Windows Questions and Answers - Poor Computer Performance
Anne writes in with a Windows question
Question:My CPU is lagging. I have done cleanup and defragged. This happens when multitasking. I have done spyware and virus scans also.
A. When the computer starts lagging I would first look at the Performance tab of Task Manager and see if your memory or CPU is being over utilized. Keep an eye on the CPU usage and PF (page file) usage and see if they get really high. If the page file usage gets too high and stays there then that can indicate a memory problem. It may also indicate not having a large enough page file.
You can check your page file size by right clicking on My Computer and selecting properties. Then go to the Advanced tab and then click on Settings under Performance. Then you will go to the Virtual Memory section and make sure that your total paging file size is at least 1.5 times your system RAM. So if you have 512 MB of RAM then your page file should be at least 768 MB. If you have more than one hard drive you can add a page file to those drives to increase the amount of memory you have available for paging. Page files are used when you don't have enough RAM available for your system. The computer will use the hard drive as temporary storage space for applications to make up for it. Its a slower kind of memory than RAM but its better than running out.
You can also use Performance Monitor to monitor your hardware and see what is being used the most to help narrow down the problem. Its similar to using Task Manager but more advanced. We will be doing a write up on how to use Performance Monitor in the near future but for now here is a link explaining how to set it up. http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-6345-1046913.html?tag=rbxccnbtr1
I would also boot into Safe Mode and see if you get the same effect. If not then there is a good chance that there is still something running on your system that boots with normal mode that is slowing it down. If so you should check your startup items again and run some other spyware scans within Safe Mode for better results.