Tech Support

Steve C

Re: Tech Support

Postby Steve C » Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:04 pm

I was trying to fix a laptop. (Past tense. I've given up.) It has slowed down to a crawl. I cannot figure out why. What causes a computer to slow down? (Excluding the accumulation of software crud over time.)

I repartitioned and formatted the hard drive. I installed a fresh copy of the OS. Those two things together I've never had fail to fix a software problem before. It made me believe it must be a hardware problem. I still do. It is running at about half or a quarter of what it should be. I thought maybe one of the cores has died (it's got a quad-core CPU). I can't figure out how to test that. The problem started under the old install of win7-32bit. The new install was win7-64bit. The problem continued both before it was updated and after. To give an idea of how slow this thing is, updating took 12 hours across 3 days. BTW the BIOS is completely useless.

It ran at a reasonable speed when I set it up years ago. Wish I knew what was going on with it.
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mwchase
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Re: Tech Support

Postby mwchase » Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:45 pm

I had a similar experience with an old laptop of mine that I gave to my father-in-law as A Project (and he got it working, go him). The two obvious things that were wrong with it were an ancient battery, and a bad thing of RAM.
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4th Dimension

Re: Tech Support

Postby 4th Dimension » Wed Mar 22, 2017 12:30 am

John wrote:My power button issue seems to have gone into remission. I haven't had any problems the last couple of days. I'm sure it will come back to bite me at some supremely inconvenient time, though. These things always do.

Those are the worst kind of problems. The ones that only happen randomly from time to time. You can't even take the problem to someone who knows more because it's most likely that the damn thing will work perfectly in the shop and break imediatelly when you actually need it. Basically as the saying goes "Holds water until the workers leave".

Computers running slowly: Yeah I can't figure out such cases too. Example: The computer is running quite slowly. To open folders and programs takes ages and it hangs often. Now you would expect that in such cases if you were to open the tasks manager you would be able to see what is hogging all the memory or CPU, but you don't see much. CPU is used 10% and memory is 50% full. Even worse the system can report that like 1,5 GB of RAM is reserved, but the biggest loaded program takes maybe like 150 MB while most of the rest take a LOT less and certainly the combined size is nowhere near the reported used memory. But the worst one which I can not figure out at all (the previous one is probably caused by the task manager not reporting the memory in use by the OS itself as a separate process) is when it starts showing me that the HDD throughput is maxed out even though the current datarate is loooooww (maybe 1-2 MB/s). And the HDD thing regulary happens on laptops
Steve C

Re: Tech Support

Postby Steve C » Wed Mar 22, 2017 2:11 am

I don't think the battery would make a difference in this case. It was plugged in the entire time. I also ran a memory test. Just a short test (hour or 2) and not a comprehensive one (overnight+). I felt a quick one should find the problem because of how pronounced it was. And ya, nothing seemed wrong in task manager or resource manager.

4th Dimension wrote:the HDD throughput is maxed out even though the current datarate is loooooww (maybe 1-2 MB/s). And the HDD thing regulary happens on laptops

It was crazy slow on copying files and crazy inconsistent. I zipped up a 16G archive. Afterwards I copied it over to a flash drive. That took about ~6hours total. Copying it back onto the computer took ~10mins.

At this point I know it isn't worth fixing. I still want to know what is wrong with the damn thing. It's annoying not knowing why. I know it's going to come up again and I like to be able to recognize a problem by it's symptoms. The only thing I could think of but couldn't rule out (to my own satisfaction) was testing the CPU Cores.
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Supahewok

Re: Tech Support

Postby Supahewok » Sun May 21, 2017 4:06 pm

Steve C wrote:I don't think the battery would make a difference in this case. It was plugged in the entire time. I also ran a memory test. Just a short test (hour or 2) and not a comprehensive one (overnight+). I felt a quick one should find the problem because of how pronounced it was. And ya, nothing seemed wrong in task manager or resource manager.

4th Dimension wrote:the HDD throughput is maxed out even though the current datarate is loooooww (maybe 1-2 MB/s). And the HDD thing regulary happens on laptops

It was crazy slow on copying files and crazy inconsistent. I zipped up a 16G archive. Afterwards I copied it over to a flash drive. That took about ~6hours total. Copying it back onto the computer took ~10mins.

At this point I know it isn't worth fixing. I still want to know what is wrong with the damn thing. It's annoying not knowing why. I know it's going to come up again and I like to be able to recognize a problem by it's symptoms. The only thing I could think of but couldn't rule out (to my own satisfaction) was testing the CPU Cores.


A little late, and I'm not an expert, but the Performance tab in Task Manager shows the usage of all CPU cores. Do something that's CPU-intensive and keep an eye on each core in the CPU Usage History.
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Lachlan the Sane
Location: I come from the land down under, where women blow and men chunder

Re: Tech Support

Postby Lachlan the Sane » Sun Jul 23, 2017 11:51 am

So my computer's gotten into the habit of shutting down with no warning when I play certain games. Oddly enough, it's all Paradox stuff, by which I mean it's Cities: Skylines and Pillars Of Eternity (which I just bought today only to have it shut down as I clicked on the first merchant). Random Googling says it's probably something overheating and I need to clean out the dust from my computer. If that doesn't work then I need to check out my CPU and my power supply. I know that it's a fixable problem, but blaaaaaaaaaargh. Mostly I just want to moan about it. Blaaaaaaaaaargh.
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Daemian Lucifer

Re: Tech Support

Postby Daemian Lucifer » Sun Jul 23, 2017 12:52 pm

Something similar happened to me when the fan stand for the cpu broke.It didnt reach the point of shutting down,but the overheating buzzer was buzzing(Im keeping it lower than necessary so that I can do something before the critical shutdown happens).So,you probably need to open it and see whats up.Its most likely a minor but annoying problem.
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Sudanna

Re: Tech Support

Postby Sudanna » Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:47 pm

meanwhile, i'm replacing my laptop motherboard for the third time because it's catching itself on fire when plugged in, for the third time.
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lurkey

Re: Tech Support

Postby lurkey » Fri Jul 28, 2017 6:54 am

Sudanna wrote:meanwhile, i'm replacing my laptop motherboard for the third time because it's catching itself on fire when plugged in, for the third time.


Have you tried replacing CPU? My desktop's motherboard fried recently and the problem was that CPU short-circuited it somehow.
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John

Re: Tech Support

Postby John » Sun Aug 06, 2017 4:02 pm

I've got an old laptop with--I suspect--a bad AC adapter jack. I have the thing semi-dis-assembled at the moment so I can get at the jack and the cable that connects it to the motherboard, and for the life of me I absolutely cannot get the accursed connector out of the socket/plug/whatever on the motherboard. This thing is driving me nuts. First, the connector and socket are tiny. Second, the socket and connector are nearly flush with the motherboard and the motherboard is nearly flush with the case, so it's pretty much impossible to get an above-below grip on the thing, even with tweezers. Third, there's a metal tab sticking up from the bottom of the case that makes it just slightly less impossible to get a grip on the thing from the sides. In addition to pulling, I've tried pushing from the other side, as that worked for several of the other connectors that I needed to remove in order to get at this one, but have had no luck. The connector is so small that there's basically nothing to push against. Maybe I need a good set of spudgers. Maybe I need a frickin' magical incantation. (If you know one, you should share it with me.) Or maybe I just need to calm down and develop a little patience. Blah.

It's funny, in a way, because this is an ancient laptop. I could buy one of those new sub-$200 mini laptops and it would be superior to this one in pretty much every conceivable way (with the possible exception of hard drive space, since those all have fairly small solid-state drives). It's just that this one still does all the things I really want it to do and the replacement part only cost about $10 the last time I looked. If I could just get the cable out without damaging the motherboard I'd be golden.
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The Rocketeer

Re: Tech Support

Postby The Rocketeer » Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:27 pm

That's how my last two or three laptops have crapped out, and repair is always a major headache hardly worth committing to over buying a new one. The AC jack might as well be the laptop's death clock.
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dudecon
Location: Camarillo, CA. Paul Spooner IRL & blog comments
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Re: Tech Support

Postby dudecon » Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:12 pm

John wrote:I've got an old laptop with--I suspect--a bad AC adapter jack. I have the thing semi-dis-assembled at the moment so I can get at the jack and the cable that connects it to the motherboard, and for the life of me I absolutely cannot get the accursed connector out of the socket/plug/whatever on the motherboard... If I could just get the cable out without damaging the motherboard I'd be golden.
Could always unsolder the whole socket and solder a new one on. Maybe one that isn't so small and fragile.
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John

Re: Tech Support

Postby John » Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:03 pm

dudecon wrote:
John wrote:I've got an old laptop with--I suspect--a bad AC adapter jack. I have the thing semi-dis-assembled at the moment so I can get at the jack and the cable that connects it to the motherboard, and for the life of me I absolutely cannot get the accursed connector out of the socket/plug/whatever on the motherboard... If I could just get the cable out without damaging the motherboard I'd be golden.
Could always unsolder the whole socket and solder a new one on. Maybe one that isn't so small and fragile.

Unfortunately, I do not solder. Even if I did, if I wanted to use the stock AC adapter jack replacement I'd need to use the same sort of socket anyway . . . unless I modified that somehow, but that's another thing I don't do. And to top it all off this is a teeny-tiny laptop (11 inch screen) with a really cramped interior. Smallness is an unavoidable necessity.

Fortunately, I can live without the laptop. I'll get a set of spudgers the next time I'm at Microcenter, and if that doesn't work I'll think about replacing it.

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