How to troubleshoot slow laptop?
March 3, 2017 9:42 AM   Subscribe

My laptop is very slow, but only when interacting with the Internet. Any troubleshooting ideas? Deets below.

Toshiba Satellite C855D running Windows 8, 64bit

AMD E-300 APU. 1.30ghz


Pretty zippy unless I'm online. Pages take forever to load and this is true for both wired ethernet and wireless with a 5-bar connection.

Windows Experience subscores are:

Processor 3.3
Memory 4.8
Graphics 4.1
Gaming graphics 5.4
Primary Hard disk 5.9

Is this just a super slow computer? Its
Unusable for Internet stuff. That and some light word processing/spreadsheets is all I'm looking to do.

How should I troubleshoot this?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
I should add I've tried a fresh OS install and Windows is up to date.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:43 AM on March 3, 2017

Is 8.1 installed? What browser are you using? Can you turn the power settings to max performance when on battery and when plugged in?
posted by deezil at 10:21 AM on March 3, 2017

How have you identified the laptop as the problem and not the network it's on? Have you tried taking the laptop somewhere else (a coffeeshop with wifi?)? Do you have any other devices (desktop, laptop, tablet...) on the same network, and do they have the same problem?

Might also be worth checking the DNS settings--maybe experiment with setting them to google's DNS servers ( and to test whether there's some problem with the DNS servers they're current pointed at. (I'm not sure how to change that setting on Windows, sorry.)
posted by floppyroofing at 10:38 AM on March 3, 2017

That E-300 is a six year old processor that was slow when it was released - it's designed for cheap, low-power laptops. I suspect the reason that your laptop is slow is that it is a slow computer - indeed, reviews of the laptop when it was new complained that it was sluggish.

If it doesn't have an SSD in it, you can probably get a decent boost by putting one in but honestly it was a fairly slow, cheap laptop back in 2013, it's never going to fly. Sorry.
posted by parm at 10:50 AM on March 3, 2017

Laptop is slow on multiple networks on which other devices are fine. If it's just a slow processor, why is that so obvious when browsing but it works fine on offline stuff?

Browser is Chrome.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:50 AM on March 3, 2017

It's your CPU. The CPU on that laptop is really slow, and web browsing has gotten very heavy over the last several years. On an average web page, you're loading many, many things over the network (images, ads, animated ads, social media buttons, styles, Javascript libraries, cookies, trackers, etc.) while displaying ad animations and scrolling at the same time.

You can test this yourself. Load a page like this one and then load Colossal and watch how much slower the second site loads and scrolls.

You'll get much better performance out of Edge than Chrome, because it will use your computer's graphics acceleration, while Chrome doesn't. Two more things you can do:
1. Run Adblocking software, like UBlock. This loads fewer resources per web page.
2. Block Flash from loading when Edge allows this in a month or two.

Edit - an SSD isn't likely to help tremendously with slow browsing and scrolling. It will make everything else faster though!
posted by cnc at 12:20 PM on March 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Open a browser and Resource Monitor, which is part of Windows. Click to go to a new web page, then look at Resource Monitor to see which resources, i.e., CPU, disk, memory or network, are close to or at 100% utilization, then drop rapidly after the page has loaded.

Some antivirus programs have the option of checking each page before allowing it to load. I think it's usually an option because uses don't like the effect on load time.
posted by Homer42 at 7:50 PM on March 3, 2017

If I were to guess, I'd suspect that it's due to your browser filling up RAM. You can test this by following Homer42's advice and using Resource Monitor to see if that's what's going on.

You could also try running it connected to the network but with all browsers shut down (use Task Manager to ensure that they're all dead). If it's still slow, than you know it's something else.

If it's the browser, you could either try buying more RAM if your computer can take it or use ad- and script-blockers to try to get your browser's memory use down (JavaScript tends to be a RAM pig). You might also try switching to a more lightweight browser such as Midori.
posted by suetanvil at 3:29 PM on March 5, 2017

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