Old, slow computer.

esteban_2009March 13, 2013

Hi All,
You folks haven't heard any complaining or bellyaching from me for a while....time for me to start.
I have a HP desktop that is 10 years old with X-P 3, I use it daily, it does all I require a computer to do, however, it is getting very slow. When I scroll the pages are really slow, when I want to use the X to close a page...very slow. Same with the back arrow. I have been told to "clean it out". What exactly does that mean?I have a HD with a total of 147 GB and 121 GB of free space. It has 1000 MB of memory. Also, IE-8, Malwarebytes, MS Security Essentials, WinPatrol.
Any and all suggestions will be welcomed.

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The simple quicker way would be to remove any programs not needed in case they have components running in the background. Use Ccleaner or similar to clear out all the junk files that accumulate over time, then do a defrag. You might consider using Revo uninstaller to remove any programs as it digs into the registry where normal removal does not.

The other, time consuming method, is to wipe the hard drive and start squeaky clean. However this requires you to back up all personal data and find all the necessary CD/DVD needed to re-install those programs. As your machine is 10 years old you likely had XP with SP1 so you would need to download SP3 (before or after, that does not matter) which is over 500 megs, plus there has to be over 120 updates to be downloaded and installed.

I would not put money into a computer that old, it has served you well really.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 7:08AM
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I am in the process of getting rid of programs I seldom use. What about MS.Net Framework and eight items of MS Visual C++, my Add or Remove program says I use them seldom. I do no programming, will it be safe to remove them?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 9:03PM
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Thanks for the interesting link.
I will leave both programs on the computer.
If I increase my memory to 2000 MB, would that help the speed? Do items like MY DOCUMENTS, FAVORITES slow the machine down too if they are too full?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 10:27PM
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I think that removing programs to speed up your computer will: a) do nothing much helpful, and b) mess up your computer if you remove the wrong thing. You have plenty of free space on your hard drive...that is not the problem. Your main problem, as I see it, is that small amount of RAM. Increasing it to the max you can for that computer would be the easiest, cheap way to speed things up a bit. In addition, you probably have a number of programs running in the background that do not have to be running and eat into your already limited RAM. After one gets a computer and starts downloading and adding more programs, many of these new programs have a default to run at startup. Software providers do this so that you can open their program almost instantly, rather than wait for 5 seconds for it to startup if it's not already running in the background. With a number of programs doing this, you have less and less RAM to do regular computer operations. Below is a link with some useful info concerning what you can do about this. Lastly, slow computers can also result from a virus infection, so you need to do some scans with your regular antivirus, and maybe the free version of Malwarebytes.

The last thing I'll tell you is that you have a computer with limited capabilty running an Operating System that will no longer be supported by Microsoft next year. New, basic computers are relatively inexpensive. You should start thinking about getting one that will work for you for the rest of this decade. While your present one may marginally do what you want, even if you can speed it up it's still going to not be very efficient. If you think about all the time you spend each day waiting for your computer to do something it should do instantly -- and place any value on your time -- you may decide that it makes economic sense to upgrade soon.

Here is a link that might be useful: Prevent programs from starting

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 1:29PM
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With one exception, I agree completely with Kudzu. Limiting startup loads with msconfig or other tools can do wonders.

In my opinion, the end of active support of XP is nothing to fret about. If it works ok for you today, it'll work just as well tomorrow. If it's hopelessly bogged down, try reinstalling windows, that can do wonders too.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 2:12PM
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I agree with you that the end of support for an OS does not affect the functioning at all. My only concern -- that I should have made clear -- is that the end of support means no new security patches, and that could become an issue.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 6:42PM
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Maximize the system RAM. Pare out all unnecessary applications. Disable all unnecessary entries in startup. Purchase earmuffs to block the hum of success depending on your goals.

Always remember that as you stay with XP you are 3 versions of Windows behind. The practicality, the ability, the actuality of use and performance may be limited depending on your use.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 8:37PM
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When security becomes a concern, load ubantu or one of the user friendly Linux versions. That looks just like XP.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 6:07AM
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Linux isn't a suitable choice for many people, and it's probably not a good idea for most people.

A Win PC operated by someone with common sense, with a top drawer real time monitoring security program and a firewall or two is probably as safe or safer than a naked Linux machine.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 1:06PM
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Folks, I truly appreciate all the help and advice.
I ordered another 1 GB stick of memory.
Will the additional memory help the YouTube video's not buffer in the middle of a show? Or is that my slow DSL or possibly a video card issue.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 11:42AM
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PKponder TX

Hi Steve,
You will see a performance boost with the addition of 1 GB of memory. That will not appreciably help with the buffering. The likely cause for buffering, IMO is your DSL connection speed. Many suggest that you can pause the video until it's finished downloading, then you should be able to play it without buffering. I do that sometimes and it helps. I *think* that when you were advised to clean it out, the reference was to your browser cache, since you obviously have scads of free disk space.

In Internet Explorer 8, click Tools, then Internet Options. Go to the Browsing History section and click the 'Delete' button. Remove the checks from Preserve Favorites website data and Passwords...make sure that everything else is checked and click Delete.
This may take a while, depending on how long it's been since you cleared the cache. This should be routine maintenance, so you'll want to remember these steps. This will help Internet Explorer be all that it can be.

I hope that this helps,

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 1:04PM
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Linux used to be for geeks only. The vast majority of people don't realize how easy and efficient Linux has become. My mother who is 80 years old had her hard drive crash last year and she had many valuable photos and financial records on it that would have been hard to replace. She took her computer to the "Geek Squad" at Best Buy and tried to have them transfer all the information from her old hard drive to a new one. After keeping her computer awhile they informed her that there was nothing they could do and since she did not have a backup of anything (computers no longer ship with a backup copy of Windows) they could only replace her old drive and charge her a hundred and something dollars for a brand new copy of Windows 7 on top of labor costs and parts.

To make a long story short I went down to the store and asked them why they just didn't pop a copy of Linux in since I had done that earlier and read everything on her old drive. They told me that "corporate" would not allow them to do that because of the Gnu license. I took the computer back, bought a hard drive adaptor for around 30 dollars and did it myself.

The freedom one has with linux is refreshing. Spend a $150 for Microsoft Office? I use Open Office free and can do anything with it Microsoft Office does. Computer crashes and need a new one? I can buy any old computer for very little money and put Linux on it free and it will run trouble free without slowing down or crashing like a new system with Windows X inevitably will and I will not have to constantly check for viruses or trojans.

The bottom line is Linux is superior to windows in many ways. I suggest anyone wanting to try it start with Linux Mint and simply run it off the CD without installing it.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 3:11PM
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YouTube sometimes buffers here, I will usually leave the page and come back and it makes a new connection that's full speed with no buffering most of the time.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 8:09PM
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Steve, did you have the slowdown before you installed ie8 on that machine. I have found that ie8 will slow down an XP computer considerably. More ram is always good, but, I am not 100 percent sure that is your answer. I am using an XP computer right now, with less ram, than you already have, and an 80 gig hardrive with close to 44 gig free space on it, and this computer is anything but slow. It is also a bit more than 10 yrs old. I have a couple computers in this house, that are newer than this one, but, I prefer this one over all the rest, and use it 99 percent of the time.

Good Luck to you. :-)Cat

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 4:46PM
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Hi Folks,
The AT&T tech left a few hours ago after hooking me up to U-verse...WOW!!! What a difference that makes. Old speeds 2.57 down and 0.42 up. Now it's 17.50 down and 1.45 up. When my new additional memory arrives it will go in also.
Once again, thanks for all the help.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 7:36PM
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Debra Wright

I would download Malwarebytes to remove any malware infections that you might have, as it will slow down the system.

I would also download Defraggler and do a defrag of the system after you have removed the malware and any programs that you don't need. This will help speed things up and keep the computer running smoothly.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 12:21AM
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Hi Debra,
Thanks for your input.
I run Malwarebytes on a regular basis. Also, I defrag the machine about once a month too.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 9:37AM
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