What could cause a laptop to suddenly become so slow it it can't even open the start menu?

HappyTorrent

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Nov 8, 2016
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I have been given the task of fixing a laptop for a family friend. They said that it had trouble connecting to the web, so I originally thought it was the operating system being out of date, but it runs Windows 7 Enterprise. So I decide to take a deeper look at it, until well, it wouldn't do anything. For what ever reason it just completely stalls after about 5 mins of up time. In fact, it stalls so badly that it doesn't even open the Start menu, much less the Ctrl-Alt-Del menu. But when I put it in safe mode it works just fine, barely any software installed, non of which are malicious. The laptop is an HP dv9000 series, not that old. As of this moment I am running a malware detection and removal program in safe mode. If this doesn't work then I may just back up any important files and reinstall Windows. Any idea why it does this?
 

dalauder

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If it still had problems in safe mode, I'd go with hard disk failure. Since that works, you've likely got one of two problems:
1) A driver/hardware conflict.
2) A bad Windows installation

If a computer is having as much trouble as it sounds like you're having, you should probably go ahead and install a fresh copy of Windows. Still, I wouldn't rule out HDD failure. It's VERY common in laptops and causes all sorts of freezes and hang ups.
 

ktolo

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I agree with Dalauder above.

Also try scanning for Rootkits.

This sounds similar to a laptop i fixed for a friend. It had a rootkit on it.
 

HappyTorrent

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Yeah, I know how bad HDD failure is, I have a Dell Inspiron 2200 from 2005 with its original 30GB HDD. It's starting to fail and the laptop ends up hanging and freezing up from time to time. But the laptop I'm working has a HDD in great condition (I believe it was replaced sometime last year) and the PC doesn't just hang and then continue as normal like my Dell does, it actually just hangs and doesn't recover.
 

HappyTorrent

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Hmm, I'll look into it.

 

dalauder

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If it's a Rootkit, reinstalling Windows is the fastest way to get rid of it. You're done in under an hour.

A new hard drive can fail in a laptop. It only takes dropping it wrong from 1 foot once.

Have you tried different types of safe mode? If the network card is failing, then the "Safe Mode with Networking" might have problems. Try booting to Windows and selectively disabling devices or uninstalling drivers.

Once again, this is slower than reinstalling Windows, which also rules out everything except for hardware failure (even rules out most driver problems).
 

HappyTorrent

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The safe mode with networking works just fine, it's actually what I have been running the malware detection and removal program in. Also how I had downloaded it. If the malware detection and removal doesn't yield any results then I will be reinstalling Windows.
 
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