Hardware problem or virus?

  David Greene 22:25 08 Sep 2011

Hi everyone, I'm in a bit of a pickle with my PC. I only bought my customised PC from palicomp 12 months ago and at the time it was a top of the range gaming computer, however now it runs slower than a lazy sloth!

At first I thought I had contracted a nasty virus and ran all the antivirus/antimalware checks I could think of including: Ad-Aware Free Internet Security, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, Spybot - Search & Destroy and my Norton 360 which had always been running. After a few full system scans the performance had still not improved. Sometimes the computer seems to load fine and then runs perfectly for a few minutes but then always ends up freezing for minutes at a time, other times it freezes at one of the many loading screens. After running all the test programmes above I reinstalled Windows 7 on the computer but this has still not fixed the issue.

Is it possible some piece of hardware is failing such as the HDD, memory or motherboard? If so, are there any tests I can run to see what the problem could be? A few months ago I had to send my PC back to Palicomp to let their engineers have a look at it as there seemed to be a PSU problem. At the time they said everything was fine, but I am wondering if they did not check thoroughly enough - I have read some forums that state Palicomp has awful customer service.

Please help!

  Diemmess 12:20 09 Sep 2011

Theoretically Norton 360 will manage everything. Anti malware and firewall as well as scan everything in sight. This alone can slow the PC down considerably. When you add the other progams - they fight for memory to say the least.

I confess to personal prejudice, I don't like paying for something like Norton when very good freebies are there for downloading. Emphasising it is a personal view ..... I would uninstall Norton (Using their own uninstaller which you can download from their site), Windows own uninstaller doesn't work well with this application.

If you choose to keep an up to date Norton, then remove all the others - pdq

I use (with XP) the all free versions of Avast for anti-malware, and Zone Alarm as a firewall. I occasionally run Malwarebytes as a straight on-demand scan , but have not so far found anything passing through the first ones.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 12:29 09 Sep 2011

1. Software

a) Clear out all temporary files and folders -- use CCleaner http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download

b) Scan for malware spyware and viruses --Free Anti Spyware :- Malwarebytes http://www.malwarebytes.org/ Superantispyware http://www.superantispyware.com/download.html

Free Antivirus software MicroSoft Security Essentials http://www.microsoft.com/security/products/mse.aspx Avast http://www.avast.com/en-gb/free-antivirus-download

c) Clean the registry -- Use the tool in Crap Cleaner 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. http://www.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

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 http://www.crucial.com/uk/ 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.

  sunnystaines 13:27 09 Sep 2011

"c) Memory Your memory could be failing try memtest"

i rekon its memory try memtest86 as mentioned by fruitbat. have you looked inside to see if its cogged up in dust and debris.

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