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Fast by specs slow on opening applications

By elgoodfella
Apr 9, 2008
  1. Hi to you all and thanks in advance for reading and helping me in any way you can. I made myself (about 2 years and a half ago) a desktop with an Asus Socket 939 MoBo with an AMD64 3500+ processor and 3 GB of RAM. Graphics are provided by e-GeForce 6200 (256MB) and the HD's are SATA, one of 200Gb and the other one 300Gb. At first I only had 1 GB of RAM but about 5 months ago I upgraded to 3 GB. No hassle and the computer has been running very good. I use it with a lot of audio software and have never had a single problem. About 3 weeks ago I've been noticing a serious lag whenever I open any kind of application.

    It doesn't matter if it's an application that uses lots of resources or at the other end, light applications. It just spends about a minute or more until the application opens. The funny thing is that once the application is open, it works perfectly with the performance I expect from it. Memory is working fine, I even switched slots, removed memory cards, tried different combinations but obtained the same results. With that troubleshoot I think I can discard memory problems. Also there are no tasks eating my memory or CPU.

    I do have a whole lot of applications installed, but of course, they don't start on boot. Most of them are VSTi plugins I use for audio production (as a hobby). The only tasks that run at startup are Zone Alarm Security Suite, Powerchute battery back-up software, Object Dock Plus, Style XP and the M-Audio audio interface software. None of them have ever given me a problem and I haven't made any changes that could be suspect of causing the lag. That is why I'm clueless.

    The usual maintenance has been made: defragmenting, registry cleanup, registry optimization, temp file and cookie cleanup, virus scan and spyware scan. Tha last two with Zone Alarm. I don't know what else to check and I have Googled with no results. Luckily I found this forum to see if someone can help me figure this out. After a reformat I made a year ago, I had to spend about 3 to 4 weeks re-installing all my software and I don't want to do that again. Could this be a HD problem or could it be a Winodws problem? Remember that the only problem is the time that applications take to load, but after loading, they run fast and smooth. Thanks in advance to all comments. I'll be checking this tomorrow.
     
  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Testing the hard drive with the manufacturer-provided diagnostics utility can't hurt.
    Also, it could be resident antivirus or anti-spyware software that is taking too long to scan the launched program.
     
  3. elgoodfella

    elgoodfella TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I will try that as soon as I return home from work.
    Also I will try disabling the StyleXP to see if it is somehow part of the problem or the problem itself.
     
  4. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,335   +36

    I suggest you break out the applications in the Zone Alarm Security Suite on startup. This suite Includes Antivirus, Anti-Spyware, Identity Theft Protection, Operating System Firewall, Network and Program Firewall, IM Protection, Parental Control, Email Security, Auto-Learn, Game Mode.

    That's a lot going on! And it possible that ZA got an update automatically while running and that may account for the recent slow down.

    Object Dock Plus is a fairly intensive program. You should consider removing it from startup and just calling it up as needed. I would also question whether you need M-Audio audio interface software to start on boot.

    Keep in mind that if these programs are running in the background all the time, chances are good they are all "checking for updates". Not only will this slow you down, but each update has the potential to cause a problem. So when it come to startup/run in the background, less is best!
     
  5. elgoodfella

    elgoodfella TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the replies. I do need the audio interface software on startup because instead of PC speakers, I have studio monitors that are my only source for sound and they are routed through the interface. But guess what??? Zone Alarm had a recent update and I did test shutting down Zone Alarm... it seems that there was my problem. I can't believe it specially because I have used ZA for years and never had a problem or complaint. It's sad because I don't know now what to use for protection. Zone Alarm has given me a virus/spyware free experience for years and I trust it very much. What a pity! Any suggestions? I still can't believe that a single program can make such a drastic impact on my computer's performance!!!! And specially with the specs that my computer have.

    Got to say problem solved!!!
     
  6. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,335   +36

    Unfortunately, many of the programs that served us well for years thought to make "improvements". Many times, their "improvements" proved disasters for us. I use the ZoneAlarm Firewall-paid version for years before I went to a router and have read numerous comments of current changes causing problems.

    I prefer stand alone programs instead of suites. In a case such as yours, which part of the suite has the problem? Sometimes it's hard to tell. I don't allow anything on my system to auto-update except fore the antivirus program.

    You may want to keep the ZA firewall-I've read that the free version is actually better than the paid version- go figure! I switched to AVG paid for my AV (dropped eTrust) use Spybot Search & Destroy and Spyware Blaster. I dropped Spysweeper because one of their updates trashed my network and it was heck to get it turned off to uninstall!

    So go with the standalone instead of the suite. Don't put them on auto-update- do that right before you scan.
     
  7. elgoodfella

    elgoodfella TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks a lot Bobbye! A friend of mine also suggested me doing what you stated on the previous post and almost with the exact software. The difference was that he recommended me Avast instead of AVG but Spybot Search and Destroy + Spyware Blaster were recommended by him. He told me to use both of them. For firewall he assured me that Windows Firewall was good enough, I don't know. But certainly everything works as expected after shutting down Zone Alarm. I can notice it even in web surfing!!!
     
  8. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,335   +36

    Glad you working better. But you must get the AV on now. Avast is good also:

    Avast! Antivirus 4.8 now has anti-spyware, anti-rootkit and strong self-protection, all built in to avast. Consider that.

    Avast v4 is free and only antivirus program.

    For Spybot S&D: http://www.safer-networking.org/en/download/

    Spyware Blaster:http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html

    The Windows firewall only listens at incoming ports, so in my opinion, it is a half-a.. firewall! Better to have firewall that is bi-directional like ZoneAlarm.
     
  9. elgoodfella

    elgoodfella TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Got it!!! Thanks again!!! I already downloaded all that software. I will try to find Avast v4 because i now think also that it's better to have dedicated software and not suites. Seems like the new Avast includes things that I'll be having with the anti-spyware software. I also downloaded Zone Alarm free. What I'm not sure right now is if I'm going to just disable ZA from startup or uninstall it because I've read some places that ZA leaves problems after uninstalling, not sure. But thanks, you have been of much help. I'm new in here and didn't know it was such a great community. I guess I'll be around here more often to help in what I can, the same way as I have received that help.
     
  10. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,335   +36

    Glad to help. You may have to actually uninstall the free firewall while you uninstall the suite itself, then reinstall the firewall. If you saved the setup file, just double click to reinstall.
     
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