I Need Some Basic Help

By ndmonkey
Apr 24, 2006
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  1. Hi guys I've been tearing my hair out trying to fix a few problems on the in-laws PC. The system used to be incredibly slow in XP Home, applications use dto hang, MSN Messenger wouldnt sign in etc so I formatted the hard drive and installed XP Pro.

    Its quick again but new problems have arisen. A lot of the time it wont display browser windows until I refresh 3 or 4 times OR display beta.msn which wasnt the default (google is). Also, signing in to MSN Messenger 7.5 can be hit and miss, it works sometimes but other times I think it cancels the broadband connection so I have to reboot to get in.

    I dont have antivirus yet, as I said its a new XP Proinstallation. I will get AVG soon. I disabled the windows firewall as it created a problem. Theres nothing else on the PC. ps I disabled messenger service as the annoying popups kept happening.

    Any ideas where to start or is there a free piece of software that can diagnose a fault? Maybe its hardware?
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,042   +224

    commerical IT groups disable the MSN messenger -- highly suggest you do likewise.
  3. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 10,067   +13

    instant messangers are virus conduits. get rid of them.
  4. wlknaack

    wlknaack Newcomer, in training Posts: 149

    The problems your in-laws were facing had nothing to do with any difference between XP Home and XP Pro. There are more features in XP Pro, but the basic engine is the same for both versions and, if you in-laws cannot use the extra features of XP Pro, then they will not see one wit of difference in the performance of the two versions. The problem of "slow-down" can result from too many programs and/or processes running, both wanted and unwanted (i.e. not needed or Spyware/Viruses), compared to the capacity of the computer system to handle them. Check the startup list to see if you can eliminate some programs from starting at boot. Check the processes which are running to see if some can be eliminated. Check the services which are set to run "automatically" and see which ones you can either set to "manual" or "disable." More importantly, develop a security setup to keep the system free of spyware, malware, viruses and the like (see below).

    You have no firewall, no antivirus and you do not mention any antispyware. You are on broadband, and if it is cable, you are on line constantly. Is there any question that you have malicious programs on the system? The increase in speed you witnessed after the new XP Pro install was because the reformat wiped out the malicious programs. The most likely reason that you are facing increased problems is because malicious programs are back.

    Start by running the following on-line scan to see the nature of your problems:

    http://www.trendmicro.com/spyware-scan/

    The I suggest you get a router for your broadband connection, assuming you don't already have one. This will cost between $35 - $50, and will provide all the firewall protection your in-laws should need. If they want to control outgoing traffic, they can add Kerio, a lightweight firewall in terms of resource usage, and it is freeware.

    Other antispyware programs I would recommend are AVG AntiVirus, SpywareGuard, Windows Defender Beta 2, A2, Spybot Search and Destroy, Ad-Aware SE, WinPatrol, ZeroSpyware and SpywareBlaster. All of these programs are freeware. There are others; these should get you started.

    After cleaning out the computer, and setting up the security protection, if there is still a question of "slow" response, review the amount of RAM you have installed and, if there is room for expansion, increase the amount of RAM. This is one of the lowest cost ways to increase performance.

    Good luck.
  5. just_a_nobody

    just_a_nobody Newcomer, in training Posts: 205

    You don't say how much memory your inlaw's computer has installed. Being that you are experiencing problems with both versions of XP, then I would suspect a memory or hard drive problem.
  6. ndmonkey

    ndmonkey Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Thanks for the hints

    I'm a little wary of installing all these extra programs as I did a clean install. The only program on the computer is MSN Messenger and I hear what you say about it being a virus conduit but I have used it many times in the past without problem. I have a sneaking feeling the problem is something to do with the RAM, can someone please tell me how to detect it and any site that can give me a guide to installing new RAM? I imagine its quite straightforward to take the cage apart and put a new card in.

    Any other ideas woul dbe greatly appreciated.

    Can someone direct me to some software that tests the integrity of the hard drive?

    I think what would be best if I post the system details here and you can tell me if something needs upgrading...I was given the pc by a techie so its not out of the question he did some mods.
  7. alidabiri

    alidabiri Newcomer, in training Posts: 540

    try disabling some of these services:
    alerter
    clipbook
    computer browser
    distribued transaction coordinator
    human interface device access
    indexing service
    netmeeting remote desktop sharing
    network dde
    network dde dsdm
    network provisioning
    portable media serial number service
    you can go through the list of the services, disable or maual things that don't apply to your situation, or you don't want it.
  8. ndmonkey

    ndmonkey Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Hi thanks for the extra tips, I'll try those when I have access to the machine.

    The guy I bought the machine from didnt do any mods (and he tells me these would have been deleted when I reinstalled)

    I dont know what the RAM is but its an e-machines system - I "borrowed" the XP Pro copy, maybe theres a conflict as I didnt install the E-Machines disk the second time. Maybe I'm a **** for not putting the EMachines software on but there seemed to be a problem doing that after the XP copy.

    Go on tell me I'm missing some system files or something, I really need that headache!

    I'll upgrade the RAM if its below 500mb and I'll restart the router from the mains.

    I suppose the original slowing problem was spyware and applications but its probably a lot simpler this time, like a novice son-in-law or something.

    Still need HELPPPPPP
  9. ndmonkey

    ndmonkey Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I think I just answered my own questions - sometimes the solution is right in front of you - Its GOT to be the software installation (I'm sure I didnt need to borrow that XP copy) or router so I'll just get on with it. Just found out its only got 128 MB so I'll upgrade that as well.

    No need to reply, I don't need the insults, just brownie points and a cup of tea from the inlaws.
  10. russ

    russ Newcomer, in training Posts: 75

    For xp to work properly you need at least 256. A bad install could also mean that your memory could be bad. I had a computer that would install win95 but not win98 and as soon as I took out the bad memory stick 98 installed flawlessly (on less memory).
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