Computer Help. Wants to call it a day somewhere between 9pm and later.

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by pen, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. pen

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    Computer is a Dell Pentium 4, 3ghz, 512ram, 32gb hard drive space w/ 10 gig free running xp. I use firefox as the browser most of the time, but will use IE on occasion.

    In the past when I have replaced a computer is was because it just couldn't keep up with normal use overall (basically win 98 became obsolete and I didn't have the resources to keep up with programs and needs, etc).

    Bought this computer in 04 and she's still a storm trooper doing everything I need to do perfectly (even editing pictures, burning dvd movies (legal stuff from discovery education for work) ect, so long as I ask it to do it during business hours.

    Once 9pm hits it's a crap shoot. About 5 out of 7 night, this thing will slow down so that it can't keep up with my typing, pushing the return key to make a new paragraph may take several seconds to see it actually happen, clicking on a new thread and opening it up may sometimes take 30 seconds, having the start menu appear takes up to 30 seconds as it slowly opens etc, etc.

    These problems will persist whether I restart the thing or not. Other than happening somewhere after 9pm, there is no consistency on the day of the week or what I am doing with the unit (using word, versus hearth.com versus another application). Sometimes it's fine till 10pm, other nights midnight, one never knows when it's going to decide to stop being part of the game.

    I have no regularly scheduled things to happen during these hours that I can find so I'm stumped.

    I hate to replace a computer that works perfectly the majority of the time, but I just can't figure out why I'm getting issues after 9pm and the thing needs a break for a few hours to get back to its normal self.

    I've done all I know to do so suggestions would be great. Thanks

    pen
     
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  2. begreen

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    Is your virus or malware checker set to do a system sweep at that time?
     
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  3. pen

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    Nope, I turned regular sweeps down to once a week about a year ago because of the issue. In the last 2 months I turned them off all together and do them manually. The computer hasn't gotten any worse or better in that time. Odds simply run that it is going to act grumpy after 9pm.

    When these problems started I was using an antivirus called CA. After a few months I switched to Microsoft security essentials and nothing changed. I've done trend micro scans from time to time as well and they don't come up with any issues either.
     
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  4. begreen

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    Check the task manager for running processes - for all users. If you find something suspicious it could be a root kit trojan is using your system. If that is the case I'd backup the important files and low level format the drive
     
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  5. katwillny

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    Does this behaviour continue for the entire night or does it self correct after a certain time? Is the issue resolved after a reboot? CA, Computer Associates? This all sounds indicative of a virus scan and or a virus definition update. We use Computer Associates Etrust in my company and it is very top heavy, we have the scans scheduled for after midnight since it slows down the system considerably.
     
  6. pen

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    Tonight as a matter of fact it did correct itself after about 30 minutes of being a sob. Most nights it will not correct itself without a 5-6 hours of rest.

    Computer Associates is what I used to use. When I started with the problems I deleted it all and moved to Microsoft Security Essentials and the problem persisted in exactly the same way. I've also run CCleaner from time to time.

    BG, I have never done a format of this computer but when I deleted the last antivirus I did a system restore to a very old date (prior to ever having an issue) and then added the Microsoft Security Essentials. Not sure if that was a smart, bad, or worthless thing to do, but it's what I did.

    Virus updates are automatic but when they occur I can see when they are taking place by a little icon that pops up next to the clock. That has never seemed to coincide with the issues.
     
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  7. katwillny

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  8. Hogwildz

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    Bro, seriously time for a new puter. You got your moneys worth out of that old gal. 512 ram & 32Gig HD? Way over due.
     
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  9. pen

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    I hear that!

    What even makes me consider spending time troubleshooting this dino is that it really does run spot on the majority of the time for what I ask it to do.

    Figure if I could fix the night time issue it'd give me a bit more time to do my homework for buying the next one.
     
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  10. SmokeyTheBear

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    Do you have a defrag scheduled at that time?
     
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  11. pen

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    Nope, that is set to manual also. Just ran the analyzer the other night and it claimed I did not need to defrag at this time. Last time I did a defrag it claimed I needed to do it, so I ran it. It didn't change the problem any though.
     
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  12. SmokeyTheBear

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    Ok, that is one out of the way, now tell us how you have your swap file set up?
     
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  13. pen

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    I'll need help with that one.
     
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  14. SmokeyTheBear

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    I used to restrict the swap file to 4 times ram size. Otherwise it will continue to grow and that coupled with a lot of editing operations can result in slowing down the computer.

    I stopped using Windows at home in 1996, so the only exposure to Windows 98 for me was when I had to use it at work or when I played with it fixing issues for other folks. I've been completely free of it since 2001 and this computer has never seen it in any incarnation.

    There are also a number of applications (and the occasional system component) that were not very good at releasing memory.

    I just went looking for my copy of Windows 98 secrets and it appears I tossed that book.
     
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  15. pen

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    Sorry, I am running XP on this machine, mentioned win 98 because I didn't ditch the last computer until I couldn't get java updates, antivirus definitions, etc anymore.

    Sounds like the swap file you are referring to is the same as virtual memory? Hmm, has been a while since I looked at what that was set too. Can't recall at the moment.
     
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  16. SmokeyTheBear

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    Yup virtual memory ( aka, funny memory has its root in pre Microsoft operating systems).

    ETA: http://windowstipoftheday.blogspot.com/2006/12/windows-xp-swap-file-virtual-memory_18.html

    ETA2: This may be your problem:

    Thrashing

    When paging is used, a problem called "thrashing" can occur, in which the computer spends an unsuitable amount of time swapping pages to and from a backing store, hence slowing down useful work. Adding real memory is the simplest response, but improving application design, scheduling, and memory usage can help.
     
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  17. pen

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    Thanks Smokey, I'll check on the VM when I get home.

    With only 512 ram, it wouldn't surprise me if that thrashing you described was the issue.

    I'll play with it and see what happens, can't hurt.
     
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  18. MasterMech

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    Had a couple laptops that had XP on them with 512GB of RAM. They ran fine until SP3 came out and then they seemed "unhappy" with 512GB.
     
  19. semipro

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    Sure sounds like a program is running in the background at that time of night. BeGreens advice would be helpful here.
    From the way you described it internet speed didn't sound like a problem but....
    Many using cable modems frequently complain about slow downs at certain hours when all their neighbors get online.
    You could do a connection speed test before and during the slow down to ascertain. http://reviews.cnet.com/internet-speed-test/
     
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  20. vinny11950

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    Try changing the computer clock time by 8 hours. See if the problem follows it to the new time. Then you can narrow it down to a program clicking on at that time. Then do a Ctrl + Alt + Del and see what processes are running in the background. You can sort by memory usage. If something looks fishy, Google it and see what other people say about it.

    Incidently, I just upgraded my version of Firefox (after putting it off for some time) and it is running much much faster.
     
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  21. BrotherBart

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    First thing BG suggested is the first place to look. While it is running slow hold down the cntrl, alt and delete keys to bring up the task manager. Click on the processes tab and then the "CPU" tab twice to sort the processes in descending order of processor usage. The culprit should show as the top CPU user.
     
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  22. pen

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    I've checked them out numerous times and never seen anything suspicious but will check again. I have never tried sorting them before, thanks for the tip.
     
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  23. heat seeker

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    When I had some malware on my PC, it didn't show up anywhere on the task manager. Somehow it avoided showing up there, but it sure slowed my machine down. It didn't matter what time of day, though, unlike pen's.
     
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  24. nate379

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    :p I thought all you old timers went to bed after the Wheel of Fortune anyhow? ;lol
     
  25. heat seeker

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    Yeah, sure we do, now that Carson's not on the air any more.:rolleyes:
     
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