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Depending on the age of this machine, it is possible that your machine is simply trying to run too much software.

I run Norton Utilities every time I open my laptop. When I clean files, then even if I do it again almost immediately, there are more files to be cleaned!!! When I open my laptop, it says Microsoft Corp and the cursor goes on for about five minutes before opening. Finally, when I use Firefox, it keeps saying I'm using too much CPU and then stops. Any help in speeding my laptop is greatly appreciated.

In this excerpt from Answercast #62, I look at a machine that is slowing down and displaying strange symptoms as it scans for viruses.

Slow machine

Well, I just recently published an article called "Why is my machine slowing down?" that I would certainly point you at right away.

Depending on the age of this kind of a machine, it is possible that your machine is simply trying to run too much software.

Symptoms of overload

If you're automatically running tools like Norton Utilities at start up, well, that's gonna slow down start-up. There's just no way around that.

Files being cleaned up? Well, it depends on the files that are being cleaned up. There are definitely files that will either: return immediately or will actually not be cleaned by the first pass (because they're legitimately in use) and then still reported cleaning up on a second pass.

Find out what's running

With respect to Firefox saying it's using too much CPU, you know what I'm going to suggest you do? I'm going to suggest you go out and grab Process Explorer and find out what program is using all of these resources.

I've got an article on it actually, "How do I find out what program is using all my CPU?" Find out what program that is. It may very well be something that you hadn't considered. Something that could be easily removed or at least a data point for further analysis of exactly what kind of thing is going on here.

Malware check

On top of this, I have to throw out the standard caveats on a system like this. That is - check for malware!

Malware can absolutely do this kind of thing as well. Make sure your anti-malware tools (both anti-virus and anti-spyware) are up to date and have up-to-date databases. Run scans, complete scans with both of them.

Consider running the free scan from as well. Malwarebytes can often find things that other utilities can't.

Deep cleaning

And finally, especially if this is an older machine (which my "spidey sense" says it probably is), it may simply be time for a good old reformat and reinstall.

It's one of those things. For a machine that's been around for a period of time... that stuff happens. We call it software rot. Basically as you add and remove software, as updates are applied, the system just kind-of, sort-of gets unstable.

That's one of those things that reinstalling the operating system from scratch (after of course, backing up completely) will actually help a great deal with. You'll need to reinstall the operating system. Reinstall all of your applications, and then restore all of your data from your backups.

So those are the kinds of things I think about it. Definitely have a look at the article on "Why is this machine slowing down?" There are lots of reasons that it could be happening. Many of them could apply to your situation.

Next from Answercast 62 - Is my browser tracking me?

Article C5928 - October 17, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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