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Slow Computer

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#1 bowersba


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Posted 05 November 2011 - 04:42 PM

Hello! I am a new member and this is my first post. I spent a couple of hours or so reading through all the New User Orientation stuff, help guides, and more. My issue is my slow computer. I have no doubt that has to be the #1 issue with PC owners but I am somewhat amazed there is no forum category or anything on this site that directly addresses that. I did a search on "slow computer" and found a lot but the advice seems all over the place so I thought it best to create this post and try to focus on my system.

So, I am looking for solid advice on what I can do to speed up my PC. It has gradually become slower over the years and is about at the point of being unusable. It is especially slooooooow on the Internet. Here are the basics on what I have/use:

- Dell Dimension 4600
- Windows XP Home Edition Version 2002 Service Pack 3
- Intel Pentium 4 CPU 2.4GHz; 2.39 GHz 1.25 GB of RAM (that's how it's written under System Properties)
- a friend of mine installed some additional [memory?] [RAM?] about two years ago and it sped up my computer quite a bit for awhile -- not sure if that is reflected in the info above under System Properties, I'm guessing it is
- I use Internet Explorer 8
- Dell V305 printer/scanner installed
- my ISP is AT&T High Speed Internet Service -- I pay for the fastest speed they offer and tests using Speakeasy Speed Test or Speedtest.net is 2 Mbps download and 0.3 Mbps upload
- AT&T Internet Security Suite powered by McAfee
- STOPZilla
- Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware 1.41
- Uniblue RegistryBooster 2
- magicJack always connected for phone use -- I don't know if this affects my PC much but I can tell you PC activities definitely affect phone calls on the magicJack -- when I disconnect it and try the Internet speed tests above, there's no difference
- Upon Startup I see using Windows Task Manager that I have 52 processes running -- I'm guessing that contributes to the problem but I don't know how best to manage this.

Is it possible I have multiple firewalls active and this is causing a problem?

Rebooting will sometimes help a little but not much. Typically takes about 10 minutes to reboot.

I have kept up to date installing all Windows updates and my McAfee, STOPZilla, Malwarebytes, and Uniblue RegistryBooster 2 scans don't show any obvious security problems. I do disk defragmenting upon occasion and I'm the type of guy who tries to keep his files organized and who deletes all unwanted e-mails/documents/photos/files although I have accumulated much through the years. I have some music and photo files (iTunes and Picassa mainly) and a handful of videos saved on my PC but I don't do any gaming, rarely download music or videos or watch live/streaming broadcasts (but would like to do more of this), don't do live chat rooms or even have a video cam, and really don't do anything too "fancy" with my PC.

I want to speed up by minutes, not fractions of a second, so I'm asking for the true experts to help me here. I will provide more info, run tests, whatever is needed to work with you.


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#2 Allan


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Posted 05 November 2011 - 05:26 PM

1) Exactly WHAT is slow? Please define the exact nature of your problem.

2) Registry "cleaners" CAUSE problems, they don't cure them. I strongly suggest you get rid of Uniblue - and I wouldn't be surprised if it was the cause of some of your problems.

3) Are you asking if you have multiple firewalls or saying that you do and asking if that's contributing to your problem?

4) McAfee products are the absolute worst. I would urge you to replace it with ANY other anti virus app. Then fun a full scan.

#3 hamluis



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Posted 05 November 2011 - 05:33 PM

<<... but I am somewhat amazed there is no forum category or anything on this site that directly addresses that. I did a search on "slow computer" and found a lot but the advice seems all over the place...>>

With good cause, IMO :). There is no easy answer, there is no "quick fix."

A "slow computer" can be indicative of just about anything...an O/S problem, an application problem, a hardware problem, a malware problem. Within each of those general categories...there are innumerable variations and causes, none of which necessarily jump out and say "I'm the cause of your anxiety". That's why there are all sorts of suggestions...made in all sorts of situations...by both knowing and unknowing posters, IMO.

I suggest that you start with a read of what I consider a very fine compilation of suggestions and information, Slow Computer-browser Check Here First; It May Not Be Malware - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic87058.html .

I will say that running Uniblue Registry Booster...or similar programs...probably contributes to the problem, rather than alleviating it.

Bleeping Computer DOES NOT recommend the use of registry cleaners/optimizers for several reasons:
  • Registry cleaners are extremely powerful applications that can damage the registry by using aggressive cleaning routines and cause your computer to become unbootable.

    The Windows registry is a central repository (database) for storing configuration data, user settings and machine-dependent settings, and options for the operating system. It contains information and settings for all hardware, software, users, and preferences. Whenever a user makes changes to settings, file associations, system policies, or installed software, the changes are reflected and stored in this repository. The registry is a crucial component because it is where Windows "remembers" all this information, how it works together, how Windows boots the system and what files it uses when it does. The registry is also a vulnerable subsystem, in that relatively small changes done incorrectly can render the system inoperable. For a more detailed explanation, read Understanding The Registry.
  • Not all registry cleaners are created equal. There are a number of them available but they do not all work entirely the same way. Each vendor uses different criteria as to what constitutes a "bad entry". One cleaner may find entries on your system that will not cause problems when removed, another may not find the same entries, and still another may want to remove entries required for a program to work.
  • Not all registry cleaners create a backup of the registry before making changes. If the changes prevent the system from booting up, then there is no backup available to restore it in order to regain functionality. A backup of the registry is essential BEFORE making any changes to the registry.
  • Improperly removing registry entries can hamper malware disinfection and make the removal process more difficult if your computer becomes infected. For example, removing malware related registry entries before the infection is properly identified can contribute to system instability and even make the malware undetectable to removal tools.
  • The usefulness of cleaning the registry is highly overrated and can be dangerous. In most cases, using a cleaner to remove obsolete, invalid, and erroneous entries does not affect system performance but it can result in "unpredictable results".

Unless you have a particular problem that requires a registry edit to correct it, I would suggest you leave the registry alone. Using registry cleaning tools unnecessarily or incorrectly could lead to disastrous effects on your operating system such as preventing it from ever starting again. For routine use, the benefits to your computer are negligible while the potential risks are great.

<<Is it possible I have multiple firewalls active and this is causing a problem?>>

Only you can answer that. The Windows system is designed so that one firewall is run...if you have more than one running, that's akin to self-sabotage and may create problems within Windows.

<<I want to speed up by minutes, not fractions of a second, so I'm asking for the true experts to help me here>>

Not sure who the "true experts" might be, since just about anyone with a computer has experienced slowness of some sort from something at some time. Advice from anyone who may help...should be appreciated, whether it comes from a novice or an extremely knowledgeable person who works in IT for a living, IMO. No one that I know...is "expert" in everything concerning computerworld, IMO.

With 1.25GB of RAM...and a P4 system...system efficiency will depend quite a bit on the programs that you have installed and how draining they are on system resources, IMO.

Dell Hits, Using "slow computer" as Search Phrase


#4 Artrooks


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Posted 07 November 2011 - 03:34 PM

Hello bowersba,

Good advice given previously.

My two cents:
While there can be many yet unknown causes contibuting to your "computer slowness," a few stand out.

I think there is general agreement that registry cleaners do more harm to a system than good. There is no convincing evidence that cleaning the registry "speeds up" a computer. My recommendation would be to uninstall "Uniblue RegistryBooster 2."

I'm not a fan of Mcafee either, especially if it is a few years old. With It's multiple modules, it uses a lot of system resources. I feel that you would get more than adequate protection with much less drain on resources by running any one of the following free antiviruses: Avira free, Avast free, or Microsoft Security Essentials, by using the Windows Firewall, and by running a weekly manual scan with Malwarebytes (update your program and definitions to version 1.51 before scanning).

I feel that Stopzilla is also unneccesary and a further drain on resources.

You should have at least 25% free space available on your system hard drive (double click on "My Compter" to see hard drive capacity and free space). Less than that surely impacts performance.

- a friend of mine installed some additional [memory?] [RAM?] about two years ago and it sped up my computer quite a bit for awhile

Dell™ Dimension™ 4600 Series supports up to 4 GBs of memory . (you have 1.25 GBs).

I would further encourage you to explore the links presented by hamluis.



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