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When The Basics To Speed Up Computer Haven't Worked


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#1 jenpro

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 12:03 PM

Hello all... I'm new around here and looking for some general suggestions... I am a basic computer user. Nothing fancy. I have a five year old Dell computer running on Windows XP... we only use our computer for basic functioning... email, word processing, internet access, picture editing, a few basic software programs. I try and maintain my computer to the best of my knowledge... I clean out old files, I run spybot frequently to search for spyware and what not, and I also have McAfee security suite that is always active and up to date.

Having said that... my computer has really been sluggish lately. Start up takes a long time.... I can often tell the computer is getting bogged down... especially when more than one application is running at once. This is a new development...

Also, I sometimes get messages that says my windows virtual memory is low? I have no idea what this means but am wondering if it isn't linked to my sluggish performance overall?

I've done a bit of research on registry cleaning... but backed out because of the conflicting reviews as to whether or not it is necessary and helpful... I do not want to risk damaging windows and having to redo my entire system. Are registry cleaners a good idea? If so, is there one that someone can recommend?

If registry cleaning isn't a good idea, is there anything else I can do? I'm venturing out in to computer speak now (don't laugh) could I need more RAM?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

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#2 Eyesee

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 12:09 PM

My recommendation would be to uninstall McAfee. Norton and McAfee will both slow a system down dramatically
There are much better programs for free.

Get the McAfee removal tool from http://service.mcafee.com/FAQDocument.aspx...105&partner
In the beginning there was the command line.

#3 JSteele

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 12:23 PM

jenpro,

Although Eyesee is correct that Norton and Mcafee both take up system resources, I don't think this will be a good fix for you.

The computer being five years old is probably the biggest factor here but there are ways to keep it around for a few more years. If you are getting messages about virtual memory being low then I would suspect that you don't have much RAM installed. In Windows XP your virtual memory is also refered to as your page file. The page file gets used when the system needs more memory but you are already using all of your RAM. You can adjust how big your page file is by the following:

Right click on My Computer
Click Properties
Click the Advanced tab
Under Performance click the Settings button
You will see 3 tabs in this window, click the second tab 'Advanced'
At the bottom of this window you will see a section for 'Virtual Memory', click the Change button
In the middle of this window you want to choose the 'Custom size' bullet
A good idea is to set this size to double the amount of ram you have (ex: If you have 512mb of RAM set this to 1024) I would recommend no less then 1024
Set both the Initial size and Maximum size to the same value (Ex: 1024)
Click the Set button
Click Ok
Click Ok again
And click Ok once more

Restart your system for the new settings to take affect.

Hope this helps

#4 DaChew

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 12:25 PM

On an older computer it's essential to keep anything but essentials from loading at startup, extra programs just eat up ram and cpu cycles. The newer programs like McAfee and Norton's suites load a new computer down too much for my tastes.
It's a "can't have your cake and eat it too" problem. I just upgraded my daughter to a 3 year old system from a 5 year old one, her free avg antivirus significantly slowed the system down, but that's the price of protection.

See if msconfig finds some things you could eliminate from startup, adjust windows for best performance, do disk cleanup, burn off/back up as much data as possible. Defrag when you get as much free space as possible.

Make sure that the inside of your case is clean, dirt/dust/lint/dust bunnies kill hardware and performance.

I am a bad example since I don't use real time protection, I would rather have a fast computer that works good, you have to be very careful then.

Add more ram if your computer only has 256 megs and it's using the swap file/virtual memory much.

How big should the page file be?


http://www.aumha.org/win5/a/xpvm.php

There is a great deal of myth surrounding this question. Two big fallacies are:

The file should be a fixed size so that it does not get fragmented, with minimum and maximum set the same
The file should be 2.5 times the size of RAM (or some other multiple)


Edited by DaChew, 03 January 2008 - 12:33 PM.

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