Programs slow to open..the first time

My wife’s computer has an odd problem. When she opens a program like Word, it takes forever to load up that first time (like a full 60 seconds or so). However, from then on there is no problem. I suppose it goes into the RAM or something. But what causes the slowdown that first time? I mean this is Word, not some complicated game program. Any suggestions on what the problem might be?

When you load the program , does the mouse stutter as you move it while it’s loading? If it is, then it could be something up with windows, try a system restore from before the problem started.

Nope, the mouse moves just fine. It just takes the program forever to load. This isn’t a crap computer. It’s not superfast, either, but it’s an Athlon XP 1800+ with 640 RAM. Seems like it should be fast enough to open Word.

how long has your wife had this problem

Is it just Word (actually, any of the Office applications), and does it still happen?

  • Alan

When was your last scandisk and defrag?

Yeah I was going to suggest a defrag as well, but didn’t want to start another Hardware flamewar. ;)

What other processes are running in the background?

This isn’t that unusual, most of what Word has to load from the hard drive is probably still sitting around in memory after you close it (but it can be marked ‘free’), until it gets overwritten anyways ;).

I notice Firefox takes longer to load when you first start it than IE does. Anyone know why?

I assume it’s because of the theme and extensions.

  1. Word is a huge hog of a program. It is the very definition of “bloatware.”
  2. Loading Word also means loading tons of libraries along with it.
  3. The first time you load, everything gets read off of your hard drive. We’re talking a dozens of megs of stuff.
  4. After you exit Word, the libraries remain loaded.
  5. When you restart Word, in addition to not having to load the libraries again, large portions probably remain in the disk cache.

Same thing for Firefox: It’s slower than IE on the first load because IE has all of those libraries already loaded as part of the OS. That’s partially why I switched to Safari on the Mac; because a lot of its libraries are part of the OS, it’s snappier. (I also rilly rilly like the RSS aggregator in Safari.)

IE cheats by being partially preloaded all the time. This suggests ways to speed up Firefox’s startup.