I’ve heard it called “bit rot.” There is a tendency for Windows machines to slow down after a while. When you first purchase your computer it is nice, new, and pretty fast. Then, as you add programs, remove programs, load updates, and use it, slowly, but surely, the computer that seemed so fast is…well…slowing down. Not only that, but from time to time it does ‘odd’ things.
That’s where I found myself. Each day ended up being an excise in frustration. Programs would take a long time to load. Every time I put my laptop into sleep or hibernate mode it would crash (and reboot) when I tried to wake it up (I do the same things when awaken though…hmmm….). When I would shut it down or reboot it, it would take about 5 minutes (I timed it) or longer to get to a state where I could finally use it. I wouldn’t even be surprised if there were times when it took 10 minutes to reboot! Not fun at all.
The only solution I know to bit rot is to wipe everything clean, reinstall the OS and start from scratch. It is amazing how fast your computer runs when you do this. Of course, this is a last resort. The first thing is to try to uninstall what you don’t need, go into msconfig.exe and take out all the junk that is loading on start up (that you don’t use anymore) or some other less drastic solution.
I had tried everything and came to the conclusion I need a fresh start. So, after backing up all my important files, I took the plunge, ran the recovery program, had it reformat, reinstall, etc. Now I have a laptop that feels like it should! Of course I’m going to be spending hours reinstalling all the software and such, but at least the laptop is running faster now!
I don’t suggest this because it takes a while getting your system back to where you want it. Although, if you are moving to ‘cloud computing’ and putting a lot of your stuff online and using online services (Gmail, Google calendar, flickr, etc), there are a less programs to re-install. Just make sure you know what your passwords are, you’ve backed up your data directories and have thought through what programs you will need (making sure you have your registration numbers) before wiping your hard drive! If everything goes well, when it is all over, your PC is running as if you just brought it home…now it’s time to gunk it up again.