Windows XP - Very poor performance

  tallboy 08:13 14 Sep 2006

I recently upgraded my 4-year old 1.4GHz Athlon PC (512MB RAM) to a 300GB drive (having first upgraded the BIOS) and NTFS on all partitions. I replaced my old Windows 2000 O/S wit Windows XP.

Initially, everything ran very smoothly and quickly - just like Microsoft say it should. However, now just 3 weeks later, having put back some (but by no means all) of my application s/w, it runs slower than a snail!

Even simple things, like opening or starting to print a web page take over a minute and shutting down takes 10 minutes from the time you hit the shut down button to when the power actually goes off.

I have done the 'usual' things - like defrag, run the registry checker (I use Registry Mechanic), clean out temporary files and also run Microsoft's Uphclean utility, all to no avail. I have also un-installed and re-installed my HP 5550 Deskjet printer, as that was the cause of another reader's slow XP operation - but it made no difference in my case.

All suggestions as to a possible fix would be most welcome.

(Incidentally, my neighbour mentioned yesterday that there was an article in the Doors section of a recent copy of the Times newspaper which indicated that there was a very clever virus on the loose which manages to get past AV software (I use CyberScrub AV, which uses the Kaspersky engine) and causes this problem. Apparently the article indicated a fix for it - but alas, he no longer has the paper. Did you see it? If you did and are able to give me the link to the fix, I'd certainly like to try it.)


  961 09:34 14 Sep 2006

Try an online scan for virus (Trend, Sophos, Macafee)and malware (Spyware Doctor)

  tallboy 22:38 16 Sep 2006

I've done an in-depth scan for viruses (using CyberScrub on it's strongest setting) and also scanned for spyware with Webroot Spy Sweeper. Neither have revealed anything.

Anyone got any other suggestions as to what to try / look out for?

  bluto1 22:57 16 Sep 2006

Give me some dates fairly quickly for when you spoke to your friend and I might be able to rescue some old copy of my Bro-in-laws Times newspaper. Got to be fairly quick in these days of recycling.

Alternatively, phone Times newspapers and ask them about the article, they`ll help if they can.

  terryf 00:20 17 Sep 2006

click here for times on line doors

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 11:41 17 Sep 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/\ 11:41 17 Sep 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.

  tallboy 17:18 17 Sep 2006

Thanks bluto1 and terryf for the offer of help re the Times. I have now found the article my neighbour was referring to and have downloaded and used Spybot S&D.

I have also run three different registry checkers (Registry Toolkit, Registry Mechanic & Windows Registry Repair Pro - each of which found different errors) and done a complete in-depth AV scan using CyberScrub, plus a disk de-frag.

I also increased the Pagefile from 768MB to 2000-4000MB (fortunately I have lots of spare disk capacity). The PC is marginally quicker, but now takes 16-17 minutes for a complete shut down, from the time the shutdown button is hit!

Thanks for the suggestion re drivers FruitBat /\0/\ - I'll try that next. (Note: I already have an NTFS file system.) Hopefully the existing 512MB RAM should be sufficient to make it run reasonably quickly - which it used to.

If there are any other suggestions folks have, I'd be pleased to give them a try.

  ArrGee 17:21 17 Sep 2006

Just thought I'd throw this into the pot. It has worked very well for me.
click here

  GaT7 17:25 17 Sep 2006

If all fails, I'd do a backup first (don't forget emails) then reinstall WinXP afresh. G

  PSF 20:51 17 Sep 2006

If you have upgraded the hard drive, Open Device manager.

Click: 'IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers' click on primary IDE channel, then right click and select properties>>> check advanced settings. The transfer mode should be set to 'DMA if available.'

In the window below it should say what the mode is. It should be Ultra DMA mode 5 or similar. If it is running in PIO mode the pc will run like a slug.

You may have to re-install your IDE drivers to enable DMA mode.

I had this after an installation, the DVD writer was in PIO mode it would take about 50 mins to burn a DVD and it kept locking up the pc.

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