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I develop statistical software for internal use that runs on Windows 7, and one of my biggest productivity killers is sluggish response from the GUI. Not only does this waste time, but it becomes very frustrating, sends my stress levels through the roof, and leaves me feeling worn out. Some of the main sources of sluggishness I encounter are these:

  • Opening up Excel files when I need a quick look at some data.

  • The machine suddenly starts doing lots of disk accesses, and continues doing so for maybe 10 to 15 minutes. I've used Task Manager and Resource Monitor to try to identify the offender, to no avail. (Damnit, Jim, I'm a developer, not a system administrator!)

What are your recommendations for ensuring the greatest possible responsiveness from my Windows 7 system?

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closed as off-topic by Gruber, AsheeshR, Raystafarian, Dennis S., Rory Alsop Mar 26 '14 at 22:38

  • This question does not appear to be about personal productivity within the scope defined in the help center.
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How processor intensive is your statistical software ? What does it do ? Maybe that software is what killing your memory. – vikramjb Mar 26 '14 at 5:50
We really need more details on hardware specs, software specs, resource management if we are to help. That being said, I'm not sure if this is on topic for this SE site. – Raystafarian Mar 26 '14 at 9:13
This question appears to be off-topic. It belongs on another site in the SE network. – Gruber Mar 26 '14 at 11:10
It would be closed as off-topic too broad in SuperUser. – Raystafarian Mar 26 '14 at 13:20

How much RAM does your computer have? Is it sufficient to store the entire excel file in memory?

When you say the machine does a lot of disk accesses, it could indicate that your RAM is filled up, and the computer is using a pagefile (using the hard drive as a swap space for running applications).

Possible wins without knowing the actual cause:

  • Don't run too many applications at the same time. You may not be the one running them - it might be background software doing it automatically.
  • Anti-virus software might be scanning in the background, this uses processor speed and disk I/O. Perhaps schedule this for a different time to when you are not actively using the computer
  • Are you running anything else that uses I/O? This can include downloads, playing music. Try exiting these.

My points are mainly targeting I/O as the culprit. There may be other reasons such as functions in the spreadsheet all having to be evaluated when you open it, which would be a processing bottleneck.

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  • add RAM
  • switch to an SSD if you're on a traditional hard disk
  • plug in an SD card or Flash drive and try ReadyBoost


  • inspect msconfig and remove any superficial tasks (e.g. iTunes helpers)
  • also have a look at Services and do the same
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I find Ccleaner does a very good job of clearing out the rubbish and let's me manage the startup programs and services well.

It's free to download from here:

Also, most anti-virus software is notoriously hoggy. If you have Norton or similar, uninstall and try Microsoft Security Essentials instead.

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