Advice troubleshooting Windows PC issue -- Chrome related (I think)

The quick and superficial disk check won’t necessarily show up surface damage.

I suggest you do a more thorough sector-by-sector surface check for damage. There are many utilities that will do this.

This one from Macrorit is freeware and professional and simple to use. (Download the freeware version, you won’t need the features on the paid version.)

It may take several hours to run, depending on the size and speed of your disk, but you can run it overnight. It will at least tell you whether or not the disk is physically damaged.

I have some questions about this. Do you think that is the most likely thing (or one of the most likely things) causing these problems? If it turns out the disk is physically damaged, does that mean I will need to buy a new computer, or is there some way to fix it (or work around it, considering the hard drive is only 11% full)?

Disks are pretty reliable these days, but if it’s an old computer, the disk could well be the source of your problems.

If there is a problem with the disk, it will only get worse. You’ll need to replace the disk, but not necessarily the whole computer.

In that case, you should be able to create a disk image backup and transfer it to a new disk.

Okay, thanks for the information, I don’t think this computer is worth replacing the hard drive. I think it is 5 or 6 years old, I don’t know if that qualifies as “old” these days.

I downloaded and started running the utility recommended for finding physical problems with my hard drive. After about 3 hours it was less than 3% done and was slowing down all the time, such that it then said the scan would take about 4 days. It had found maybe a dozen bad sectors by then. So I stopped the scan and made up my mind it’s time for a new computer in the next few days. I guess I’ll have to learn Windows 10 as well as all the other hassle of getting a new computer. The money is not the issue, just getting things back to where they were when my current computer was working properly.

It definitely looks like that’s the problem, then.

The scan slows down because it’s repeatedly trying to read and write to a sector, and sometimes succeeding, and sometimes not. That will also be the reason your programs are sometimes hanging.

Reformatting the disk might work… for a while, but once a hard disk starts to give problems it will slowly keep getting worse, and sooner or later fail altogether.

So a new computer sounds like the best solution. But do a full backup of your machine first, preferably a disk image, so that you don’t lose what you have there.

A full backup is a good idea, but I also would copy off any documents or anything you might want to keep that you don’t have backed up. Even if you just do so to some USB drive or to an SD card. Those copies will be faster than trying to image the whole drive.

I’d also take my advice about Chrome. Make sure you’re signed into a Google account, and set it to sync. Check out the directions here:

Turn sync on and off in Chrome - Computer - Google Chrome Help
To save your info to your Google Account, turn on sync.

That way you can just install Chrome on your new computer, then sign in, and it will offer to sync everything. That way you’ll be back to where you were. As someone who spends a lot of time in Chrome, it’s nice to at least have that be close to where I left it. And, once the sync is complete, (all extensions installed and everything), you can always turn it back off or even sign out.

BTW, if you do decide to just throw out the old computer, I wouldn’t mind taking it off your hands once you’ve gotten everything off of it that you want. I have an even older laptop that barely works. You can always take out the hard drive entirely if you’re concerned about privacy (or just tell me not to look and I wont). PM me if you’re interested.

Oh, and Windows 10 isn’t too hard to learn. I can give you some advice for dealing with some annoyances, but it’s really not any harder to actually use than Windows 7. The issues are the ads you’ll likely want to turn off, the updates you may want to delay (to avoid any problems), and maybe installing some old stuff from Windows 7 or tweaking some settings.

If you can get it without cost being a problem, it wouldn’t hurt to get a computer with Windows 10 Pro. It makes postponing updates (to make sure any bugs are worked out) much easier. But don’t avoid a computer that just has Windows 10 (Home).

I had some trouble with inexplicable freezing on Chrome until I deleted a bunch of “extensions”. Don’t even know how some of them even got there but that seemed to fix my chrome freezing issues.