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PC Pitstop System Recommendations?


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#1 lchageman

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 06:29 PM

Hi,
Having problems with my computer since attempting to rid it of malware picked up recently. Think it's mostly clean, but I ran a diagnostic to see if I can help the operating speed a bit. One recommendation I definitely need to follow, even to find out if the spyware's removed; they recommended a secondary drive for backup (which I haven't been doing) and because my free space was at 22%. I ran ATF Cleaner, defragged the drive and dumped some memory hogs and got the free space up to 36%, but still need a backup drive. I guess buying an external drive is easiest?
Also recommended that XP users have 1024 MB of RAM and I have 512. Can my processor handle doubling the memory? I have a Dell DIMENSION DIM4600 Intel ® Pentium ® 4 CPU 2.66GHz 2.66GHz, 512 MB of RAM.
Also noted my CPU was running at 100% at time of diagnostic. I periodically get this problem which causes hanging. Any chance this is a mechanical problem rather than processes? The computer's been running noisy; fan problem? If so, how do I get to the fan inside the metal box in the tower to clean it?
Any help anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated.

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 07:11 PM

Hi :thumbsup:.

First of all...realize that you are the best judge...of whether your system is currently performing well...not PC Pitstop.

PC Pitstop makes "theoretical average" recommendations about many things, based on the inputs that all the various systems it has examined...exhibit.

Now...

a. The item about free space is somewhat true, XP needs at least 15-20% free space to work most efficiently.

b. It's always been (since Win 95 days) suggested to every user to backup the system. That's a pretty fundamental concept, just as we create duplicate keys to enter our homes, our autos, etc...in case we lose the originals.

c. I have a bias against external drives, I prefer internal drives. Data transfers are faster and I don't really see where an external drive is a benefit unless I don't have the capability of installing an external drive. Be that as it may...at least 2 hard drives...allows for safer computing than having everything on one drive, especially given the fact that any component of any system can go bad at any moment. Of all the components of a system, the hard drive is the most critical to most users...because it is the device which contains all files.

<<Also recommended that XP users have 1024 MB of RAM and I have 512.>>

My question would be...you've had this system for years with 512MB of RAM...if you had not gone to PC Pitstop, would you be concerned about the amount of RAM installed and dissatisfied with system performance relating to RAM?

<<Can my processor handle doubling the memory?>>

Yes, specs at http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/syst...0i/sm/specs.htm. System supports 4GB max, you have 4 ram slots, PC2700 or PC3200 will work.

Example: http://www.crucial.com/store/listparts.asp...imension%204600. Crucial is a preeminent RAM vendor.

<<The computer's been running noisy; fan problem? If so, how do I get to the fan inside the metal box in the tower to clean it?>>

Any vibration allowed...will cause noise from a computer case. One of the components which routinely causes noise is the hard drive, one woud be fans (bad bearings). I suggest opening the case and finding out for sure where the noise originates before replacing something that may not need it.

Cleaning the Interior of your PC - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/cleaning-the-inside-of-your-pc/

Typically, users buy canned air and use it blow away dirt/dust/debris from the internals of a system. When doing so with a power supply, blow the debris out, not in on the other components.

<<Also noted my CPU was running at 100% at time of diagnostic.>>

For how long? I would expect my CPU to be running at 100% during use of any function that required the heavy use of the CPU.

<<I periodically get this problem which causes hanging.>>

Hanging programs, startups, and shutdowns...are fairly common to Windows. I have a video-editing program which hangs periodically because of the way it uses memory and hard drive space...it's not a problem, just an occasional item to be noted.

Tell us what and when...and we'll try to give you a solution.

Louis

What malware did you have a problem with? Sometimes...it's better to do a clean install after such...than to go the "humpty-dumpty" route with getting it to run smoothly again.

Edited by hamluis, 23 January 2010 - 07:13 PM.


#3 Layback Bear

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 07:26 PM

Each tower is different; so I can't tell you how to get into it. None of the towers I have had took to long to figure it out. Ram, well all windows system run best with more ram. I tell all at least 1gig to start off with. XP will run on 512 mb but that is all it will do is run. Your mother board specs will let you know what kind of ram you can run. Your operating system will let you know how much it will see. XP 32 bit can only see 3 gigs. Noisy fans is worrisome because you could be having a cooling problem. That should be fixed first. If you can't figure out how to get into your computer find some body that can help you. Now after typing all this I will put things in order. 1: get cooling fans working properly. 2: run Super anti Spyware and Malware bytes and a scan with your system security program. Most will say defrag once a month; I do it more often. The more often you do it the less you are frag so it take less time. 4: Stick more ram in your computer. Ccleaner is another program that can help if used wisely. IMHO it can hurt if used incorrectly. Also IMHO stay away from any thing that has to do with registry. Don't remove anything you don't understand ask here first, there are people here that can help. 5: Lastly hang in there because there will be others that will add help. This site is all about learning and helping.

#4 lchageman

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 09:17 PM

Thank you hamluis and Ladyback Bear! :flowers:
I am going to clean out the interior and see how it does. Is it difficult to add the internal drive? I've added writable drives and swapped out video and sound cards before but have never done anything related to the hard drive. I really haven't had too much in the way of performance problems and the hanging is only an occasional issue; I guess adding a little RAM doesn't hurt though, right?.
The malware was identified as Win 32/Cryptor by AVG. SuperAntiSpyware had previously picked up several trojans (which may have been the same thing) and a bunch of tracking cookies. I lost my wireless router (system couldn't see it) and couldn't connect to the internet when I ran SAS, so had to go back to a system restore point from the previous day before I ran AVG. The AVG scan took over a day to complete!!!!! However, it removed all but 4 files found out of 121 infected. I ran Malwarebytes today in safe mode (only took 12 minutes!) and am planning on running SAS again tonight. Malwarebytes found 28 infected files; some adware, others in the registry (backdoorbots and a couple trojans). I let it take care of everything it found. I don't do anything manually unless instructed by one of you guys because I honestly have no idea what I'm doing! :thumbsup: I also realized I hadn't been updating my spyware protection, so I upgraded Spyware Blaster and updated the definitions in SAS.

#5 hamluis

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Posted 23 January 2010 - 09:26 PM

I think there is some misunderstanding about using Malwarebytes. IMO, it is intended to be used in supplementary manner to an installed reliable AV program.

Last week, in one of my weaker moments, I volunteered to clean a system troubled with malware. After I had run a full scan with Malwarebytes (which allowed me to connect to the Internet), I subsequently ran a full scan with Avira Free, which found a number of malware items post the Malwarebytes scan. It was not until these were removed that the system returned to full-functioning.

So I would suggest a very thorough scan of your system with an AV program. An AV program is still the workhorse of any antimalware approach.

Louis

#6 lchageman

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 01:16 AM

Thanks Louis. I only downloaded Malwarebytes today because I read in another post it could pick up some malware that might be missed by other scanners. I rely on AVG A-V Free (9.0.730) to protect my system and it automatically updates, so I haven't really had any problems up to now since I installed it last year.

#7 Layback Bear

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 09:17 AM

Once again hamluis had a weak moment. Don't let him kid you. He has weak moments all the time posting hear helping many. I have no idea how much time posting 15,894 different times helping people would mount to but it would be a lot. Back to the subject; no anti (what ever) program can do it all. That's why many run one active and use 2 or more anti malware, anti spyware on demand to try to catch some thing the others didn't catch. As always if you don't keep them updated your asking for trouble. If you don't have SP-3 I recommend getting it and keep windows updated. Keep in mind you can only do this if you have enough hard drive space; its a big down load. I never understood why use a external hard drive for most unless you backup your system and take it to a different location. Some businesses do that so they don't loose every thing if there is some thing like a fire. hamluis and I will never agree on ram amounts. There is not a right or wrong it's your choice.

#8 lchageman

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 01:23 PM

Thank you Layback Bear! I have to admit I have only myself to blame. My last viral/malware problem was somewhere around a year ago and I came here, followed all instructions, downloaded all these wonderful anti-virus and spyware/malware programs to keep it clean and then did absolutely no maintenance til now! (I tend to forget all about maintenance issues until something isn't working right :thumbsup: ). I know I'm supposed to defrag and run the scans regularly. I guess I have to add that to my calendar to make sure I do it. I do have SP3, so at least that's something. In addition to AVG-AV Free and SAS, I have SpywareBlaster and Spyware Guard and now MalwareBytes too. I'm pretty sure I'm clean now. Going to post the HJT log to the forum and see what they say. I'll take care of the hardware issues too and hopefully keep this computer going for a while. I downloaded the XP TweakGuide so I can try to learn a little more about the system.

#9 Orange Blossom

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 06:32 PM

Hello,

Now that you have posted a log here: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/289978/infected-with-win32cryptor-et-al/ you should NOT make further changes to your computer (install/uninstall programs, use special fix tools, delete files, edit the registry, etc) unless advised by a HJT Team member, nor should you ask for help elsewhere. Doing so can result in system changes which may not show in the log you already posted. Further, any modifications you make on your own may cause confusion for the helper assisting you and could complicate the malware removal process which would extend the time it takes to clean your computer.

From this point on the HJT Team should be the only members that you take advice from, until they have verified your log as clean.

Please be patient. It may take a while to get a response because the HJT Team members are EXTREMELY busy working logs posted before yours. They are volunteers who will help you out as soon as possible. Once you have made your post and are waiting, please DO NOT make another reply until it has been responded to by a member of the HJT Team. Generally the staff checks the forum for postings that have 0 replies as this makes it easier for them to identify those who have not been helped. If you post another response there will be 1 reply. A team member, looking for a new log to work may assume another HJT Team member is already assisting you and not open the thread to respond.

Please be patient. It may take several days, up to two weeks perhaps less, to get a response but your log will be reviewed and answered as soon as possible. I advise checking your topic once a day for responses as the e-mail notification system is unreliable.

To avoid confusion, I am closing this topic. Good luck with your log.

Orange Blossom :thumbsup:
Help us help you. If HelpBot replies, you MUST follow step 1 in its reply so we know you need help.

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