i5-3210M CPU @ 2.50 GHz 2.50 GHz
Installed memory RAM 4.00 GB (I haven't checked to see if there's room for more memory or if it is hard to access the board)
64 bit operating system
Intel HD graphics 4000
She stores most of her data on an external HD.
Newer SW versions don't often address slow performance. If anything, they demand more system resources, so performance might get worse.

Check to see if you can install more memory. Insufficient memory is a big cause of slow performance. The external drive may be a cause of slow performance as well.
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Old 12-13-2015, 10:59 AM   #26
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PCs require regular maintenance or they inevitably get bogged down. Laptops seem to be more prone to this than desktops. Just basic stuff like: defrag all HDDs, check AV logs, empty recycle bin, clear browser cache/history/cookies/etc, clear temp files and download folder, uninstall unneeded programs, check MSCONFIG and disable unneeded start-up processes, reboot and check running processes and resources, backup critical data, and blow out the dust. This requires very little time and no specific expertise.

Even with regular maintenance, I reformat and do a clean install of the OS about every 2 years just to clean up the registry. I never use the manufacturer's disk which is loaded with bloatware. Only a clean and lean Windows OS disk. I then tweak the OS for optimum performance according to several online guides. My desktop is 8 years old, laptop is 6 years old and they're both running smooth and fast on Windows 7.
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Old 12-13-2015, 11:08 AM   #27
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Check to see if you can install more memory. Insufficient memory is a big cause of slow performance.
+1000 Good heavens, 4 GB RAM? No wonder it runs slowly. I don't think I have had that little RAM for a very, very long time. Try three to four times as much RAM, to leave a little headroom for future needs.

Or, just buy your wife the new computer without trading anything in. Even better, maybe be a big spender and buy identical new high end computers for each of you without trading anything in. Then you can transfer files at your leisure, and what a Merry Christmas it will be at your house.
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Old 12-13-2015, 11:25 AM   #28
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Is the slowness online, or offline or both? I remember when I had DSL and my computer would seem to take a long time like accessing a website only to find having slow DSL was part of the problem.
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Old 12-13-2015, 11:54 AM   #29
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MSCONFIG was mentioned above as something to try. There are some web links to articles about running this to get rid of unwanted startup stuff. Problem for me is to know that I'm not screwing up something I want to keep going.

I bought my system with 8GB of RAM some years ago.

Maybe time to just get a nice new system that fits your needs? Sometimes it's good to get all the new bells and whistles.
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Old 12-13-2015, 12:11 PM   #30
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MSCONFIG was mentioned above as something to try. There are some web links to articles about running this to get rid of unwanted startup stuff. Problem for me is to know that I'm not screwing up something I want to keep going...
Just do a google search on each checked item in the start-up tab. If you expand the 'Command' column, you will eventually find an .exe file. If the file name and path isn't self-explanatory, then google it. If you don't need it running at start-up, uncheck it. I do the same with any mysterious processes running in task manager, particularly if it's consuming a lot of resources.
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Old 12-13-2015, 02:43 PM   #31
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4GB of RAM is more than sufficient for most home users. Unless you have some memory intensive progam running or many programs running at once ( like dozens of IE tabs open ) you probably will never touch 8GBs. Just open taskmanager and look at your memory usage,
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Old 12-13-2015, 03:07 PM   #32
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MSCONFIG was mentioned above as something to try. There are some web links to articles about running this to get rid of unwanted startup stuff. Problem for me is to know that I'm not screwing up something I want to keep going.

I bought my system with 8GB of RAM some years ago.

Maybe time to just get a nice new system that fits your needs? Sometimes it's good to get all the new bells and whistles.
That's why you'd want to make an image of the system before trying to fix. That way, if something gets screwed up during the fixing attempt, you could easily restore to how things were before.
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Old 12-13-2015, 04:28 PM   #33
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I've never tried to restore much of anything although I do backups weekly with images and all. I've only had to get at a few data files. Either I'm lucky or just cautious. Restoring a hunk of stuff seems scary to me but maybe it's easy?
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Old 12-13-2015, 04:55 PM   #34
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I've never tried to restore much of anything although I do backups weekly with images and all. I've only had to get at a few data files. Either I'm lucky or just cautious. Restoring a hunk of stuff seems scary to me but maybe it's easy?
I use Macrium and have that set for scheduled image backups of my system and data each morning. Usually, before I wake up, the image is done. Comes in handy, say if my computer gets hit by ransomeware I'm only a quick restore away from recovering.

Also, comes in handy to for testing updates or changes. Once again, a quick restore away.
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Old 12-13-2015, 07:22 PM   #35
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A. QUICK FIX
With Win 7, you can use System Restore. Go back to a point (hopefully you created a restore point) after the last time you had it fixed. Someone may have mentioned this process, but don't remember seeing it.

B. LONG TERM POSSIBLE SOLUTION (only if you are comfortable doing hardware and software upgrades, otherwise give it to somebody who can do it or part of the upgrade you can't do). None of these are really that difficult.
1. Definitely upgrade your ram. PS is a ram hoarder. 16 Gigs if your laptop can take it. Crucial can easily tell you how much ram your computer can upgrade to.
2. Upgrade to SSD. Skip hybrid. Bestbuy Samsung 850 EVO 250GB Internal Serial ATA Solid State Drive for Laptops Black MZ-75E250B - Best Buy
I've seen them as low as $69 when they're on sale. It comes with a cloning software, but you might have to buy the cable to connect from usb2/3 to the SSD.
3. Use external HHD through usb3 if it's available for your docs and pics. Take the HHD you take out from your laptop and buy a case for it at FRYS and convert it to an external drive.
4. Definitely upgrade to Win 10 in spite of the trepidation of a few. Make sure you have copy of your software licenses before upgrading software. Windows 10 Defender is just fine as an antivirus.
5. Nothing better than a fresh install as mentioned previously. If you can do it once, you can do it again and again which is a good skill to have in the future. This will be the best way to restore the performance of your laptop. If you run into problem--google, ask a friend or geek squad for last resort. BTW, make sure she can do her work on another computer while you're doing the upgrade. You want plenty of time to work on it without the added pressure.
6. Use Acronis True Image 2016 to create images of your backup. After this step, you can restore that laptop before your honey can give you the excuse, "Not tonight dear. I have a headache." You are going to be a hero.
7. No amount of software monitoring or adding some 100% proof antivirus or deleting the culprit will improve computer problem as well as a clean image. Unfortunately, someone is always going to click on something that they shouldn't (knowingly or unknowingly).

C. BETTER SOLUTION, POSSIBLY.
Buy a new system. If you can afford a Thinkpad (even an older version), then go for it. Make sure the specs are enough for what she's doing-- preferably with SSD, plenty of RAM, usb3, etc.
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Old 12-13-2015, 08:09 PM   #36
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I had an application called "whats running". It was very easy to turn off things that started automatically. I haven't used it since gojng to a fresh system, but I think it would be smart to get a feel for what it looked like when the machine is fresh. But that won't help if the registry gets bloated...the only really good solution there is the factory reset, or better yet, a fresh OS install that comes without all of the crapware that comes on many of these systems nowadays.
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Asus R500A-RH51-WT 16-Inch Notebook (2.5 GHz Intel Core i5-3210M processor, 4GB RAM?
Old 12-13-2015, 08:26 PM   #37
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Asus R500A-RH51-WT 16-Inch Notebook (2.5 GHz Intel Core i5-3210M processor, 4GB RAM?

Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
She's running Win 7 on an Asus laptop configured per the recommendation of a local computer shop after she told them she was using PhotoShop Elements 9 and Elements Organizer.
Intel Core i5-3210M CPU @ 2.50 GHz 2.50 GHz
Installed memory RAM 4.00 GB (I haven't checked to see if there's room for more memory or if it is hard to access the board)
64 bit operating system
Intel HD graphics 4000
.

Is this the model you have? It's got a couple of usb3 (blue). Use that port instead of the usb2. I looked at the min req for PS 9 and it's pretty low, but that's min req. Who knows what she has up running while she's working. You can start with the SSD and try that first. Also turn off anything that the PS is doing to try to automatically connect to the internet.
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Old 12-13-2015, 08:27 PM   #38
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I went on line and found a youtube demo to clean out all the update notifications. I had almost 2 GB of notifications!
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Old 12-13-2015, 09:22 PM   #39
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Is this (Asus R500A-RH51-WT 16-Inch Notebook (2.5 GHz Intel Core i5-3210M processor, 4GB RAM ) the model you have? It's got a couple of usb3 (blue). Use that port instead of the usb2.
No, it's a K55A model with the same specs. It does have two USB 3 ports, so I'll use those for any data swapping. Thanks.
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Old 12-14-2015, 10:17 AM   #40
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Try removing AVG and see if things improve. I've had some performance problems with that program lately.
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