Laptop freezing/lagging

DJnVa

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Dec 16, 2010
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In last day or two, my laptop (just a store bought $300 one) suddenly freeze for a few seconds every once in a while. It's not specific to program--it happens in browsers and if I'm just on desktop. If I am typing when it happens, when it unfreezes, everything I had typed during the freeze appears.

I checked the drivers and tried googling it, but all I get is websites trying to sell me some diagnostic tool or I'm not phrasing my google search correctly.

Any thoughts? Run some malware checks, and nothing seems to appear--I don't do much on this laptop except surf the net.
 

djbayko

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Not an expert. Know just enough to be dangerous.
  • Have you tried multiple vendors for virus scans? I've used free MalwareBytes and SpyBot in the past and had success.
  • Have you looked at processes running to see if there's anything suspicious? Or any known process hogging memory?
  • Is your hard drive space super low? I believe that can have an impact due to inability to effectively utilize virtual memory. Try deleting some stuff.
After that, it's kind of beyond my initial abilities without research. Make sure you have a backup of vital data in case it's a sign of something like hardware damage or corrupt OS which might soon escalate into catastrophic failure.
 

The_Powa_of_Seiji_Ozawa

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Can you provide more detailed specs on your system?

One thing that comes to mind is that while you might not have any viruses or malware, you might have some bloatware that is resident, enough to tax your RAM and force the system into being overly reliant on a swapfile, which will be further comprised if the disc space is low (similar to above suggestion).
 

Omar's Wacky Neighbor

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Leaving in a bit to the studio :)
Alt-Ctrl-Del, select Task Manager. That will show you what’s eating your resources. Feel free to post what you see. I’d guess not enough ram, or some process is hogging your ram, as mentioned above.

Also, any chance you have MacAfee installed?

EDIT so there’s no confusion, do NOT install MacAfee. Quite the opposite: if MacAfee is already installed, UNinstall it.
 
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DJnVa

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Check all these when I get home tonight. Thanks.

Fake edit: I have run Malware Bytes. I use Chrome, but the freeze persists when the browser not open, but I don't know if it's a residual thing, so that could be something. And as far as RAM, I guess, I will check, but I haven't really changed anything--bought laptop less than year ago, nothing really installed outside of Steam.
 

tmracht

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What type of laptop? Most have a diagnostic mode that will test the internal hardware.
 

Harry Hooper

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Is this happening when the laptop is on battery, plugged in, or both?
 

DJnVa

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What type of laptop? Most have a diagnostic mode that will test the internal hardware.
Just basic HP 14" laptop. Ran a troubleshooter, nothing showing up.

Is this happening when the laptop is on battery, plugged in, or both?
Plugged in, but that's how I use it 99% of the time.


Seems okay so far tonight. I'm wondering if it's the Chrome thing. Gonna keep on on task manager.
 

DJnVa

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So I tried to keep the multiple tabs on Chrome to a minimum last night and no issues...
 

saintnick912

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If it is a currently store-bought $300 laptop I'm guessing there is 4GB of RAM in there. I generally suggest a minimum of 8GB for Windows 10 with any reasonable amount of usage. You're likely hitting swap when you have more tabs open, which isn't something people hit too much these days.
 

Couperin47

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When Chrome moved to separate instance sandboxing it became even more of a memory hog, Firefox is a bit better but memory is so cheap these days it's the only sensible answer: a single 8 GB DDR3 SO-DIMM 1600 can easily be found on sale for c. $35, (that's what virtually all cheap laptops use these days, but check your specs first). You'll have 12 GB in there and forget about memory issues for the life of the unit, it's a no-brainer. Both Newegg and Amazon has sticks like this on sale literally every day. Since laptops don't push memory hard almost any brand is OK, the 2 worst to avoid are Adata and Team Group.
 
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joe dokes

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If it is a currently store-bought $300 laptop I'm guessing there is 4GB of RAM in there. I generally suggest a minimum of 8GB for Windows 10 with any reasonable amount of usage. You're likely hitting swap when you have more tabs open, which isn't something people hit too much these days.
Is it as easy in today's laptops to add RAM as it used to be? (One of the very few "open up the machine" tasks I ever performed.). If the laptop at issue can handle it, memory is a pretty easy and inexpensive upgrade.
 

Couperin47

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Along that line: any brand of sub $200 video cards that you'd avoid? From what I've been reading, if they all have the same processor and specs, pretty much any brand is as good as the next: Gigabyte, Zotac, MSI, EVGA, etc.
At the moment good luck finding sub $200 video cards at all, most of the major brands are sold out almost everywhere and prices...for example those that have most Nvidia 1600 series cards left, which mostly sold for $170 to $240 5 months ago now want $300-$350. This is the absolutely worst time to buy any video card since the insanity caused by the first coinmining craze of years past. Since most cards today barely stray from the AMD or Nvidia reference designs (except for fan/heatsink designs and how far they try to overclock) it's about how good customer service and warranties are actually honored. If you're not heavily gaming, they are mostly even except for the lowest end cards from new Chinese companies whose names you never heard of. If you game a lot for days on end it behooves you to find out whose using decent ball bearing fans as opposed to really cheap sleeve bearing crap.

Oh and high end cards are like a PS5, you're going to get really ripped off if you can find one....
 
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Couperin47

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Is it as easy in today's laptops to add RAM as it used to be? (One of the very few "open up the machine" tasks I ever performed.). If the laptop at issue can handle it, memory is a pretty easy and inexpensive upgrade.
Most tablets don't allow for added memory, laptops are all over the map, the thinnest most compact designs often cannot be accessed without complete removal of the entire bottom which also requires removal of the whole keyboard too. Older designs retain the decency to have a single screw cover to access the so-dimm slots.
 

tmracht

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At the moment good luck finding sub $200 video cards at all, most of the major brands are sold out almost everywhere and prices...for example those that have most Nvidia 1600 series cards left, which mostly sold for $170 to $240 5 months ago now want $300-$350. This is the absolutely worst time to buy any video card since the insanity caused by the first coinmining craze of years past. Since most cards today barely stray from the AMD or Nvidia reference designs (except for fan/heatsink designs and how far they try to overclock) it's about how good customer service and warranties are actually honored. If you're not heavily gaming, they are mostly even except for the lowest end cards from new Chinese companies whose names you never heard of. If you game a lot for days on end it behooves you to find out whose using decent ball bearing fans as opposed to really cheap sleeve bearing crap.

Oh and high end cards are like a PS5, you're going to get really ripped off if you can find one....
Yep, I follow twitch streams, discord bots and BAPCS reddit trying to get my sister a 3060/3070 for her computer. It's a nightmare, I've had so many cards in my cart at various retailers just to fail at checkout. Not a good time to be looking for a GPU. I'm so glad I just went Pre-Built a few months ago and got a 3080 dream machine for less than a 3080s are going for now.
 

Omar's Wacky Neighbor

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Leaving in a bit to the studio :)
Is it as easy in today's laptops to add RAM as it used to be? (One of the very few "open up the machine" tasks I ever performed.). If the laptop at issue can handle it, memory is a pretty easy and inexpensive upgrade.
Last two I upgraded, a $300 14" HP in Dec 2018, and a $280 14" thinner Asus in May 2019, were doable if you were careful and took your time. (we selected those two laptops partly because the RAM and the SSD were so upgradeable, altho for the HP we had to find a very specific SSD cable that wasn't so easy to find at first, until someone on SD spotted a knockoff cable on Ebay)

Where it can get tricky is that in addition to a dozen different sized screws holding the bottom on, you also have to deal with a number of plastic hook&eye on the inside. If you're not careful, they are VERY easy to break/snap off. Luckily, there are videos with great hints out there explaining how to upgrade almost every laptop available, provide you have strong finger nails, a guitar pick or two, and a supermarket frequent shopper card (credit cards and gift cards are too thick). The hints on the videos are usually where exactly the weak spot is to begin the separating of the case, and in which direction to go.
 

Couperin47

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Last two I upgraded, a $300 14" HP in Dec 2018, and a $280 14" thinner Asus in May 2019, were doable if you were careful and took your time. (we selected those two laptops partly because the RAM and the SSD were so upgradeable, altho for the HP we had to find a very specific SSD cable that wasn't so easy to find at first, until someone on SD spotted a knockoff cable on Ebay)

Where it can get tricky is that in addition to a dozen different sized screws holding the bottom on, you also have to deal with a number of plastic hook&eye on the inside. If you're not careful, they are VERY easy to break/snap off. Luckily, there are videos with great hints out there explaining how to upgrade almost every laptop available, provide you have strong finger nails, a guitar pick or two, and a supermarket frequent shopper card (credit cards and gift cards are too thick). The hints on the videos are usually where exactly the weak spot is to begin the separating of the case, and in which direction to go.
Yes, they don't have the decency to just use screws, many designs today require you to undo 'snap on, designed to break' fasteners. Via Amazon it's worth the $10 investment for a set of fibreglass tools, thin enough and wide enough to accomplish this task without damaging these infuriating designs, essentially large versions of the 'large guitar pick' tools necessary to crack open any cell phone. Simply search 'computer case opening tools' on Amazon, depending on your needs there are tons available for $4 to $10 and, assuming minimal dexterity, remove the stress of breaking or marring your equipment. Highly recommended.
 

cgori

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Along that line: any brand of sub $200 video cards that you'd avoid? From what I've been reading, if they all have the same processor and specs, pretty much any brand is as good as the next: Gigabyte, Zotac, MSI, EVGA, etc.
I agree with most/all of what @Couperin47 said above - but I have had really good luck with warranty claims on EVGA. Their customer service has been great for me over the years, going above and beyond once or twice. I now try to buy their card all other things being equal.
 

Couperin47

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I agree with most/all of what @Couperin47 said above - but I have had really good luck with warranty claims on EVGA. Their customer service has been great for me over the years, going above and beyond once or twice. I now try to buy their card all other things being equal.
I don't disagree: Sapphire and EVGA have been my 2 preferred companies, but Sapphire only does AMD and now AMD's new offerings do NOT support Win 8 or 8.1 anymore with new drivers so, going forward, I'm limited to Nvidia for new video cards and I prefer EVGA.
 

Humphrey

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My HP Laptop (year old exactly, but out of warranty) decided to give me problems this week- started hearing a noise that I thought was the disk drive but turned out to be a fan. Yesterday, after shutting it down, wouldn't start up and started giving me a message pertaining to the fan.

Hopefully replacing the fan will do the trick and it's not a case of something inside causing overheating and thereby causing the fan to run excessively; not that I know much about that sort of thing. A fan replacement is not a horrible expense, replacing a $750 laptop completely is.
 

Couperin47

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My HP Laptop (year old exactly, but out of warranty) decided to give me problems this week- started hearing a noise that I thought was the disk drive but turned out to be a fan. Yesterday, after shutting it down, wouldn't start up and started giving me a message pertaining to the fan.

Hopefully replacing the fan will do the trick and it's not a case of something inside causing overheating and thereby causing the fan to run excessively; not that I know much about that sort of thing. A fan replacement is not a horrible expense, replacing a $750 laptop completely is.
Most commonly the fan inside most laptops is clogged, the 2nd most common failure is the fan bearings. Access to the fan for cleaning/lubrication is usually a distinct challenge as often encased in a copper heatsink assembly, but you haven't identified the exact model of your laptop.
 

Humphrey

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It's an HP Z Book. I have 2 laptops; would rather it was the one I am typing on now; I'm much more prone to take chances with it (heck, I installed a SSD in it myself) that with that one.