Packard Bell EasyNote: Painfully slow.

  m800afc 23:50 24 Jul 2009

Packard Bell EasyNote ALP-Ajax-C3; Vista Home Basic SP1

I have been given my friends laptop to "sort out". It is very very slow, taking 45 mins to start, and over an hour to shut down. Many of the applications will start to initialise, but fail to start fully. There are no error messages, but the title bar of the applications often state the application is "Not Responding" The task manager does not start, and I am unable to connect to the internet. I do not have a printed manual or any OS discs. I have not been able to find a recovery partition.
I have my own disc of Vista Business, and have tried to effect a repair using this disc. The repair completed, but there is no noticable difference. I have tried Paragon Rescue Kit 9.0 Express, but again, having completed normally, there is no noticable difference.
I have used CCleaner and Advanced System Care Free v3.3.4 from my pen drive. There is plenty of room on the hard drive. I can access the BIOS and nothing obvious stands out. I have tried to get into safe mode, but although the safe mode indicators appear at each corner of the screen, there is no pointer, no taskbar and no desktop.
I would very much appreciate any help with this, as my friend uses the laptop for her business. For this reason I do not want to risk losing any of her files. As is usual in these circumstances she has not made any backup. I have an external drive that I could use to back up her data, but if there is malware on the system, I do not want to copy this as well.
Thanks a lot.

  ambra4 08:51 25 Jul 2009

“If there is malware on the system, I do not want to copy this as well”

I would suggest you download update and run the following programs

Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware Free Edition

click here

SUPERAntiSpyware Free Edition

click here

SpywareBlaster and keep it updated

click here

SpywareBlaster is a prevention program, unlike most anti-spyware programs which

utilize a "Removal" approach after your system is already infected.

SpywareBlaster effectively prevents ActiveX-based spyware, dialers, browser-hijackers

and other Malware or potentially unwanted programs from ever installing on your system

in the first place.

Many users employ a multi-layered "prevent and remove" strategy by using anti-spyware

removal utilities in combination with SpywareBlaster protection

Once the above programs have completed do a defrag of the hard drive

Auslogics Disk Defrag

click here

You should also do a defrag of the registry

Free Registry Defrag/Compact (Freeware)

click here

  ambra4 09:25 25 Jul 2009

Faster Vista Shut Down

You can speed up the time Vista takes to shut down by changing the setting in the

registry which are responsible for determining how long to wait before shutting down

open applications and services once the shutdown command has been given.

By editing this settings and changing it to lower values, you can considerably

decrease the amount of time that Vista needs to shut down.

Click Start – Run – Type “regedit”

Navigate to 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\'

Double click on 'WaitToKillServiceTimeout' set value to '1000.'

This would help to considerably speed up the time Vista takes to shut down.

  Woolwell 12:55 25 Jul 2009

This may be ide of the mark but I wonder if searchindexer has got stuck in a loop. This can cause Vista to get really slow. Try turning search indexing off.

  m800afc 14:51 25 Jul 2009

Thanks for the replies.
I have managed to run antimalware and AV utilities. I have defragged both the registry and the HDD. 'WaitToKillServiceTimeout' is now set value to '1000.'
There is an improvement, but it is still not good.
I have managed to get an internet connection and have downloaded and installed SP" for Vista.
I have turned off search indexer.

When I try to update windows I get an error message code 80072FED "Unknown Error" Windows cannot search for new updates. According to the update history I have not installed any updates at all, even though I have just installed SP2. I have ensured that the URLs for windows updates are in the IE8 exceptions list. Apart from this I cannot for the life of me think of what to do next.

How can I update Windows?

  Woolwell 17:04 25 Jul 2009

Have you had a look here click here

  GANDALF <|:-)> 17:14 25 Jul 2009

You will spend hours faffing around... copy her files, do a reinstall of the OS and save yourself a world of pain.


  Chris Webster 17:32 25 Jul 2009

Just as a matter of interest is F-Secure Anti Virus installed on the laptop?

The reason I ask is because my sister in law had exactly the same problem on her Packard Bell EasyNote, she could turn it on and then go out for a meal before it booted up, if at all.

I uninstalled F-Secure in safe mode and installed AVG and now it boots up in no time at all.

Regards, Chris.

  Woolwell 19:34 25 Jul 2009

"As is usual in these circumstances she has not made any backup."

First thing I would have done is make a back up - worries about malware, etc or not as there is a risk whenever you are doing this sort of work of corrupting or destroying the data.

  m800afc 18:49 26 Jul 2009

Thank you everyone for your help.
I have managed to get the laptop back into a more or less normal working state. I did this by repairing Vista using my own Vista disk. This at least got me into a position where I could run some anti-malware stuff from my pen drive. After creating a system restore point I used the following applications, with a new system restore between each.
Spybot S&D
Each was of course run independently.
I then ran CCleaner and Advanced system Care.
I then used Auslogic Registry Defragger, and Auslogics HDD Defragger.
Virtually every application revealed more infections, but these eventually turned into a small trickle. I burned a Packard Bell C3 Recovery disk and booted using that. It made no obvious difference that I could see, but did improve start up and shut down times, in particular, the very long time the laptop spent "Logging Off" before final shut down. For a reason that I do not understand the Vista update gives the message "Failed to update Windows due to an unknown cause". A fresh re-install is probably the best answer.

I acknowledge that this was a bit of a scatter-gun approach, but considering the laptop could not be used at all before I started, I have been lucky enough to get it up and running this time. I shall caution my friend that she may not be so lucky next time, and that she really does need to obtain a valid Vista disc with key, and also an external drive to use as a backup. I fear my words may fall on deaf ears, as she tends not to be the kind of person to mend the roof when the sun is shining. I will try though.

Thanks again to all who offered advice. I shall mark as resolved, and uncross my fingers.

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