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Tech Helproom


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Best way to speed up my computer


Phoenix21

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I use Windows XP. My computer is running very slowly and I've tried all kinds of things to speed it up, including using Disc Clean Up, CCleaner, and Defraggler, and have removed all unnecessary programmes from Start Up. I've also run scans with AVG, Malwarebytes, SuperAntiSpyware and AdAware.

I've had a look on line, but all I seem to find are companies who promise to run a free scan and then try to sell their products to me to remove all the "errors", etc., that they've found. And most of them claim that their programme is the only one that will be effective, and that all the others on the market are rubbish!!

I would be very grateful if someone could advise me what the correct procedure is for speeding up the performance of a computer, and also what programmes, if any, I should download and use.

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onthelimit1

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First, check how much RAM is installed (right click My Computer, Properties). It was not unusual for early XP machines to be sold with a very small amount (I've seen 256 Mb quite often). If low, increasing to 2Gb would make a big difference. You've done the other measure I would do. If all else fails, a fresh install usually makes a big difference.

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Chronos the 2nd

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If you have had your PC for sometime then the only absolute certain way of speeding up is a very drastic measure and that is reinstalling Windows XP.

Now I know that this is a option that you would prefer not to use, I can remember my own days of reinstalling Windows XP and the length of time it took, what with the masses of updates that also now need to be installed. Though this can be made easier by downloading and burning to disk the various Service Packs.

Then there are all the drivers which you would need to download if you do not have a motherboard disk.

But anything else is really little more than chipping at the edges and a clean install every so often is really the only way to really speed up your PC, as so much crap is collected over time, particularly with XP.

Onthelimit1's suggestion of adding RAM if necessary is a good one so definitely worth checking.

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Phoenix21

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Thank you both for your suggestions. I did as suggested and it said: Computer: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.66GHz 2.67 GHz, 2.49 GB of RAM

Unfortunately, I don't understand what this means. Nor do I have the slightest idea how to reinstall Windows XP.

Is there any other way I can speed up my computer without doing this?

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Chronos the 2nd

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Looking at your specs tells me your PC is old, a Pentium 4 CPU is very basic by today's standards but providing you do not expect to much from your PC then it should do the job.

You have an odd figure for your RAM 2.49GB which I do not quite understand. But go here and use this which will tell you exactly (hopefully) what RAM you have Crucial scanner. Once it has finished scanning on the left hand side under memory type it will list, in your case, DDR2 PC ???? and how much. Please post back when you have the info.

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Jock1e

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Plenty of memory then how much disc space do you have and how much is left.

Check device manager for unsigned drivers also click on view while in there and click on show hidden devices then expand plug and play and see if any yellow exclamation marks on there as well.An unsigned driver will also make your computer run slow as it keeps looking for updates.

If an oldish computer check the air vents for dust and fluff and also check inside of the computer especially around the heatsink and fan of the CPU.

Possible cause could be with changing security programs and not using the correct tool for removing them.Maybe do a search for all of the security programs that you have used just to see if any parts still left on your computer.

Go into services and disable Windows updates and windows defender and stop them from running that should speed your computer up a little bit.Switch Windows updates back on on the 2nd tuesday of each month then off again once updated.

Use Firefox instead of I/E.

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Phoenix21

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Chronus the 2nd The Crucial report says Actual is 2.5Gb RAM DDR2. Maximum RAM 4Gb, though I know only 3.2Gb will show in XP.

Jock1e 250Gb Harddrive, with 101Gb Free. I don't understand device manager/unsigned drivers/hidden devices/expand this and that - although I am quite capable of using a computer, I am hopeless at configuring and technical jargon etc.. Could you please explain it in absolute detail, as in Computing for Idiots style :-)

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onthelimit1

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The RAM and HDD look fine, so I would suggest the hassle of a fresh install is the way to go. To minimise hassle with drivers, you could use Drivermax (free version) to save your existing drivers to a USB memory stick. Much easier then to install the drivers after the operating system

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Fruit Bat /\0/\

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1. Software

a) Clear out all temporary files and folders -- use CCleaner

b) Scan for malware spyware and viruses --Free Anti Spyware :- Malwarebytes Superantispyware

Free Antivirus software MicroSoft Security Essentials Avast

c) Clean the registry -- Use the tool in CCleaner 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. see 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 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.

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Jock1e

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Sorry can't quite remember how to get into device manager on Xp,I do know that you have to right click my Computer and select properties. Then you have to click on one of the boxes to get to device manager but cannot remember which one,

If any driver problems they are normally shown with a yellow exclamation mark.

Once in there you can also click on view then click on show hidden devices then expand plug and play and see if any yellow exclamation marks on there as well.

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Phoenix21

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Fruit Bat ^o^ Thanks for your comprehensive suggestions. I have already run CCleaner, Malwarebytes, SuperAntiSpyware, and AVG, and I cleaned the registry a few days ago using CCleaner (which I do on a regular basis).

Re Pagefile, I don't really have a clue as to what you are telling me here. I went on line and found this http://lifehacker.com/5426041/understanding-the-windows-pagefile-and-why-you-shouldnt-disable-it and I am still none the wiser. As I said earlier, I am hopeless at configuring and technical jargon etc.. I am a pensioner, and only got my first computer a few years ago, and am almost completely self-taught. There is just so much stuff I still do not understand. One problem I have is that my Windows XP was installed by a computer literate guy who then went off with the disc. He has since moved house so I am unable to contact him to recover it.

I regularly check for unwanted programmes in Startup, and disable the ones that are not necessary.

Regarding blackviper.com, I will look at it and follow the advice you gave me.

I know I have a hard drive in my computer, but I know nothing about IDE channels, DMA, PIO, ATA/ATAPI, Primary channels, or transfer mode. All I know is that my hard drive holds all the data on my computer. I do have NTFS, and I do have the newest drivers, too. I'm not sure what a motherboard is.

I am probably not helped by the fact that I live in a rural area, which has very low broadband speeds of less than 2Mb.

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