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Slow computer, unknown reason

By Paladin656
Jul 26, 2009
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  1. My parents asked me to look at their computer because it's being very slow. They are usually pretty good about not downloading things and have decent browsing habits.

    The slowness is all around, such as response to a click or command, the screen doing a slow redraw, windows opening or closing very slow or with that "from the top" where it does a section at a time.

    I thought I'd check in here for ideas, since I can't seem to figure out any particular reason. I'm probably going to buy them some more RAM. Machine is an older DELL Pentium 4 2.53 GHz, with 256 MB of RAM.

    Files attached from steps above, any thoughts would be useful.

    Thank you.
  2. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Posts: 2,278

    Add some more RAM for sure, 1GB would be ideal...

    First thing to check is which Anti-Virus they are using, as some are really taxing on system resources and can slow the computer down a great deal. If it's Norton of McAfee, I would suggest using something different. Avast and Avira are two excellent choices, and both are free. Also, AVG 8 is known to cause slow downs and poor system performance, because the guard is heavy.

    Next to try is background applications, which can be viewed by using Windows' task manager. Another way to view potentially malicious processes is to download ProcessExplorer. This small application is basically a more advanced version of Task Manager and you will be able to view all the processes that are running in the background. With this information, you can terminate certain processes that are hogging CPU and system memory. There will be a few normal processes taking up larger chunks of memory, like svchost.exe, so you can ignore those. If you find some processes that are hogging resources, and are unnecessary, you can disable them at startup using Spybot or by going into the Services list.

    See where you get after those two steps and post back with your progress...
  3. strategic

    strategic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,274

    You seem to be running XP service pack 3, so yes, 1Gb of Ram would be better, personally, because of cost, I use 2Gb minimum as a 'rule of thumb'.. I've noticed you have 2 toolbars on your internet browser, try to use 1 only. The more apps you have installed, the slower your PC will perform. You're running Avast antivirus (good choice) and that's the only one (even better since you can only have one). The computer (I'm guessing) is about 5 years old?. If so, and if you haven't done so, your harddrive may be failing (something I see from time to time on this site). When it's towards the end of lifespan, it tends to slowdown the computer drastically. If you have anything important, remember to back up often! (better to be safe than sorry).
    Run ccleaner. http://www.ccleaner.com/download, then defrag your system.
    Let me know the results! :cool:
  4. Paladin656

    Paladin656 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ah yes, I did hear service pack three was better with more RAM. 256 MB did good when the computer was new, I was thinking that updates and such may have bloated it out, but I didn't think specifically of SP3. Hardware failure was another thought in my head, but I wanted to get an opinion on the software side of things as well.

    RAM will be going in and soon as I can get to knoxville and buy a stick or two.
  5. strategic

    strategic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,274

    It's definitely a good thing to have on your mind :) You always need to be prepared, if something were to happen, at least you'll still have your files. Backing up is a great habit to have.:)
  6. Paladin656

    Paladin656 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    It looks like my initial description to my parents on the PC has proven accurate. I told them that it looked like the continuous windows updates over the years for the machine has made windows bloated and it needed more room to work.

    Found a 1 gig ram stick at best buy and installed. Ticked about the price though, I don't understand how PC2700 at 1 gig is more expensive than 2 gig PC5300 or some of the laptop modules even.

    But my parents are happy. Thanks to strategic for pointing out SP3 on the machine. I use Vista at home and hadn't thought to look at that.
  7. spkenny

    spkenny TS Enthusiast Posts: 106

    I have to oject to installing spybot search and destroy at all, as it has been a lead cause in a lot of my customers computers for slowing down the system. As soon as I take it off, the system pretty much flies. Not in all cases, but most.
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