Which Firewall/Antivirus

  Satmansq 18:43 05 Jun 2008

Hi, I have an old Sony Vaio FX401 with 800MHz AMD Duron processor and 256MB of Ram with Windows XP Home SP3 and MS Office 2007 that i want to give to my daughter to use for secondary school projects including internet access. It is running quite slow, to be expected, but I am not sure whether my choice of Firewall and Antivirus is helping the situation. I currently have Comodo Firewall and Avast Antivirus running on this Laptop and am unsure of how memory intensive these programs are in comparison to others that are out there, can anyone advise me whether these are wise choices or if there are other more appropriate programs out there.
Thank you in advance of your suggestions

  Technotiger 18:49 05 Jun 2008

Both your chosen programs are fine and should not cause any problems.

You could check and delete things like Cookies and Temp Files in Internet Explorer.

Perhaps run Ccleaner click here this should help to speed things up a bit. More RAM would help.

  Satmansq 18:57 05 Jun 2008

Thanks Technotiger, already use Ccleaner, coincidentally just updated, also, use Spybot and Ad-Aware.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 18:58 05 Jun 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/\ 18:59 05 Jun 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.

  Technotiger 18:59 05 Jun 2008

Fine, then your daughter should be ok - though more RAM, which is quite cheap these days, would definitely help,

  brundle 19:07 05 Jun 2008

Agree with the above, what you have doesn't need changing. Any speed tweaks will benefit tho with such low memory, disabling visual FX (and the Themes service), indexing service, background defrag etc

  Satmansq 21:10 05 Jun 2008

Thanks for the advice, I am feeling really stupid about not thinking about increasing ram, had the thing 6 years and not been used much recently, when it was in full use it wasn't too shabby.

  maghemite 14:31 06 Jun 2008

Yes, you definitely need to up the RAM to about 1 GB (512 MB min). This is critical.

Also, it's an old notebook, so the drive will be quite slow. Ensure it is defragmented, for optimum performance, otherwise fragmentation can hit performance. For instance,an automatic defragmenter will defrag it in the background as necessary, automatically without disrupting other applications. You won't need to set schedules manually for regular defrags and waste time on it.

I'd also suggest that you disable unwanted programs and processes from the startup tray. These things can consume a lot of CPU time, and hit the 6 year old CPU quite badly.

Ideally, you should do a clean install of XP and put in only the programs you need. Pick those which run on fewer resources Eg. AVG free for antivirus, Opera for browsing, XP default firewall, etc.

Also, make sure you have all the necessary drivers at hand before attempting a clean install.

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