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Fast/Slow Computer


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#1 lunchroompirate

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 12:54 PM

My laptop runs fast sometimes, and sometimes slow. When it runs fast, the internet automatically configures in the beginning of the startup and everything is smooth. When it is slow, it takes a while for everything to configure during start up. I do not think I have any malware, I have scanned and nothing was found. I have tried to do a defrag, but i only had 4% space available while it needs at least 15%, and it didn't free much space up when i defraged. I have used programs to manage the start up, I honestly just don't know what the problem is...
Any help would be wonderful!

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#2 dc3

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 01:05 PM

Part of the problem can be the lack of swap space on the hdd.

There are two suggestions that I can make, the first would be to purchase a second hdd and transfer enough of your files to regain adequate free space. The other is to transfer files to removable madia, CD, DVD, flash drive... for the same reason. You should have your important files backed up in this manner anyway.

Edit: Please use the following link to provide us with information about your computer so that we can assist you.

How to Publish a Snapshot using Speccy


The below is for those who cannot get online with the computer Speccy was run on.

Please take caution when attaching a text file to your post if you cannot copy/paste the link to your post, you will need to edit it to make sure that your Windows Key is not present.

Edited by dc3, 21 February 2011 - 01:06 PM.

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#3 lunchroompirate

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 01:14 PM

I'll be sure to transfer some files later!
Here is the shot

http://speccy.piriform.com/results/5uvsXYvBqsuYd0Td4t9WcEF

#4 dc3

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 01:49 PM

I definitely would suggest investing in an external hdd. The difference between a portable hdd and an external hdd is that the external has its own power supply, the portable runs off the USB. The portable can decrease the amp hours normally available from the battery.

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#5 strolln

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 02:14 PM

If you are actually in a situation where swapping is occurring and you lack disk space then freeing disk space by moving files to an external HDD will help a little but swapping is an indication that you have insufficient RAM to run the programs you have loaded. If that's the case then adding more memory to your system will make a significant improvement since it would eliminate the need to swap in the first place. It is preferable to completely avoid swapping as it is a major performance hit.

When your computer is running slow open Task Manager and look at the Performance tab. It will tell you such things as what percent the CPU is running at (if 100% then your system is CPU bound). If the CPU is running more than 50%, check the Processes tab to see what process or processes are using the CPU heavily. The Perf tab will also show you how much memory is being used, if you don't have much free memory then it is an indication you need more RAM.

Edited by strolln, 21 February 2011 - 02:16 PM.

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#6 lunchroompirate

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 03:23 PM

If you are actually in a situation where swapping is occurring and you lack disk space then freeing disk space by moving files to an external HDD will help a little but swapping is an indication that you have insufficient RAM to run the programs you have loaded. If that's the case then adding more memory to your system will make a significant improvement since it would eliminate the need to swap in the first place. It is preferable to completely avoid swapping as it is a major performance hit.

When your computer is running slow open Task Manager and look at the Performance tab. It will tell you such things as what percent the CPU is running at (if 100% then your system is CPU bound). If the CPU is running more than 50%, check the Processes tab to see what process or processes are using the CPU heavily. The Perf tab will also show you how much memory is being used, if you don't have much free memory then it is an indication you need more RAM.


Right now the cpu usage is very low, its running quite fast, but when its slow the CPU is over 50%, I have the same processes running when its fast and slow, so I don't know if that could be the problem... how do i acquire more RAM?

#7 strolln

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 05:55 PM

You can use the system scanner at Crucial.com to tell you how much RAM you have and what you can add. They will even sell you RAM for your system.
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#8 ThunderZ

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 06:02 PM

From looking at your Speccy I`m guessing the machine is already maxed at 2 Gig.

If you post the make and model number I will find out for sure.

At this point as has been suggested, clearing hard drive space will go a long way, IMO, in improving performance.


Edit; Crucials memory scan is a nice feature but I have found it to give improper information on occasion.

Edited by ThunderZ, 21 February 2011 - 06:03 PM.


#9 strolln

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 09:49 PM

If we knew the model number of the laptop we could tell for sure what the max RAM could be but the Crucial scanner will tell you. My guess is that the max RAM capability is 4G but 32-bit XP won't be able to use all of that. You currently have 2 memory slots that each have a 1G stick for a total of 2G. You most likely can remove the 2 1G sticks and replace with 2G sticks for a total of 4G. You could get away with replacing only a single stick for a total of 3G but performance won't be optimum since it is dual channel memory.

I suppose the Crucial scanner could be wrong occasionally but I've always had good results from it.

Edited by strolln, 21 February 2011 - 09:50 PM.

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#10 dc3

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 10:37 PM

@ strolln

If you read the Speccy you will find enough information to figure out that this is a Vostro 1400 laptop.

You would also notice that this is a 32-bit operating system, that means that what is left of the address space after taking everything else into consideration you will only have between 3GB - 3.5GB of address space to be used for RAM. There are only two slots for RAM, so I suspect that this is about as good as it gets.:thumbup2:

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#11 strolln

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 11:48 PM

@ strolln

If you read the Speccy you will find enough information to figure out that this is a Vostro 1400 laptop.

You would also notice that this is a 32-bit operating system, that means that what is left of the address space after taking everything else into consideration you will only have between 3GB - 3.5GB of address space to be used for RAM. There are only two slots for RAM, so I suspect that this is about as good as it gets.:thumbup2:

Not sure how you can tell from the Speccy that it's a Vostro 1400 laptop, I can see that it's a Dell but not which model.

As far as "... notice that this is a 32-bit operating system..." that could be why I said, "...max RAM capability is 4G but 32-bit XP won't be able to use all of that."

Regardless, my suspicion is that neither more free disk space nor more memory is going to solve the OP's issue.

Edited by strolln, 21 February 2011 - 11:49 PM.

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#12 ThunderZ

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 11:53 PM

At only 4% free disk space it will defiantly make a difference in freeing some up.

#13 dc3

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 12:03 AM

Not sure how you can tell from the Speccy that it's a Vostro 1400 laptop, I can see that it's a Dell but not which model.


Speccy lists the motherboard, by Googling that you will find the make and model of this computer.:wink:

As far as "... notice that this is a 32-bit operating system..." that could be why I said, "...max RAM capability is 4G but 32-bit XP won't be able to use all of that."


Then why did you suggest that they install a pair of 2GB modules?:blink:

Regardless, my suspicion is that neither more free disk space nor more memory is going to solve the OP's issue.


I believe you are correct about the RAM not solving their problem, but the lack of disk space is directly related to their problem. A good example is the XP defragmenting program, it requires at least 15% free space.

Edited by dc3, 22 February 2011 - 12:40 AM.

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#14 strolln

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 10:02 AM

...

As far as "... notice that this is a 32-bit operating system..." that could be why I said, "...max RAM capability is 4G but 32-bit XP won't be able to use all of that."


Then why did you suggest that they install a pair of 2GB modules?:blink:

Regardless, my suspicion is that neither more free disk space nor more memory is going to solve the OP's issue.


I believe you are correct about the RAM not solving their problem, but the lack of disk space is directly related to their problem. A good example is the XP defragmenting program, it requires at least 15% free space.

I suggested 2G modules for 2 reasons: The first being that memory performance for dual channel memory is better with matched pairs. Hence, memory performance would be better with 2 2G modules then it would be with 1 1G and 1 2G stick. The second reason is that in order to get the max memory of 3.2-3.5G, the OP would need to install 4G and yes, part of it would be wasted.

Freeing up disk space will solve the problem of not being able to defrag but the problem of intermittent fast/slow will not be corrected by running a defrag, defragging is very much overrated as a performance gain. Defragging requires the 15% free space because it needs to temporarily move files around on the disk to be able to accomplish assembling the file fragments in contiguous order.

As I said earlier in the thread, if the issue the OP is having is due to swapping, then additional memory is the way to fix that in order to eliminate the need to swap in the first place. Additional disk space is simply a bandaid. However, I'm not convinced that the OP is experiencing swapping to begin with, that's why I don't think either memory or free disk space will improve things.
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#15 Sector17

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 10:12 AM

That is a 120GB hard drive. The C: drive is 76GB but the D: drive shows 0 GB? Can you format the D: drive and transfer some files to it, then defrag once you've freed up some space on the C: drive?


Hard Drivebleepachi HTS542512K9SA00Manufacturer: HitachiProduct Family: TravelstarSeries Prefix: StandardSpeed, Expressed in Revolutions Per Minute (rpm): 5400Model Capacity For This Specific Drive: 250GBSATA type: SATA-II 3.0Gb/sDevice type: FixedATA Standard: ATA8-ACS48-bit LBA: SupportedSerial Number: 080503BB2200WBK0PRGCInterface: SATACapacity: 117GBReal size: 120,034,123,776 bytes
Partition 0Partition ID: Disk #0, Partition #0Size: 47.0 MBPartition 1Partition ID: Disk #0, Partition #1Disk Letter: C:File System: NTFSVolume Serial Number: E8DBF8EFSize: 76GBUsed Space: 69GB (91%)Free Space: 7.37GB (9%)
Partition 2Partition ID: Disk #0, Partition #2Disk Letter: D:Size: 0MBUsed Space: 0MB (100%)Free Space: 0MB (0%)




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