Frustratingly slow PC, advice needed

  BrightEyes13 16:57 23 Mar 2008

My PC is frustratingly slow, often freezing and taking forever to load applications like Windows Media Player, various games (I think I already have the minimum requirements for them like The Sims 2 etc) my photo software, mp3 software etc. I often have to wait even just right clicking for properties on my desktop- I'm more used to seeing the eggtimer than the arrow..

Would it be worth me getting a new PC and starting from scratch with a better operating system? I'm a little naive when it comes to computer specifications. I use my PC mainly for music, the internet and gaming and just want a PC that when you click something - it happens and you don't have to wait for it to load almost everytime. I also would like a computer where games like The Sims 2 would run smoothly even with all the add on packs, and would last me so I could upgrade in the future.

It would be easier for me to get a new computer from PC world - would this one deliver what I need or could any one point me in the right direction of what I should be looking for?
Packard Bell iXtreme 8520 + LG 22" Widescreen TFT Monitor
Intel Core 2 Duo Processor E6550 2.33GHz, 1333MHz FSB, 4MB Cache Genuine Windows Vista (R) Home Premium 2GB Memory 320GB Hard Drive Dual Layer DVD Rewriter 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GS Graphics 15 in 1 Media Card Reader 6 USB connections 22" LG Widescreen Monitor

I think all the information is below for my current computer, any advice would be appreciated, budget is £800 Max. Many thanks for your help

Operating system: Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition (5.1, Build 2600)
System Manufacturer: eMachines, Inc.
System Model: Imperial
BIOS: Revision 0.90
Processor: Intel® Celeron® CPU 2.30GHz
Memory: 254MB RAM
Page File: 382MB used, 242MB available
DirectX Version: DirectX 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)

Name: Intel® 82845G/GL/GE/PE/GV Graphics Controller
Manufacturer: Intel Corporation
Chip Type: Intel® 82845G Graphics Controller
DAC Type: Internal
Approx. Total Memory: 64.0 MB
Current Display Mode: 1024 x 768 (32 bit) (60Hz)
Monitor: Plug and Play Monitor

  Cockney Rebel 17:40 23 Mar 2008

If the spec you,ve posted is for your current machine,I would suggest that you could do with some extra memory would speed things up,Far cheaper than buying a completely new pc.Try click here
or click here

  lofty29 17:41 23 Mar 2008

Well for a start you need 1gb ram if you are using xp

  Totally-braindead 17:49 23 Mar 2008

I have to agree that 256megs memory is very little to run XP. It will run don't get me wrong but with another 256megs it would be like a different machine, and from what you've posted it uses intergrated graphics, so windows doesn't even have 256 megs its got 256 minus whatever the graphics uses.

There are a few simple things you can do to help a bit - but you do need more memory - check how much of your hard drive is free. If its less than 20% delete some stuff off the drive. Also defrag the drive, run a program like ccleaner click here to clear stuff up as well. Check whats running at startup and stop those programs you don't need from running (lots of programs load themselves into startup by default and they end up running all the time and that can be a huge drag on the speed).

Advice on startup programs etc click here

  BrightEyes13 18:46 23 Mar 2008

thanks for all your help.
Is it relatively simple for a novice to install additional memory?
Cockney Rebel I've tried one of the links you provided -I'm clueless as to what to expect for prices, is the below a fair deal?

2GB Total
256MB current memory removed *
1GB new memory added
1GB new memory added
Qty: 2
Total Price:
£61.08 inc. VAT*

  brundle 18:49 23 Mar 2008

2GB is overkill for your uses, 1GB is enough. Memory isn't hard to fit, instructions come with it when your order from the two linked to.

  Totally-braindead 22:05 23 Mar 2008

Even 512mb would be a good boost, I agree with brundle that 2 gig is over the top.

I would buy from Crucial though as theres too many people buy the wrong stuff, Crucial do a scan your PC and if that doesn't work then you can download one of the programs I listed, identify your motherboard and buy the memory for that motherboard. All memory is not the same theres more to take into account than just the size of it and the speed.

If you don't do some housekeeping and say for example your hard drive is very full then the adding more memory will not have the dramatic affect it would have if you clean things up.

Clear your hard drive of unused programs, stop unnecessary programs from running at startup, do a cleanup and defrag the hard drive and then add another 512mb and it would be like a new computer.

  Totally-braindead 22:07 23 Mar 2008

Forgot the programs to identify the motherboard

SIW or Belarc both should tell you click here click here

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 11:39 24 Mar 2008

1. Software

a) Clear out all temporay files and folders -- use Crap Cleaner click here

b) Scan for malware spyware and viruses --Free Anti Spyware :-
Adaware click here
Spybot S&D click here
Spywareblaster click here
a2 click here
Windows Defender click here

Free Antivirus software
Avast4 click here
AVG antivirus click here

c) Clean the registry -- Free Registry cleaners :-
RegscrubXP click here
Regseeker click here
TweakNow RegCleaner 1.3.2 click here
Easycleaner click here ( Use with care, It advises you to back up the registry first, this is a good idea as it cleans rather aggressively. )

d) Pagefile (Virtual Memory) -- Rght click MY Computer - select propeties - Advanced tab - Performance - advanced tab - Virtual memory click change, you can put the page file on a differnt drive (if you have one), click custom size and set Initial size to one and a half times the amount of memory you have fitted i.e. 512MB memory = set to 768MB, set maximum to double your memory amount i.e. 512MB memory = 1024MB click ok.
If your hard drive is full and there is not enough room for the pagefile this can slow down, freeze or even cause the PC to crash (restart).

e) Cut down on the programs that load at startup -- Start - Run type msconfig - startup tab- untick everything except for firewall, antivirus and antispyware

and the services that run in the background. click here

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 11:40 24 Mar 2008

2. Hardware

a) Hard drives / IDE Channels:

i) Check the transfer rate, you need to have the transfer mode set to DMA not PIO.
Right click My Computer - Properties - Hardware - Device Manager - Expand (click the + ) IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers right click Primary Channel - Advanced Settings Tab -
If transfer Mode is PIO then follow the instructions at click here to change.

ii) Check for errors and defrag your hard drives -- My Computer - select drive - properties - tool tab - Error checking / Defragmentation.

ii) If you are using Windows XP, it's a good idea to convert your system drive to the NTFS file system if you have not already. In addition to providing numerous security and data recovery improvements over FAT32 (the file system of choice for Windows 9x/ME and XP Home) it can also speed up your system slightly.

In fact, the only real reason for sticking with the FAT32 file system for any of your data is if you have more than one operating system on your PC and the other OS's can only see FAT32 partitions (as would be the case with Windows 98, for example, which is incapable of reading NTFS data).

To convert your drives to NTFS:
Right click on 'my computer' and select 'manage'
From the computer management window, expand storage and select 'disk management.'
Using the 'file system' column of the upper pane of this window, you can easily check what file system each of your logical drives is using. Make a note of this information.
Now open a command prompt window by going to 'start\run' and typing 'cmd'
To convert a disk to NTFS, type 'convert (drive letter): /fs:ntfs'
So for example, if you were going to convert your C: drive, you would type 'Convert c: /fs:ntfs' at the prompt.

b) Divers
Obtain the newest drivers for your hardware
This may seem a bit obvious, but keeping your system's drivers up to date can give both your performance and stability a boost. Video card manufacturers release updates especially often, and these can often give "significant boosts" to gaming performance as video card in question is "optimized."

Don't neglect the other components of your system either. Your motherboard manufacturer may have released newer versions of its Input/output drivers for your board, and sound cards and other peripherals can also benefit from newer software.

c) Memory
Add more physical memory, this of course means opening the "box" and fitting a memory module, make sure you buy one that is suitable for your PC. Crucial .com click here will guide you through the process of slecting the correct memory. click here for a guide to fitting memory.

  Cockney Rebel 13:13 24 Mar 2008

Agrre with brundle 2 gig seems like too much.I,m running xp with 1256 mb without any probs.Does seem a good price for 2 gig thought.

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