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Windows 7: When I have a LOT of stuff open, system's slow, don't understand

06 Jul 2013   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
When I have a LOT of stuff open, system's slow, don't understand

I have a lot of stuff open and my computer's running slow, but I can't figure out why.

OK, wait, I'm not quite sure you understood when I said "a lot of stuff open". 11 IE tabs. 50 Explorer folders. 50 Excel files (in separate instances of Excel.) 3 Adobe Acrobat PDF's. 10 Command Lines. 40 Chrome's come down when I click on Chrome on the taskbar - probably 200 total open tabs. Photoshop CS6. Few notepads and calculators.

OH, and Task Manager is open. CPU usage stays around 20%, physical memory around 59%. Resource manager shows about 40KB/sec total read/write to my SSD drive, so basically nothing. < 1% network utilization. See second image on this post for the performance tab.

When I get to this point (where I feel that my disorganization on my desk has replicated itself in my computer's RAM) I sometimes reach a point where things don't work right until I close some things. But, I'm no where near out of memory or CPU time. There's not a backlog on hard drive activity. Nothing's See the attached picture - sometimes things don't get rendered on my monitor right. If I close a webpage or two, the graphics weirdness goes away.

It's like I'm out of memory, when I'm not.

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit. Intel Core i7 860 (2.8GHz, 8 logical cores shown in task manager.) 16GB memory.

At least it's stable. I'm able to abuse it like this, and it stays up for a month before I tend to reboot.

OK, so the solution is to close some stuff. Ignoring that :) what's the technical reason why it acts like this? It happened on previous hard drives with a different install, and on different computers. It's like there's some hidden resource that I hit when I'm pushing the computer this high.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jul 2013   #2


I'd say that it's just that you're asking too much of it. I mean damn, you have 288 processes open. So, you could have software conflicts, or too many programs demanding the CPU's attention simultaneously. Ample memory or not, this is going to happen when you have this many programs and processes running. I mean, look at your first Task Manager screenshot: it can barely get rendered properly.

In other words, you don't have a super computer. You only have one physical CPU and you're asking it to do all of this. Yes, I know that it has 4 physical cores and hyperthreading, but still. Don't get me wrong, I see that it's not at 100% CPU load, but that sometimes doesn't mean anything when you have this many things open.

Why do you have this many programs and processes running? Do you need them open, or are you just testing your computer?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jul 2013   #3
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

I guess PCs are not designed for chaos.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

06 Jul 2013   #4

Win 7 Pro 64-bit 7601

That's a fair question. You have 16 GB of RAM. You likely bought so much ram to be able to do stunts like these.

It's like I'm out of memory, when I'm not.
Two main possible reasons. I have no idea of how to have proofs of either being your case, but hey. Worth a shot.
First: CPU and RAM talk through a connection that has limited bandwith. If too much stuff is open you eventually saturate this bandwidth, or get too high for comfortable use.

Second: CPU has internal memories called "cache" (up to three levels I think), these caches are supposed to keep useful code from programs close to the CPU so it does not have to wait for stuff to be moved from RAM.
With the ridiculous amount if multitasking you are making, these caches are probably overloaded and their effectiveness decreases considerably.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jul 2013   #5
Microsoft MVP


I also like to use hibernate in place of Shutdown for its convenience and find it needs fairly regular reboots to clear itself. In fact it seems to resolve any issues I have. So I'd consider that, too.

Otherwise since you're a tech enthusiast go over your install closely using the Troubleshooting Steps for Windows 7.

Compare the install you have to the perfect install compiled from helping with tens of thousands of them here in Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7 - same for retail.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jul 2013   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate Retail Box (64-bit installed) + Service Pack 1

Likely victim of apps' memory leakage (taking and not giving it back) if not rebooting often.

Reboot more frequently than once a month, that's not exactly a high end superbly robust CPU any more either, 4 cores, not 8, 8 threads though 2 per core.

ARK | Intel® Core
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jul 2013   #7


Oh wow, yeah I missed the fact that rebooting is done less than once a month.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jul 2013   #8

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit

Likely victim of apps' memory leakage (taking and not giving it back) if not rebooting often.
Not in any NT class OS.

A process can only leak memory while it is running. When a process terminates all memory will be returned to the system. This is guaranteed by the memory manager. There are some exceptions but they are of no real significance.

It seems highly unlikely that a lack of memory is the problem. It is certainly being used but there is still more than 6 GB available. The commit charge is well under the limit so that isn't the problem either. I suspect that the problem is exhaustion of the desktop heap. I believe the size of the desktop heap can be increased by a setting in the registry but isn't normally recommended.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Jul 2013   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate Retail Box (64-bit installed) + Service Pack 1

He's rebooting rarely is key.

Memory manager guarantees no memory leaks, what fantasy world was that paperwork signed in blood in?

The whole point was memory leaking while on over time, actual memory chips leaking, that is far scarier INDEED!

Not rebooting is a performance hit to Windows over time, that I would guarantee with my own blood.
I think a pin or two has got mine on my motherboard somewhere.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Jul 2013   #10
Layback Bear

Windows 10 Pro. 64/ version 1709 Windows 7 Pro/64

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
I guess PCs are not designed for chaos.
That says it all.
I would post more but I'm sure the rules of this forum don't allow posting what my thoughts are be on those 4 words.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 When I have a LOT of stuff open, system's slow, don't understand

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