It's not clear to me whether just opening the GUI wallet and pushing "start daemon" is all one needs to do, or if you also need to run the monerod.exe program? At times I believe I have only opened the GUI wallet, pushed the "start daemon" button and waited for it to sync. However, other times, just doing this seems to have started the syncing process (and it says "network connected" but then the process just seems to stop on its own. It just seems to get stuck after a few blocks and does nothing. I restart the wallet and the same thing happens. At the moment it has been stuck on one block for 30 minutes.
Second related question. Yesterday I wanted to send some Monero. It had only been about 24 hours since I last synced the blockchain and caught up. However, it took about 25 minutes for the daemon to sync the new blocks from just 24 hours of activity. This seems like an excessive amount of time. Does this sound normal or does it sound like I have some issue going on? Thanks.