eysha1 11:25 29 Mar 2013

Long story cut short. My friend who is now 75 is having computer problems with his XP machine. It is running extremely slow, taking around 20 mins to get onto Google he tells me. It was a reconditioned machine when he got it and he has had it around 4 years now. The hard drive has never been wiped and could be the original hard drive. I went to visit him and cleaned the rubbish out of the computer which he didn't know how to do so i got a few gigs back. I am thinking it might be best to wipe the hard drive and reinstall XP but he only has a recovery disk from the people/firm who sold the computer and it is a support disk, not sure if it has XP on and not sure if it has a license number on it either and i don't want to risk wiping it if there is no proper re-install disk. Is there a way to make a recovery disk from the computer and will it have a license number on it? Also if i can do that how do i do it? I won't be able to keep asking on here if i get stuck as he lives a distance away and there won't be a computer to ask on so instructions please along with advice. It is an E machine if you know what that is with an 80 gig hard drive and used by his grand children for games when they visit. Thanks in advance. E

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 12:17 29 Mar 2013

SIW (this is the portable version) will show you all equip installed - click on Licenses / Passwords / secrets to find the windows product key and licence keys for other software installed.

Back up the drivers DMlite free

Look for a folder on the drive may be on C:\i386 or C:\windows\i386

if you have all of the above you can make a Bootable XP disk to reinstall the system

instructions here

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 12:20 29 Mar 2013

Before you do that

There are a number of things you can do to speed it up.

1. Software

a) Clear out all temporary files and folders -- use CCleaner

b) Scan for malware spyware and viruses --Free Anti Spyware :- Malwarebytes Superantispyware

Free Antivirus software MicroSoft Security Essentials Avast

c) Clean the registry -- Use the tool in CCleaner its very safe and also allows you to back up the registry first.

d) Pagefile (Virtual Memory) -- Right click MY Computer - select properties - Advanced tab - Performance - advanced tab - Virtual memory click change, you can put the page file on a different 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 start up -- Start - Run type msconfig - start up tab- untick everything except for firewall, antivirus and antispyware

and the services that run in the background. see blackviper.com

2. Hardware

a) Hard drives /

i) IDE Channels: (Not required if you have SATA drives) 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 http://forum.digital-digest.com/showthread.php?t=61905 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, Vista or Windows 7 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) Drivers 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 Your memory could be failing try [memtest][8]

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][9] will guide you through the process of selecting the correct memory. http://support.gateway.com/s/Manuals/Desktops/8509270.pdf for a guide to fitting memory.

  eysha1 12:39 29 Mar 2013

Wow, thanks Fruit-Bat. I am going to copy all those instructions to take with me. Are you sure a novice like me can do this? Was also thinking of taking his hard drive out and bringing it home and doing the work here so i still had access to the internet just in case - what do you think? Would that work?

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 13:10 29 Mar 2013

No you can't do it with the hdd removed

check the hardware drives section 2 a) i) first if its IDE drives as that will really slow it down if they are in PIO mode.

If it slow getting on the net then scan for malware and virus especially if no AV installed or never been updated.

if the kids have been downloading games etc. there is probably alot of stuff loading at start up that's not required again you can see what's loading and disable it using CCleaner.

  johnincrete 17:14 29 Mar 2013

Fruit Bat I am trying to follow your advice as well. Tried to download SIW but am offered a tab and there does not seam to be a way to proceed without downloading it. Any advice?

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 17:31 29 Mar 2013

Just click on the tab that says Download now works for me.

Have you got some sort of script blocker running?

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 17:34 29 Mar 2013

Non portable version here

  woodchip 18:49 29 Mar 2013

kids playing games! worst thing for a Internet Computer. Have you had a look at the Disc in Windows Explorer to see what's on it. Explorer press Win Key + E key

  alanrwood 09:39 30 Mar 2013

Hi Fruit Bat

You suggest Driver Magician Lite above. Thought it might be useful in the future so went the web site you linked. There is a comparison table between the Lite and Normal versions and it seems to say that you can back up your drivers with Lite but not restore them. Can you advise whether this is correct or not.

Thanks Alan

  alanrwood 09:49 30 Mar 2013

Also the link to the instructions gives a web page that says "FORBIDDEN"

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