Windows XP very slow to respond

  tallboy 10:29 23 May 2009

Following a corrupt registry hive and a failed power supply, I have had to re-install Windows XP Home Edition plus all my applications on my Mesh Athlon 1.8GHz PC. (Built 2001)

Whilst the re-installed apps are largely working, the whole PC is working at a 'snails pace', in spite of running registry cleanups (using CCleaner, and Registry First Aid) and trying to speed it up by using programs such as SpeedUpMyPC and PC Pitstop Optimize.

The lack of speed starts when you first log in, with the pointer movement being like trying to move something in treacle and continues when you come to use an application, such as MS Office 2007. (If you click on an Excel spreadsheet shortcut it takes 10 seconds for the egg timer to appear, a further 1 minute 40 secs for Excel to start and a further 25 seconds beyond that for the spreadsheet to appear.) Trying to watch a video within a web page is impossible - everything is running far too slowly.

Whilst some of the drivers may not be the very latest versions, they are the ones I was using before the post-crash re-build, at which time it was working OK. (Given that it is an 8-year old PC.)

Any suggestions as to how to breath some life into it would be much appreciated.

  AndySD 10:45 23 May 2009

Have you tried defragmenting the hard drive?

Are you sure you installed all the drivers?

  birdface 11:20 23 May 2009

Maybe see if any drivers need updating.

click here Free

  birdface 11:29 23 May 2009

Or try here some times you bring some nasties back again.make sure your Anti-Virus is not running at start up.set it to run at a different time.

  tallboy 12:25 23 May 2009

Many thanks for the quick responses AndySD and buteman.

Prior to re-installing XP I re-formatted the 'C:' drive and I have de-fragged it once since then. (About 2 weeks ago.) Since doing that I have re-installed some more programs - and have removed a couple that didn't install correctly, so de-fragging again may help a bit.

I'll run the driver scanner suggested by buteman and see what that throws up and if need be, download more recent drivers.

  woodchip 12:49 23 May 2009

Check Settings for CPU in BIOS have not changed to a slower speed

  tallboy 22:43 23 May 2009

Thanks for the suugestion woodchip - I'll certainly take a look at the BIOS.

I have used driver scanners before, but none have been as good as DriveMax (click here) from Innovative Solutions - and it is free! When I ran it, it reported well over 30 drivers that were still from 2001 (I never realised Windows XP had so many - none of the other scanners I have used have reported so many.) I am now going through them one at a time and updating them. This will take a while, since whilst it is free, DriveMax only allows you to download one driver per day - so it will take quite a while.

I'll post a further note here once I have updated them all.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 22:49 23 May 2009

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).

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

Hard drives / IDE Channels:

i) 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 click here to change.

  birdface 10:00 24 May 2009

That must be something new from driver Max.I updated all my drivers in the one day.Mind you that was last year and maybe they have changed things now.Does it actually tell you that you can only download 1 a day now.

  birdface 10:14 24 May 2009

Hi just went into the Driver Max site and it sends you to CNET to download it.So not sure what is the best site to download it from.

  tallboy 15:31 24 May 2009

Many thanks for the suggestions Fruit Bat. I have moved the Pagefile to my second hard drive - the orginal 60MB drive. I'm not sure if it has made any difference since this drive will not be as fast as the newer 300GB drive I now use for the Windows XP installation.

I then followed the instructions you provided (via the web link) to check my IDE Modes. I found that Device 0 of the Primary Channel was in PIO Mode and Device 1 of the Primary Channel was in Ultra DMA Mode 5. Both devices in the Secondary Channel were in Ultra DMA Mode 2. I then went through the instructions to change to Device 0 of thre Primary Channel to Ultra DMA Mode, but alas, at the end of the process it was still stuck in the PIO mode.

At this point I recalled having a similar difficulty last time I re-installed XP (when I fitted the 300GB drive) and after much searching found a lecturer in the USA who also had a Mesh PC with the same problem and who solved it by fooling XP into thinking the drives were SCSI drives. (Indeed, they showed up as SCSI drives in the Device Manager.)

Unfortunately I have been unable to locate to instructions as to how to do it, so if you can 'throw' any light on this or another fix to get Drive 0 to go into Ultra DMA Mode, I would certainly appreciate it. (Incidentally, I recall at the time having to call Microsoft and convince them - once the drives showed up as SCSI - that I really hadn't tried to install a bootleg copy of XP on a second PC - such were the changes that this mod made to the system.)

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