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Cleaning up XP for a kids only PC

By FrankTank
Jul 10, 2010
  1. I have an older HP Pavilion 514n with a 2.2Ghz Celeron processor, 512MB RAM and 120 GB HD. I've set it up in my son's room and I'm trying to clean it up to run an smoothly as possible as a kids only PC. It's running XP SP3. I'm using Microsoft security essentials.

    Now I've done the basics such as deleting unnecessary programs and files, stopped unnecessary startup programs/svs and a couple of other tweeks but it still seems to be running slow.

    Now the internet when running Firefox and IE7 are fine in terms of speed. It's just that it takes forever to move from one application to another and sometime the applications take forever to open. For instance if I click on the my folder document it literaly takes 30- 45 seconds to open.

    I do have the "Symantec Install Stub" virus which I am in the process of trying to remove as we speak. Maybe that is the main culprit, we'll see.

    Just looking for any advise on squeezing a little more speed out of this old PC for my kids enjoyment.

    Thanks for the help

    Frank
     
  2. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,966   +70

    Two things:

    1. If you are going to remove Symantec make sure you use their special removal tool for your version for a complete clean uninstall. The free Avast antivirus and and free Superantispyware should do the job. The only thing about SAS free is that it has to updated manually (the $ version is automatic).

    2. I recommend more RAM. This may be the reason you are slow. At least another 512megs for a total of 1 gig but 2 gigs is what XP runs best at.
     
  3. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,979   +362

    After you get rid of the virus defragmenting the hard drive may speed retrieval a bit. You should update Internet Explorer from 7 to 8 for safer surfing. Update through Windows Update.
     
  4. FrankTank

    FrankTank TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    Thanks, I do plan on trying to upgrade the RAM to 1GB. Believe it or not the PC came originally w/ 256MB which I upgraded to 512MB but there was no significant difference.

    I still haven't figured out how to get rid of the Symantec Install Stub. Know any other good forums or resources to locate a fix. I searched this forum but came back with nothing.

    It's mainly a PC for my son to play some of his older PC games and surf NickJr, Cartoon network, etc.

    Thanks Again. Frank
     
  5. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,392   +106

    Stick 2GB of RAM in there and make sure you update/patch that OS fully. MSE is very good program use that with IOBIT Advance System Care (Free) although the (Pro pay for edition) 3.6.1 is current goes a bit deeper in repairing. The free will remove a lot of junk, spyware, fix things that don't work right in registry and defrag in a two step process. Use Google Chrome for Browsing on the internet, Use the extension (add-on) called Ad Block and Flash Block.
     
  6. superty12

    superty12 TS Enthusiast Posts: 413

    Important Files?

    Any important files or programs that have dissolved off the Big I (the Internet) or you have lost the install discs to? If so, continue doing what you're doing. If not, you may just need a reinstall.
     
  7. ruready2

    ruready2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 202

    Although I agree you should update the ram, I am of the opinion you are infected with some form of malware. I agree with the other answer to install Avast 5.0. MSE doesn't provide the real-time shields that Avast does and had only an 83% detection rate in a recent test review.. That's very low. The advantage of MSE, however, is it is very low on resources. Malwarebytes and Superantispyware should be downloaded for added protection. Make sure your java is up to date. If you have adobe reader remove it as it is a system hog. Install Foxit Reader. Does everything Adobe does without the bog down. Be aware of most registry cleaning software. They are snake oil. There are two which I have found to be safe only because they are not too intrusive and provide back-ups in case a glitch in the software deletes the wrong entry. Glary Utility and Ccleaner.

    http://download.cnet.com/Avast-Free-Antivirus/3000-2239_4-10019223.html

    http://www.malwarebytes.org/

    http://superantispyware.com/index.html

    http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/reader/

    http://glarysoft.com/

    http://www.ccleaner.com/
     
  8. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,392   +106

    Glarysoft doesn't catch everything. I ran a test between the two free and two pro from IOBIT ASC and Glarysoft. IOBIT ASC was more effective. Too much software on a system to protect the system might be overkill MSE, IOBIT ASC is it. IOBIT Security 360 is way overboard if you already have MSE installed.

    Adobe is needed because all these sites use it. Foxit software has become bloated to me and I've stop using it. What users can do and save on printing everything off the internet and when you pay bills online. Instead of printing and wasting ink/toner and paper. You could print and create PDF file. This is what I've been doing. The freeware program is called doPDF v7 at this time is v7. This gets install and shows up as a printer. So now you print to doPDF and it creates a PDF and saves it to where you want it to go by default and they call up Adobe Reader so you can see the file. This is the best way to go today!

    Ccleaner was good in the past, but IOBIT ASC (Advance System Care) takes over that software.

    So it's

    MSE
    ASC
    doPDF
    Adobe Reader
    Google Chrome (ad block / flash block)

    For firewall best to use what comes with the OS it's integrated already.
     
  9. ruready2

    ruready2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 202

    No registry cleaner will catch everything. Each will catch something the other didn't. As stated in my post, the only reason I would ever consider using Glary or Ccleaner is they are not too intrusive and provide back-ups. I cannot speak for Iobit ASC as I have never used it and never would consider using a software created by a vendor who was caught stealing another vendor's signature database. http://antivirus.about.com/b/2009/11/03/iobit-steals-malwarebytes-intellectual-property.htm. I don't know of any professional tech who recommends the use of any registry cleaner anyway. There are an abundance of articles a simple Google search will reveal in which most true professionals agree cleaning the registry has very little impact on the enhancement of the computer's performance. More importantly, there has never been a software created that did not, at some point in time, have an occasional glitch. Registry cleaners are not the type of software to be using when that glitch happens. the risk far outweigh the potential benefits.

    Adobe reader is not required for any website. Only the ability to read pdf documents is sometimes required to view certain pages through the use of a pdf plugin which most have these days and are available for popular browsers. I think you refer to the flash player and not the reader. Adobe Flash Player, although still not a prerequisite, is the safest route thus far if it is kept up to date that is. Foxit, with all the bells and whistles installed amounts to less than 20mb as opposed to Adobe's hog of more than 250mb and that doesn't include any editing software, quick launch and that annoying 04 updater start-up that wants to run and use up system resources. Foxit auto checks for updates when I execute the reader and doesn't run in the background until then. As for the Foxit plugin, well, FireFox checks for updates for all my ad-ons everytime I execute it. With performance being the key issue for today's user, free resources are everything.

    I have not tried doPDF v7 and therefore have no comment. I use Primo PDF creator which not only shows as a printer option but, I can simply drag and drop any document into the Primo icon on my desktop and a pdf file is automatically created. Although not used much by me, it's a real convenience when it is used.

    I will agree to the system firewall. This is adequate for the average user. However, the best protection from network invasions comes from a properly configured router to include hidden wireless network, and my favorite, mac filtering. MAC filtering prevents any computer who's mac addy is not listed from accessing the network. There are a number of additional security enhancements available from your router which, again, a quick Google search will show.

    These are just my opinions and most of the techs I know and work with.
     
  10. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,392   +106

    I use the IOBIT ASC because it works. I heard of what you speak, but this is a market where everything goes. Car makers do the same thing. APPLE and MS did the same back in the 80's. These things happen, but I am not saying it's right or wrong. These companies play these type of games or actions. I just saying the Advance System Care does the job. Ccleaner is now to bloated and doesn't catch everything as it claims it does. Sure I've used it when it first came out. But FCleaner too that blows out CCleaner but these programs I don't think they're all what they claim.

    doPDF free version is great. It's really up to whoever software you want to use. I can only advise on what I've tested and what works well.

    Basically, defrag c: /f under Windows can do the job, Chkdsk C: /F can do the job. The Junk, Privacy, Spyware, Adware, Malware, Aninalware and so on. This needs to be done by a program that can find the pest and junk automatically. For the average user to do it will take time. Fixing the registry for errors which has to be check daily because Windows XP thru Windows 7 still have issues here. The software OS can't control these errors in the registry. That's why there are tools to help you out. Another issue right now is RAM is not getting released back from software applications that have memory leaks or bleeds on the 32 or 64-bit OS. Again looks like it's time to use RAM Smart/deep cleaner to monitor your RAM.

    Well as for the software firewall, as I wasn't talking about hardware firewall found in the router. But you must know how many users online don't have a home router. Windows XP SP3 firewall is very good, but the one in Windows 7 is much better. Some complain of UAC but heck best to leave that on. I recommend the MSE because since NAV Dos, NAV Win API 16/32 and then all those free version AV, next to the MSE would be RAV. I hope MS will integrate MSE into Windows 8 or 9 if they can do it. MSE low system impact.

    MSE is free but Windows Client OS has to be Genuine to use it. Windows Server OS I would use RAVNT Free. MSE doesn't support server OS.

    As for Wireless (B, G, N 300) Gig (10/100/1000mbps) router best to get the hacker proof type.
    Most have NAT, Smart NAT, SPI, DoS, PoS etc. for protection on hardware firewall bases.

    I don't use MAC filtering anymore. I just reserve the IP/MAC/Name each node (device) in the router. Right now users should know what type of router features that are not available to the customer as most vendors don't think they need to know. Example: WNPU, RAM, MSC (max sessions connections) If you do gaming or BT stuff this information will help you decide if this router is for you?

    Anyway there is more but another time.

    Reviews on ASC by me here
    Reviews on MSE by me here
     
  11. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,979   +362

    If you haven't solved your problem by this time, let me suggest that you consider performing a clean install of Windows provided you have an appropriate Windows XP CD available. You'll get rid of any infections, known and unknown, and fix anything that might be wrong with Windows that could be slowing it down. I know it's a bit of work and takes some time but it would probably be faster than trying to keep flogging this problem.
     
  12. vegasgmc

    vegasgmc TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,377

    How old is your Windows installation? Windows tends to become corrupted over time with alot of temp files and general crap. I'd do a clean install especially if you have a virus. HP loaded their versions of XP with alot of bloat ware and those outdated programs are vulnerable to viruses and trojans especially anything from Adobe and People PC. If you can, do a clean install and then remove any programs you dont plan on using and then install a good antivirus program like AVG or Avast.
     
  13. FrankTank

    FrankTank TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    Thanks All. I think I am going to go the clean install route as suggested. I haven't had enough time to sit down and figure out the stub installer issue. I am running CCleaner as we speak so we'll see if it helps.

    I'm going to make some time this weekend to clean the old PC up and get it moving again for my boy. Thanks again.
     
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