TechSpot

Please help diagnose Xp long Install times

By Schmutz
Oct 17, 2008
  1. I have a problem installing applications and games on my computer and I think that if I can figure out what is causing it I'll be able to solve many smaller problems

    On my computer* (specs listed below) Typical 8gb games/software take ~30minutes-1 hour to install. Installing the same things on my other PC takes less than 5 minutes.

    I am installing these applications from .ISO images so there is no DVD/CD drive in question here

    The computer plays these games and runs the applications very well, but does suffer from occassional hiccups in performance (stuttering in games/applications not responding for a few seconds)

    My guess is there is something wrong with the Hard drive, or the OS installation, or that I need to defragment

    Defragmenting takes an unimaginable amount of time, when I last tried I had my computer on for a full day and it progressed to just 22%

    I really don't want to format and reinstall windows, I'd rather buy another hard drive to install on than take that option

    Lastly, it would be useful if I can assess my hard drives performance. If you could recommend any software for that, it would be ideal

    *my computer:
    Q6600/2GB RAM/ATI 2900PRO/500 GB sata II (Western Digital)

    *other computer:
    AMD64 3500+/1GB RAM/Nvidia 6800GT/40GB IDE

    >>> I thought that I should mention some more information that could be related...

    • If I copy a 1gb file to another folder, the process will take about 12 minutes
    • If I transfer a 1gb file over my network it will take about 40 minutes (probably to do with network setup)
    • I have 50gb free of 465gbs
    • As a media student, I frequently transfer a lot of data around my hard drive (large video files/project files)
    • CPU/memory usage while installing programs does not look unstable in any way, and is relatively low (using task manager)
    • Uninstalling applications is very fast

    Thank you very much for any help in advance

    Schmutz
     
  2. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +6

    What it sounds like is slow cpu - run Everest and look at the data and temps, etc.
     
  3. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,425   +77

    It seems like the hard drive to me. Have you run disk diagnostics? First the Windows chkdsk from drive properties - check for errors. If that passes, then download the maufacturers test disagnostics. If you dont know the manufacturer, run Everest, Belarc advisor or SiSoft sandra (the latter also has a reasonable performance test and comparison with similar PC models to help you.

    My other thought was that you may be running an anti-virus that is more-or-less checking every bit as it goes by. What are you using? However, that would send your processor to 100% and you dont see that.

    Hiccuping for a few seconds? Again it all points to the hard drive, but before you swap it, you want to be sure. The m/f tests will tell you for certain.

    Is you temp directory choc-abloc ? Run disc cleanup process. A HDD with a lot of movement of large files is going to get very defragmented, and consequently slow, you may have to bite the bullet and run defragmenting for a long time, but beware, all the standard defragmenters perform very poorly once you get several files over 3-4Gb. The best way to deal with that is copy all the bigger ones to an add-on usb drive, THEN defragement and copy them back.

    USB drives, which are so cheap and incredibly useful for backups and system images etc that no self-respecting computer user should fail to own one.
     
  4. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    Thanks for the suggestion. I've just been running everest and here are the results I have collected:

    CPU usage while running Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 was only 15% at the most

    As for benchmarks:
    Memory Read is 5206 MB/s
    Memory Write is 2452 MB/s
    Memory Latency is 68.3 ns

    I think these results are ususually slow for my CPU (Q6600) ???

    Heres some more information about my CPU:

    CPU Clock 2881.99 MHz (original: 2400 MHz, overclock: 20%)
    CPU Multiplier 7.0x
    CPU FSB 411.71 MHz

    L1 Code Cache 32 KB
    L1 Data Cache 32 KB
    L2 Cache 4 MB (On-Die, ATC, Full-Speed)

    Hope that helps
     
  5. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    thanks for the response gbhall, I'm just running windows chkdsk now (taking its time also!). I'll run disc cleanup after and report back how it goes. I'm glad that you also believe it could be the HDD.

    And about Antivirus software, I'm not running any - I don't have a firewall or any other system resource hogging processes running either. I've also checked thoroughly for any bad files with adaware.

    Just to mention; I haven't scanned my computer with antivirus software before, but I really don't see any signs of a virus infection. I think that I'd see other problems as well as the ones I'm getting if my computer was infected. And I thought I should also mention that I don't think that system restore will solve the problem - as this problem has actually been occurring for a very long time (I just thought that todays applications and games took ages to install because they where larger... until I seen my slower computer do it in a 10th the time!)
     
  6. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    Additional Tools to try

    Process Explorer
    CPU Usage
    • Click Options and set Hide when Minimized, Allow Only One Instance, Confirm Kill, CPU History in Tray Icon
    • Whenever PE is open, you can click CPU column header to see processes sorted by CPU usage. When usage high, check top of the list, OR
    • Minimize PE. Note the red and green waves through its system tray icon
      • Green indicates total CPU usage
      • Red indicates the process using most the most the CPU time
    • Hover cursor over icon: see total CPU % usage and the process eating most of it
    CPU vs I/O Bytes Current and Historical Graphic display
    Click View->System Information for (current and historical) graphic display of
    =>CPU usage
    => # I/O Bytes​
    HD Tune (free version) and see each tab
    => Benchmark data (on disk reads)
    => Info about disks (be sure to check Supported vs Active modes)
    => Health as displayed by on board disk sensors
    => Error scan to check for surface errors​
     
  7. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,425   +77

    You say it takes 40 minutes to tranfer 1Gb over the network. What sort of network is that? A normal wired connection is 100Mb/sec and 1Gb should take about 1-2 minutes. This might imply that there is a hardware element not working correctly and processing many, many retries before a successful write (or read) is acheived. Will you please observe your PC performance with the network disconnected?
     
  8. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    Computers and networking remind of something from my Inorganic Chemistry classes (once upon a time). A chemical reaction consists of several steps. Regardless of how fast each step, the speed of the chemical reaction is determined by the slowest step, called the Rate Determining Step.

    So too in networking. The computers/disks on each end of a network can not physically transfer data to/from the disk at LAN speeds. Which ever of two computer/disks on each end is the slowest, becomes the Rate Determining Step in the speed of that file transfer. (e.g. i find only 700kb/s rates between computers on my LAN)

    A nice tool to check your network transfer rates on a machine to measure rates between the two endpoints (then determine which is the "Rate Determing Step")
    NetMeter

    /***** EDIT ****************/
    Ooops. Thought that xfr rate quoted sounded low and my error in test setup. About 5MB/sec between Dell Optiplexes Intel Core 2 Duo E4400 2GB systems with IDE drives
     
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