Windows Legacy OS forum

General discussion

Something eating away at my memory

by zanada / October 30, 2006 12:17 PM PST

Once XP(sp2) boots up and the Sys tray apps have loaded...I continue to hear the HDD beeing accessed for the next TEN MINUTES! The (retrieving data from hdd) "led" also continuously flashes. Once it's finally ready, Web pages take forever to load.
I regularly update and run my AV and (spybot & ad-aware).
Stand alone IBM Laptop X20 (600MGZ)
DSL connection

Other than zonealarm and my AV, nothing else running.

Could it be goblins? Officially Holloween in 42 minutes.


Post a reply
Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Something eating away at my memory
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Something eating away at my memory
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
by jackson dougless / October 30, 2006 12:44 PM PST

If you have anything less than 256MB of RAM, this can often be the case, since XP consumes so much. And if your AV program is McAfee, that will also take a big bite out of your overall system performance. Haven't used Norton in years, but I understand it's become the same way.

More info about your system would be necessary to really be able to give much more of an answer.

Collapse -
Difference in virtual vs. physical memory
by DarCLew2 / October 30, 2006 1:25 PM PST

A friend has an excellent system and can hold I gig DDR
PC3200 memory stick. She has (1)256MB memory stick.
My computer has 512MB memory [256+128+128] and i can download and install twice as fast as her. To make up the needed memory for her, she has virtual memory which comes from her hard drive, so if your memory is being eaten up, it is your hard drive's memory - not your memory sticks unless they burn out or removed.
Darrell L.

Collapse -
Is INDEXING (service and such) enabled?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 30, 2006 10:18 PM PST

The usual item is the file indexing. Well known topic.


Collapse -
Something eating away at my memory
by Ed Mixon / November 3, 2006 5:52 AM PST

So how do you check for indexing?

Collapse -
Computer Management Console
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / November 3, 2006 7:54 PM PST

Right click your My Computer icon and select Manage.

In the Computer Management Console, expand "Services and Applications", then highlight Services.

In the display on the right, look for "Indexing Service" and see what it's status is. If you want to change the status, right click the entry and select Properties. Then change the status in the Startup type: section.


Collapse -
Indexing Service
by shalimara / November 5, 2006 2:04 AM PST

which status should i set it to manual or automatic???

Collapse -
Mine is set to Manual
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / November 5, 2006 4:48 AM PST
In reply to: Indexing Service

But to be honest, I am not sure what effect that has.

If Indexing Service is to be effective, then it should be always on, otherwise, when files are added or changed, it will miss them. If it is disabled, then XP does not create indexes, but for users who are comfortable with using file explorers like Windows Explorer, and who organise their personal files anyway, the Indexing Service isn't necessary, unless they have hundreds or thousands of files they need to keep track of.

So, I am not sure what Manual does. You could always try one, and then the other, see what difference there is, if any.


Collapse -
thank you
by zanada / October 31, 2006 2:13 PM PST

Thanks gents,

Jackson, Daryll & Bob. Will work on that and get back.

Collapse -
Not sure if this is allowed...
by Screwdriver Monkey / November 2, 2006 7:21 PM PST

But I'm going to point you to another website that may help, I advise reading it thoroughly and only attempting what your comfortable with, Google anything your not sure of to learn more about it.

23 Ways to Speed Up XP

Collapse -
I had the same problem and fixed it!
by nerdperson / November 3, 2006 7:54 AM PST

I also run WinXP on a Pen III 800Mhz, 133Hhz bus and I have just over 600MB SDRAM. So, how did I fix the problem?

Background. The more programs you install, the more they tend to RUN quietly underneath. This eats at RAM and Processor. You image a crowd of 1, 000 people after a football game rushing to get through a narrow set of double-doors designed for two at a time, you get a bottle-neck, that's the way your pc is at Start Up when its not got the power. Imagine now 50 people instead in an orderly line walking through the doors, a lot quicker and easier.

Here is an example of programs that RUN at Start Up, say after a month of downloading alot of free & payed stuff:
QuickTime, iTunes, Real Player, LimeWire, eDonkey, Internet TV, MS Messenger.exe, Yahoo! Messenger, Yahoo! Toolbar, Skype, eBayToolbar (Internet Monitoring not browser toolbar), Nero Burning Rom monitoring tool, Windows Media Player, System Mechanic 5/6 monitoring tool, Adobe update, Bluetooth Device, Nokia PC Suite, GoogleToolbar, GoogleAccelerator, C-Media Audio, your Modem or IP stuff, AV and all the other freeware and payed stuff and so on.

Some may have adware (or spyware if its not from a trusted site or company) that came with it and each, lets say, asks Windows to RUN at Start Up. The more that ask, the more clogged the system gets the more your PC slows down because its not powerful enough to run all these at once and do every day tasks. However, you now can have the option of not having most of them starting at Start Up. You have to tweak the registry in order to do this unless those programs give you the option of not starting 'when Windows Starts' - but still tweak just in case.

Lets start at the beginning where everything boots up, that is the Registry. On your desktop taskbar click 'Start' and 'Run' then type in 'Regedit' and the registry opens up. Next go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER/ControlPanel/Desktop and reduce the values in MenuShowDelay & HungAppTimeout and the other WaitToKillAppTimeout to the lowest like 0-500 by right clicking on the icon then 'Modify'. Do keep up! Then once that is done you need to go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentUser/Run now this is where 1 or a few programs are registered to run at Start Up. Do you need them to run as soon as your pc starts? That's what you have to ask yourself.

Next its HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentUser/Run and check the programs that are due to run. There you will see things like Symantec or another AV, leave these. But, you may see QuickTime, iTunes, Real Player and other strings wanting to monitor constantly. Do you really need them running 24/7? If not, delete the string value (the whole file) and so on until you have running only the most important programs you need to start running your pc. Then when you want to run the programs you can only when YOU want to.

Again, automatic updates, I know this will get some people's back up but if all the auto-updates are running they will all want to update as soon as your PC is running or as soon as you logon to the Internet. If you must have auto-update then just your AV and set Windows Update to manual only to ask YOU when Windows should update and if its convenient to install.

So, instead of keep running Task Manager everytime, now you can go to the source and stop most of these programs from quietly running underneath at the root or in this case the Registry. Then, when you want to use and update them you have the control.

If you run SpyBot S&D and delete adware called 'doubleclick' then Firefox will not run properly as its part of Firefox default. Seeing that it is 'freeware' and isn't really free because the price is this adware, then by deleting it you may be breaking the End Users Licence Agreement. When I ran SpyBot S&D I kept on deleting 'doubleclick' and wondered why Firefox was running slow or not at all, until I realised it is part of why Firefox is free.

Remember to delete 'cookies' (as some of these can be adware/malware/spyware which can cause system slowdown) as soon as you have finished surfing the Internet. Tools/Options.../Privacy/Cookies and delete them. You may wish to spend time adjusting the settings to the way you want Firefox to run or any other browser. You may like to clear Private Data (online form filling), cookies and Temp Internet Files cache as soon as you close the browser.

I hope this helps you, you can also download from this site FreeRAM XP pro that will regularly free up RAM to help your PC to keep running smoothly. Next is regular defragment of the Hard Drive. Which is basic to all PC owners. Sart/Control Panel/Performance and Maintainance/Rearrange items on your hard disk ... while you are there click 'System' and see how much RAM and what CPU you have and adjust Windows Automatic Updates.

You now have control back of your PC. Also, another good program is Ad-AwareSE which you can download from this site.

Another thing, is that programs get upgraded through updates and use more RAM & CPU. New PC's can handle this with larger RAM and greater processing power. So, beware when going for the latest program, make sure you read all the specs and find out how much it will use when running on your machine. Yet, KasperskyAV uses less CPU & RAM and works quicker than some popular bulky AV programs.

Make sure you have just and only what you need and what you want when you boot up, as you don't have the capacity or power to have them all running at once. Some programs can clash at Start Up.

Don't lose heart at the Spock tech bits though, learn all you can and enjoy your PC & Internet surfing but be wise, use McAfee SiteAdvisor with your browser as well from this site.

When a pc slows up it can be a number of problems and so you have to go through different diagnostic steps to see what it is. Don't get frustrated at your AV when you need to defrag or hit your mouse on the head when you need to hit 'delete cookies'.

The best anti-virus tool is between your ears!!! Be wise, be safe, have fun!


Collapse -
eating away at my computer
by mr778 / November 3, 2006 9:03 PM PST

how exactly do you delete the entry in H_Key local machine, just right click and delete the complete entry does it effect the working of the program at all.

Thanks Marty

Collapse -
I would be very cautious.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / November 3, 2006 9:10 PM PST

Changing or deleting entries in the Registry is not for the novice. Deleting or changing a wrong entry can render your XP Operating System completely unusable.

You may want to read Microsoft's article about how to backup, edit, and restore the registry here;

and how to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents XP from starting, here;


Collapse -
Something eating away at my memory
by jed6513-20503338973685100 / November 2, 2006 8:37 PM PST

Heres a fantastic little tip to solve your dellema,and will 100% improve your computer,go into microsoft updates,type in Windows LiveOneCarescan DOWNLOAD THE 4 FILES IT WILL DO A SCAN OF YOU COMPUTER,AND YOU WILL BE AMAZED WHAT IT CAN DO,CLEANS OUT ALL YOUR REGISTRY CRAP,OPTIMISES YOUR COMPUTER,all for free,trust me this is really top notch,and no microsoft does not spy on you!

Collapse -
Where in Windows Update?
by arturo9111 / November 2, 2006 9:27 PM PST

Windows LiveOneCarescan doesn't seem to be correct. I've also separated some of that and MS still can't find what you say should be there.

Collapse -
try searching for
by scoopj7 / November 2, 2006 9:49 PM PST

Windows Live One Care - you'll get a ton of hits.

Collapse -
something eating away at my memory
by PhotoMan / November 2, 2006 11:41 PM PST
In reply to: try searching for

While this is going on, click CTRL>ALT>DELETE to bring up Windows Task Manager. The very bottom will tell you exactly haow much CPU usage and memory are being used at that time. If you open the "Processes" flyout and scroll down the list of items, you can see what is running in the background (check under "CPU "). If you don't recognize the .exe file running, then type it into Google and you will find out what app is being used and why.

Collapse -
Where in Windows Update?
by jed6513-20503338973685100 / November 2, 2006 11:08 PM PST
Collapse -
Windows Live
by rwa402 / November 3, 2006 4:27 PM PST

The link provided is good. The program is very similar to the Norton System Works One Button Checkup. I appreciate the fact that the Windows Live program creates a restore point prior to beginning. The main Windows Live website has several additional interesting "mini-programs" worth exploring.

Collapse -
Low ram
by Clevermetal / November 3, 2006 7:34 PM PST

Ram=Random access memory. This is the memory that when you start up a program a copy of it goes to the ram. This is because RAM is a lot faster than the harddrive. If you have too little RAM then the program cannot be completely copied into the RAM and only sections can. So then when the program needs another bit it has to go back to the harddrive to find it. This happens with booting up aswell. This is a very possible reason why your computer is acting this way. Buy 512MB or 256MB. I sugest to stay away from 128MB as they are already outdated by a long way and you will just end up ugrading again within 6 months! Hope this was helpful. Happy

Collapse -
Switch off zonealarm logging
by althebear972 / November 4, 2006 6:54 AM PST

Zonealarm does a lot of writing to the disk if You have the logs switched on.

Collapse -
I appreciate the help
by zanada / November 5, 2006 9:49 AM PST

Plenty of helpful hints. Thanks again gentlemen.
I've implemented some of the suggestions and was rewarded with some boot up speed.
Now I defenitely need to increase my Ram.


Collapse -
Great suggestions but the problem may be
by mrobzo / November 5, 2006 11:30 AM PST
In reply to: I appreciate the help

Leaky RAM. Go have your RAM checked out by a qualified tech or try replacing it. A friend of mine had the exact same problem from a computor that he bought at Frys. They were reluctant to admit it but after they tested it, They refunded his money. The memory was leaking. RAM does not hold on to the information if it is losing its charge a a rate that is faster than the refresh rate. It is called leaky RAM. That is why I am excited about MRAM. It holds the charge and your putor boots instantly. With The old RAM, it has to be continually refreshed. It works something like a tiny capacitor. Capacitors go bad. If you are truly a computor Guru, you would know that. But that is why people come here. Occationally someone knows what they are talking about.

Popular Forums
Computer Help 49,613 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,349 discussions
Laptops 19,436 discussions
Security 30,426 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 20,308 discussions
Windows 10 360 discussions
Phones 15,802 discussions
Windows 7 7,351 discussions
Networking & Wireless 14,641 discussions


Big screens for the big game

Still looking for the best TV deals ahead of Sunday's game? Here are our top three big screen picks.