replacing or upgrading? help!

  aniablue 01:19 06 May 2003

Hi all

I'm just after a bit of advice. I currently own a Dell dimension 8100, bought in Jan 2001. It has 1.4 GHz inter Pentium 4; 640mb ram (originally it only had 128mb ram); 40 GB hard drive; a 16x DVD rom; a 48x18x48x cd/rw drive; all of which is run on windows me.

In theory it should all work fabulously as there are no device conflicts or anything along that line. However for about the last 6 months or so, it has been slowly been grinding to a halt. Have been unable to defrag, either in normal or safe mode or run a proper scandisk.

I use Norton system works as an alternative to these standard programs but it doesn't really seemed to have helped.

Programs stop responding without any warning. Internet explorer will start downloading a page and then just stops. It freezes up doing simple things such as writing a word document.

It’s all very frustrating as you can imagine but the problem I face is how do I go about trying to fix it? Do I change the hard disk? Do I upgrade to windows xp? Or do I rip out the good parts and start again? If so, what’s the best way of doing it all? It is no longer under warranty as far as I'm aware so going back to dell is pointless, and pretty useless anyway.

Any suggestions would be most gratefully received as I pretty close to reaching the end of my tether and the thought of just taking a wrench to the stupid thing has more than once crossed my mind, but it wouldn’t be too practical given I do a lot of my professional work on it.

Thank you

  powerless 01:29 06 May 2003

"January 2001"

I would say do a complete FORMAT of the hard drive, this is where everything will be deleted of your hard drive and Windows ME will be installed once again. You will also have to reinstall all the programs that you wish to use.

If you do this make sure that you have all your personal files backedup as they too will be deleted in the format.

DELL - I'm not sure what you get with a DELL system. Recovery Discs, ME CD so could you tell us what Discs came with your system?

It sounds like after 2 and a bit years your HDD has become clogged with files and files and simply deleting everything off and putting everything back on will make your computer good as new.

The spec of the PC is fine.

  hugh-265156 01:45 06 May 2003

sounds good advice to me.just dont use system works after the reinstall this time an use windows built in tools for defrag disk check etc as it hogs resourses and will slow ya down somewhat and may be causing some of the problems.40gig drive will do for another while yet upgrade your ram to at least 256mb preferably 512mb if mobo supports cd drive should also be ok.

  hugh-265156 01:51 06 May 2003

and upgrade the graphics to an agp card like ati`s radeon 9000 or nvidia`s mx440 if you have onboard graphics this will free up shared graphics memory and improve performance in games and in other software.cost about £60.

  AndySD 02:30 06 May 2003

Powerless's advice is probably the best as the registry tends to get to big and slows the pc. But has the pc been slower since adding the extra RAM as Windows ME doesnt always like more than 512 mb (this can sometimes cause a problem on reloading the operating system). I would sugest you try using a memory manager first to see if this sorts your problem out.

click here Maxmem


click here Rampage are free

  vaughan007 10:20 06 May 2003

I had a PC for a few years and it became very very slow. I formatted windows using the restore CD and it was fine afterwards.

  Flying Teddy 10:39 06 May 2003

I think the clues are: you've had the machine for over two years, you say you have a lot of professional work on the disc, and you're having trouble with defrag and scandisk. Presumably there's no trouble with your installed memory (POST check should reveal if that is so), so I would guess that you disk is now so full that windoze is having trouble manipulating data on the disc. Find out how full the disc is, (right click on the 'C' drive and select 'properties')and if more than say 80%, consider deleting/uninstalling stuff that you don't want/need, or upgrading to a larger disc.

  Dr. Charles 10:40 06 May 2003

I think I missed something here as I didn`t see you said you used windows ME. Obviously others know you better than me.

Yes I would reformat and don`t install Norton system works and see how you go



  aniablue 20:44 08 May 2003

ok I will do so on the weekend, when I get a chance. Thanks for all the help previously but one last thing if thats ok by you guys?

I have icq and wanted to know how I'd back this up so I don't lose any messages, as they're very important, for personal reasons. do I just move the folder onto cd and just reinstall once I've formatted the hard drive? or is there a safer way, given my inexperience in this kind of thing.

Thank you

  powerless 21:03 08 May 2003

I do not use ICQ so I'm not sure about the ICQ folder, sorry.

I would yes it would work, but best to check first before you do it.

Dr. Charles - First paragraph "all of which is run on windows me."

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