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Omg It Used To Run Great!


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#1 wlafeen

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 06:48 PM

Well I am at my witís end.

I have an Acer Aspire 5601AWLMi laptop. Centrino Duo T2250 @ 1.73GHz. Windows XP Media Center SP2. Intel i945GM Northbridge. Intel 82801GHM Southbridge. 2GB DDR2 memory.

The laptop did not come with any O/S cdís.

I use Norton Internet Security, Trend Micro Anti-Spyware and Windows Defender. I keep all programs updated. I have scheduled scans and I do manual scans as well; I have never had a virus or similar. I run Registry Mechanic about twice a month. I defragment every couple of months.

The laptop used to run wonderfully. It was very fast; it was sometimes faster than my HP desktop of about the same age with twice the RAM. Then the change. It was not a gradual change; it was sudden. From the time you push the power button to full desktop (including completing password screen) used to take around 30 seconds; it now takes almost 10 minutes. No, I am not exaggerating when I say 10 minutes. It boots so slowly and struggles so badly that even the Windows 4-note ďchimeĒ at boot sounds broken up and takes much longer to play than it should. If you try to do something as simple as open a blank Word document or open My Documents folder or similar at any point in the first 10 minutes, it will open (hopefully) within a minute. There were no changes (hardware, software etc) to the laptop at or near the time of the change.

I did not expect much help from the Geek Squad at Best Buy but decided to give them the $60.00 to run diagnostic tests on the hardware etc as I suspected the hard drive is at fault. They found no fault with the hard drive or any other hardware. They ran more than one type of virus scan and found nothing. They said all was in order and their only suggestion was a ďsystem optimizationĒ because they noted that Task Manager had 54 processes running. Of course they were forgetting that I had already told them that there have always been 54 to 60 processes running on the laptop and it was never a problem.

I honestly donít know what step to take next. Could anyone give me an idea of where I should go from here? What might be a good first step? I know this is a loaded question. I would greatly appreciate any help with this very frustrating problem.
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#2 CTH_Tom

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 06:58 PM

Pain in the ass way to go but could be helpful, doing a clean boot-

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/310353
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#3 Animal

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 07:03 PM

Slow Computer/browser? Check Here First; It May Not Be Malware

also one of our resident malware experts has this list: Help! My computer is slow!

To CTH Tom: And the outcome and expected results from your link is what? A little more information might be quite helpful.

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#4 1101doc

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 08:07 PM

It is possible that your system has gone to PIO Mode. (Programmed Input/Output)
XP should run in DMA. (Direct Memory Access)

To check, open the Device Manager.

Once there, expand the entry called IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers.
Double click the entry for "Primary IDE channel, and open the Advanced settings tab. Use the drop-down menu box to select 'DMA if available' for both boxes. The top section shoud be "Auto Detection" for both. Do the same for the "Secondary channel."

This is the most comprehensive page about it I have found, and contains a .vbs script if your system is 'stuck' and will not allow changes: http://winhlp.com/node/10
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#5 blakethornton

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 09:00 PM

50 processes running should not be a big deal... 50 applications, that would be a different story.

The super slow boot would indicate to me hardware issue of some kind, thats a really good suggestion to have a look at PIO vs DMA, but chances are that did not just randomly change.

Hard-drive failing could also cause excessivly slow system but you say the geeks at BB found no defect...

It's also possible that failing hardware on the same bus is causing an issue.... kind of a long shot but if your cd-rom is removable remove it.

I would also try booting into safe mode (F8 on boot) and seeing if it's still ultra slow.

Another thing to try would be booting in to the BIOS and resetting defaults (usually del, F2, or F12 at boot up... it varies by mfg, and I don't remember ACER).

Does the machine make any strange noise?

Also, it doesn't make any difference if the laptop is plugged in or not does it?

I wonder if speedstep is screwing you somehow.... hmmmm

Edited by blakethornton, 12 November 2007 - 09:04 PM.


#6 wlafeen

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 10:06 PM

Very cool. The laptop is back to normal.

Primary IDE was set to PIO. I changed it to DMA but actual use remained at PIO even after reboot. So I used the .vbs script on the page you provided to force DMA and all is well at this point. Thank you very much for your help doc and others!
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#7 1101doc

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 10:29 PM

Carefull reading at that site will offer preventative procedures to keep the problem from returning. Very glad to hear that the problem was corrected.
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#8 wlafeen

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 10:39 PM

Too right. I do realize that the underlying cause must be corrected as well and I think I am almost there too! Thanks again.
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