System suddenly slow

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by hapaboy, May 26, 2003.

  1. My in-laws have a two-year old Dell P4 machine running XP Pro which came with 128 MB of RAM. As you can imagine, it wasn't the fastest machine. I added 256 MB of RAM a few months ago and WHAM! The system is blazing fast. Multiple programs open quickly and run smoothly. Everything is copacetic.

    A couple of weeks ago they buy a Dell laptop with wireless capability and a Belkin wireless router. I set those up and everything is fine and dandy.

    A few days ago the desktop computer starts acting like it's running in slow motion. Try to open a program and the hourglass symbol comes up for what seems like an eternity before the program actually opens.

    Run antivirus program and nothing found.

    When using Internet Explorer, going to a different web site drags too (they have Road Runner cable modem). I empty the Temp files and cookies, but no change.

    I try to install Spybot but halfway through the scan the machine freezes up and I have to reboot. This happens several times. So I uninstall Spybot and install Ad-Aware, which finds a couple of hundred files that need to be deleted, which I do.

    I reboot the machine expecting Shangri-La. No such luck. Machine seems a tad faster but still is at strolling pace when it used to scream after I first added the additional RAM.

    So I call Dell Tech Support. They have me run msconfig and uncheck all the startup items except for a few key items like systray and antivirus stuff. This helps but does not bring the system running anything close to the speed it was until recently.

    So the Dell Tech tells me I have to back everything up, reformat the hard drive, and reinstall everything.

    Any of you techies out there have any other suggestions short of reformatting the hard drive? I thought the Dell Tech didn't do enough diagnostics, but of course I could be wrong.

    It just trips me out that a machine that was running so well would suddenly make such a dramatic slowdown and the only option available is to reformat the hard drive.


    p.s. laptop runs great.

    p.s.s. Defragmenter says the hard drive does not need to be defragmented at this time.
  2. nitro


    It is possible that the swap file is no longer able to fit on disk.

    First, take not of how much disk space you have. Then defrag the hard drive. Take note of how much disk space you got back. If at this point you do not have more than say100 MB of free space, try uninstalling some dead sofware.

  3. Thanks for the suggestion Nitro but I don't think that's the issue.

    Had over 10 GB of free disk space (20GB hard drive), but ran the defrag anyway with no change in performance.

  4. BKuerbs


    Did you try to monitor CPU-usage? Start the task-manager (right-click in the systray). How is the system-performance: lots of cpu-usage? Have a look at memory-usage: How much memory is available? Then have a look at cpu-usage: click tab Processes and then click the header of the column cpu-usage. That will show you the processes which draw most heavily on cpu.

    Did you try to check for trojan horses? The anti-virus programs won't detect them. Is the PC also slow when you are disconneted from the net?


    Bernd Kuerbs

    Sign up to this website (it's free and legit)

    Run full tests on the pc and maybe it will give you the proper fix suggestions.

    I've been a member here for several years and my test data is saved on their server. When I make changes to my system I can run a new test and check performance against past performance.
  7. BKuerbs


    First test is to disconnect the PC from the internet. Do not only shut-down the connection, pull out that cable. Does it operate at normal speed now?

    The address plumlazy gave looks nice, might also be useful.

    If you have caught a trojan horse, it is not that easy to remove it: you might try to install a trojan horse remover, but that might not work. An alternative is to produce a bootable CD on a clean(!) PC and then try to remove the trojan horse. Last alternative: a fresh install.


    Bernd Kuerbs
  8. "The PC Pitstop database is currently undergoing a maintenance procedure, reindex HWItem. We don't recommend testing your system right now, but you can try our AntiVirus or Internet tests, which do not require the database."

    Oh well, it works well when it's working...:) grrrr
  9. Trustme


    I got a shareware version of it from Tucows. It shows you how much RAM is used by the different programs and you have the option to stop all non-essential processes. If your PC runs smoothly after you did that you can try to pinpoint the specific offender and uninstall it.

    Hope that helps
    #10     May 27, 2003