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Anyway to make a HDD faster?

Hi guys, my mom is running a HP convertible laptop, with 8gbs of ram, Intel Core I3-8130U CPU at 2.20 GHz. It's not the best for a good laptop but it works.

 

She also has 1 storage device, a 1TB hard drive. I brought up the mention to get a SSD. But she doesn't want me or anyone to open up the laptop, (also doesn't want to take it to a pc place) to add the SSD. I really want to make this a speedy laptop for her, but she's sorta annoyed at the slowness her HDD is, but is generally happy with the laptop.

 

The thing that worries me is that at times it stays at %100 in taskmanager, just with system utilities to keep Windows operating.

 

Idk what to do-

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Keep it defragged. That is all you can do.

 

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Defragmentation is the only option here. There are filesystems that are proved to work faster on HDDs than the others, but I'm afraid they are not supported by Windows.

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1 minute ago, Eviljuche said:

Defragmentation is the only option here. There are filesystems that are proved to work faster on HDDs than the others, but I'm afraid they are not supported by Windows.

That makes sense, I set her defragmentation to Daily instead of every week. Thank you:)

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Convince her to get SSD. Other than defrag and cutting the bloat in windows, HDDs especially the 2.5 inch 5400 thats common in HP system is going to struggle so hard.

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Configure a fixed page file instead of the dynamic one that's by default in Windows.  Set it big enough, like 32 GB should be fine considering she has only 8 GB of actual RAM.  There should be enough free disk space on that 1 TB hard drive.

 

In Windows 7, you can configure it from Winkey + Pause/Break (Control Panel > System)  > advanced system settings > advanced  Settings > advanced > Change...

Should be about the same in  Windows 10

 

In the picture below, I set the page file on my main boot drive as  fixed 4 GB because it's a small 120 GB SSD. I recommend you set both min and max as the same value, making it a fixed page file. Use GB value x 1024 ... ex 32768 for 32 GB.

 

Reboot so that the page file is recreated as a fixed page file Then defragment the hard drive with a software that's smart enough to move the page file at the beginning of the hard drive, so that the data from page file will always be accessed the fastest, with lowest latency.

I recommend O&O Defrag for this ... you can download a 30 day trial from them... start the defragmentation, it may take a few hours to finish. Once you're done, feel free to uninstall and configure the built in defragmentation tool to periodically defragment the drive.

 

You could probably also improve her experience by going in Services and disabling/setting to Manual some services which run in background that she may use extremely rarely or never, like Windows Search Indexing, which only helps if she uses the search system in windows but otherwise constantly looks on the drive and indexes documents and shit... and there's quite a few services that normally are rarely used by an average person which run by default.

 

image.png.31518e5e8ec5c1704a38d825cd9625bc.png

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If you have more than 4 gb of ram then instead of being automatically managed, Set the swap to 2 gb to prevent too much disk activity, This is the only way to do this since Windows doesn't have the option to set the Swappiness unlike Linux.

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5 minutes ago, WickedThunder86 said:

If you have more than 4 gb of ram then instead of being automatically managed, Set the swap to 2 gb to prevent too much disk activity, This is the only way to do this since Windows doesn't have the option to set the Swappiness unlike Linux.

That's a really bad advice.  The laptop has only 8 GB of memory, which will be filled quite fast by a google chrome with several tabs  and other applications. It needs page file, and there will be instances where there's gonna be probably even more than 8 GB of data written to the page file.

Just because you set the page file to a big size, doesn't mean the operating system will lean towards using the page file. It's a safety net.

 

A small page file won't make the operating system use that page file less, it will just cause problems because some programs may crash when they can't allocate enough memory for their needs

For example, a program may need a continuous area of memory for something, but windows needs to move some stuff from ram to page file to create that continuous space in ram, but windows ran out of page file so it can't give the program that continuous area of free memory so the program gives an error or crashes even though there's still some free memory)

 

 

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Reinstalling windows helps a lot if it hasn't been done in a few years.

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21 minutes ago, mariushm said:

That's a really bad advice.  The laptop has only 8 GB of memory, which will be filled quite fast by a google chrome with several tabs  and other applications. It needs page file, and there will be instances where there's gonna be probably even more than 8 GB of data written to the page file.

Just because you set the page file to a big size, doesn't mean the operating system will lean towards using the page file. It's a safety net.

 

A small page file won't make the operating system use that page file less, it will just cause problems because some programs may crash when they can't allocate enough memory for their needs

For example, a program may need a continuous area of memory for something, but windows needs to move some stuff from ram to page file to create that continuous space in ram, but windows ran out of page file so it can't give the program that continuous area of free memory so the program gives an error or crashes even though there's still some free memory)

 

 

Chrome isn`t Ram hungry as you think. Here`s my resource usage with several chrome Tabs and only 2 gb of RAM and 1gb swap  ( System is still usable)

 

image.png

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2 hours ago, mariushm said:

That's a really bad advice.  The laptop has only 8 GB of memory, which will be filled quite fast by a google chrome with several tabs  and other applications. It needs page file, and there will be instances where there's gonna be probably even more than 8 GB of data written to the page file.

Just because you set the page file to a big size, doesn't mean the operating system will lean towards using the page file. It's a safety net.

 

A small page file won't make the operating system use that page file less, it will just cause problems because some programs may crash when they can't allocate enough memory for their needs

For example, a program may need a continuous area of memory for something, but windows needs to move some stuff from ram to page file to create that continuous space in ram, but windows ran out of page file so it can't give the program that continuous area of free memory so the program gives an error or crashes even though there's still some free memory)

 

 

Completely wrong. 8 gb of ram is plenty for a normal laptop, Bigger Page file would only cause more problems. He already have a slow HDD and what pagefile does is use some space of the HDD as ram when

it's full. Increasing the pagefile size will make windows use the pagefile more often than the original ram. This can cause the computer to full slow down until it becomes unusable. The only solution here is to debloat or do a complete clean Windows 10 install.

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27 minutes ago, Gamer4714 said:

Completely wrong. 8 gb of ram is plenty for a normal laptop, Bigger Page file would only cause more problems. He already have a slow HDD and what pagefile does is use some space of the HDD as ram when it's full. Increasing the pagefile size will make windows use the pagefile more often than the original ram. This can cause the computer to full slow down until it becomes unusable. The only solution here is to debloat or do a complete clean Windows 10 install.

Yeah, page file uses some space on the HDD when the memory is full, because the operating system MOVES STUFF FROM RAM INTO PAGE FILE, TO MAKE ROOM IN RAM FOR APPLICATIONS. 

Increasing the page file, doesn't automatically tell the operating system to put more stuff onto the hard drive, it will continue to only put stuff into page file as needed, when other applications request ram and there's no enough free ram in those 8 GB of RAM.

Making it fixed page file (by setting the min and max to same amount) reserves the space on the hard drive and guarantees the page file is not increasing and decreasing dynamically and gives you the opportunity (through defragmenting programs) to place the page file strategically at a location where the seek times will be the smallest, so data can be retrieved from page file much faster.

 

Look at it like this.  Let's say you have 8 GB ram and you set the page file to 2 GB.

When an application asks the operating system how much memory is available to use, the operating system will say "You can ask up to [ 10 GB - what's currently used by other applications ] of memory" , because the operating system knows there's 2 GB of page file it can rely on, if needed.

Now, that application may receive something like "you can ask up to 3 GB of memory" and may change its internal behavior to favor caching to disk more instead of keeping stuff in RAM, because it thinks the system has a low amount of ram. For example, when loading Facebook or some image heavy page, the browser may dump pictures from memory as soon as you scroll down on a page and the picture is no longer on the active view, visible on the screen.  But, as soon as you scroll up, the image will be read back from the hard drive, instead of the RAM.

If you have multiple tabs, Chrome may dump inactive tabs to disk much faster, instead of keeping them in ram for a longer time (each tab is its own process with its own memory stuff and so on)

Congratulations, you managed to make the application SLOWER by making it dump the picture into some random location on the hard drive and then having it read back from some random location which may be fragmented, instead of keeping into RAM or having it paged to the page file by the operating system.

 

Let's go with another scenario... let's say you have applications running that use in total 5 GB out of that 8 GB of memory, and you have 2 GB of page file, and now you start 7zip or some other compressor, to compress a bunch of files.

The default compression settings may be that 7zip needs to allocate 512 MB of memory for the dictionary and the buffers for files it's gonna compress, so it ask the operating system for a continuous 512 MB of RAM ... but there's no continuous 512 MB of empty ram in the remaining 3 GB of empty RAM, so the operating system has to find less used applications or portions of memory reserved by applications which are less used, and dump them in page file, to make a  512 MB continuous block of memory available.

Now the operating system picks a block of 100 MB from one application , and has to look in that tiny 2 GB file for some 100 MB block of empty space to write it down, then it repeats with another block of 50 MB, find another empty 50 MB space in 2 GB and so on ... with a small page file, there's a much more likely probability the file is gonna be fragmented, full of small empty areas, so it will be hard to find big enough empty spaces in the page file to dump those chunks fast.

This means it will take time to free the memory, and that translates in the application 7zip feeling to you like it's slow.

With a preallocated fixed page size, the operating system already knows where the empty spaces are in the page file and can instantly dump the data from ram, so your applications will initialize faster and work a bit better.

 

With a bigger page file, like let's say my example of 32 GB page file + 8 GB of ram, applications receive from the operating system that there's 40 GB of RAM available, and they can use as much ram as they feel like they need. Most of the time, the application won't use more ram, and most of the time, the applications won't use nearly 8 GB of memory, so the page file will simply not be used ... but it's a good safety net in case an application does need more memory. 

With a fixed size, the file will also stay in the same location and won't be moved, won't be fragmented, unlike dynamic page files which can be deleted and recreated every time Windows starts.

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