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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

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Only thing I found was adobe flash player update was checking daily for updates at 2am. I changed that to once per week. I'm thinking the last update must have added that automatically? I'm certain when I checked all regularly scheduled tasks last time that I had none in there. Hmm. Wouldn't think that would cause me problems at 9pm but who knows.

    Also, my VM settings are on automatic and it seems to automatically be using about 1.5x the amount of Ram that I have 764 megs.

    Tonight it ran pretty good, but maybe it was having a good day.

    In checking the task manager and looking up things running I didn't see anything suspicious, but again, tonight was a good night so it wasn't the best time to check. The top item has consistently been "system idle process" and it is being listed under the CPU tab as 99%, which seems good to me.

    Time will tell, thanks everyone

    pen

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  2. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    One of the best things you could do for Windows XP was change the VM settings to manual and set the swap file size yourself. There's a procedure to do it so you get a one-piece swap file rather than a fragmented mess. Left in auto, Windows will constantly change the size of the swap file and read/write pieces of it helter skelter. Even if it's not your problem it's a good tip for Windows 9x - XP.

    It's been quite awhile for me so here's the best I can remember.

    Disable your VM. (Might slow your system down to chit but it's only temporary.)
    Reboot and defrag the drive where the page file will be stored. This creates wide open space on the drive for windows to write the new page file.
    Re-enable the VM settings but this time specify the min and max file size as follows:
    The size should be at least 1.5x the amount of actual system RAM installed. More if you use multiple user switching in Windows XP.
    Set the min and max file size to the same value. This is the most important step.
    Apply your settings, Windows will probably ask to reboot, you should comply. (Just this once ;) )
    You should see one, large, continuous swap file on the drive now. Some defrag programs will allow you to see the swap file.

    You should notice less disk "thrashing" and switching between programs might be notceably faster as well.

    Please if anybody has corrections/improvements to this, pipe up!
  3. Adabiviak

    Adabiviak Feeling the Heat

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    A 3Ghz P4 is still no slouch. This is a bit of a shotgun approach, but if you have the resources and ken to format and reinstall XP and your programs, I can almost guarantee that your computer will be as fast as it ever was.
  4. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    I vote for hidden malware. IF you pull the network connection (temporarily) does the machine speed up?
  5. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    This helped me a lot when I used xp 512 ram. http://vectrosecurity.com/content/view/31/26/ it explains how to disable running processes that don't need to be there. Most programs that I ran under xp had a running process that didn't even need to be there. When I disabled things like web browsers when not in use it really freed up the computer. It has been awhile since I ran xp so I don't remember all I disabled but it was pretty easy to figure out what was required and what was not.

    Pete
  6. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    never tried that, if it starts acting up again I'll try
  7. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    I had my win98 machine setup that way, I'll set that up tonight.
  8. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

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    Slow often means something is tying up your Ram. There are way too many things that think they have to be running upon startup or have their own agenda. YOU DON"T NEED ANYTHING TO START OTHER THAN THE VIRUS PROTECTION

    Solution: First make a new restore point. Then in the lower left corner, hit start, then in the search box, type msconfig. Hit enter. (if you don't have this box, hit run and type in the same thing.) this will take you to a box called “system configuration”

    then hit the tab for startup. Uncheck everything. then, apply and ok, then restart the computer. say yes to saving changes and not to show again. You will have lost nothing, but will have all programs sitting waiting for you to call upon them instead of them automatically starting whenever and eating up all your ram. Ck your ram size when things are running good and then again when not so good. I've passed this on to many others and they always say their computer runs better after. If your virus scan doesn't start, just click the icon and get it going, it will then start on its own for all subsequent starts.
    I do this to my computers on a regular basis. Works on everything post windows 95. Earlier versions may need some basic items left unchecked but this not a issue in the past few versions. If I were you, I would get a new computer. You can get a really good desk top or lap top for under $500. Make sure you get 4 GB or higher for Ram Good luck
  9. JoeyD

    JoeyD Minister of Fire

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    This could be so may things. I would start with vinny's suggestion and try resetting the clock and see if that does anything. At least you will know if something is scheduled to run at a certain time and slowing things down. Do you have cable internet and live in a neighborhood? The cable companies have been known to put to many people on one node and when everyone is on at the same time it can slow down your internet.
    Also Windows XP is a resource hog and does a lousy job of managing memory plus 512 megs of ram is not enough. Do you know what kind of ram your computer uses? Maybe you can find some cheap and just drop it in there. Newegg.com is a good place to look. Memory and a clean install of Windows, not a restore will most likely work, heck I remember when I ran XP I would reformat at least once a year just because XP was such a dog.

    Either that or start looking for another computer. I've steered several people to the Dell refurbished site. You can get some good deals there if you look around and find a 15% coupon which show up every couple of weeks. Here are a couple of places to find coupons:

    http://forum.notebookreview.com/notebook-tech-bargains/231526-dell-outlet-coupons-230.html
    http://slickdeals.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=9
    aslo twitter and facebook which I don't have links for.

    Good Luck.
  10. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    A little note on 512 MB of ram, folks have run multi billion dollar companies on 1/256 of that amount of ram. Software for the most part these days is close to 100% bloat and damn little that actually does useful work.
  11. katwillny

    katwillny Guest

    I agree. We are actually virtualizing over 400 servers due to cost effectiveness. Upon performing an assessment of resources being used we realized just how small a percentage is actually used regularly. I guess RAM is like horsepower on a car, we dont always need the 200HP but its nice to have for those occassions when we want them.
  12. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Pen, did you figure it out yet?
    Just curious, did you try comparing your internet speed between good and bad times?
  13. MishMouse

    MishMouse Minister of Fire

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    1) During the slow times, bring up Task Manager and view the Networking and Performance tabs.
    Check to see if anything unusual is happening.

    2) Open your computer in Safe Mode without being connected to the Internet and run your Malware and Virus Scanners. Sometimes when you run them while the computer is up and running Malware may not be detected.

    3 )As someone else suggested and you might be able to determine it from (1) is during these slow times disconnect your Internet.

    4) I am running McAfee on my "good" computer and they sent through some type of update to the software in September 2011 that turned the computer into paper weight. Surfing the web took forever, everything on the computer was slower then molasses on Pluto. After going through all the processing of checking for Viruses and Malware and at the point where I was going to do the low level format, I finally found within the customer forum section of McAfee that this was a common problem and that I needed to disable some of the software in order to get it to work. (The issue started in September and as of January that still were working on a fix).

    5) If you have been removing and installing software, windows can leave pieces of that software in your regestry that has slowed down computers in the past. I know there are some cleanup programs on the market that do a good job cleaning the old stuff out.

    6) Check different Forums on the software that you have installed that updated recently, maybe one of them has an issue.

    7) Check Microsoft and their forums to see if any updates by Microsoft has been causing people issues.

    8) Maybe try TechGuru or a similiar site?

    9) If nothing else works and you still like your computer, backup what you need and do a low level format and start from scratch.
  14. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions guys.

    Haven't been able to be around much the last few days to really try things out, but for the time I have been running it, it's been pretty good. Only changed the adobe flash update checker to once per week and adjusted the virtual memory to 1.5 x fixed so far. Also did clean up a few unused programs on the computer.

    I just need to get freed up for a good evening session to find out how things really are.

    I've also been checking the task manager often and see that the "system idle process" is generally the largest thing going at 95% or more mostly. Although there does seem to be a lot of things on that list (probably 25 or more) but they don't seem to be calling for much from the cpu. Not sure how many things normally show up in there.

    Thanks

    pen
  15. vinny11950

    vinny11950 Minister of Fire

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    FYI, I have been trying to kill a specific spyware from for the past two weeks. I run the latest McAfee protection and it is updated with the latest updates. Every time I ran a scan, nothing showed up. But I could see the malware running the processes task menu list.

    So, long story short, I manned up and paid the $30 and bought the software from Malwarebytes.com. Did a quick scan and found 7 infections, one of them being the one I had been trying to kill. It was easy.

    But the main point is, even if you have a virus scan software from one company, it might not be enough. You still might have to go looking for additional software to kill specific spyware and malware.

    Anyway, I paid for the Malwarebytes.com software, but I think there is also a download version for free with limited features that still allows you to hunt for malware.
  16. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    Yes, Malwarebytes has a free version that worked for me a while back. My machine was totally useless and locked up, it had over 80 infections! Malwarebytes got it all.
  17. MishMouse

    MishMouse Minister of Fire

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    A good rule of thumb to use is if you expect an infection (Malware), boot your computer in safe mode and then run the software to remove it. As for McAfee when my current extortion period runs out I will be switching to something else.
  18. vinny11950

    vinny11950 Minister of Fire

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    I hate Safe Mode. It always brings back bad memories of finally having to give in and reinstall everything.

    But you are correct, scanning it in that mode is best. But McAfee seems to have blind spots here. Norton was worse, though.
  19. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Pen. So what did you finally figure out?
  20. firebroad

    firebroad Minister of Fire

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    For what it's worth, I am certainly no expert, but it is possible that the company that owns your antivirus program might be doing updates that you are not aware of. Just a thought.
  21. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    I wound up deleting all unnecessary files and programs from the computer. Went back through and changed some of the startup menu options. Reset the virtual memory size, deleted and reinstalled the antivirus, and it seems to be not bad. Basically I went through the suggestions here shy of reformatting the hard drive.

    Some days it will still be a little skitzy late in the evening, but it is definitely not as bad. But, with it being summer and running around like a fool this time of year outside, I really haven't been putting her through the paces.

    Thinking it will be new computer time about the same time the wood stove gets fired up this fall.

    Thanks for asking.

    pen
  22. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Do yourself a favor and when you get the new machine's software just where you like it, image the drive. Then 5 years later when the machine gets "skitzy" on you, backup your data (which you do out of habit anyways right? ;) ) and nuke the drive. Load the image, restore the backed up data files and within an hour (tops, more like 20-30 min depending on the image size and the machine.) you're back on your feet.

    In college, the IT help desk wouldn't bother troubleshooting thousands of laptops with the sniffles. Re-imaging was the go-to option (image had all the schools network settings and software pre-arranged.) and if you didn't back-up your porn - err - data then too bad for you. :rolleyes:;)
  23. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    That's exactly why I've held off on reformatting Mech, never imaged it. I do have everything important backed up so that's not the issue. Just dread trying to remember how I have this thing setup the way I like it.

    In the meantime, she keeps plugging along.

    It'll be a few months before I start doing some research on what I want next. Thinking a laptop this go around.

    pen

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