Slowing computer and awful internet

  tcmoon 18:11 20 Apr 2006

I run Windows XP (ver.5.1) on a LAN connection broadband.
For a couple of weeks now, my computer has increasingly slowed down dramatically. The last few days the internet has slowed and is creating and having all kinds of problems, all of which I can find no reason nor source.
I run System Mechanic 6 which has been installed for three months without any problems as far as I can see. I also have other optimisers and registry cleaners/compressors, again, everything has been running smoothly.
I spoke to a freelance engineer by telephone and explained what was happening. But when I told him I was used to having 40 windows open and operating, he laughed. But, it IS true. For almost a year I have operated like this with a max 40 windows/pages open as well computer based programs word/notepad/photoshop. I have NEVER had ANY problems at all and have been able to work on all together.
Because of what I do, I have 10 or 11 group windows open at all times, so I can monitor them up to the minute as needed. I'm lucky now if I can open three windows and it's driving me mad. Also, the internet connection just stops while pages are turning, thus killing the page and it is taking 3 minutes to open a page, i.e. in my email, deleting one to open the next is taking an age and now it has started to refuse to delete, go fwd or back or clicking on inbox fails too so I have to close and reopen it.
I have Onspeed installed, it was in when I was on dial up last year and I left it on. It DOESN'T cause any problems and does, or did, speed my internet. The guy I rang says it was a waste of time, I don't think so.
I have run loads of program scans (obviously those with an option to buy later) but again, without success.
Not being technical minded but knowing that this is NOT a physical or mechanical problem, I am at my wits end and my wife just said to me and I quote "Walk away from it. If my bike was jammed in the wrong gear, I would walk!!!" Oh, right....
If ANYONE has ANY suggestions that could help me SOON, I would appreciate it very much, I am verging on madness, but only because I cannot solve this in every way I have knowledge of. I do believe a diagnostic (deep) would probably find what it is but the guy I rang wants a lot of money (which I can't afford at present) and doesn't believe I could have 40 windows opne and operating, but I DO or at least, DID and that is gospel, why would I make it up, there'd be no point.... if anyone can help, please do, the quicker the better please.

  remind 18:19 20 Apr 2006

Do you have another computer on the same network you can do some internet speed tests on to rule out that side of the equation? Or try click here
If it appears normal, get a decent task manager and see what is using the most processor time; click here

  Confab 18:27 20 Apr 2006

Download, install and run these

CCleaner click here

Clean Up click here

Reg seeker click here

They are all free

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 18:31 20 Apr 2006

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
MSoftAntispy Beta click here
Ewido 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/\ 18:32 20 Apr 2006

2. Hardware

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

b) 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) 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.

d) 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.

  xyfas 18:32 20 Apr 2006

Have you run virus and spyware scans. Whenever I've had unusual activity out of the blue (i.e. no recent hardware/software changes)it's been down to virus, trojans or spyware.
I use AVG & windows defender both free to download.


  tcmoon 18:42 20 Apr 2006

Remind, Confab and Fruit bat, all great suggestions which I am following up. There is a bit for me to go through here. Can my brain take it all in, probably not, at least, not all at once.
I've run several antispy/virus progs Mike.

One of the links mentioned here, shows my internet connection could be bad. Two computers are running from one router, could the problem be there? I hadn't thought of it because my daughter runs her computer from it via USB whereas my connection is via ethernet.
We have a wireless router sitting here doing nothing, do any of think that would help? I am betwixt by all this stuff but I appreciate your time and comments and will endeavour to go through them all, eliminating whichever problem arises...
thanx again guys....

  tcmoon 02:27 21 Apr 2006

I've followed everything you've all posted, cleaned, scanned, done some other stuff. the ntfs is already applied on my main drive.
Gone through start up and.....
I inadvertantly clicked on a messenger box which must be yahoo and now I open two pages click to open in a new page and the first two vanish. This is driving me to distraction. Everything was doing OK with the advice given, except the hotmail which remains slow and refuses to delete some pages.
Now it is difficult to work because of windows closing when I wish to open a new window...
what is the next step, apart from buying a new compy which I can't afford to do right now or in the forseeable future.
You have been great, please advise how I cna at least get the system back to what it was before I started messing with the start up menu. I did a system restore but to no avail and I cannot find yahoo messenger on my computer despite so deep searches....
oh woe is me.....

  terryf 07:38 21 Apr 2006

It is no consolation now but when you have fixed it all, consider moving all data to a second HD, only have OS, progams and emails on C drive. Make a backup of C using acronis or similar (takes 15 mins), backup emails and browser settings using EA8 to either D or an ext usb drive. this means that you can reload windows and progs in about 15 mins, update windows and AV and you have a spanking new up-to date installation.

  Phphred 10:02 21 Apr 2006

If you have done all of the above suggestions and have XPSP2 installed already, then reinstall it. This is what I do after installing any programme; it seems to sort everything into a proper order!

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 12:42 21 Apr 2006

Before reinstalling XP try a repair.

Start - run - type

sfc /scannow

(watch the space after sfc) press enter
Xp will scan and replace missing /corrupt files including those in IE.

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