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Old PSU - is it the cause of my problems?

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Hi guys,

My computer has been steadily getting slower and slower over the last couple of years and in the last 6 months has been pretty difficult to put up with. Money issues mean a replacement isn't an option for me right now...

Basically its a Compaq Presario 6520UK and is about 6 years old. Now I know its bloody old by most people's standards but hear me out! I know the problem isnít me installing new, more demanding software as Iíve not installed anything major since MS Office 2007 2 years ago and use it purely for work, internet and iPod use.

I've constantly been adding / changing bits over the years, so the only standard bits now are the motherboard, processor and PSU.

I've never done a full re-install of XP either and I know this will be a major solution. I'm in the process of doing a re-install atm but I'm having issues copying my C:\ partition using Norton Ghost - should I post this issue elsewhere? Anyway, whilst I'm reinstalling XP I wanted to check if my PSU could be adding to my woes...

Itís pretty stable in use, just slow. However there are usually several random error messages that appear on shutdown as XP struggles to end running processes. I'm relatively computer savvy, so have always kept it clean of viruses, spyware etc and generally looked after the registry etc.

Since owning it, I've significantly upgraded the graphics card which now runs 2 monitors, I now have a total of 3 HDDs instead of the 1 it came with and have added a DVD-RW combo drive. Now this must all require a much greater power than the orginal spec and would the PSU not have degraded with age? The computer is almost always on, so Iíd say itís been powered up for the equivalent of at least 3 years non-stop. The fans are relatively quiet and never seem too overworked Ė typical CPU temps of 40-45 degC according to MBM 5.

According to eXtreme Power Supply calculator I require 297 WÖ

Specs as follows:

XP Home Edition 2002 SP 3 Ė fully up-to-date
Page File: 1534 Ė 2042 MB

OEM PSU: LITE-ON DC output 250 W Model #: PS-5251-08HP
ďcombined power on +5V & +3.3V rails not to exceed 165 W max
combined power on +12V & +5V rails not to exceed 218 W max
continuous total DC output power will not exceed 250 WĒ

OEM Intel 82845G/Ö MOBO
Pentium 4 2.4 GHz Northwood
2 * 512 MB DDR SD RAM PC-2100 (actually faster but limited by MOBO)
3 * 3.5Ē IDE HDD 7200rpm (160 GB, 320 GB & 500 GB)
NVIDIA GeForce 6200 AGP 256 MB Ė running 2 * 19Ē TFTs @ 1440x900
DVD-RAM drive
PCI modem card
1 * 92mm fan on case & 1 * 70mm fan on CPU
USB WIFI adapter
USB wireless keyboard and mouse

Thanks for any help received,

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    Grumpy Ol' MSgt (Ret.)

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Now this must all require a much greater power than the orginal spec and would the PSU not have degraded with age?

All true - that's why my canned speech on using the eXtreme Power supply attempts to compensate for future expansion, and aging. I think it wise for you too look at upgrading the PSU, but the PSU would not cause the computer to run slow. A stressed PSU causes reboots and freezes.

A format and reinstall is always a last resort - ESPECIALLY for an older computer, since your original install disks (if you can find them) are likely SP1 - meaning you will be years behind in updates. For the record, this computer just turned 7 years old, and never had a reinstall, and runs better than ever.

Note that security software eats up more and more resources, so even though you may not have installed any more programs, software updates occur all the time. 1Gb of PC2100 RAM is probably 1 bottle neck. Are you sure that Intel 82845G is the motherboard? And not the on-board graphics controller?

Have you scanned for malware?

PSC Calc Canned Text:

Use the eXtreme PSU Calculator Lite to determine your power supply unit (PSU) requirements. Plug in all the hardware you think you might have in 2 or 3 years (extra drives, bigger or 2nd video card, more RAM, etc.). Be sure to read and heed the notes at the bottom of the page. I recommend setting Capacitor Aging to 30%, and if you participate in distributive computing projects (e.g. BOINC or Folding@Home), I recommend setting TDP to 100%. Research your video card and pay particular attention to the power supply requirements for your card listed on your video card maker's website. If not listed, check a comparable card (same graphics engine and RAM) from a different maker. The key specifications, in order of importance are:
  • Current (amperage or amps) on the +12V rail,
  • Efficiency,
  • Total wattage.
Then look for power supply brands listed under the "Good" column of PC Mechanic's PSU Reference List. Ensure the supplied amperage on the +12V rails of your chosen PSU meets the requirements of your video card. Don't try to save a few dollars by getting a cheap supply. Digital electronics, including CPUs, RAM, and today's advanced graphics cards, need clean, stable power. A good, well chosen supply will provide years of service and upgrade wiggle room. I strongly recommend you pick a supply with an efficiency rating equal to, or greater than 80%. Look for the 80 Plus - EnergyStar Compliant label. And don't forget to budget for a good UPS with AVR (automatic voltage regulation).
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just a simple question, have you tried a linux live CD test, in that XP is a great system, yes, but, what with updates, service packs and ones own protection against malware, everything could be slowed down by all that, where linux will tell you at least where you stand software wise, in that if you get good result even from booting up on a live CD, which should be slower than booting from the harddrive as normal, it means that the system is clogged, meaning again that it is not the hardware issue here

Edited by fleamailman, 09 September 2009 - 02:57 AM.

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    Grumpy Ol' MSgt (Ret.)

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Well, you can do something similar by booting into Safe Mode - the idea being most of the startup programs are not loaded, leaving more resources available for XP itself. Either way, I don't see how it will prove anything not already known. 1Gb of PC2100 (DDR266) is a bottleneck. The fact the computer has been slowing down over time indicates a software issue since hardware typically works, or does not work, but normally does not just slow down (the exception being slow downs due to heat - though I don't think the P4 Northwood toggles down when hot, it simply shuts down to protect itself).

Malware needs to be eliminated from the equation before much of anything else at this point, IMO.
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Maybe we need to look at the Autoruns and get rid of some of the non-essential programs?
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Hi guys,

Thanks again for all the response! As I said in the OP it definitely free of viruses / spyware etc etc. I use quite a suite of apps to keep it all kosher.

List of apps I use to 'maintain' the PC:
AVG Anti-Virus & Spyware
ZA firewall
Spybot S&D
Belarc Advisor - to check updates up-to-date etc
Malwarebytes' Anti-malware
SeaTools - status of HDDs
Revo uninstaller

Obviously most of those apps I use only occasionally with a full virus scan most nights and a malware/spyware scan once a week. I've always kept to this regime and have never suffered a major problem with unwanted nasties.

Admittadly, the sheer number of processes running at any one time is probably a major part of the problem. I've always deactivated as many autoruns as possible using msconfig... For example atm with the PC sitting idle with no user apps open (I'm writing this on a different PC) there are 52 processes, CPU usage is about 5% with a page file usage of 565 MB out of a total 2463 MB. In all fairness my PF usage is always pretty low - it can slow to a halt and still only be using less than 1 GB of the page file.

I understand that the PC2100 RAM is probably a major bottleneck, however the modules themselves are PC2700 or 3200 (can't remember) - the MOBO is incapable of running RAM any faster than the 2100 specs. So without replacing the MOBO (& maybe RAM) I'm stuffed there. I don't want to pump any more £ into this computer - its now hard to justify pumping more cash into it. It almost seems better saving the cash, waiting and buying a perfectly adequate new PC for £400. I just need this to limp on for 6 months - 1 year...

I'm not worried about having to do all the XP updates, its time consuming but at least its simple and partly automated. I've also made up a XP install CD inc SP3 so it shouldn't be too bad. I've recently done a full re-install on my parents PC and it was simple to do and is now running like new! Hence why I figured mine needs a good fresh clean start. An awful lot of software has been installed/uninstalled over the years and the 'programs' list within the 'Start' button uses up 2.5 complete columns so there's a lot on there...

Digerati: sorry, you're correct. That was indeed the graphics controller. I believe the MOBO is an OEM member of the Intel 82801DB family. If I'm still wrong I give up!

fleamailman: tbh, I've never even heard of the Linux Live CD. Sounds like a good idea but I'm not sure I have the time nor the inclination to add to the difficulty of doing this.

Any further thoughts? Cheers for the help all,

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Download and install Free Everest Home Edition
Open it.
1: In left pane expand Computer folder.
2: Click once on Summary
3: In upper menu, go Report
4: And then to Quick Report-Summary
5: Save it in text file, and paste it in your next post.
Click the + by computer, click on Sensor. Get a screenshot and post it so I can check your temps and voltages...


Download Autoruns from the link in my signature below:
1: Extract the Autoruns Zip file contents to a folder.
2: Double-click the "Autoruns.exe".
3: Click on the "Everything" tab
4: Remove any entries that mention "File Not Found" by right-clicking the entry and select Delete.
5: Go to File then to Export As.
6: Save AutoRuns.txt file to know location.
7: Attach to your next reply.

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Hello again! cheers rshaffer61 - as you requested:

--------[ EVEREST Home Edition © 2003-2005 Lavalys, Inc. ]------------------------------------------------------------

Version EVEREST v2.20.405
Homepage http://www.lavalys.com/
Report Type Quick Report
Computer JOHN (John's Computer)
Generator Owner
Operating System Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition 5.1.2600 (WinXP Retail)
Date 2009-09-10
Time 22:55

--------[ Summary ]-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operating System Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
OS Service Pack Service Pack 3
DirectX (DirectX 9.0c)
Computer Name JOHN (John's Computer)
User Name Owner

CPU Type Intel Pentium 4, 2400 MHz (18 x 133)
Motherboard Name MSI MS-6577
Motherboard Chipset Intel Brookdale-G i845G
System Memory 1024 MB (PC3200 DDR SDRAM)
BIOS Type Award (01/09/03)
Communication Port Communications Port (COM1)
Communication Port ECP Printer Port (LPT1)

Video Adapter NVIDIA GeForce 6200 (256 MB)
Video Adapter NVIDIA GeForce 6200 (256 MB)
3D Accelerator nVIDIA GeForce 6200 AGP
Monitor Plug and Play Monitor [NoDB] (1726767)

Audio Adapter Intel 82801DB ICH4 - AC'97 Audio Controller [B-0]

IDE Controller Intel® 82801DB Ultra ATA Controller
Disk Drive ST3160815A (149 GB, IDE)
Disk Drive ST3320620A (298 GB, IDE)
Disk Drive ST3500630A (465 GB, IDE)
Optical Drive HP DVD Writer 940d
SMART Hard Disks Status OK

C: (NTFS) 149197 MB (91704 MB free)
D: (FAT32) 3418 MB (827 MB free)
M: (NTFS) 102399 MB (7421 MB free)
Z: (NTFS) 476937 MB (204945 MB free)
Total Size 714.8 GB (297.8 GB free)

Keyboard HID Keyboard Device
Mouse HID-compliant mouse

Network Adapter ZyXEL G-202 Wireless USB Adapter (
Modem Conexant HSF V92 56K PCI Modem #2

Printer Bullzip PDF Printer
Printer EPSON PictureMate 100
Printer Fax
Printer HP Deskjet F300 series
Printer hp psc 1200 series
Printer HP PSC 1210 on STUDY
Printer Microsoft Office Document Image Writer
Printer Microsoft XPS Document Writer
Printer Send To OneNote 2007
USB1 Controller Intel 82801DB ICH4 - USB Controller [B-0]
USB1 Controller Intel 82801DB ICH4 - USB Controller [B-0]
USB1 Controller Intel 82801DB ICH4 - USB Controller [B-0]
USB2 Controller Intel 82801DB ICH4 - Enhanced USB2 Controller [B-0]
USB Device USB Composite Device
USB Device USB Human Interface Device
USB Device USB Human Interface Device
USB Device ZyXEL G-202 Wireless USB Adapter #3

Problems & Suggestions:
Problem Disk free space is only 7% on drive M:.


2 things; firstly it correctly recognises the RAM modules as PC3200 but I'm pretty sure the MOBO will only run them as PC2100 so it's irrelevant and secondly the drive M: is merely my music backup partition. It's also a recent addition, so not only does it not matter its nearly full, its also definitely nothing to do with my computer being slow.

I've attached a screenshot as requested - it would appear there's nothing wrong with the PSU (to my untrained eye and from what I've read in the last 48 hours!).


Removed total of 14 entries, mostly referring to drivers or other files within the \system32 folder.

See attached...

As usual, many thanks for all the help I've received!


Attached Thumbnails

  • everest_screenshot.JPG

Attached Files

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AVG8 is a resource hog and will slow system down. i would suggest uninstalling this and getting Avast Just as good if not better for Virus protection
Please download Avast from my signature below. Please make sure you do the registration as it is good for a year or more. When it is due simply just reregister it.
Avast in my opinion is better because:
It's FREE to the Home User
It Updates it's Definitions daily
You can scan Individual Files, Folders and Drives
No buying new versions every year

SpybotSD TeaTimer this is the same as the above and i would suggest using SuperAntiSpyware
Download SupeerAntiSpyware from my signature below

Open Autoruns, click on "Logon" tab, and UN-check:

+ Adobe Reader Speed Launcher
+ iTunesHelper
+ QuickTime Task
+ SunJavaUpdateSched
+ TkBellExe

The next file needs to be manually disabled and is only needed if you use multi language on your keyboard. If you do then skip the step.

To turn off just ctfmon.exe go to:

Control Panel then to Regional and Language Options

Click on the Languages Tab then click the Details button

Click on the Advanced tab

Check the box that says Turn off advanced text services option

Click A and then OK

When done restart computer and then:

Download Temp File Cleaner (TFC)
Double click on TFC.exe to run the program.
Click on Start button to begin cleaning process.
TFC will close all running programs, and it may ask you to restart computer.

Download Auslogics Defrag from the link in my signature below. Auslogics Defrag in my opinion is better because:
It does a more comprehensive job at Defragging
It will actually show you what it is doing
At the end of working it will show you how much speed you picked up
You can view a online log of the files that Auslogics defragged

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This hopefully will get you some speed.
I'm trying to lessen he amount of resources being used so that will free up your system to run smoother.

What I would suggest is Uninstalling All Programs you don't need or don't want anymore through Add/Remove Programs

Do this by going to
Start and then to Control Panel
Click Add/Remove Programs
Carefully choose the program(s) you don't need
Click on each Program then click Change/Remove and Follow the Uninstall Instructions

You may be prompted to Restart your computer.
Restart once you have all the programs you don't need uninstalled.
Be careful not to remove anything needed by your computer, some of which you may be unfamiliar with the name,
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Hello again Ė sorry for the slow reply

First of all, I assume my PSU is working just fine.
I'm looking to buy a better P4 MOBO (possibly with a faster CPU) to realise the RAM's potential. Itís got to be cheap as chips as I don't think the PC warrants serious upgrading... If I do this, I assume it's highly likely I'll have to buy a better PSU...

I've followed some of your advice, but have a few questions before I continue. Iíve done the following:

ē Turned off the advanced text services.

ē Unchecked within Autoruns:
o QuickTime Task
o TkBellExe
o Coloreal - as I don't have 'coloreal' monitors, nor do I see the point in it

ē But left the following checked:
o Adobe Reader Speed Launcher - I open pdf's on a daily basis so this is one application I want to work quickly.
o iTunesHelper - I believe I need this running for my iPod to work correctly with my PC and iTunes (my iPod is set up not to be used as a 'removable disk' within windows - deliberately).
o SunJavaUpdateSched - I want to always have the latest version for security reasons and I know I won't remember to do regular manual updates.

ē Completely disabled Spybot TeaTimer. I guess with all the other security I have on the computer/ across the network, it's probably not needed.

ē Downloaded SuperAntiSpyware but as of yet I've not installed it. Are applications such as this really necessary?

ē Ran Temp File Cleaner - it freed 2.306 GB in 11,296 files. I then ran CCleaner which found a further 2 GB to remove (a number of files within the recycle bin). Neither application was able to empty the recycle bin despite reporting they had done so, so I had to manually empty it - no real drama. Everything up to this point made a marginal improvement.

I then restarted the PC and ran TFC again and forget to deselect some of the delete options. It then proceeded to delete all the system restore points etc which is very annoying as the system isn't stable, but it freed up ~10 GB and now the PC runs A LOT better! I'm amazed at the difference - itís more than usable now! I noticed XP allows 12% of HDD capacity for restore points which seems utterly ridiculous so I reduced it to 1% (~1.5GB). That should be enough should it not?

I havenít uninstalled any software. Although I have at least 50 programs installed I do use all of them, albeit rather infrequently. That was one of my reasons for starting with a fresh install of XP on another HDD so Iíve got a quick PC 90% of the time and can just boot the slower XP install to use certain programs. Does this sound sensible?! Mind, I think itís probably running quickly enough saving me some effort!

Youíve kindly explained the reasons for changing to your recommended software, which is much appreciated. Without meaning to be rude, I have some questions before I consider installing any more software...

ē AVG provides all the same features that you mentioned. Unless Avast uses significantly less resources than AVG then Iím not sure itís worth the change. I know and trust the AVG brand, have used it for years so know it inside-out.
ē Again, is it really worth me running software such as TeaTimer/SuperAntiSpyware?
ē Auslogics Defrag seems to offer much the same function as Defraggler...
ē I run the same utilities & antivirus software etc across all 3 computers on the home network for simplicityís sake and want to keep it that way. Iím therefore hesitant to use software Iím not familiar with without realising significant benefits. (The only exception is that I donít use ZA firewall on the Vista laptop as for some reason it causes a very unreliable wireless connection if Firefox is installed).

Basically Iím hesitant to spend any more time on this than necessary!

As usual, I canít thank you enough for your help,

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