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Sometimes Slow Computer [RESOLVED]


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#1
911pchelp

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My PC (6 yr old Dell Dimension 4300, 1.6 GHz, 512M, 2 disk - 40G and 120G) is sometimes slow - i.e. when loading applications (SpyBot, NAV, MS Word, WMP, Firefox, IE6, 'My Computer', etc) and the initial accessing of files(in Explorer). After the applications are loaded (or after the first file accessed) the speed is OK. Surfing seems to be OK, once FF is loaded.

I've viewed several threads here referring to 'slowness' and have applied the suggestions but still have the problem.

Now, don't get me wrong ... the response speeds I'm talking about are a few seconds as opposed to a very few seconds over the last year. Am I being too picky - probably ... but it's frustrating knowing that the PC can 'go faster'.

Here are some of the things I've done (or am doing):
1 have NAV installed (run a system scan weekly)
2 have Ad-AWARE, SpyBot, Win Defender, and AVG Anti-Spyware install (run scans bi-weekly)
3 ran sfc /scannow - no help
4 run AVG RootKit bi-weekly
5 C: has been defrag'ed (free space varies from 1.3 G to 1.8 G)
6 cntinually monitor Startup config to reduce startup time
7 run CCleaner each night when I shut down
8 run Registry 'cleaner' using ToniArts: EasyCleaner bi-weekly

My 40G drive is partitioned into C: and E: drives evenly ... the 120G is D, F, G, and H (30 G each). In an effort to keep my C: small, I have a Program Files folder on the C, E, and H drives. Does this cause a problem?

I've tried watching the CPU time used by processes when application loading occurs, but didn't see anything abnormal.

Any suggestions / references are appreciated.

Edited by 911pchelp, 24 October 2007 - 10:47 PM.

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#2
Relemar

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My 40G drive is partitioned into C: and E: drives evenly ... the 120G is D, F, G, and H (30 G each). In an effort to keep my C: small, I have a Program Files folder on the C, E, and H drives.


That shouldn't cause a problem.

As you said your computer is 6 years old, you might wanna try getting some new hardware or just buy a new PC (6 years is a little old nowadays but, should be still fine)

I've had this problem with my GFs computer, I just reformatted, and just kept one partition to save hassle and it worked perfect.
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#3
911pchelp

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While I agree whole-heartedly that 6 years is very old (especially in this age of built-in obsolescence) ... I don't understand why my PC is slower than 6 months ago ... since it is running ... i.e. no non-working hardware that I know of.
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#4
Basementgeek

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On the partition that has your operating system, how much free space do you have available ? Need 15-20% free space.

How long have you had NAV installed ? Norton is a known resource hog.

BG
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#5
1101doc

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My personal opinion is that the removal of Norton and Windows Defender will go a long way toward speeding things back up for you. Both are resource demanding and neither is ranked at the rop of their categories.

Your Registry 'cleaner' is one of those about which we get the fewest number of posts outlining the problems it created. But still some. No Registry 'cleaner' is "safe." AND. NO Registry work should be attempted without free ERUNT!

ERUNT info and tutorial: http://www.larsheder...erunt/erunt.txt

Download ERUNT: http://www.larsheder...nline.de/erunt/
(Click on a 'Server.')

Even on an older machine, things can be done to speed it up. Consider trading eye candy for speed. Under Performance Settings in the Advanced tab of System Properties, see if you can live with the changes that result from marking the button for "Adjust for best performance." Looks alot like Win98, but speeds things up.
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#6
911pchelp

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removal of Norton and Windows Defender ...
Download ERUNT: ...
"Adjust for best performance."


Thank you 1101DOC (etal)!!

Removed Win Def .... downloaded/installed/using ERUNT ... adjusted. Can access files faster and loading applications (after startup) seems a little faster .

Question: I saw (in several articles) that NAV is not the best, but have been using it for >4 years and slow loading has only been last 6 mos (or so). When my current subscription runs out (early next year) I'd like to change ... but to what?
Am retired on fixed income so would like a free AV. Does AVG AV fit the bill? ... son has it on his PC and no complaints.

Thanks again.

Edited by 911pchelp, 21 October 2007 - 12:40 PM.

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#7
1101doc

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I use AVG free on my new laptop. Avast! is also free and often recommended, but I don't like it's interface. Avast also seems to have a bigger "footprint."

My AVG free is running behind the Comodo firewall.(also free)
BUT.
I do spend money on a full-time anti-spyware client.

I use A-Sqared Anti-Malware. Also highly rated are Webroot Spysweeper and AVG Anti-Spyware.
(all commercial)
These security programs auto-update and prevent problems, rather than running a scanner and removing (maybe) after the event.

A2 is $40 to start and then $20/year. I believe that the others are about the same. Once again, being comfortable with the interface is very important. If it isn't easy for you to use and understand....

I am a 'recovering' Norton addict myself. It takes some getting used to, but I think you'll find that using separate applications for each of the security functions is less resource demanding and much easier to troubleshoot.

When it's time to remove Norton, go to Symantec and follow the instructions, including the use of the "Norton Removal Tool" specific to your product. I have seen many problems with 'improper' Norton removal. My own was a 14hr nightmare back in the day. These days there's even a company selling a $30 private tool to do the job, but if you need help, just contact me and I will be glad to assist. And why wait? The sooner that Norton is gone, the sooner that you will have a more responsive system to play, er..umm... work with.

PS: The best rated paid antivirus with the smallest footprint today seems to be NOD32. But I wouldn't get anybody's "Suite" again--too much trouble.
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#8
The Skeptic

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While agreeing mostly with doc I would like to mention that my personal experience with Avast is that it is superior to AVG in a number of points, including better protection and stability.

My biggest problem with AVG is that I found that the present version, AVF free 7.5, tends to get corrupted and while doing so can cause many problems. Also, when this happens, and It happend to me a number of times, It often happened that I couldn't remove it, whatever I tried. AVG used to be my favorite AV for a number of years but presently I install it very seldom.

Regarding real time antispyware protection, I find that all thes programs use lots of resources. As an alternative I regularly run Spybot Search and destroy (probably the best program I have seen), AVG antispyware (very good. free. real time protection for 30 days only), Ad-Aware personal SE (not the 2007 edition. I installed it and got so diappointed that I removed it after a week) and Spywareblaster (it's free, you only have to udate. no scans).

I personally think that the application of a number of programs gives better protection (though not in real time) then a single one.

As to the relative slowness: Basementgeek has brought up an important point: lack of free space on c: drive. On a 20 gig partition you should have at least 3 gig of free space. In your case you have considerably less. If you can, delete or move some material to another partition and run defragmantation.
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#9
911pchelp

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Again, thanks to all!!

I'll look into AVAST and other anti-spyware.

I have looked at defraging my C: ... but last week the defrag program said defragging was not necessary - can it be believed? ... it's the MS utility.

Freeing up C: free space was the reason I went to 'Program Files' folders on other drives ... so I now try hard not to put anything on my C: ... but applications still put things in My Documents on my C:.

I'll look into removing applications that I don't use much and gain some space.

I'm toying with deleting the $NtUn... folders but that won't buy a lot and I'm concerned that I might need to uninstall patches inn the future
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#10
1101doc

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When I ran ATF cleaner on my brother's system the first time, it removed a gig of junk files: http://www.atribune....tent/view/19/2/

JkDfrag is quick and works even on full discs: http://www.kessels.com/JkDefrag/

Both of these are 'Stand-alone.' No install required. Unzip Jkdefrag and run the .exe. the JkDefrage.exe is really all you need. I moved mine to a folder in MyDocuments, because it creates a log file in it's containing folder. It overwrites each time, so only always one, but I'd rather not on the Desktop. Just have a shortcut there.

"My Documents" can be moved to another drive as well:
http://www.kellys-ko...n_xp_mydocs.htm

_________________
My only experience with real-time anti-spyware is A2 and AVG. A2 is much lighter than AVG AntiSpyware. A2 uses almost no CPU time (6 seconds this session), and although it does need 40meg of memory, I feel that it is worth it. [I have a page file and I'm not afraid to use it.]

Have never had issues with AVG, but thanks Skeptic, for the heads-up.
I not only use SpywareBlaster, but also run SpywareGuard as well. JavaCool is, well, cool!
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#11
911pchelp

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ATF cleaner ...
JkDfrag ...
MyDocuments...


I've been using CCleaner when I pwr down each night .. is the ATF cleaner better way to go?

Defrag'd using JkDfrag ... don't understand it but my free space went from 1.23G to 1.19G. Guess I'll have to whittle down the number of applications in C:\Program Files to bare minimum & reinstall the rest to put exes on other drives.

I mis-spoke when talking about MyDocuments. Mine is only approx 500 Mb.
Was actually talking about "Docs & Settings" .... is there any way to tell applications to put their 'settings' somewhere else?

My 'swapfile' is on C: ... would it increase speed and/or free space to move it to another drive (especially now that all drives have been defrag'd)?
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#12
1101doc

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ATF isn't "better," I just always suggest it because of the need for careful configuration of CCleaner.

I think that the change in free space is technical. Jk leaves a little space at the top of the disc for the system.

'Documents and Settings.' You're referencing "Application Data,' of course. No, I think you'll be best served to leave that one alone. Moving/changing it may result in considerable problems with your configuration of programs.

You can move the page file, but I suggest that it be put only on a drive that is automatically powered at boot. Even with plenty of RAM, XP likes its page file, and often misbehaves without it.

Have you decreased the amount of space reserved for System Restore and the Recycle bin? Sometimes large savings can be made there. Heck, if you can be careful, you could turn the Recycle bin off altogether, or better yet--make it active only on a different drive!

On my old system, I installed everything I could to an external USB drive without problem. My local disc had only Windows and security applications so that I would be protected if I had to boot without the external. With internals, you should have no problem. Do make a "Program Files" folder for the alternative drive and install to that. Don't want program files spread out all over the root of that drive, eh?

Not all applications will offer a choice of location. For those, something like Total Uninstall will do the trick. TU is kinda slow and clunky, and I don't like the interface much, but for this purpose, it will serve. Might be something better out there by now if you look. http://www.martau.com/index.php
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#13
911pchelp

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Again - lots of food for thought !

You can move the page file, but I suggest that it be put only on a drive that is automatically powered at boot. Even with plenty of RAM, XP likes its page file, and often misbehaves without it.

Page file moving looks promising - my additional HD (F:, G:, H:, and S:) is internal (thus auto powered - I assume that's what you mean).


Have you decreased the amount of space reserved for System Restore and the Recycle bin? Sometimes large savings can be made there. Heck, if you can be careful, you could turn the Recycle bin off altogether, or better yet--make it active only on a different drive!

yes and yes ... Sys Restore is 964Mb (thus can be reduced more) but Recycle bin is only 477Mb on C:.

( Rarely use the recycle bin but am afraid to get rid of it completely ... called chicken.)

Question: Wondered but haven't seen anything definitive ... assume any files deleted from the C drive go to the C: recycle bin and not to the recycle bin on the other drives ... am I right?
If not, then I can certainly 'drop' the C: recycle bin but it will only gain me <1/2 G - but better than nothing.

Changing page file looks like best bet ... I'll try tomorrow night.

When it's time to remove NAV, I may take you up on your offer ... is a PM OK?

By the way, thank you for all the responses ... hopefully I'll be out of your hair soon.
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#14
1101doc

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PM anytime.
I think you're right about the recycle bin. I just now configured my C:\ to zero and set up a bin on my external. Deleted files from C:\ are just gone. They do not show up in the other bin for recovery. Guess that is not an option after all. Just thought of the possibility as I was typing the other post. Even tried making a shortcut to the 'Recycler' on the other drive, but it just acts like a normal folder shortcut, not a recycle bin.

I think your best plan is your idea to remove large applications and install them on other drives. Especially stuff like Photoshop and Office, etc. Some of those guys are just plain big!
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#15
The Skeptic

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If I may suggest:

C: partition is the most crucial part of the hard disk. From my experience, it will not take long before you will run out of space again. What you plan to do is fine but the truth is that I personally I would never accept to have my computer running with a tiny recycle bin and restore space.

There are plenty of ideas how to run HD partitions but not few of the computers I fix are those that are chocked on drive C and have plenty of space in other partitions. Since I am always afraid of resizing programs (I use them reluctantly) I ususlly end up with formatting the computer. In this forum we do not recommend formattong but I think that you will be better off resizing C: to at least 30 gig. If you choose this option please backup your C and D drive.
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