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Old 2007-10-21, 17:45   Link #1
Hayamaneko
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Help w/ improving performance of my mom's PC

So for awhile now my mom has been complaining that her computer is incredibly slow when both running an program or browsing the internets. I've run diagnostics programs, clean spyware/adware cleaning programs regularly, and have AVG Free installed to clean up any nasty viruses that might come up. It still runs very sluggishly even when opening a simple word document. I think that these performance issue might have something to do with a second hard drive that I installed from a computer that had had its CPU fried in an electrical storm. She also occasionally turns on her computer to find that the main drive cannot be found and is forced to use the secondary drive (I'm not sure which of the installed drives is the primary or secondary drive). I would've uninstalled this possibly damaged drive if it wasn't for the fact that the other drive seems to not be recognize by the CPU if the other drive isn't connected (though this non-damaged drive worked independently before I installed the damaged drive). Their are also a few other smaller problems that I can't remember the specifics of at the moment, so I'll post about it later.

So anyway, what should I do help improve the performance of my mom's PC?
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Old 2007-10-21, 17:53   Link #2
WanderingKnight
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Quote:
I would've uninstalled this possibly damaged drive if it wasn't for the fact that the other drive seems to not be recognize by the CPU if the other drive isn't connected
I'm guessing you're talking about IDE drives. In that case, the jumper for the second drive might be set as slave. The jumper is a really little thingie that is located on the rear part of an IDE drive. You have to switch its position and mark it as a master drive.
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Old 2007-10-21, 18:05   Link #3
GHDpro
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Once applications are loaded into RAM, the speed of the harddrive shouldn't affect things to much, unless it's really really slow.

1) How much RAM does this PC have? I'd recommend at least 512 MB for XP, but more is better.

2) Run defrag. If the harddrive is really badly fragmented it'll slow things down a lot.

3) I would not continue to use a damaged harddrive for important data. It might be better to get a new one (while you can still get PATA drives). If you want you could put the damaged drive in a external USB case for storing less important stuff (like downloads you can always download again if necessary).
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Old 2007-10-21, 23:17   Link #4
hobbes_fan
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1. check that HDD is ok. download a program called HDtune and do an error check. Should also give you a detailed report on the overall health of your HDD's. Obviously if one is damaged get it out.
2. check what other processes are running. Are they all necessary? If not switch some of them off.
3. Clean your registry, use a program called ccleaner. There are items left behind after uninstalls that need to be cleaned out.
4. turn off eyecandy. More than likely your using windows xp go to start->control panel->system->Performance->settings->visual effects. There should be an option to "adjust for best performance"
5 defrag
6. Overclock CPU/RAM
7. Use Spybot Search and Destroy in conjunction with AVG.

with suggestion 7 somethings are not defined as a virus/malware/spyware and hence outside the scope of AVG. Thing like tracking cookies fall outside the scope of most AV's but they can affect your PC performance. Also schedule an AV scans for boot time or safe mode.

Some of these are more daunting than others I'd probably only do 1, 4, 5 if you're not sure exactly what you're doing. 2 and 3 need a little bit of investigation and understanding on your part of the system. 6 is for advanced, thoroughly do your research before trying this, as this can be a high risk/high reward venture.

Basically for 2 you need to know what is an essential process needed by the PC to run. Some aren't.

For 3 well maybe see this thread http://forums.animesuki.com/showthread.php?t=56064 and here http://www.ccleaner.com/ . Basically things are left behind when you uninstall stuff and often they stay resident and having a million and one unused things in your registry does nothing but chew up resources

6 will be the most difficult, it can be fairly complicated and you will need to visit a few specialised forums like tom's Hardware. It can be difficult but you will definitely learn a lot. You will need to have a good understanding of your hardware to carry this out though. Performance wise this has the highest yield, but there are dangers.
1, 4, 5 have probably the smallest performance gains but used together should help a bit.

You also need to be realistic with your expectations, these suggestions by myself are stuff I use/do. Bear in mind you may be limited by your hardware. So if you're running a PIII system don't expect to get gains to the level of the new quadcore systems.

Note all software suggestions are free. All should be available at www.download.com

Also more PC details would help

Last edited by hobbes_fan; 2007-10-22 at 05:14. Reason: More detail
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Old 2007-10-22, 12:54   Link #5
Hayamaneko
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OK, in terms of the system specs:

1.6 GHz Pentium IV processor
512 MB ram.

I've also noticed recently that the computer runs better on certain user profiles (on my mom's it runs pretty well while on mine its pretty sluggish).
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Old 2007-10-22, 13:19   Link #6
hobbes_fan
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That's probably more than likely because she's got less programs running. More RAM would probably help with load times. But if you're trying to multitask IMO your CPU would be struggling mightily to perform more than 1 or 2 tasks at a time.

I really don't think the HDD is the issue at all, it would only be an issue if you were accessing the damaged HDD (if it is). The only exception would be if you had a RAID setup which from the sounds of it is unlikely. I think it's more an issue of how separate users use the PC. Have a look at what programs are running when you boot up. Then compare that to what starts automatically under your mum's profile. Hint: have a look at your toolbar. or have look in task manager
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Old 2007-10-22, 13:26   Link #7
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One thing I found to be a pretty big performance booster was to change the Windows Appearance to the Classic style. I have my P3 set like that and it runs like a beauty (bottom line is though that it's a pretty clean system with 256MB RAM).
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Old 2007-10-23, 15:03   Link #8
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I was finally able to switch over the supposedly damaged drive to slave mode (Its a Maxtor IDE drive so I just removed the jumper to turn it into a slave drive), but now its not showing up on my computer, is listed as having over 1,000 GB of space and is listed with a bizzare mix of letters and symbol when I check it on HD tune and the device manager. Oh and doing error check shows that a lot of data seems to be damaged. Did I not switch it over to slave properly or could it be that the drive is that messed up?
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Old 2007-10-23, 15:23   Link #9
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Make sure that the connections are plugged in very firmly - I've had drives not format incorrectly and show up with errors when the cable was even slightly loose. Also, find the HD's data sheet and make sure that the jumper setting you used really is slave mode. It does vary between HD manufacturers.

Lastly, as long as the drive is showing up like that, don't "correct" any errors and don't write data to it. If the drive was working fine under the previous configuration, it means that the drive should be fine, and something is wrong with the new configuration and/or connections.
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Old 2007-10-23, 15:53   Link #10
Hayamaneko
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Went back in and changed the other drives setting to Master and left the jumper plug out. Both drives are now being detected but the computer is still pretty slow and an quickscan using HDtune shows all green for the older drive (which doesn't make sense since I still have the same problems that I had with it before IE sertain folders cuase the computer to freeze when I try to open it or files won't open at all). I'm going to trying doing checkdisk/defrage now and see if that helps
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Old 2007-10-24, 10:10   Link #11
Loniat
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Check if DMA is enabled in the system. This is probably a Windows system right? Go here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/310751
Also check in the BIOS if DMA is enable and not PIO. That actually would be my first step.
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Last edited by Loniat; 2007-10-25 at 06:15. Reason: posting more up-to-date link
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Old 2007-10-24, 10:58   Link #12
Fuuma
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You are talking about a Windows system richt? if so then

Spoiler for Just to make it smal:


I hope this wil help

Sorry for my bad English
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Old 2007-10-25, 19:20   Link #13
Takeru
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Don't know if this will help but when I had windows it sure made mine faster
http://www.connectedinternet.co.uk/2...up-windows-xp/
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Old 2007-12-02, 23:09   Link #14
Hayamaneko
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Sup guys. Sorry to revive an old thread but my mom is still complaining about the overall speed of the computer. It still takes a long time just to open any random program or load any random internet page despite the fact that her computer has 512mb of RAM, 1.7 GHz processor, and a fairly stable cable connection.
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Old 2007-12-02, 23:21   Link #15
hobbes_fan
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Well how long is long? There isn't a lot more you can do without going into buying more hardware, RAM in particular.

Have to be realistic with your hardware.
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MP4 - http://forums.animesuki.com/showthread.php?t=47693
Convert AVI/MKV/MP4 to DVD
http://forums.animesuki.com/showthread.php?t=26308
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Old 2007-12-04, 11:37   Link #16
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Try checking you Task Manager (right-click your start menu), and see what's taking up your CPU processor. 516 MB of RAM and 1.7 GHz is a pretty strong computer.

If there is a program that's runnin your CPU at 99 constantly then its probably that program screwing up the computer

You can identify whether there's a rogue code running around with this site, though the site won't help remove it.

http://usa.kaspersky.com/products_se...us-scanner.php
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Old 2007-12-04, 16:23   Link #17
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Get System Mechanic www.iolo.com you can get the 30 days trial) and run the Pc Total Care
also make sure you have at least 1gb free space on the windows partition for windows to work properly
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