Why does Windows 7 64-bit stop responding?

By ejames6342 ·
I have a Dell Inspiron 1545 T4200 at 200 Ghz with 3 GB RAM as well as a 2 GB USB key using Ready Boost. I also have 1.3 terrabytes of space in two external hard drives.

After doing a clean install of Windows 7 64-bit I've noticed an annoying problem. About five or more times an hour my PC will stop responding for a few seconds and then it works fine. I just wait 5 or 10 seconds and it is okay. I've noticed that if I don't want to wait I can start task manager and everything immediately unfreezes. It is like a pregnant pause which is kind of annoying.

On a daily basis I scan for viruses, defrag my hard drive and run Glary utilities. I have upgraded to all 64-bit applications where available and I don't run any applications that are not compatible with Windows 7. I've checked the memory for seven passes and it is okay. I have 150 MB left on my c: drive so disk cache space is not a problem. I also ran the windows system file checker and all is fine. All of my drivers are native Windows 7 64-bit drivers and Windows update is run daily.

I can't figure out what is causing this problem. I had no problem with this computer running Vista 32-bit. I would greatly appreciate some ideas here, even if they are only suggestions and not THE solution.



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What is the Power Saving set to?

by OH Smeg In reply to Why does Windows 7 64-bit ...

If the system is attempting to go into Hibernation it's going to take some time to start again. While not long it is still a lag.


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My Power Settings

by ejames6342 In reply to What is the Power Saving ...

The power settings are set for high performance and to never turn off either in battery mode or power mode.

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RE "..with 3 MB RAM as well as a 2 MG USB. .Ready Boost"

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Why does Windows 7 64-bit ...

I'm a little concerned as to which abbreviations you're using here. I'm assuming that by "3 MB" you actually mean 3 GB and that "2 MG" actually means 2 GB.

So you are actually running Windows 7 64-bit with THREE GIGABYTES of system RAM, supplementing that with a USB ReadyBoost of TWO GIGABYTES.

According to Microsoft's own specification, ReadyBoost should be employed to act within set parameters. These parameters range between 1:1 up to 2.5:1 meaning that the ReadyBoost should at least match the system RAM going up to two and a half times system RAM.

If your system RAM was 1GB you could employ ReadyBoost of between 1GB up to 2.5GB.

Therefore with THREE GIGABYTES of system RAM, you ought to have AT LEAST THREE GIGABYTES of ReadyBoost. - You don't.

I'd take a stab in the dark and suggest that the imbalance between system RAM and ReadyBoost is what's causing the intermittent slowdowns because the system is expecting RAM to be present within the ReadyBoost but when it can't find it, it has to commit to system RAM which requires a sudden shift through the Pagefile, shifting data in the process.

I'd also be interested to know how your 3GB of system RAM is configured because there's not any formulation of RAM sticks that I can think of that would allow you to get the benefit of dual channel RAM, if you only have 3GB (you ought to have 4GB made up of 2 matching sticks of 2GB each AT LEAST).

Try running your system for a couple of hours WITHOUT the Ready Boost USB stick inserted. It'll run slightly slower overall but if it doesn't stop intermittently - there's your answer.

Edited for layout.

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No edit for layout necessary

by santeewelding In reply to RE "..with 3 MB RAM as we ...

Your cogency was native.

Led through it, I am the better.

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Memory Configuration

by ejames6342 In reply to RE "..with 3 MB RAM as we ...

Yes, I did mean 3 GB of RAM and 2 GB USB key. Sorry about that, I've changed it in my post.

This Dell came from the factory configured with one 1 GB stick and one 2 GB stick. I've been thinking about replacing the 1 GB stick with a 2 GB stick for a total of 4 GB. Although Microsoft Windows 7 says that it can run on 1 GB, so I'm not sure if I should spend the money for a memory upgrade, even though it is cheap to do.

Thanks for the information about Ready Boost. I'll take the USB key out and see if that is the problem. I'll let you know.

I was also wondering if this computer can handle more than 4 GB of RAM since it is running 64-bit Windows 7. The manual says that it can support only up to 4 GB but that I think is because it was originally configured with Vista Home Premium 32-bit. I'd really like to have 8 GB in two 4 GB sticks of RAM.

Thanks for the help and I'll let you know the results.


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It appears the maximum RAM is going to be 4GB ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Memory Configuration

I've checked quite a few reviews and spec listings for this model and 4GB seems to be listed in all of them. Perhaps because the T4200 has a Pentium Dual Core cpu, whereas the T4300 has a full blown Core2Duo.

Let's see if we can track down the cause of the intermittent interruptions first - it might just be the slightly mis-matched Ready Boost.

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Ready Boost Doesn't Seem to be the Problem

by ejames6342 In reply to It appears the maximum RA ...

Well, I removed the USB key and it was still not responding only it was much worse. It would stop responding for about 15-20 seconds whereas before it was only for 3-5 seconds. Therefore, I reinserted the USB key and used it under the Windows recommended usage of dedicating 1805 MB for optimal performance.

I also have Tuneup Utilities 2010 running with the "live optimization" feature turned on which is supposed to optimize memory on the fly, when needed, and "turbo mode" which is supposed to help with response time.

I turned both of these off and tried it with and without the USB key and still the same non-responding issue. It was much worse with these two things off too, so I re-enabled them.

Anything else you can think of, I would greatly appreciate hearing!



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Perhaps you could check your Pagefile ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Ready Boost Doesn't Seem ...

There is always the possibility that the inclusion of the Ready Boost into the mix, perhaps altered the size of the Pagefile (usually between 1.5 - 2.0 times the size of available RAM).

If your Pagefile is 1.5 times 5GB and then you remove 2GB (or thereabouts) from the available RAM, the system might object. To be perfectly honest other than the theory of the principle, I've never so much as touched a machine with Ready Boost - I've usually just upped the system RAM internally.

Where did you find the reference for "the Windows recommended usage of dedicating 1805 MB for optimal performance" - that doesn't bring it anywhere near the Microsoft factor of 1:1 - 2.5:1?

As for TuneUp Utilities 2010, I've not heard of it until now. What is reported by the Trouble-Shooting utilities within this very pack? Do they detect anything wrong with your system?

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Setting Up the USB Key for Ready Boost

by ejames6342 In reply to Perhaps you could check y ...

When I go and select the USB Key to use Ready Boost there is a statement below that says that "While the device is being used for system speed, the reserved space will not be available for file storage.

Windows recommends reserving 1805 MB for optimal performance."

Tuneup Utilities says "System Status is optimized. Computer's performance is fully optimized. No problems have been detected."

It scans my disks each day for hard drive errors and has never found any.

In the help file for changing the size of virtual memory it says

"If you receive warnings that your virtual memory is low, you'll need to increase the minimum size of your paging file. Windows sets the initial minimum size of the paging file equal to the amount of random access memory (RAM) installed on your computer plus 300 megabytes (MB), and the maximum size equal to three times the amount of RAM installed on your computer. If you see warnings at these recommended levels, then increase the minimum and maximum sizes."

I have received no warnings but it says that "the total paging file of all drives is 3032 MB."

Any ideas?


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A couple of points ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Setting Up the USB Key fo ...

Firstly, is this Ready Boost being provided by a thumb drive that is designed for use as Ready Boost? Does it actually have a legend on it to say it is suitable? Thumb drives that are suitable for Ready Boost generally have a closer-packed format and are slightly faster within themselves (they'll never be as fast as internal RAM due to the limitations of USB 2.0 but they're faster than standard thumb drives).

Second - This "help file for changing the size of virtual memory" - is this the Windows help file or are you getting this from your TuneUp program? Either way, I don't agree with what it is telling you. Any Pagefile that has a variance between the Minimum and the Maximum means that the size of the Pagefile varies throughout each session, expanding and contracting as required. This can result in the Pagefile getting broken up and becoming fragmented.

For maximum stability I always set the 'Minimum' and the 'Maximum' to the same figure (2x total RAM). That way there is a permanent area on the hard drive that is allocated for the Pagefile and it tends to prevent the Pagefile from becoming fragmented. The problem with a fragmented Pagefile is that you cannot defragment it while the system is running, because the system is using it (and you can't defragment a file while it is in use). This requires that you defrag it at BOOT, before it has become occupied and not all defragmentation programs are capable of this procedure.

I'd go into the Pagefile and set the Minimum and the Maximum to the same figure of 6144MB clicking out of the set-up screen THEN REBOOT.

I'm just wondering - WHEN did this slowdown begin? Is there anything that you did to the system just BEFORE you noticed the stuttering happening?

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