Computer disk speeds are bad

also you may get that feeling on system boot when every program that is set to autostart will try to access HDD .the more you have set to autostart might slow pc down., I realise thats not worth the money but that might be a reason.
.Random reads and writes are not the best on old ,slow hdds. What you can do is remove as much programs from autostart as possible.Kill background proceses that arent necessary .Set your antivirus software, and updates to run when you are not doing anything.or even better run programms manually whenever they are needed to save resources and keep hdd from extra work. Also as I said try to find a programm for smart status and check for bad sectors etc, your system might be trying to access a bad sector or try to relocate sectors or fix data.

What do I look at to see which program is using the data?

Do you know how to change what programs run on startup?

I dont use win10 but well this should work.Also you can check how much ram does your laptop use when launching a program, when near a limit it might start using the temp file , virtual memory etc.

You can use Task Manager:

  1. Hit Ctrl+Alt+Del
  2. Select Task Manager
  3. Click the Processes Tab
  4. The memory usage of a program will be under the Memory (Private Working Set)
    • I recommend using Process Explorer. It is infinitely better, but you might want to get acquainted with Task Manager first.

You can change what programs startup on boot by using MSConfig:

  1. Type "MSConfig" into the Start Menu.
  2. Click the Startup Tab.
    • Be careful when messing around MSConfig. You can bork your system if you don't know what you're doing.

If you want to disable services as well, they are best disabled from the Services control panel applet, not from MSConfig. Black Viper has been the authority on what you can/can't/should/shouldn't disable for years.

After I first optimized Windows, I noticed a significant decrease in how long it took for everything to load after boot.

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Ram isn't my problem my problem is I can hear my hard disk drive humming. I understand Ram does speed things up however I am running a laptop not a desktop. The last time I tried to get inside my computer the keyboard was attatched somehow to the pc.

...have you tested the drive for bad sectors with something like hiren's?

Ya I don't know can I test it with my computer running?

OK, first of all, there is an edit function. Please learn to edit your posts. This is an active thread, and your posts won't go ignored. I know double posts seem acceptable here, but it's usually not necessary to do so.

There is usually an access panel on the underside of laptops for memory slots, because RAM is the most common upgrade for laptops.

No, you would need to pull it/ boot into a liveCD or the like to test it. Probably should do that, cause anymore defraging could just kill it if it has bad sectors
I'm not sure how to explain booting into a cd, but you can google hirens and I'm sure you will find info

Is a livecd the same as a normal CD?

LiveCD just means it boots from and therefore, runs straight off the CD, so there's no installation required. They're really good for troubleshooting and recovery when you can't boot into your OS for whatever reason.

Did you do a thorough disk scan to see if you have any bad sectors?

It supports 8GB of RAM

That is if it's an E6420 and not an E420 (which does not exist, there is a D420 from dell though, but that's from 2007) as you write in the original post.

And some report to run it with 16GB of RAM without problems. I suppose without a hacked BIOS, one would think they would mention it if they did.

Ya my computer has 2 keys that don't work and the six key is one of them.

Ya but if my drive is what's slowing things down then that would be what you called a bottle neck.

I don't have one of those.

If you are running out of RAM so the page file is heavily in use, you could decrease the constant disk I/O (input/output as in writes and reads) by putting in more RAM.

If you are not running out of RAM and your disk I/O is at 100% or close to it, it can be because your disk is too slow, but it is more likely that something on your computer is reading/writing too much and you should sanitize your program selection or find out why that/those programs are using so much disk I/O. Of course you should defragment with a decent program and not the build in one in Windows. I use Defraggler (which Logan actually recommended once), but @HK-47 recommended MyDefrag which you can also try.

An SSD will help, but if a program is in an I/O loop, it will flood the SSD's capabilities too.

I use AML free disk defragmenter regularly. What makes these other defragmenters so much better?

I think mostly it's features and I'm quite sure they go to different lengths to defragment very small file sizes, the kind your operating system is made up of. But to be honest I don't have a large breadth of technical knowledge on defragmenting software.

What do you mean by this?