Windows computer stuck in the mud
December 22, 2021 7:13 AM   Subscribe

This morning, my Windows desktop is operating at 1/1000 speed, taking 15-20 minutes to boot. What are possible causes? I'm thinking a failing SSD, but are there other possibilities?
posted by SemiSalt to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
Some more information would be helpful. What version of Windows, Win10? And what are the specs on the machine?

If you do a Ctrl-Alt-Del and open the Task Manager, it will give you a pretty good idea of what's going on... my guess is that you will see one of the tabs highlighted red, likely the "Disk" tab, if your SSD is being "thrashed" by too much I/O.

I spent most of my day yesterday fixing a ridiculously overspecced desktop machine (16 core, 24GB) that was doing a great impression of a 386. It turned out that its hard drive was thrashing, caused by a stalled Windows Update. Apparently if Update can't contact some of the servers it wants to talk to, it will fail but keep trying... over, and over... creating a tremendous amount of disk activity and grinding the rest of the system to a halt in the process. (Anything that uses disk cache, Chrome in particular, was basically unusable.)

The fix in my case was to unf—ck Windows Update, which involved figuring out why it was failing (root cause was a PiHole on the network blocking a bunch of Microsoft telemetry servers, which Windows 10 won't update without access to, so those had to be whitelisted) and finally applying a couple of large updates manually. After it was brought up to the latest version of Win10, the drive started to quiesce after a normal amount of time on boot, and apps were able to perform normally.

A failing SSD could cause many of the same symptoms, I'd imagine, as could a drive that was approaching full.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:58 AM on December 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: After some experimentation, I'm not so worried about the SSD. I was able to get into Task Manager. CPU is running mostly at 3% or so. No services are using CPU time. I got file manager up and copied a big file for backup purposes, and it did it in a trice. Once up in a program, it runs better than the program load.

It could definitely be related to a Windows upload. Great suggestion. I'll see if I can find an error somewhere. I had a problem a couple years ago where uploads failed because Windows located a file with a no-no it it in a backup somewhere.
posted by SemiSalt at 9:26 AM on December 22, 2021

Response by poster: Got it. Failing Malwarebytes update. Normal functioning returned after turning it off. Thanks to Kadin for pointing to upload failure as a possibility.
posted by SemiSalt at 10:38 AM on December 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

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