Dell Dimension 2350 running slow

  1. Hello, I know this Dell is rather old but it is all I have for use until I have saved for a new laptop. My problem with it is that it is very slow.

    It has a 1.8GHz Intel Celeron CPU and 512MB of RAM and it runs Windows XP Home Edition, but when I attempt to browse the web via Google Chrome or Firefox or any browser, it's really slow. Trying to load a video on YouTube on this thing is pretty much impossible. I assumed this was just normal behaviour for a machine this old but I was told by a friend that 512MB should be more than enough to run Windows XP without it being this slow.

    I constantly get the "virtual memory minimum too low" message while trying to visit Twitter or Facebook or even when checking my mail. I've just tried increasing the virtual memory and I will check if that has made any difference but I'd just like to know if there's anything else that can be done to improve this machine's performance. Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. jaydeee

    jaydeee Banned Posts: 21

    here are things I do to maintain my computer at its top potential:
    1. update OS
    2. update antivirus definition and regular scanning with antivirus and antimalware will help.
    3. update device driver.
    4. HDD check - chkdsk /r

    hope it helps.
  3. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,423   +77

    In addition, and possibly more important than those mentioned by jaydee

    Remove all temporary files and all other 'clutter'
    Defragment HDD
    Check for the many systems that decide they 'must' run all the time, and stop them starting with Windows (see start/run and enter 'msconfig' look at startup tab) You dont necessarily want most of what installs itself to run all the time. Look at the updaters for java, adobe, quicktime, flash etc etc.

    Sorry this topic is rather a large one, and needs a lot of research, but rewarding for those who desire to run their own PC, rather than let their PC run them.
  4. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,022   +51

    It's been commonly stated for many years that 512MB is enough for XP, but for 'enough' read 'minimum', as even adding another 512MB speeds everything up.
    If using Internet explorer, be sure to have ticked the option to 'Delete browsing history on exit'. It's in 'Tools', 'Internet options', General tab.
    Use 'CCleaner' often to clear out unneeded files.
    As advised above, Defrag (and optimise) C drive, I use Auslogics Disc defrag 3.1.
    In 'My computer', right-click on the C drive, choose 'properties', then 'tools', then 'check now', 'start'. Restart PC.
    When you choosing Virtual memory (swap-disc) space, really best to let Windows decide, it works for most set-ups.
    Make sure you have 15-20% hard drive free space, you will need it for the defragmentation anyway, ( couple of times per month.)
  5. sadbluescreener

    sadbluescreener TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 136

    Thank you for the many suggestions. I have defragged the HDD before, which btw is very small. It's 27.9GB.. As I said before, the machine is old. It has been running AVG Internet Security Suite for a long time, I am wondering if this has been slowing the machine down even more. Should I uninstall it and install something a bit smaller like Avira Antivirus?
  6. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,423   +77

    I would say yes, AVG could now be dragging it's feet, but precisely what is the most 'lightweight' alternative I could not say.

    I use free Avast! which does not appreciably affect my PC, but does run a lot of processes (7) and uses a lot of memory. It is, however, very configurable and any of the services can be prevented from running if you are not using them, e.g. Instant messaging, P2P transfers, scanning every document opened, etc.

    Plus MS Windows defender, which genuinely seems both lightweight and effective.

    Plus ZoneAlarm firewall

    I would guess that a HDD as small as 28Gb is going to be 90+ % full all the time, and sadly, NTFS gets very slow at that sort of level. By far the most likely thing to cheer you up would be to replace the HDD. There are free disc-cloning apps that makes the whole process of upgrading a HDD a simple, quick and painless task.

    Easeus have one such free package and Western Digital, Seagate, and Samsung have free versions bundled with a new drive that work as well.. just limited to those brands.
  7. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,022   +51

    That's not much HDD space to work with, still worth trying a few ideas out.
    If you could buy an external HDD of 250/320 or 500GB, then you could move photo collections, videos & mp3 collections over to it. That would free up your 'C' and it would be ready to use with your new pc when you get it.
    AVG is very good, but can be hard work for some pc's. Avira is light on the system, certainly worthwhile. Also MS Security Essentials is about the same 'work' for the pc as Avira. I have used it since Win7 was released, updates several times a week, no trouble at all. If you know and like AVG, it could go onto your new PC, where you wouldn't notice it working.
    The hard drive you have now doesn't store much, of course, but best to keep 3 to 4GB empty if possible, and try all the 'tricks' as above. Hope this helps!
  8. ruready2

    ruready2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 202

    IMHO.. The size of the hdd has absolutely no effect on system performance. I would certainly agree with the other post that AVG is not the way to go. First, it's doesn't provide adequate protection. Second, it is a resource hog. If it were my computer I would run Microsoft Security Essentials (aka MSE). Not a great anti-virus but fair and easy on the system. Regardless of which anti-virus you choose download the free version of Malwarebytes and scan with it once a week. In fact, that is where I would begin in determining the cause of your issue. I would make absolutely sure that the computer is not infected with malware. Having AVG or any other anti-virus is not preclusive of malware. I would then follow the other advice here to remove temp files, defrag and check disk. Once you have completed all those steps you can then focus on the low memory warning which is usually fairly simple to resolve.
  9. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,423   +77

    I take strong issue with this statement. While the maximum size of a drive has no detectable effect, how full it is, does - dramatically. Any drive 95% full and more will be very slow, no matter how many Gb are left.
  10. ruready2

    ruready2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 202

    I would completely agree the percentage of free space or the lack thereof on a hdd affects performance. My comment stated the size of the drive and did not address the free space-used space ratio.
  11. max upgrade

    max upgrade TS Rookie

    go for the max or close to it.

    OK, instead of wasting money on 512k ram and 2.6gig P4. Here is what I did:
    I bought 2gig of ram (2 x 1gig pc2700 memory) and a 2.8/512/400 P4 processor.
    All of it works great. I know the specs say that only 1 gig max memory for the 2350, but I am using 2 gigs of ram as I type. I bought everything on ebay for pennies on the dollar. For memory I bought from ALLINTHEDEAL on ebay. The processor I've bought from many dealers and all worked great. Allinthedeal will tell you that only 1 gig max. but I pushed the envelope as I alway's do and wala! it worked. Make sure the P4 is the 2.8/512/400 because there are other FSB (Front sidfe buss) speeds 2.8 P4's out there and they won't work. And lastly make sure you tell them that the RAM is for the Dimension 2350 and they will send you the right ones. Good luck and let us know how it worked out for you.
  12. pjamme

    pjamme TS Enthusiast Posts: 208

    I agree with Max Upgrade, toss the two 256MB ram chips and get two 1GB for the Dim 2350. I have many friends who were rooked into this compuuter as it was cheap. However 2 memory slots should be a red flag.
  13. max upgrade

    max upgrade TS Rookie

    Just out of curiosity, has the 2350 with 2 gig worked ok for the friends that have them? Type of RAM I used ( DDR PC2700 333 DDR - LOW DENSITY 184 PIN ECC=NO REGESTEERED=NO CL3 UNBUFFERD.
    Did they upgrade to a P4 2.8 cpu?
    Still don't know why Dell would tell us only 1 gig max.
    Max upgrade
  14. pjamme

    pjamme TS Enthusiast Posts: 208

    I just went to local computer shop and got RAM no CPU upgrade. PC fairly flies as all they use it for is internet & email
  15. max upgrade

    max upgrade TS Rookie

    Great news! If the unit is running fast enough, then I wouldn't worry about the CPU.
    Did you get 2 1gig strips of memory?

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