EVERYTHING slows when HDD half full - WHY?

  AngeTheHippy 08:38 10 Jul 2007

Morning Chaps, well it's reached that time again when I need to re-format HDD, and reinstall XP. This is about the 5th time now, I need to do it roughly once a year, and I don't think it's a coincidence. I have 130gb HDD, 512ram, Athlon XP2000+ 1.67GHz. When the HDD is about 50% full, everything slows down drastically. For example, opening my Browser could take up to a minute to load, same with e-mail client. Just about everything slowwws down. Even when turning off at night. That also can take a minute sometimes I think longer to actually power off. Question is, is this normal? Do other users get this response? I defrag fairly often, did so just last week in fact. AV and anti spyware all up to date and frequently run. I just don't understand this at all. I went out Saturday and bought an extarnal HDD, so I think after the next format, I'll start storing more stuff on that rather than the HDD. This one is a Seagate 250gb (all I could afford at the time). NOW I'm worried that they're not reliable and that all I put on there somehow would at sometime be lost.... or am I just PARANOID????????


  [email protected] 09:11 10 Jul 2007

Hi Ange. No, it isn't normal, neither is having to to re-install your OS every year!
Your OS should access your HDD at the same speed whether it's virgin, half full or full. What will slow access times is "what" it's accessing EG: large/complicated programs/files.
This slowing down manifests also at boot up and close down.
Put simply, more work it has to do, slower it becomes. It really is that simple.
Your specs seem OK, the HDD is in good shape with regard to fragmentation, so I would look at just what is being run and closed each time you switch on/off. You may have programs with their own running "engines" which are notorious for slowing PC's. I refer to real time scanners for AV, Malware etc, so also have a look at just what is running in the background.
You may already run CCleaner? If not, google it and run it. It really does get rid of the rubbish especially from the registry (always back up registry clearouts). Another tip with CCleaner - by default it is set to empty your waste bin. You may not wish this so deselect it.
The only other thing I can think of is to closely monitor everything you install after your OS and try to see just what impairs the performance.

  SteveWH 09:14 10 Jul 2007

I would try some extra RAM before you re-format it might be that with only 512 RAM you are using the swap file a lot this can have quite an affect on performance. RAM is pretty cheap.

As to the external HD there is no need to worry although its always good to make a back up of your important files you can back up using a DVD.

Have you thought of getting an extra internal HD these are very easy to fit and usualy cheaper than external.

  [email protected] 09:14 10 Jul 2007

PS: If you can add another 512Mb - or - max out the ram the mobo will take, you will see a definite improvement in speed. You may be running programs which are memory hungry and this is a definite set of brakes for any PC ;-)

  AngeTheHippy 09:34 10 Jul 2007

before I bought the external HD last week, I toyed with the idea of more ram as I only need to get a stick of 512 (only £21 !!!!!) to make the Gb. However, I still would only have had the 130gb HDD and more is always better, so went down that route first.

I've trimmed the startups to the obvious, AVG, Roboform etc ... JUST LOOKED though, and there are 3 new items (from newly installed s/w within the past 2-3 weeks and I've unticked them, so will do a reboot when I've finished this post and see.

Thanks all for your advice on this one, I **still** think I'll do the reboot, although I will try out CCleaner too.


  birdface 10:12 10 Jul 2007

You could try resetting your IDE controllers in Device manager.If they are set to PIO reset them to DMA,And reboot computer.Right click My Computer.properties, Hardware. .Device Manager.Ide Controllers.Advanced. Once you have done that,Primary Ide should show ultra Dma 5.And secondary should show Ultra Dma 2.Computer should work a lot quicker then.Also when shutting down. you can either use Standby, or Hibernate,To get it to Hibernate.Control panel.Power Options.Hibernate, And tick Hibernate,Apply ,Ok.And when you want to use it when shutting down,Turn off computer. Then when you have a choice of how to switch off, Hold down the Shift Key, And Standby will change to Hibernate,And just press it.When you re-boot your computer should start in about 10 seconds.

  AngeTheHippy 15:05 10 Jul 2007

Just looked in Dev Mgr and IDE controllers already set to DMA if available, so thats fine. My latest keyboard has 3 extra buttons on, power, sleep (I've set this to 'hibernate' and wake. They're working perfectly good.

As I said earlier though, that CCleaner seems to have done something, I now won't bother to do a reformat!! It's MUCH more responsive now,


  birdface 15:25 10 Jul 2007

This is a good program for making your computer faster, Winaso Optimizer. Well worth having it on your computer,Run it once a month or whenever you think your computer is slowing down,click here Download the free version ,It will only delete 10 things at a time,But you can run it as often as you like,I had to run it 14 times before I got rid of everything,It also has a Defrag on it if you want to use it.Skidzy put me on to it about 6 months ago,And I think it's great.Will your computer run faster, Yes.!!

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