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Boot-up and Slow XP issues

by dcmcgrain / January 24, 2006 12:04 AM PST

Hi all.

Running a Dell Dimension with a Pentium III, 2800 MHZ, added HD of 160 GB, 512 RAM.

Anyway, for almost three years this computer has run fine. My harddrive melted down at one point and had to be replaced about 18months ago, but no issues since.

Recently I went home from school and took my comp with me. When I got home I noticed it was running slower than usual, but I thought it might just be my perception or that I was connected to the internet when the computer was ready to be on a LAN like at school.

Anyway, after a month at home and now a day or two at school with internet, I am sure neither of those are the problem. Here's what happens:

Boot-up takes about 5 minutes, sometimes more, just to get to the Windows XP log in screen. From there it takes 2 more to get to the Desktop. Usually this would take no more than 2 minutes combined. I have noticed a new (and weird) screen when booting up too. After the "Dell" load screen with the small black bar that turns white, the screen goes black and a white load bar appears along the bottom that takes about 10 seconds to fill. Then it goes to the normal WinXP boot.

Once running, the computer seems to work fine, but is sluggish and sticks in places it normally wouldn't.

No HD noises, but the entire system does seem to 'hum' a little more than it did before. Even when not doing anything, or after sitting for hours without any programs running or anything, it will still be a little sluggish.

Anyway, that's the whole story. I've tried all different kinds of solutions that I know of just to keep XP running smoothly (freeing up HD space and clearing processes), but with no luck.

Any and all help is appreciated!


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Boot-up and Slow XP issues solution?
by the_alphadog / January 24, 2006 12:51 AM PST

A shot in the dark, but three things I can think of:

1. The humming sound you hear may be a failing processor fan.

2. Another possibility is that power connector's wires touching the fan blade and thus not allowing the fan to reach its full RPM.

3. You might check to see if the processor fan has come loose during your move. This would keep the fan from making the proper contact with the processor core.

In all three scenarios, if the processor fan is not working properly, your processor will overheat. I can't remember if the Pentium III has over-heating (thermal) protection or not, but if it does, it will reduce its speed from the full 2800 MHz to <literally> a crawl.

If you are experiencing crashing problems, I'm pretty sure that your proc is overheating. You might make sure the memory modules are seated properly.

Hope this helps.

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Thanks - More Help
by dcmcgrain / January 24, 2006 1:11 AM PST

Thanks. I thought it might have something to do with the fans, I guess I noticed they seemed slow or something but never knew whether they actually were.

I'll give this a shot. Only question: how do you do this???

How do I check the fans or tighten them if need be, etc??

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Thanks - More Help
by the_alphadog / January 24, 2006 5:05 AM PST
In reply to: Thanks - More Help

Other thoughts:
You should check your BIOS settings to make sure that the processor's multiplier and front-side bus speed are being reported correctly.

While in the BIOS, check for a menu item on the main screen called "Temperature Settings" or "PC Health".

You might have a boot virus--although I don't think that would cause your PC to load for 7 minutes.


If that's not the cause, we can go back to the fan issue. Your PC seems more than a few years old so we may be on the right track.

To check your fans:

While the PC is off:
- Ground yourself to the PC case and at least make sure you don't shock anything when you touch it. Static electricity is not your friend.
- Open the case
- Your fans are probably covered with dust. Check the proc fan and chipset fans if you have them. Also check the case fans for dust. If dusty, go to Wal-Mart and get a can of compressed air and blow it out. DO NOT shake the can of air WHILE blowing out the case. Keep it as still as possible so the liquid doesn't spray out.
- Verify that the fans are all seated properly. You can just lightly wiggle them left and right, pushing and pulling.
- Reseat the memory modules if you feel comfortable with doing that. Handle them by the module's PCB edges and not the chips. They should snap in place and only fit one way.

If all fans seem to be seated properly, turn on the PC:
- Watch and listen for the fans to spin up. Processor fans spin very quickly--usually upwards of 5400 rpm to 7200 rpm. If the processor fan is slow to spin up, makes a squeaking noise, an annoying buzzing noise that doesn't *seem* normal, or seems to vary in speed from slow to fast, fast to slow (and repeats this), you should replace it.

Your fan should screw into your processor's heatsink somehow so it should be easy to replace. Just remember that this MAY NOT BE the cause of your XP slow down problems!!!

If you want to proceed, you can get fans for around $10 - 20 at PC parts stores,, etc. Just make sure to get a fan that is the same size as your heatsink. Or, you may find a fan/heatsink combo that fits on your processor. If you get one of these, you'll have to remove the old heatsink, fan, and old thermal paste from the processor.

If you don't know how to replace it, look on for tutorials on how to do this. Or, you might find a friend with experience, or take it to a repair shop.

If all else fails, you should back up any data you have and do a clean install of XP.

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I have the same problem (like verbatium)
by ikjadoon / January 24, 2006 10:54 AM PST
In reply to: Thanks - More Help

I have, amazingly, the exact same problem you do.... And my PC is somewhat like yours

P4 2.8Ghz ,400Mhz FSB, Socket 478, Thermaltake HSF
1 GB (Two Sticks) Corsair Value ram
GeForce 4 Ti 4600 (Albatron)
400W PSU (A little low, I know)

I even know of the bar you speak of, but mine fills rather quickly, 2-4 seconds. My PC is usually annoyingly loud, like I have a Sony Bravia TV a few feet, a meter or so, away and I gotta turn the volume up wayyyy high just to combat the noises. Well, the window in the side panel is gone, but.... Is my HSF, like bad or something? I get a reading of like 3803 RPM, continually. In the end, I don't like to turn the PC off because of the bad boot time, but the racket it makes kind of forces me to turn it off so the family can get a good night sleep. (Yes, it is that loud!) Just my $.02

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Link to similar discussion and their fix.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 24, 2006 10:59 AM PST
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