Our laptop is Slow!
April 22, 2020 3:51 AM   Subscribe

Said laptop is a Dell Inspiron 5566 with Windows 10 (uptodate) and using Chrome browser (also up to date). CPU: Intel i3 Memory 6 GB in two slots Storage: HD SATA 3 2.5" form factor 932 GB. Have run CCleaner (is this still a thing?) to no avail. Is it worth adding RAM? If so is this worth doing or am I SOL? Any and all solutions welcomed!
posted by lungtaworld to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
6GB RAM seems unlikely to be the bottleneck that's slowing things down.

Software can be an issue, i.e. perhaps you have a lot of applications running in the background. There are various guides to 'de-crapifying' your PC to remove a lot of this bloat, and there are utilities you can run to identify a lot of that stuff. Unnecessary third-party antivirus tools can be a cause of things slowing down too. A fresh re-install of windows to eliminate all the cruft that comes with laptops would be another approach.

You'd probably get a decent speed boost if you could upgrade the HD to an SSD.
posted by pipeski at 4:14 AM on April 22, 2020

Best answer: An i3 is never going to be speedy. Before you spend money, can I suggest you throw Opera on it, and see if it "feels" speedier than Chrome?
posted by Leon at 4:14 AM on April 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: In case the hard drive isn’t solid state, making that switch helped my old laptop a lot. That said, the reviews for your model are generally terrible. It looks like it was a budget model to begin with, and might not be smart to invest more in.
posted by jon1270 at 4:15 AM on April 22, 2020 [4 favorites]

Windows Task Manager will help you narrow down the problem to CPU load, RAM usage, HD space/activity, network load, running applications, etc. If nothing is obvious from that, I'd try reinstalling Windows (and delete CCleaner).
posted by davcoo at 4:18 AM on April 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I disagree with that article dissing CCleaner. Its main points seem to be:

- All the functions of CCleaner are included in Win10 control panel settings.
Maybe, but you have to know to search for them, because a lot of them are not displayed without a search. Background Apps, for instance, which is where you can supposedly stop MS Edge from running in the background and collecting your browser history. Like so many things you can set in Windows, it will revert to a different setting after a while, maybe at a Windows update. CCleaner doesn't spontaneously change what you've set. When Edge starts itself up again, running CC cleans that cache.

- You shouldn't mess with the Registry, because Microsoft thinks you're incompetent; nor should you allow a program to mess with the Registry.
If I'm as dim as MS believes, I'm not going to find all those settings it's hidden in subdirectories of the Control Panel. I've been using CC frequently, for years, and have never had a problem with the Registry. Yes, you should not change Registry entries carelessly, but I've seen no evidence that CC does that.

I also use Revo Uninstaller, which will list all those browsers and antivirus programs that can piggyback on software you install without your notice, and it can remove all traces of them. It also has tools to turn startup programs on & off, and other useful tools.

And of course, if you reinstall Windows, you're probably going to have to reconfigure all the settings you used to make it the way you like.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:04 AM on April 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

I just cleaned up an old Core2 laptop and found deleting the Windows Store app stopped a huge amount of CPU and disk use. That app is constantly doing stuff it doesn’t need to do. Search for the magic invocation to do that or PM me if you want it.
posted by JoeZydeco at 5:32 AM on April 22, 2020

6 GB of RAM is a bit light these days, but your spinning drive and i3 processor are probably more of a bottleneck than the RAM. You can't do much about the processor, but I would switch to a SSD. It doesn't seem terribly hard to upgrade the internal drive in your laptop, and you can snag a 2 TB SSD for pretty cheap these days—I got one for $250 not long ago, and it was well-worth the upgrade.

If you get one, get a SATA to USB drive enclosure. That way, you can pop out your old internal drive, put in the new internal drive, and attach your old drive as an external drive, making it really easy to migrate files to your new drive.

One additional option that may be beyond what you're comfortable with, but I have to mention: if you're just using your PC for basic Internet, email, and productivity, and don't require any Windows-specific software, you might consider trying Linux. It will coax every bit of speed out of your computer, and not be nearly as vulnerable to malware, viruses, etc.

Obviously this is a major change, but Ubuntu (the most famous Linux distro) is really user-friendly these days. You can download Ubuntu for free, put it on a USB stick, and then boot from the USB stick to try out a live version of Linux without having to install anything—then if you like it, install it on your new SSD.
posted by vitout at 5:44 AM on April 22, 2020 [3 favorites]

You laptop is slow doing what?

Chrome can be a real pig of an app and with bloated javascript intensive web pages and too many tabs open can grind even a powerful computer into the ground.
posted by srboisvert at 6:37 AM on April 22, 2020 [3 favorites]

You [sic] laptop is slow doing what?

This. Is it the laptop? If the issue is when you are online, is the modem? Is it the router? Is it another wireless device interfering with your Wifi? Et cetera, ad nauseum.
posted by terrapin at 7:22 AM on April 22, 2020

Response by poster: Many thanks for all your answers - I have downloaded Opera and this has really speeded things up on the desktop - much faster than Chrome.
An SSD and changing to Linux is not really an option.
JoeZydeco: Windows Store is not to be found.
The laptop is basically only used for Internet browsing, though I have Libre Office.
I'm using Comcast/Xfinity on the desktop which is quite fast on the desktop.
posted by lungtaworld at 9:21 AM on April 22, 2020

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