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Poor Performance


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#1 Captain Pike

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 09:02 AM

My stepdaughter has a one-year-old Toshiba laptop running Windows Vista and the thing is painfully slow.
I did a little research before posting this. Her computer sat for several months with a discharged battery. I bought a new charger, got the thing running, loaded the 52 upgrades. I did what I could to reduce the processes in the tray so that the system is not being asked to do any more than reasonable, menial tasks.
Granted, it only has 512 meg RAM, but this is the minimum requirement. It's the "Basic User" version of Vista, the machine was bought a couple of years ago and I was a little surprised it didn't have one gig. But I'm sure that Toshiba didn't intend for the machine to be this slow.
Let's say Internet Explorer version 8 is running, and you click on anything else, it just sits there for several minutes before displaying a hollow screen, which takes more minutes to fill in. It says this is a dual core Pentium running at a little under 2 MHz. I ran the "System Resources", or something, utility that's available from the task monitor (something new, not in XP) which shows the system RAM to be around 80% utilized. It seems like it's thrashing, but why?
I am new with Vista, but comparing this system to my wife's five or six-year-old Compaq, running XP with a similar clock speed, the same amount of RAM, and a single core processor, she can run circles around her daughter. Is this typical? I feel like the answer's going to be a resounding, "put some memory in the thing", and I will if this will solve the problem. I can't help wondering how XP would run on this same box... but that ain't gonna happen.

Any suggestions will be appreciated.
Thanks,_P.

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#2 cryptodan

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 10:25 AM

Vista works better with more then 2Gigs of RAM, so I would upgrade. 512Megs was fine a decade ago, but not any more.

#3 keyboardNinja

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 11:39 AM

Yes, you need more RAM. Vista cannot run being choked down like this. It's like an 80-year-old chain-smoker trying to run the Boston Marathon (worse than that, actually, but you get the point).

My Mom's old Acer had Vista Home Basic on it...512MB RAM, 1.86 GHz processor, etc....you could just about go cook a meal by the time the darn thing booted. :huh:

Yes, adding RAM will increase performance slightly, but Vista is still Vista. You won't see the performance you can get out of XP or even Windows 7. You can "optimize" and "tweak" all you want, the effects will be negligible. Putting 2GB of RAM into it will increase the speed up to a point (you will notice a considerable difference), but that's as far as it's going to go.

Personally, I don't think it's worth it to waste time and money on a computer like that. If it were me and I had the money, I would just trash it and buy a new laptop with Windows 7 on it. If she's tight on cash, you can get last year's "high end" models for around $500 (depending on who you buy from), which much better specs than what she's currently running.
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#4 Captain Pike

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 02:20 PM

Even though your replies were much as I expected, THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO HELP -- I appreciate it.

So maybe that's why Windows Vista has such a short life, as Microsoft's Latest and Greatest. It's too bad they won't give a backward compatibility "downgrade", back to XP. When my wife bought this computer for her then 10-year-old, I think she could've specified XP.

What bugs me is, if you look at what Microsoft says is the minimum RAM requirement for Vista, you'll see that it says 512 meg, which really is pretty much useless. People make fun of me for, "living in the past", you know, not getting with the picture. But you can see why. I have 50 years experience with companies promoting these great improvements. Outside of my conversion van, my car is a 1989 Saab Turbo convertible, and I can register it pretty cheap.

One more thing. Is Windows 7 something that will do better in a half a gig? I see my little stepdaughter trying to be grateful for my "fixing her PC", but she's really trying to work with an intractable system, bless her heart.
Thanks again.

#5 DeathStalker

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 02:24 PM

Yes. Win7 will run better on less resources than Vista.

#6 keyboardNinja

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 02:47 PM

Better, but still not that great. 2GB is still the recommended minimum. Like I said, it's probably not worth spending the money for more RAM, Windows 7, etc...when you could just buy a new computer for not that much more $$$.

But that is up to you.

I can certainly feel your pain.
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