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  1. Hi everyone,

    I'm coming out of lurkdom once more to ask this knowledgeable community how to proceed with a slow computer.

    The computer is a HP Pavilion from around 2004 that belongs to a friend. He said that it's running dog-slow these days, and asked me to help boost its performance.

    The friend has not done any Windows maintenance whatsoever. The PC is running WinXP Home SP3.

    I ran the latest Malwarebytes and also SuperAntiSpyware and quarantined the stuff those tools found. The PC is still sluggish.

    The PC is running an Intel P4 processor (single core) that runs at 3.0GHz. It only has 512MB of PC3200 (DDR400) RAM (the motherboard is capable of 4GB maximum).

    One thing I've noticed is that the CPU seems to be used even when no programs are running. For example, the CPU fan will occasionally kick into high gear (you can hear the fan speed increase, then decrease, then increase, etc.) even when no apps are open (empty taskbar).

    I set the PC up with Avast! AV, SuperAntiSpyware, and MalwareBytes, and yesterday they all give the PC a clean bill of health. But the PC still behaves as described.

    My plan:

    1. Increase the RAM. I'll install 3GB, which is a six-fold increase from what the PC has now.

    2. Some kind of Windows cleaner/optimizer. I searched around on this forum and found that many here recommend CCleaner. When I went to CNET Download, however, I noticed that a program called Advanced SystemCare Free has been downloaded 5 times more than CCleaner, making it the #1 download in the "Diagnostic Software" catagory. (CCleaner is #2.) So I thought I'd ask this forum which tool I should use.

    If there's anything else I should consider, please don't hesitate to let me know. That's all for today, fellow VH'ers. Thanks for reading
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  2. Member
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    Well it sounds like for the most part you know what you're doing. Adding 3gb of ram will help a whole lot. But also if he hasn't reformatted the hard drive since 2004 thats another issue, windows tends to break itself. A fresh install with 3gb of ram should do the trick. Another thing is you may need to open the case up and take a can of compressed and a blow it out of every nook and cranny. Also if you have artic silver I'd suggest removing heatsink and fan and put a fresh supply on the processor and make sure you clean all the stuff stuck in the heatsink, you'd be surprised how that affects things.
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  3. Member classfour's Avatar
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    CCleaner is likely the easiest to use program, also - it has never uninstalled a driver or needed file. I used to lose something every time I ran Hijack This.
    ;/ l ,[____], Its a Jeep thing,
    l---L---o||||||o- you wouldn't understand.
    (.)_) (.)_)-----)_) "Only In A Jeep"
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  4. err.... HiJackthis isn't a registry cleaner or optimizer. It is a specialty tool used when cleaning Malware.
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  5. Member usta's Avatar
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    If you are not going to make a clean install, then you should add to your list also the following:
    * disk defragmentation. It increases the access times of information and prevents some crashes.
    * some XP tweaking for best performance,
    * registry defrag,
    * clean unused files (temp files, browser cash, old system restore points, etc...)
    * Start-up monitoring. Disable the start-up programs that you are not going to use every time.
    * Uninstall un-needed programs.

    Perhaps, a more all-round program will help you here. You can try Glary Utilities (it's a freeware).
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  6. VH Veteran jimmalenko's Avatar
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    I seem to recall reading somewhere that more than 2GB RAM for XP is a waste.

    Check the Task Manager for "optional" processes that are running - you can generally diable them from - there's a boatload of info here.

    Ideally a reformat and reinstall of XP will cure most ills in one foul swoop, but I can understand if that presents further issues - reinstalling programs, retaining settings/email/favorites etc.
    If in doubt, Google it.
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  7. Member
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    1: Its a hp, get rid of all hp associated software and watch it out run a marathon ... this crap is a blight and unwanted after warranty has expired.
    1: If service pack 3 non-integrated remove... minor improvement yet can degrade system performance unless system is using more recent hardware / processor.

    Run benchmark tools on hard drive and confirm against manufactures specs data ... if lower read outs, time to consider replacement.

    Advanced SystemCare from http://www.iobit.com/ might be worth a shot if your looking for an all rounder in maintenance tasks.
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    The first things I'd do is run DiskCleanup and Defrag. I don't know how many times just doing those 2 things has improved performance on friends' PCs who had either never run them or not run them for several years. Adding RAM likely won't help very much unless running a lot of processes on the system.
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  9. Member hech54's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Tedness
    windows tends to break itself.
    Strange....I've never had that problem. Sounds like bull$hit to me.

    Cleaning and defragging...now there is an excellent and rational start to the problem.
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  10. Member bmwracer's Avatar
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    Backup your files and do a clean install... It's probably mucked up with software and other related gunk.

    Yeah, it's a tedious task, but probably the best solution if the hardware upgrades/additions don't help.
    Frank Zappa: "People wouldn't know a good movie if it smacked 'em in the face."
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  11. First thing to do is ANALYZE THE PROBLEM.

    It runs slow? Really? Compared to another PC, the way this PC was one year ago, what? Exactly WHAT OPERATION appears to be slow? Is it slow ALL the time or after running for an hour or so? What is this PC used for?
    What SPECIFICALLY does the customer want to run faster? If he wants to make Crysis run better you're going to need a lot of parts. You will need to know what "suns slow" so that when you get that particular operation running fast you can stop adding parts.

    Now, you think the CPU is in use when suppossedly idle? WRONG, Wrong, wrong. What you KNOW is that the fan speed changes. That may, or may not, be a sign of CPU usage. It may, or may not, be a sign of a serious problem with the motherboard or possibly power supply. To check CPU usage, bring up the performance monitor and watch the graph. It could just be a bad fan.

    You must determine if the PC itself has actually slowed down, or if it's just the Internet connection, virus or crapware, or if the old PC just isn't as fast as the new one he has at the office.

    Because if it is NOT virus or crapware, and NOT the Internet connection, and the HD performance-tests to spec, AND the user is ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that THIS PC used to run faster, you're left with either a board or CPU problem. Replacement of either is not economically worthwhile. I forgot Power supply, well worth checking. By checking I mean replace with a known good test unit. You may have a hard time getting a standard power supply into that case, also many older HP power supplies seemed to fail at a high rate.

    3 GB RAM would be just silly, stop at two. He's running 512 now, he don't need 3. Odd number of chips might actually Reduce performance.

    Also, when adding parts to that box, price a new PC and realize that the street value of the existing box is about $75.00.

    CC Cleaner has never once caused a problem for me, and has solved quite a few. Never heard of the other app. I do not let apps I have never heard of mess with my, or anybody else's, registry.
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  12. Member Skith's Avatar
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    I will second that you let CCleaner (short for crap cleaner) have a run at the system. Just be sure to opt out of the Google/Yahoo toolbar or whatever it is that is offered during the installation.

    You may have to run it several times, but that program is almost better than sliced bread

    If you do use the registry cleaning feature, be sure to back up and make sure you know how to restore just in case something goes wrong.
    Some people say dog is mans best friend. I say that man is dog's best slave... At least that is what my dogs think.
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