Inexplicably sluggish laptop out of nowhere?

Aug 19, 2018
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So recently I've been having an issue with my Lenovo laptop when trying to do basically anything with my computer. My laptop has done just as fine in the past as you would expect from an HDD. Reasonable load times, nothing noticeable. However, I went away for a week or so and came back to discover that booting up takes twice as long as it used to. Upon logging in my desktop takes close to a minute before anything is responsive enough to be usable. Chrome takes a good 15 seconds to be anything more than a plain white window, and new pages can take up to 10 seconds to load fully. Additionally, Rocket League now runs at less than 15 frames at the start of a match before stabilizing around 30, and changing in-game graphics settings does nothing to help. This is compared to the 120+ I've gotten in the past on max settings.

Looking at Task Manager, nothing is ever seriously loaded other than my HDD, and even then it's never maxed for more than a few seconds at a time. Nothing stands out to me as an obvious troublemaker.

I'm a relatively new Windows user, so bear with me. I can't recall changing any settings that would impact my computer like this. I ran a full McAfee deep scan overnight that found nothing. I've disabled McAfee's awful Real-Time Scanning service that I've had issues with in the past. I've maxed out my GPU settings. I don't know what else to try other than re-installing Windows, and I'd like to try to avoid that, if possible.

Part of me is worried that my HDD has been damaged or is failing. This doesn't seem likely as it's barely a year old and I haven't dropped it and have been mindful of it while it's spun up, but some of the symptoms I've looked up seem consistent. I haven't tested it with any software yet, however.

Thanks in advance.

Specs:

Make: Lenovo IdeaPad Y500

CPU: Intel Core i5-7300HQ @ 2.50GHz, Quad-Core

GPU: Intel(R) HD Graphics 630 (Integrated)
AMD Radeon(TM) RX 560 (High-Performance)

Storage: 1 TB generic HDD

Ram: 8GB generic

Let me know if I've forgotten anything.



 

Laptops with Intel + AMD GPUs (since about 5 years ago) work the same way as with Intel + Nvidia. I ran in to the same problem with a 2013 laptop with AMD GPU that came with Windows 8.1. One of Windows' automatic GPU updates broke their combo Intel + AMD GPU drivers (I forget the name for it on the AMD side).

The problem extends far beyond GPU drivers. I'd estimate a third to half the tech support calls I've gotten in the last 2 years or so from the businesses I support are for this problem. Specifically PCs which were running Win 7 but were upgraded to Win 10 to take advantage of Microsoft's free upgrade offer. They'll work fine for a few weeks to a few months. Then I'll get a frantic call at 8:30 in the morning saying the network card or printer or some other piece of hardware has suddenly stopped working. When I investigate, 95% of the time it's because Win 10 auto-updated the driver for the device. It's especially bad for computers upgraded from Win 7 because often they're still using the Win 7 driver for the hardware. And Win 10 seems to assume a generic Win 10 driver is better than a manufacturer-provided Win 7 driver specifically for that piece of hardware. So it'll gleefully replace the working driver with one that doesn't work, just because it's earmarked as a Win 10 driver.
 

COLGeek

Cybernaut
Moderator
Since it was sitting for some time and you weren't using it, is it possible that you have a serious of updates getting applied/downloaded in the background?

Also, try scanning your system with Malwarebytes to see if you have any little nasties slowing things down.

https://www.malwarebytes.com/mwb-download/
 
Aug 19, 2018
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I'll try Malwarebytes, although I'm not sure what it would catch that McAfee wouldn't. As for updates running in the background, I'm reasonably sure that's not an issue between looking at Task Manager and poking around. I'll let you know when Malwarebytes is done.

Edit: This thing is so slow I just accidentally quadruple-posted.
 
Aug 19, 2018
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So I installed Malwarebytes and ran a scan, which proved unfruitful. I was hoping it would find something, but no. I forgot to mention that it's been close to a week since I first discovered the issue (and it's been on for long enough that any lingering updates should have finished).
 
One of the annoying things about Windows 8/10 is that it'll automatically update drivers that are working perfectly fine, and sometimes replace them with drivers it thinks are better but don't actually work. The huge drop in your game FPS suggests the installed video drivers do not work with your Nvidia card, and you are now gaming on the Intel integrated card.

Nvidia Optimus on a laptop is extremely driver-dependent. The Intel GPU always drives the screen. The Nvidia GPU acts as a co-processor. When the Nvidia GPU finishes drawing a frame, the video drivers transfer that frame to the Intel GPU, which displays it. I've had huge problems with Windows 10's updates breaking my ability to use the Nvidia GPU on my laptop.

I would suggest manually downloading the Nvidia and Intel GPU drivers from Lenovo's website for your model laptop. Then disable Internet on the laptop (unplug any Ethernet cable, turn off WiFi). Install the drivers you downloaded, reboot, and see if that takes care of the problem.

If it does, when you re-enable Internet access, Windows will automatically update you to the "better" graphics drivers which don't work on your system. Once it finishes, go into Device Manager, and the properties page for both the Intel and Nvidia GPUs. Go the Driver tab, and click on "Roll Back Driver". That should revert you to the drivers you downloaded that you know work. I believe this is the method Microsoft finally settled on to prevent Win 10 from automatically updating certain drivers, so it shouldn't happen again.

The other possibility I can think of which matches your symptoms is that the heatsink has somehow become dislodged, or the fan is failing. That would lead to the CPU and GPU thermal throttling, producing exactly the symptoms you're describing. A failing HDD would affect load times, but once the game is loaded it should run at the 120+ FPS you were getting before. So your HDD is likely fine.
 
Aug 19, 2018
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How applicable would this be to my AMD card, though? I don't know if you have experience with them or if this is a universal problem in Windows 10 for all manufacturers. I'll rollback the drivers for those two anyway. I'd like to hold off on physically opening up my laptop before I'm sure drivers aren't the problem.

I also don't feel like the laptop is physically too hot in my lap, but maybe it's just me. I'll try rolling back the drivers.

My HDD is nowhere close to full, either. Task Manager has never given me any indication that I'm out of RAM, although I could run a diagnostic. I'll try that after the drivers finish.
 
Aug 19, 2018
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I ran CrystalDiskInfo, which didn't raise any red flags, so I assume I'm good with my HDD. I'm still waiting on drivers to download to this slow, terrible machine.
 

Laptops with Intel + AMD GPUs (since about 5 years ago) work the same way as with Intel + Nvidia. I ran in to the same problem with a 2013 laptop with AMD GPU that came with Windows 8.1. One of Windows' automatic GPU updates broke their combo Intel + AMD GPU drivers (I forget the name for it on the AMD side).

The problem extends far beyond GPU drivers. I'd estimate a third to half the tech support calls I've gotten in the last 2 years or so from the businesses I support are for this problem. Specifically PCs which were running Win 7 but were upgraded to Win 10 to take advantage of Microsoft's free upgrade offer. They'll work fine for a few weeks to a few months. Then I'll get a frantic call at 8:30 in the morning saying the network card or printer or some other piece of hardware has suddenly stopped working. When I investigate, 95% of the time it's because Win 10 auto-updated the driver for the device. It's especially bad for computers upgraded from Win 7 because often they're still using the Win 7 driver for the hardware. And Win 10 seems to assume a generic Win 10 driver is better than a manufacturer-provided Win 7 driver specifically for that piece of hardware. So it'll gleefully replace the working driver with one that doesn't work, just because it's earmarked as a Win 10 driver.
 
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