Updating drivers and BIOS?

  Garnett 13:24 24 Nov 2006

Hi there.

My computer (an HP NX6125 - click here) sometimes runs slow, or freezes altogether, and quite often I see in Task Manager that the CPU is running at 100%

I think this may be down to old drivers, and possibly a BIOS problem ("I’ve had a few hangs with the screen turning blank on Windows, especially in HDD stressing operations. It turned out to be an old bios version issue, so nothing serious, I just download the new version executable and run." - from here: click here) and I want to update everything, but HP make it very hard to locate and update the drivers. Similarly ATI seem to make life hard whenever I start to consider updating my video drivers.

Is there an easy way to update all my drivers and BIOS?

  Technotiger 13:26 24 Nov 2006

Perhaps this might help ...

click here

  €dstowe 13:39 24 Nov 2006

Driver replacements are not the panacea that many people would have you believe and I'm doubtful that out of date drivers are responsible for the symptoms you are getting.

Perhaps you might start with a spring clean, removing all the rubbish from your machine. Remove malware, viruses and other undesirables, delete old programs you don't use, old files and such like. Defragment your hard drive

Only update drivers and BIOS if they are known to be not functioning properly. There is a good chance of wrecking your computer by doing these things unnecessarily

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 13:44 24 Nov 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
Windows Defender 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/\ 13:44 24 Nov 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.

  Garnett 14:43 24 Nov 2006

Thanks for the extensive replies. I'll have a look over the weekend. They look really useful.

I do run KAV every week, and try to watch what loads at start up (with Mike Linn's Startup Control Panel).

One off-topic annoyance is that my firewall (Outpost - far too complex for a newb like me) fails to load properly at start up, which takes time and a few notice boxes I have to close before loading it through the start menu.

(Also, Outpost and KAV don't seem to play nicely, but that really IS a question for a later date).

I'll update and run ADaware, Spybot, Spyware Blaster, and Ewido, which I have on my system but haven't used in a while.

I'm buying an external HDD to remove some of the acculated cr*p.

I'm also hoping to buy some more RAM to go from 512mb to 1gb.

In the meantime tough, I still want to see about the drivers.

That Driver-downloads website doesn't seem too useful. It lists a lot of stuff but in the end seems to direct you to the manufacturer's website. I've already tried updating my ATI drivers, and the process - uninstalling old drivers and restarting the computer before installing new drivers, sounded like a disaster waiting to happen.

Anyone had experience of updating ATI drivers previously?

  €dstowe 15:00 24 Nov 2006

Probably the reason HP make it hard to locate drivers is because they are very aware that things can go wrong and as you say you are a newb, these are perhaps left as they are.

Before you do anything with the drivers, carry out the excellent and very comprehensive recommendations from Fruit Bat /\0/\

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