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Slow AMD Xpress200m devices running XP Pro SP3

By Broncop
Mar 17, 2011
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  1. Dear community,

    recently our resident MSCE left and I have been drafted into administering about 250 MS Windows XP Pro SP3 desktop machines. I'm a UNIX admin by trade and I'm not very knowledgeable about the ins and outs of MS Windows (although I know my way around MS servers).

    About 75 of these machines are HP Compaq dc5750 microtowers and my users report that those have experienced terrible slow-downs over the past six months. I checked and they are right, these machines crawl! To give you an idea, opening MS Word takes about 5 minutes! Other programs do not behave any better.
    Those dc5750s are built upon the AMD Xpress200m chipset, with 160GB SATA HDs (7200 RPM Barracudas, if it matters), AMD Athlon X2 4000+, 1GB RAM, a X1300 Radeon add-on card with 128MB of VRAM and 2 x Broadcom b57 NICs (one for normal networking, one for RIS). The software library is quite standard, I guess, MS Office 2007 Pro Plus, Adobe Acrobat Pro 8.x or 9.x, Firefox 3.6.x, McAfee Enterprise 8.x OR Sophos Endpoint, OPSI clients (for RIS) and that's about it. The rest is done over webapplications. They are about 4-5 years old and need to live 3 more years.

    What leaves me wondering is that the machines apparently worked flawlessly for many years and suddenly they are all(!) grinding to a halt. At the same time the Intel-based machines don't show any problems. All of them, Intel and AMD machines, receive Microsoft software updates automatically (I don't know if that's smart, but that's the way it currently is) and I can only guess something from upstream broke the AMD machines.

    Like I said, I'm new in this section of the business and need pointers. I checked my network, and I think I can rule out any problems there. I dabbled with Eventvwr, perfmon and procexplorer but I lack the experience to draw any useful conclusions :(
  2. mike1959

    mike1959 TechSpot Addict Posts: 1,060   +19

    There are several free programs I and many other Windows PC users make use of.
    The program 'CCleaner' from Piriform can clean up many 'left over' files, and temp files and generally does a good, if safe job.
    www.piriform.com
    It has an 'Analyse' option, which would let you scan and see how much 'junk' has built up, then 'Run cleaner' which does the same, but removes those files.
    An option built into Windows is 'chkdsk /f' which can sort out many problems, could be described as self-fixing of Windows by itself.
    A Defragment a couple of times a month can only help, Windows has one built in, but third party programs can do a much better job.
    But I am a home pc user, and I don't have the responsibility of 250 PC's, and some programs I use are free for home use, but would need a licence for use by a company.
  3. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,304   +52 Staff Member

    Not to discount the post above, but cleaning up temp files isn't going to help you, defragmenting is going to have minimal impact and 75 systems needing to have chkdsk run would be a cosmic coincidence.

    What you need is more data: What programs are loading at startup, what does task manager say about CPU usage, memory usage etc..? The more information you can mine, the more likely it is you'll find a correlation which will nail the problem.

    The specs on those systems are certainly low-end for the times, but perfectly adequate for typical office work and Internet browsing.

    Something I think you should do is take one of the affected systems and run HijackThis on it. This will generate a useful log which lists start up programs etc.. Upload that to the forum, as this will be a good first step in identifying the problem.

    I also recommend generating a HijackThis log for one of the unaffected PCs as well, so we can compare.

    You may also want to check out Start > Run > Eventvwr.msc to go through the System and Application logs to see if there are any serious errors or warnings (red / yellow icons). If you see anything of note, it might be worth sharing with us.

    With the information you provided, I think the safest assumption is they are infected with spyware/adware/a virus etc... There's also the possibility of incompatible updates or a certain combination of sofware, a common type of hardware failure on that particular model of computer and I'm sure there are many more explanations. Providing more information will help us narrow down the possibilties.
  4. mike1959

    mike1959 TechSpot Addict Posts: 1,060   +19

    As I clicked submit on this one, I was thinking 'got the wrong end of the stick here', but too late. So I am just rearranging the words, 'more than I can chew, bitten off' or similar well known phrase. (ouch)
  5. Broncop

    Broncop Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Thank you all for your suggestions!

    For the moment I have worked around this problem by creating a new and up-to-date image and rolling it out over the last week. I'm watching for users that complain after the roll-out to isolate specific settings in their profiles. Hopefully this will give me more datapoints.

    I also looked around with eventvwr, which was, hmh, uneventful. Nothing serious, a few warnings here and there, but all of info level. perfmon showed a damn lot of pagefaults and I thought maybe there's something wrong with memory allocation but cross-checking with dc7900s and our Elitebooks 6930ps (Vista Enterprise) showed this behaviour on all machines, so I guess it's a MS Windows thing :/

    I will check out HijackThis and be back in a few days. Currently I'm occupied with other things and I don't know when I will have the time.

    Thank you all again!


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