How to deal with a slow PC and very poor Internet

  Garawa 20:12 06 Jul 2011

Windows XP has slowed significantly recently and Internet Explorer has slowed to a frustrating point and sticks and freezes. I was told on here to try ipconfig/flushdns which worked and I reported back as so. But after a week or so, it was back the same. Firebox was midly better but I prefer IE so this was the lesser of 2 evils.

I have emptied the browsing history, checked the boot-up items and emptied the recycled folder. I then emptied what was in the %temp% folder, cleared prefetch files and cleared anything left found by disc clean-up. I then ran check disc which showed up as fine.

This was done for both my "side" of the PC and my wife's and no spyware or Virus were found. The hard drive is 2 years old and is still showing a lovely blue bar and states that it doesn't require any defragging despite never having been done!!!!

My questions are: 1 Should I defrag anyway despite what the utility says? 2 Have I cleared everything or missed anything? It does make a big difference to the speed but it only lasts a week or so. 3 Is the PC slowing the internet or is a separate thing????

Internet explorer seems to be hanging on uploading ads or the like. Things like seem to take AGES to download and simple things like buttons can freeze it. It also pushes the CPU to 70-100% trying to do so making even just loading text from a message board a major headache.

Anyone have any tips or suggestions?

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 20:17 06 Jul 2011

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 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.

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 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 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 will guide you through the process of selecting the correct memory. for a guide to fitting memory.

  Garawa 20:35 06 Jul 2011

WOW, there is some there to go through over the next few days!!!! Malwarebytes and Norton Internet Security has already confirmed the PC is clean. Not sure how much of that would explain why it has slowed to a halt in the last month though when before it has been fine. Even viewing simple video on a 3.5Mbps internet speed is a problem.

As for downloading software to clean files I have deleted manually, I am a bit wary of that as I think they only add to the clutter and the problem.

Thanks for the info as there will be some that is useful although not sure its the solution personally.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 20:44 06 Jul 2011

None of the above is for slow internet we will deal with that later.

What version of Norton? the older versions are known for hogging resources.

CCleaner is an excellent program very safe for clearing rubbish and cleaning the registry.

On old PCs, a filling hard drive and IDE drives running in PIO mode are main reasons for really slowing down to a crawl. Is there at least 20% space left on the drive containg your op system and virtual memory?

Conflicting Antivirus programs are another reason when machines come with trial AV and another AV is loaded when the the trial ends, without fully uninstalling the trial version.

  Garawa 20:51 06 Jul 2011

The hard drive is showing as 59% empty. I use Malwarebytes and NIS2011. Clearing the files has made the PC work fine (at present) and the Internet is a million times better. But I know this will only last a week maximum and I haven't had this before.

  Garawa 21:08 06 Jul 2011

Onew other thing I have noticed - after this clearout my CPU has dropped from being constantly around 40 - 70% with (just IE, Outlook open whilst working on Office) to now just 5 - 10%!!!!!

This HAS to be the key to the PC's performance - I just can't work out why I might now need to do something weekly I have never had to do in the past! The PC is a Dell 5150 P4HT and is around 6 years old.

Maybe old age does creep up on PCs as well!!!!!??????

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

iMac Pro review

Illustrator Charles Williams on how to create magazines and book covers

iMac Pro review

Les meilleures prises CPL (2018)