My Computer is Realy Slow

The title of this post is the unquestionable #1 issue that IT departments all across the globe have to deal with on a daily basis. From my personal experience I would say that over a half of your tickets if not more will contain words “and complains that his/her computer is slow”. To put it in context: I’m currently watching over a heard of 60-70 semi-intelligent primates who have innate talent to render any electronic device I give them completely unusable in 60 seconds flat. And no – they never drop them, or anything like that. It’s like the emanate some sort of luddite rays that break computers.

Here is the thing though: if you call a helpline with this issue, you are going to get the standard answer:

“Run the virus scan, run the antispyware, and go fuck yourself.”

Slowness can be caused by just about anything that is running at your machine. This is a really long call, that may or may not end in successful resolution of the problem. So they will rather send you on a wild goose chase for a virus or spyware that may or may not exist. Chances are that the scan will find something, and it will appear as if the problem is fixed so you won’t call back.

If you have dedicated IT people at your company that actually get paid to resolve problems as opposed to closing support tickets they might actually want to jump on your computer and see what is going on. 9 out of 10 times we do this, the user says the same thing:

“Well… It’s not slow right now, but it was really slow this morning”

So we take your computer to monitor it, run all possible virus and spyware scans, stare at th CPU usage for 15-20 minutes and conclude there is nothing fucking wrong with the machine and you are an idiot. We usually don’t have time to sit there and mess around until we find what triggers your problem. So we just re-image it (and if we are nice we will even back up your data) and give it back to you.

Most likely, 2 weeks from now you will come back with the same problem. Because what is the first thing that users do when they get a freshly re-imaged computer? They reinstall all the shit that we just got rid of – and one of these things (or a combination of several of them) is bound to be causing the intermittent performance issues. For example, it could be the software for your all in one printer.

For your in-house people there is a relatively simple solution: take away their admin privileges on company machines. They will moan and bitch, and hate you for preventing them from installing AIM god knows what else, but in the end, but it might be worth it. Unfortunately I do not have this luxury, because my users are scattered all over the country, and often need to install 3rd party software at client companies. Also, this is not a 100% foolproof method because users without admin rights will also complain of slowness.

Telling an IT person that your computer is slow, is roughly equivalent to telling a doctor that you feel “icky” or “weird” and don’t give him any other sympthoms. Most likely you will be told to take an aspirin and call back in the morning.

[tags]computer is slow, my computer is slow, slow, users, it, lusers, tech support[/tags]

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12 Responses to My Computer is Realy Slow

  1. Craig Betts UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Solaris Terminalist says:

    I have a really cool waiver I make my users sign if they want admin/root access. It basically states they accept full responsibility for the maintenance of their system and relieve me of any metrics. About 25% of my users signed it because they wanted some application that I refused to install (WebShots being the top one). Most of that 25% have learned that a professional can keep their system running at optimal speeds. “Just because you run Windows at home doesn’t make you an expert!” . . . true facts.

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  2. ubuntutribe SPAIN Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    You are invited to watch the Ubuntu Tribe movie trailer.
    Thank you and nice to meet you!

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  3. Luke UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Hehe… I should totally implement something like that. I don’t think I could get away with that though. :P

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  4. Luke UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    [quote comment=”4321″]Hello:
    You are invited to watch the Ubuntu Tribe movie trailer.[/quote]

    Yeah, totally off topic spam btw, but I’ll leave it here because it is Ubuntu related. Sigh.

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  5. Miloš UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    We have an SLA for Temp admin rights which allows them to be an admin for a day or two or longer (to install stuff at home – DSL, wireless router, bidirectional printers and stuff).

    We also have a full admin form which must be signed by them (a faculty) and their department chair which says that they are on their own. We will support hardware, contact vendors if need be, but software wise it’s all them…updates, patches, compatibility…the whole nine.

    In case they screw up….we will reimage the machine to our latest image specs and give it back to them…no troubleshooting, fixing, wasting time. Also, data backup is their responsibility…if we can recover it quickly we will, but if it requires days of work, sorry they are on their own.

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  6. Wikke BELGIUM Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    [quote comment=”4323″][quote comment=”4321″]Hello:
    You are invited to watch the Ubuntu Tribe movie trailer.[/quote]

    Yeah, totally off topic spam btw, but I’ll leave it here because it is Ubuntu related. Sigh.[/quote]
    So much for principles…

    On topic: Really good idea :)
    If only we could do things like that with some of our customers :P

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  7. Luke UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    [quote comment=”4325″]So much for principles…[/quote]

    LOL! My hatered of spam conflicts with my love for ubuntu – I got confused there for a bit. ;)

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  8. Craig Betts UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Solaris Terminalist says:

    I implemented it “behind the scenes” without my bosses approval. There are the few “special” users that actually have clue and do well with administrating their own systems. Of course, this is only because they know computer “secrets” are cleverly disguised as mysterious things called manuals . . .

    I do have a backout clause which allows the user to go back to letting me admin their system. Fortunately, I always make an image right before I hand over power.

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  9. Matt` UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    I was asked to help a friend whose computer was running slow
    I turned off a ton of background processes via msconfig, disabled as many visual effects as they wouldn’t notice the lack of and now apparently it runs fine

    +1 for Matt :)

    I know its different in a work situation where they’re likely to fuck it over again within a few days then blame you for it.. but it didn’t take me long and it had a tangible effect

    On a side note, how in god’s name do you turn off Sticky Keys? I held down shift too long and thought I had sent a fairly clear message by clearing every check box in the Settings menu but it stayed turned on for ages until just now when it randomly turned itself off again. (Just for future reference – in case it happens again)

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  10. danmac8 UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    run at least 4 or 5 scans from the list at back to back. that should make sure to clear out anything bogging your system down

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  11. Phil UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    @Matt re Sticky Keys:

    Sticky Keys blows goats (if you don’t need it). There’s a multi-step process to kill it.

    When I get a fresh PC I usually start by hitting Shift 5 times fast. This brings up the dialog box that lets me get to the settings. (You should be able to get to it from Control Panel | Accessibility Options, as well.) Once there, I click on every button and uncheck every frelling checkbox. Hit Ok and go to phase two.

    Next, I open C:\Windows\inf\sysoc.inf and delete the word HIDE everywhere within the file. (Search “,hide,”, replace “,,” does the trick.)

    Then I go to Add/Remove Programs | Add/Remove Windows Components. Pick Accessories and Utilities, hit the Details button, and you can remove the Accessibility Options control panel from the computer. Good-the-$&#*-bye, Sticky Keys. I’ve never had it come back after doing this on a PC.

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  12. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    [quote comment=”6581″]I click on every button and uncheck every frelling checkbox.[/quote]

    Hehe! Farscape FTW!

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