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Old 04-01-2015, 10:17 AM   #21
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Like I said, check your processes - see what the space hog is. It may be something running through svchost (which then becomes a PITA to find).
It would not hurt to start here (Support | Dell US) and check with Dell chat or phone support if you still have any coverage.
Check for new drivers; the video driver would be the first I'd go after if there is one - but update things one at a time.
There are quite a few viruses (trojans especially) that hide from task manager and Glary. Rebooting into safe mode and running ComboFix may be a really good direction to go as well. You are at the lower end of RAM for a business laptop but for a home user it should be enough, assuming no malware or bloatware is maxing the resources out.
(If you are particularly savvy you could check the size of your swap file. I have yet to pursue it on an 8.1 install, but had to under XP, Vista, and 7.)
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Old 04-01-2015, 10:35 AM   #22
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I would also take a look at how long it's been since you rebooted last, and what programs you've been running prior to the issue presenting itself.

6g of RAM is good, unless you do a lot of Microsoft Office computing. All of the Office programs, and well Microsoft programs in general "leak memory" like a sieve. Just because you've closed the program down, Windows keeps a portion of the program open in the background to enable faster load times in case you decide you weren't really done with it after-all.

You should also look at cleaning your cache and browser history regularly to keep things running smooth online.

Check your start up menu and disable all of the "junk" that loads automatically when you start your computer. Much of it is bloat and consumes memory and system resources unnecessarily.

Aside from all of that - it's a Dell. I firmly believe that Dell's consumer product line is garbage. I've owned (either personally or through work) roughly 10 Dell laptops over the years and I've only ever been pleased with the performance of 1 of them.
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Old 04-01-2015, 12:23 PM   #23
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Arfbee, will try booting in safe mode and running ComboFix to see if that helps.

cdangel0, I shut the pc down every evening and reboot the next morning when I begin using it. I will try cleaning my browser history to see if that is any help.

Thanks for the suggestions.
Tom
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Old 04-01-2015, 09:44 PM   #24
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howdy,

I have a wee bit of IT experience as well. While defeat gong your drive is good it doesn't hit your registry data or hive files. It can't because those files are in active use when you're logged in. If you're feeling adventurous go to microsofts site and search for defragment hive files and windows 8.1. The utility they provide is designed to run in safe mode but their instructions are good regarding how to use the utility. They should be. WinUtils wrote them before Microsoft bought them out ;-).

If your drive has a second partition consider moving your swap off of the system partition. Doing this will help keep swap from becoming fragmented while in use should your system use it.

I agree with the other people suggesting a control alt delete and a look for the bad process. Also look at memory and processor utilization. If they are pegged along with the hard drive then yes, you are hitting swap and running out of resources. Consider opening a command line and running MSConfig if windows 8 still has it. That tool will show you what is running at startup and consuming resources. Manufacturers are really good at loading up garbage In an attempt to guess what will make you happy. Leave anything that says Microsoft or system in its title alone and experiment with turning off everything else. If you want something back you can always turn it back on or start it manually.

It may be as simple as a printer application killing your system because it can't find its printer spooler will show up as an active process and killing the printer app in the toolbar should free the drive.

However most folks aren't that lucky. You didn't say when these freezes happen. Are they random? Only when you're online? Do they happen when you try to wake up your system?

If they happen when you try to wake up your system consider turning off power saving options in the BIOS. If you don't know what the BIOS is or how to access it then take your laptop in for service. You can cause all kinds of headaches messing around in there. Also look for a BIOS update on Dells site. Their update utility is easy to use so don't be afraid to try a bios update if the update release notes deal with power savings or compatibility issues.
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Old 04-01-2015, 09:48 PM   #25
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One more thing. If your system uses a built in video chip instead of a dedicated video card consider going into your video options and turning off the pretty options. This won't solve your current issue but it will free up cup and memory for other things.
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Old 04-02-2015, 08:52 AM   #26
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Happy,
the freeze ups happen at random times when I am on-line. When I look at the processes that are running, I don't see anything that stands out as memory hog. The only thing that is pegged at 100% is the disk drive. I have run seatools and that tells me that there are no problems with the hard drive. I will look into defragging the hive files.
Thanks for the help.
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Old 04-02-2015, 09:24 AM   #27
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This laptop should be under Dell warranty at 8 months, I would contact them. Logmein or some such remote access program they can see what is going on and fix it. I have a Dell that has a 3 year parts 2 year labour warranty, removing MacAfee fixed the slowness.

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Old 04-02-2015, 12:08 PM   #28
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Before making any changes I would recommend booting into safe mode with networking. That shuts down everything except the bare minimum operations. It's a way to figure out if the issue is hardware / driver related or software / application related. Run the laptop in that mode for at least a few days to see if it freezes. If it does then a BIOS or networking driver update would be the next step. If the computer doesn't freeze then the next thing to check are applications related to networking. go to add/remove programs and look for applications that you don't recognize or use. Put them on your list for removal. However, before you remove anything Google each app to see what it does. If it comes back as a useful app consider keeping it. If it comes back as adware / malware / assistance app that does something you don't need then consider removing it. Mark anything off of your list that your DON'T remove and keep the list of removed applications. If something goes wrong post removal you may need to restore the application from your Dell restore disk. Expect to reboot the box a few times during the removals and if prompted, make sure you reboot before continuing. If you're using a third party web browser consider removing and reinstalling it.

If your issues persist go back into safe mode and repeat you test to make sure that the laptop still doesn't freeze. If it doesn't then reboot and try installing a third party web browser like Google Chrome or FireFox. If when using the third party application the freezing stops then you have a version conflict or corruption within your system files that is impacting Windows Explorer and potentially your local system browser. You may need to reinstall your service pack or revert back to 8.0. Additional research would be needed before making that move though.
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Old 04-02-2015, 02:15 PM   #29
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try installing a third party web browser like Google Chrome or FireFox.
This is good advice for anyone. IE is horrible.
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Old 04-02-2015, 05:05 PM   #30
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I use google chrome and ie. Problem happens with both browsers.
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:38 AM   #31
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I just found out that my wireless router didn't have the encryption turned on and I was running on an open network. I run superantispyware and malware bytes every night and I normally doesn't find anything. I am worried that maybe someone saw that my network was open and installed something malicious on my machine. Is there anything that will root out a trojan or other malicious software (like key tracking)?
Would resetting the machine back to factory settings (like it was a brand new machine just out of the factory) remove anything malicious?
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 04-19-2015, 10:16 AM   #32
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Was it password protected with a good password? (At least 8 characters including numbers, capital letters, and special character?) If so, you're probably okay.

A few tips for security a wifi router:

-Never use the default name (SSID)...like Linksys or Cisco...that just helps hackers with knowing how to attack it...rename it something else that you make up.

-Always change the default password that comes preset with one that's at least 8 chars (see above) I like pass phrases that a dictionary attack wouldn't be able to find...like an animal name and it's age, "MyDogSp0tis8!"

-In the encryption, always use WPA2 if it's available...(WEP is the worst) If no WPA2, anything other than WEP is best. (Most don't even have WEP anymore.)

If you're worried about something already being on there, just make sure you're antivirus is updated and then run a FULL check on your system. (My favorite is Norton antivirus.) That should find anything malicious that is on there.
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Old 04-19-2015, 10:36 AM   #33
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I just found out that my wireless router didn't have the encryption turned on and I was running on an open network. I run superantispyware and malware bytes every night and I normally doesn't find anything. I am worried that maybe someone saw that my network was open and installed something malicious on my machine. Is there anything that will root out a trojan or other malicious software (like key tracking)?
Would resetting the machine back to factory settings (like it was a brand new machine just out of the factory) remove anything malicious?
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
ColoradoRick's suggestions are excellent. I'd add that by running on an unencrypted wifi network, the bigger concern is that whatever you were doing online was "visible" to someone within range of your wifi signal. There are programs that can capture the data packets between your laptop and wifi router, and if you had logged into sites with a password, or entered your credit card info, there is the potential that someone could have captured that info. If you are concerned, the safest thing would be to get yourself on a secure network by enabling the encryption, and then changing passwords for any sites you've accessed such as email, banks, online shopping, etc.
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Old 04-19-2015, 10:36 AM   #34
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That sounds like a good start Tmmar.
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Old 04-19-2015, 12:14 PM   #35
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I am on a secured network, it just seems that the security got turned off somehow. It was set to WPA2 and now I reset it and it is again WPA2. I just changed my passwords. Ran malwarebytes and superantispyware and nothing came up. I am currently running mcafee and will be going to Kapersky soon. Don't know what else I can do to protect myself. Hopefully this will take care of any holes in the system.
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Old 04-19-2015, 12:31 PM   #36
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Maybe call Dell, might be a hardware failure causing low speeds.
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Old 04-19-2015, 12:33 PM   #37
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I am on a secured network, it just seems that the security got turned off somehow. It was set to WPA2 and now I reset it and it is again WPA2. I just changed my passwords. Ran malwarebytes and superantispyware and nothing came up. I am currently running mcafee and will be going to Kapersky soon. Don't know what else I can do to protect myself. Hopefully this will take care of any holes in the system.

You should be fine, now. And, if it were me, I wouldn't change all my passwords on financial sites I've visited because they all use https (port 443) which is encrypted on the banking end and decrypted on your computer...so sniffers can't get any of the data, even on an unencrypted WIFI.

But it is a good practice to change your passwords at least every six months...on everything. (I change them all every 90 days.)
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Old 04-19-2015, 12:37 PM   #38
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I think you've done a good job with what you've already done. Be sure not to have two antivirus programs loaded and running at the same time. They will fight with each other. Having several malware/spyware scanning programs is fine.
The majority of problems people have with picking up viruses and malware are self-inflicted - opening infected email attachments, clicking on poisoned links, getting tricked by clicking on fake pop up messages (your hard drive has problems, click here to fix), and things like that. The chances of someone at a campground hopping on your unencrypted wifi router, and then pushing malware to your system is very, very, very slim. The risk there is more as I said previously - someone could snoop on what you're doing when running unencrypted.
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Old 04-19-2015, 01:34 PM   #39
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DK,
when I am doing anything financial at a campground I use my mifi. If I am just looking at emails I may use the campground wifi.
Tom
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