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Windows XP


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#1 Transien

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 09:20 PM

Helloooo Nurse!

Okay, so here is the skinny. I'm trying to fix my 83-year old grandmother's computer. Ack! It is bad, but not horrendous. I hope.

Gramgram complained of her computer running slow, so I asked her how long it had been since she ran a virus scan. She told me, and I quote, "Oh, the guy who set up my computer made it so all that stuff ran automatically."

*facepalm*

Looking more closely at her system, she DIDN'T EVEN HAVE ANTIVIRUS INSTALLED.

Crap.

So, I've been working to get this system up and running. Here is what I have so far.

Dell Dimension 2400
Intel Celeron 2.40 GHz Processor
512 MB RAM
Windows XP SP3

Before I did anything else, I cracked open the case and (doing my best to avoid ESD) cleaned the system thoroughly with canned air.

I installed the following programs, updated them, and ran scans where applicable:
  • Avast! Antivirus
  • Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware
  • Spybot Search & Destroy (w/o Teatimer)
  • Spywareblaster
  • Auslogics Disk Defrag
  • Piriform CCleaner

While cleaning up the system, Avast! and Malwarebytes' didn't find a single thing, and Spybot only detected a few small tracking cookies. I'm not surprised by this; the woman is in her eighties, and uses her computer exclusively for her online banking and occasional email conversations with a handful of people. She literally does nothing else with it. Still, the system is running slow like Windows 3.1, and desperately needs work.

After cleaning the system of what I could find, I went to Microsoft Update and installed the most recent updates, as well as a more recent video driver found on the Dell website. Still nothing. The computer still takes six to ten minutes to boot, and stutters on almost every application that it runs.

I ran Memtest86 from a bootable CD to test the integrity of the RAM and received no errors.

I ran HotCPU to test the Mobo and peripherals and received no errors, but only used the trial version. I don't want to buy full versions if I can help it. This isn't a job for me, just a hobby ;)

As of now I'm thinking the slim 512 MB of RAM just can't handle the demands the PC places upon it. What I'm looking for is a second opinion before I spend some money and upgrade the RAM. Any other thoughts on what I should do to get this system up to speed? Did I miss any steps in cleaning out possible viruses or malware? A few helpful hints here would be great.

Thanks!

Transien

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#2 Eyesee

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 09:51 PM

Welcome to the forum!

It is a Dell Dimensions 2400 system.
Older by standards but they work well and I have seen many of them.

Go in to task scheduler and remove all scheduled tasks.
None of which are necessary.

Then for the rest of it there are probably a lot of programs loading on startup that are completely unneccesary.

You did good by using the programs that you selected.
My recommendation would be to replace Spybot Search and Destroy with SuperAntiSpyware

All it needs is a tune up.
In the beginning there was the command line.

#3 noknojon

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 09:56 PM

Hi -
Sounds like my older XP 512 MB RAM system -
If you can get it to load in 3 mins or less it is doing a decent job.
Did you defrag it, and how much Free Space is available -

Thank You -
EDIT -
The installed Defrag is similar to the Auslogistics version only slower.
Also run Disk Cleanup -

Edited by noknojon, 26 December 2011 - 09:58 PM.


#4 Transien

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 10:18 PM

Eyesee & noknojon,

Thanks for the quick replies!

I cleaned out task scheduler last week, and ran a good defrag. Forgot to mention those lol.

Free space on the drive is 17.1 GB / 33.4 GB (51%, plenty for proper usage).

The startup programs, however, is a great recommendation. I just took a look at things and there are a ton of them, mostly unnecessary. Curse you Dell! :angry:

Give me a little bit of time to clear things out and I'll get back to you.

Transien

p.s. Also forgot to mention I ran PC Decrapifier to get rid of a bunch of unnecessary junk. Cheers!

#5 Eyesee

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 11:00 PM

Clear out all system restore points except for the last one to recover disk space.
Not like you need it though.

Programs loading on startup are most likely the issue for a slow boot.
THat and viruses/malware.

Adobe, QuickTime, Real Player, Roxio and a host of others are completely unnecessary and will slow boot up time down immensely.
In the beginning there was the command line.

#6 Transien

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 02:31 AM

Done, done, and done! Things are looking pretty good now. I can't believe I didn't think about startup programs :o

The system stills seems a little sluggish, but only in comparison to what I'm running now. I think it will be fine. Thank you for the help!

Transien




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