Upgrade CPU and doubled RAM but PC still very slow?

  fudge 16:49 31 Mar 12
Locked

My ageing PC was getting very slow - start-up, opening programmes, web pages etc.

So I've upgraded the CPU (was 1.1GHz now 2.1) and doubled the RAM (was 750Gb now 1500). They're probably not up to the level of modern PC's but they the best I can get for mine. All went well, the jumpers were changed on the motherboard so the BIOS recognised the new CPU and the system recognises the new RAM.

However, it's barely made any noticeable difference to the PC's speed. Start up still takes over 5 minutes before it's fully booted (and BIOS is set for fast boot, programmes are slow to load, and web pages seem to take ages (broadband speeds are good). I'm pretty good at housekeeping so the PC is not overloaded with rubbish and everything is kept uptodate. I have an uptodate anti-virus so there shouldn't be any nasties on board either.

Any ideas why I'm not noticing much difference in the speed? By doubling the power and memory I expected to see a big difference. Is there something else I should have changed after I installed the CPU and RAM?

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 17:05 31 Mar 12

Probably too many startup programs / processes or hard drive in PIO mode (2a) a bloated security program will also slow you down

Assuming XP? on a machine that must be 7/8 yrs old
My Xp system runs reasonably fast P4 3.2G 1700Mg RAM couple of mins to boot but progs open immediately.

A list of things to run through some of which you have already done:-

1. Software

a) Clear out all temporary files and folders -- use CCleaner http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download

b) Scan for malware spyware and viruses --Free Anti Spyware :- Malwarebytes http://www.malwarebytes.org/ Superantispyware http://www.superantispyware.com/download.html

Free Antivirus software MicroSoft Security Essentials http://www.microsoft.com/security/products/mse.aspx Avast http://www.avast.com/en-gb/free-antivirus-download

c) Clean the registry -- Use the tool in Crap Cleaner its very safe and also allows you to back up the registry first.

d) Pagefile (Virtual Memory) -- Right click MY Computer - select properties - Advanced tab - Performance - advanced tab - Virtual memory click change, you can put the page file on a different drive (if you have one), click custom size and set Initial size to one and a half times the amount of memory you have fitted i.e. 512MB memory = set to 768MB, set maximum to double your memory amount i.e. 512MB memory = 1024MB click ok. If your hard drive is full and there is not enough room for the pagefile this can slow down, freeze or even cause the PC to crash (restart).

e) Cut down on the programs that load at start up -- Start - Run type msconfig - start up tab- untick everything except for firewall, antivirus and antispyware

and the services that run in the background. http://www.blackviper.com/

2. Hardware

a) Hard drives /

i) IDE Channels: (Not required if you have SATA drives) Check the transfer rate, you need to have the transfer mode set to DMA not PIO. Right click My Computer - Properties - Hardware - Device Manager - Expand (click the + ) IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers right click Primary Channel - Advanced Settings Tab - If transfer Mode is PIO then follow the instructions at http://forum.digital-digest.com/showthread.php?t=61905 to change.

ii) Check for errors and defrag your hard drives -- My Computer - select drive - properties - tool tab - Error checking / Defragmentation.

ii) If you are using Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 it's a good idea to convert your system drive to the NTFS file system if you have not already. In addition to providing numerous security and data recovery improvements over FAT32 (the file system of choice for Windows 9x/ME and XP Home) it can also speed up your system slightly.

In fact, the only real reason for sticking with the FAT32 file system for any of your data is if you have more than one operating system on your PC and the other OS's can only see FAT32 partitions (as would be the case with Windows 98, for example, which is incapable of reading NTFS data).

To convert your drives to NTFS: Right click on 'my computer' and select 'manage' From the computer management window, expand storage and select 'disk management.' Using the 'file system' column of the upper pane of this window, you can easily check what file system each of your logical drives is using. Make a note of this information. Now open a command prompt window by going to 'start\run' and typing 'cmd' To convert a disk to NTFS, type 'convert (drive letter): /fs:ntfs' So for example, if you were going to convert your C: drive, you would type 'Convert c: /fs:ntfs' at the prompt.

b) Drivers Obtain the newest drivers for your hardware This may seem a bit obvious, but keeping your system's drivers up to date can give both your performance and stability a boost. Video card manufacturers release updates especially often, and these can often give "significant boosts" to gaming performance as video card in question is "optimized."

Don't neglect the other components of your system either. Your motherboard manufacturer may have released newer versions of its Input/output drivers for your board, and sound cards and other peripherals can also benefit from newer software.

c) Memory Your memory could be failing try memtest

Add more physical memory, this of course means opening the "box" and fitting a memory module, make sure you buy one that is suitable for your PC. Crucial http://www.crucial.com/uk/ will guide you through the process of selecting the correct memory. http://support.gateway.com/s/Manuals/Desktops/8509270.pdf for a guide to fitting memory.

  Ian in Northampton 17:24 31 Mar 12

Fruit Bat /\0/\'s advice is, of course, excellent. That said: when I've experienced this kind of issue before, I've gone for a complete fresh install. It always works - but it can be a painful, tedious, time-consuming process. I don't think the Windows PC has been invented that won't, over time. gradually get slower and slower because of all the crap it accumulates, and sometimes it's better just to start again.

  fudge 17:33 31 Mar 12

Thanks Fruit Bat. That was quick and comprehensive.

You're right - I am using XP (with SP3). I've already done everything in your 'software' list and I'm using all the software you suggest (except blackviper). In the hardware list 'b' and 'c' are already done (I've fitted new crucial memory) so I'll have a go at the items in 'a' and see if that improves things.

It's about 13 years old and virtually all components have been replaced and/or upgraded (some twice), including the hard drive and motherboard and it now has the highest spec I can achieve. The only reason I haven't changed it completely is because it performs reliably and I can't face the hassle of re-installing and setting up all my software (much of which probably won't run on anything higher than XP anyway). It's just a bit slow still!

Anyway, I'll try you tips. Thanks

  fudge 17:35 31 Mar 12

Thanks Ian.

I have considered that but steered away from it for the same reason as above - the hassle!

  fudge 14:27 02 Apr 12

Following the hardware checks recommended by Fruit Bat it turns out the transfer rate was already DMA and the file system was NTFS. That being so the only thing I hadn't done was a defrag - mainly because I'd done it about a month ago and didn't think it necessary.

However, it was surprisingly about 60% fragmented so I carried out a defrag and - voila - full steam ahead again. Perhaps it had become so fragmented because of the limitations in power and memory but whatever the reason I can now see the difference the mods have made.

Under normal circumstances I wouldn't have expected such a differnce from a defrag but combined with the upgrades it's obviously had a significant effect.

Thanks to those who offered advice.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 14:56 02 Apr 12

Glad its sorted.

Quite often its a combination of things that cause a slowdown 99 times out of 100 working through the above list will cure it.

  finerty 15:12 02 Apr 12

i know that reinstalls of xp can be painful because of the waiting and loading of drivrs and softwares.

I got a little to fed up with it myself, now i use acronis and back up the xp drive onto an external drive. works wonders.

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