So I’m helping a friend fix his Windows computer. The issue is that it runs stupid slow, despite having a decent CPU and 8GBs of RAM. It’s running Windows 10 Home 2004. I pick up the computer and can verify the issue, it takes minutes to boot and open Firefox.

The first time I touch it, I run the following commands:

sfc /scannow
dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth


After rebooting, installing updates, and rebooting again, the computer runs fine for me with normal usage. I verify this with my friend by calling him and timing how long it takes to turn the computer on, log in, and open Firefox while on the phone with him.

I had found errors in Event Viewer that the Photos app was performing irregularly before I ran the previous commands, which suggested to me that the Windows installation corrupt (hence running sfc and dism).

A week after I returned the computer, my friend said the issue had returned. I had suggested before to buy an SSD, which he did. I figured doing a full reinstallation of Windows and upgrading the hard drive would address whatever issue was happening.

I was right, but needed to share some weird findings that may have contributed to the previous issue.

So I installed the SSD and did a fresh install of Windows. I copied the user folder from the original HDD to the new installation, but noticed that all of the user folders were empty (even though the UI said it copied the 125+GBs). I didn’t notice at first until I accidentally booted into the original HDD (which was plugged into the computer with a USB adapter). The original installation would boot and login with a fully populated Desktop folder while the new Desktop was empty.

Looking into the user folder on the original HDD from the booted SSD showed no Desktop folder. During all of this, the new install kept showing errors that OneDrive was overfilled (which I had purposely told Windows not to set up during the installation).

What I’ve learned is that Windows will symlink the main user folders in the OneDrive folders (but there is not graphical representation of this symlink). Because of the OneDrive is overfilled error, I think OneDrive is the reason...

that the original install was running slow. It may have been trying to sync the data in the symlinked folders, but it wasn’t triggering that the OneDrive folder was over capacity (maybe because of the symlinks not actually filling space).

This is all speculation, but I cannot find anything wrong with the hardware or the new installation. I hope this all makes sense and would love input. It’s just been a weird “fucking Windows” moment.

@iiogama Not the best way to spend the weekend; my condolences. 😬

@claudiom, no, not really. I learned some stuff that I could take to work with me, so that was a plus.

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