My computer has been getting incrementally slower

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by Andlabs, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. Andlabs

    Andlabs

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    Writing my own MD/Genesis sound driver :D
    The most I can remember is that for the past few months I thought it was just that I couldn't run MAME for too long a period of time before it started to slow everything down horribly but over the past couple of weeks every other thing on my system has started to show the same problem: I can run any emulator, or IDA in wine, or YouTube videos, and within a very short period of time my computer would start slowing down horribly and I would need to stop doing any of that for some time before I could continue. More and more programs became inflicted by this over time and I have no idea what is going on. In fact, for the longest time, I thought Gens/GS was immune, but now that's no longer the case.

    Dell Precision M6400 from 2009 running Linux Mint 13 64-bit
    Intel Core 2 Duo T9800, 2.93GHz
    4GB RAM
    graphics card: nVidia Quadro FX 2700M; I used both Nouveau and the official nVidia driver and noticed no difference

    Can someone help me figure out what the hell is going on? Thanks.
     
  2. dsrb

    dsrb

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    Since this would seem self-evident as a diagnostic method, should we assume you've already checked CPU consumption, running processes and so forth using Task Manager, Process Monitor, etc. and are unable to pinpoint any culprit(s)?
     
  3. Andlabs

    Andlabs

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    Writing my own MD/Genesis sound driver :D
    Tried that; I determiend that though the emulators and Firefox do eat up much of the CPU when they run, so do kwin (the KDE compositor, which I use for screen magnification) and pulseaudio... so I'm not entirely sure what's going on.

    Oh something I also forgot to mention: I remember we did try to do a fan cleanup some months ago and found tha the fan wasn't dusty? Either we did it wrong or the fan has only now gotten dusty and I would need to try again...
     
  4. Thousand Pancake

    Thousand Pancake

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    Just a wild guess, but maybe you have malware on your system?
     
  5. Lanzer

    Lanzer

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    Uh, guys?:
    http://forums.sonicretro.org/index.php?showtopic=30962

    We have a general PC help topic now.
     
  6. dsrb

    dsrb

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    Which people can use if they want to. I don't see any rule that they have to.

    As for the question at hand, sorry, I wouldn't know what might cause this; I haven't read about anything similar, and the fact that you're using Linux makes me even less qualified to guess (I'd like to get into Linux, but I don't really have the time to experiment with computers nowadays).
     
  7. Midway the Echidna

    Midway the Echidna

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    Eggh, I can't hold my last trial post back forever and just ignore everything! Here's a little bit of help...

    Thanks for putting word out, Lanzer but I only advertised hardware help, and this is more of a software issue. Maybe someone else will make a general software help thread. Although I'm much better with Windows problems, I can still help with this...

    I find it most likely that from all of the ROM files and other downloads from suspicious sites (I say this because I've had to reboot many times because of sites that bomb me with malware), a couple finally got you with malware as Thousand Pancake said. I know paying for antivirus software sucks, but whether you use Mac, Linux, or Windows, some form of protection goes a long way. In the meantime, it sounds as though you can eliminate most of your problems by doing a few things...

    1. Remove ALL of the add-ons in your browser.

    2. Completely remove Firefox from your system, then reinstall it. This should get rid of add-ons that bog your performance down. I suggest reinstallation because a lot of add-ons are bugged to be impossible to manually remove. I think you do this in Linux by going into the terminal (ctrl + alt + t), navigate to the folder it's installed in using "cd (directory name)" until you're in the right folder, then type "sudo apt-get remove (name of program)".

    3. Manually sweep your hard drive by hand, and look for files that you don't want. I'm sure you can free up RAM consumption and CPU resource usage by eliminating some thing you have no use for, and you might even find those suspicious files that most likely contain malware. Use the same commands in the Linux terminal mentioned in #2 to accomplish this.

    3. If all else fails, I would ultimately recommend a clean reboot. It's a pain in the neck to use the metaphorical nuke, but the only thing you'll really miss is all of the saved bookmarks and passwords. You could back up your ROM files and emulators on a flash drive so you don't have to go back to all of those questionable websites since the virus is rarely part of the ROM's binary code. Usually, the virus comes attached as a separate file, so you can reduce your risk of viruses by backing them up so you don't have to revisit bad websites. I reboot every year, and I back-up important files to disk, and I never experience any issues.

    And that's my last trial post. Since I lose the ability to edit, I'm counting on someone else to correct any mistakes I make for a while now...

    Contact crazyoldeulenspiegel on skype if none of these suggestions work, or you're having trouble uninstalling things...
     
  8. Andlabs

    Andlabs

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    Writing my own MD/Genesis sound driver :D
    Resurrecting.

    No there is no virus issue because I'm on Linux; no it's not Firefox because the slowdown happens even when Firefox is not running. I verify all my ROMs against both no-intro and MAME anyway (and have written programs to do so).

    I just tried dusting the fans with compressed air again, again to no avail.

    This is now affecting all emulators, music making programs (or at least just FamiTracker, maybe also MilkyTracker but the effect is more subtle), and IDA.

    What are my next troubleshooting steps? Thanks.
     
  9. winterhell

    winterhell

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    Is it the HDD getting full of bad sectors? Or if its on FAT32 it might be seriously fragmented. As the HDD is the slowest part of any computer I'd first look there. Did you try a clean install of Windows (no need for formatting) ?

    A laptop can get slow regardless of viruses. My father has a "magic touch" for these things, and its not very clear what is he doing wrong with the machine.
     
  10. When the system slows down, what does running "free -m" show in the terminal?

    Also have you tried doing the memtest boot option to make sure your RAM is running good.
     
  11. Chilly Willy

    Chilly Willy

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    Some systems have cpu frequency control, but it's kinda "experimental" for many systems in linux. You might check your power saver settings in the system settings and see if it's trying to throttle the cpu. I had a laptop that was being throttled to death until I turned off the cpu freq control in the power saver settings.
     
  12. Andlabs

    Andlabs

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    Writing my own MD/Genesis sound driver :D
    I can run memtest86 later; here's free -m output:
    Code (Text):
    1.              total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
    2. Mem:          3943       3614        329          0        151       1153
    3. -/+ buffers/cache:       2309       1633
    4. Swap:         4082        595       3487
    However I think the CPU performance thing showed me what happens: the CPU is throttled to 1.6Ghz due to overheating, and will do this even if I force the CPU to run at max frequency (set userspace governor and force a frequency). GerbilSoft suggested cleaning and reapplying thermal paste between the CPU and heatsink. I won't be able to do that for at least a few days, so until then, thanks again.
     
  13. Whenever I used older computers and they start swapping to disk everything came to a crawl. I believe this could also be your problem (as well as the cpu problem) due to the fact that 595 MB had been written to the swap file. As a comparison try running that "free" command right after boot, then after some time passed and then finally when it slows down. You will probably notice that when it slows down, its using the swap.

    Anyway you can safely turn off swap by running "sudo swapoff -a" in a terminal. This will only shut it off for that session and is not permenant. This might help your PC slowing down due to not swapping anymore.

    Here is some more info on swap.
     
  14. Andlabs

    Andlabs

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    Writing my own MD/Genesis sound driver :D
    FIXED!!!!! Did the CPU thermal paste replacement yesterday and found a crapton of dust in the chasis where the fans are! Things seem to be working at full speed again (at least bsnes does not slow down instantly and runs at full speed again, for instance). Thanks a lot [​IMG]