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Software Processing Speed

  1. May 28, 2014 #1
    I'm using a 2.2 GHz processor and it's taking me up to 10 seconds to open a 20 kB word document.
    Most of the time is the time it takes to open the software itself. It takes up to 3 seconds to open the file when the software is already running.

    I need this process to take a fraction of a second. Is there anything else I can do but to increase the computer's CPU?

    I also want internet explorers to open up in less than 0.1 seconds.

    Is there anything I could do to the regedit with respect to increasing the time it takes to open an internet explorer?

    I also want my computer to change its priorities. As it takes up to 1 second to open up an internet explorer, within that time I've already managed to copy files, move files and open folders etc. So while I've got my folder open, I don't want to be interrupted by the process/software (internet explorer) which is being opened. I don't want it to maximize. Is there anything I can do to prevent my computer from interrupting my work?

    I also want my computer to start certain processes sooner than others. Is there anything I can do to force my computer to prioritize this? For example, my computer might open 30 .exe files which is related to the sound card, graphic card, software supports, virus softwares etc, while trying to connect to the internet might be the 50th thing it might do. But maybe I'd like my computer to go ahead and connect to the internet asap, or maybe run some other service or .exe file first. Is this possible? If so, how?

    I also want to know if it's possible to add multiple CPU units together, and achieve far beyond 4 GHz processing speed.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 28, 2014 #2


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    Can you right click on "My computer" and go to properties and list the system specs under the "System" heading.

    As for controlling application and service startup order run a program called "msconfig".
  4. May 28, 2014 #3


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    Just as a minor side note, the term you are looking for (that is, the term you should be using) is "software execution speed", not "processing" speed, which is more associated with hardware speed.
  5. May 29, 2014 #4


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    Most of things you describe is most likely related to I/O HDD operations and have nothing to do with the processor speed. I would try to switch to SSD.
  6. May 29, 2014 #5

    jim mcnamara

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    I second the SSD recommendation. You may also want to look at ramdisk.

    Times for SSD file access and opening are often an order of magnitude faster, or more, than conventional disk file access. --With SSD and the correct drivers installed.

    The other factors involved are file caching, directory caching and disk fragmentation.

    Any time you access a disk for a file you have to read the directory metadata first, then tell the disk to seek to the file. So if you have the directory already cached that eliminates disk I/O. Ramdisk solves this. SSD software caches directories and so may Windows.

    If the file is already in memory you get the very best possible access times. Search for the word ramdisk.
    This may be cheaper than an SSD for your machine. It requires dedicated memory, however, therefore you may need a memory upgrade.

    If the file is physically dispersed over a rotating disk, there is additional latency (wait time) while the disk spins to the right position for the head to read a disk sector. If the file is in five disparate chunks, then repeat the wait four more times. This is called fragmentation. Why they invented disk defragger software.

    For SSD, disk fragmentation is much less of an issue. It has several orders of magnitude less latency for fragmented files because no physical component like a spinning disk is involved.
  7. May 29, 2014 #6
    There is also something called a "Free market" where if someone starts producing a sucky product... you switch to a better one instead of throwing more money at the problem.

    I know that sounds snarky, but I think a sizable chunk of the problems with PCs in the last decade is that people aren't willing to look at alternatives. Do you really do anything with Word that wasn't possible 15 years ago? Almost no one does.
  8. May 29, 2014 #7

    jim mcnamara

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    @Algr - Businesses, conservative major ones, do not use untried products. Example many companies did not migrate to Windows 7 until it had been in production several years. Ditto Windows tools like Word.

    The OP may be constrained by the institution s/he is working or studying at to use Word. Or by experience level. People generally gravitate to tools they know and understand.

    This is flatly wrong, IMO. And not terribly helpful either, IMO. What do you suggest? Open Office, Star Office?
  9. May 29, 2014 #8


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    Full compatibility with MS Office is essential. Even if your organization switches to Open Office, it will have to handle many documents from customers and other external entities. If Open Office is largely compatible but sometimes garbles spreadsheets or PowerPoint documents (as has been my experience) then that's not good enough. I've never worked anywhere that did not deploy MS Office on every PC as a matter of course.

    Also, to get back to the point of the thread, in my experience the Open Office apps open much more slowly than their MS counterparts.
  10. May 29, 2014 #9


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    He wasn't saying nobody uses Word. He was saying nobody uses Word in ways that they weren't using Word for 15 years ago.

    I pretty much agree. Word is much too bloated for 90% of the things I am expected to use it for.
  11. May 30, 2014 #10
    Jim, what are you quoting? Nothing like that appears in my post.

    MS Office is a massive drain on corporate productivity to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. Far from "not using untried products" business are forced to abandon the old word format whenever MS releases a new, incompatible one. The new format needn't even offer any benefit over the old.

    The standard should be the FILE FORMAT, not the program. When Microsoft releases a new version of Word that produces files that old versions of Word can't read, no one should use it because it isn't "the standard". Instead, anyone who chooses to not use untried products is condemned for being out of date. MS Office is not any more "MS Office compatible" then Open Office.

    If businesses agreed to switch en-masse (to anything else) a small fraction of the money saved would pay for developing a far better product that no one could ever take away.
  12. May 30, 2014 #11
    Angelspikes did not say this. The fact that you feel free to say it for him is part of the problem. Free markets aren't magic, they need people to choose carefully, and to demand choices when none seem to exist.
  13. May 30, 2014 #12


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    George R.R Martin claims he still uses DOS based WordStar. I am not much surprised, most of the later gimmicks are useless and WYSIWYG doesn't matter as long as it is text that you working with, not the final publication.

    Sadly, my beloved QR-Text (known probably only on Polish market) never worked under Windows, and its Windows version was a completely new product, too different from the original to catch my attention.
  14. May 30, 2014 #13


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    Does he have a keyboard mapper that rotates control, shift, and alt, so that control is next to the A key where it belongs and where it was on the orignal PC (before the AT), which was WordStar friendly since you left hand fingers could remain on the home keys when using the control key. Maybe making keyboards WordStar unfriendly wasn't a random change.

    Wondering if anyone here (besides me) used the old IBM Personal Editor for editting source code.

    Getting back to the original question, as mentioned, part of the issue is the bloated software that Word and other office products has turned into. There was a time when Word and Excel could share space with Windows 3.1 and other programs on a 20MB hard drive.
  15. Jun 2, 2014 #14
    A few comments -

    You mentioned a 2.2GHz CPU but not whether it is single or multiple. Also you didn't mention how much ram is installed or if it can be increased. Additionally graphics systems rather powerfully affect the time taken to render the application viewable. All 3 of these hardware issues affect how fast Word apparently loads with the least affect being the CPU if it is at all ram constrained.

    Since Windows uses a great deal of "prefetch" if you have sufficient ram, the nature of the hard drive will make less difference even though drives are the weakest link in speed. An SSD can help speed, but sufficient ram should come first to avoid requiring swap file usage.

    It is also possible to increase the priority (scheduling and ram addressing aggressiveness) of your most important apps.

    The reverse is also true in that it is wise to disable services you never use and perhaps reduce priority on those you rarely use.

    Lastly, Libre Office apparently has surpassed other FOSS "clones' in compatibility and speed. http://www.libreoffice.org/
  16. Jun 3, 2014 #15
    It sounds to me like there's too much stuff going on in the background. My first troubleshooting step usually is to reboot the computer in safemode and check to see how it's behaving.
    Here's the steps from the microsoft website on how to restart in safemode.

    When you select an option, use Safemode with Networking.
    This will allow you to use the internet while in safemode. Regular safemode disables the network card so we won't be able to test Internet Explorer.

    Once you are in safemode w/networking, try and open word and check to see how long it takes to open files. Open and close a few times.
    If I was a betting man, I'd wager that word will work great in here.
    Before testing IE, I very strongly recommend resetting it to factory defaults.
    Here's the steps from the microsoft website on how to reset internet explorer
    Follow the steps under "Manually open the Reset Internet Explorer Settings dialog box"

    Once the reset is complete, open internet explorer and test to see how it behaves in safemode. Again open and close IE a couple times, jump on to google, do a couple basic searches, come to physicsforums and see how it behaves.
    Avoid anything more "exotic" than that. There's a good chance some, if not all, of your security software is disabled also.

    Then post here and tell us how the computer is behaving in safemode vs normal.

    If the computer works great in safemode, excellent. The problem is too many programs running together on your computer. Easily fixed.

    Reboot to normal mode and then just uninstall what you don't need and then use the msconfig tool, as DavidSnider suggested, to stop unwanted programs from running automatically. To keep life simple, I'd just remove everything from under the startup tab and then turn stuff like the antivirus back on. Things that absolutely must be running for the computer to be safe. You don't need itunes and adobe reader updates on every second you're using your computer, that sort of thinking.

    Avoid playing with the services tab unless you're absolutely sure the service you are disabling won't break the system if it's stopped.

    Finally, run an anti-malware scan on your system. My personal preference is to use either one of these two programs.
    Spybot Search & Destroy
    both have free home use options. Pick one, doesn't matter which one, install, update, scan, clean.

    I would avoid playing around with the registry and changing priorities on software. There are a large number of services that run in the background which are essential for the system to work correctly and often, pushing a user application higher on the priority table, over a system service for example, can break stuff. The idea in principle is nice, give IE more cycles when you're using it but in practice it's much more effective to simply clean up the system and only run the software that you actually want to use at a given time. Then everything runs better, not just IE.

    No, not in the way you mean. When you add multiple CPUs together, whatever task you are asking the computer to do will need to be broken down into pieces and each piece will need to be handed off to a processor to work on. Speed is achieved by working on different parts of the problem simultaneously but this ONLY works when the problem can be broken down into different parts. Not every program can can do this.

    In any case, motherboards that support multiple CPUs are generally expensive and usually require a specific type of processor which are also expensive and depending on what you get require ECC ram as well and surprise surprise, it's expensive too.

    I do not believe it's worth the time, effort or money for home use. You're better off to simply get a more powerful processor that fit's the socket on your motherboard. You can overclock as an alternative but that's a whole different story.
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