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Loading XP on new second hard drive to improve performance

by birdflew / October 24, 2005 5:40 AM PDT

Sorry if this has been covered before--I'm new to this forum. I'm also starting to think I understand some of this stuff, so I'm clearly dangerous to my PC.

I'm running XP pro on a 3-year old Gateway P4 2.2G with 1G RAM. It's getting slower and more cranky, e.g., very slow boot-up, turns itself back on from hibernate, monitor periodically goes black for 10-15 seconds.

I bought a new WD 160GB hard drive and plan to install it as the slave to my current 120GB one, then load my OEM XP on it, along with the Gateway drivers and drivers for my various upgrades (new DVD drive and sound card). I would then switch the cable to make the new drive the master, boot from it, and reinstall most of my programs on it. Finally, I would copy the data I want to keep from the old drive to the new. If everything seems to be working after several days, I'll format the old drive and use it for storage.

Am I missing something important here, or will this really work? Thanks for any help/advice.

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"Am I missing something important here"
by Coryphaeus / October 24, 2005 7:20 AM PDT

Sounds like you might be.

Have you tested the machine for adware, spyware, trojans, viruses, and just plain crap? Have you emptied your cache lately? Have you defragged lately? Do you have a gazillion programs/processes running in the background?

From your description, your machine is eaten up with trash. Just adding another drive and OS will allow all that trash to infect the new drive.

Are you running an active and up-to-date AV program? Do you have any spyware preventative measures running? Do you have a firewall? If the answer is no to these three questions, then you'll be back in the same boat in a short time.

My site below has information on how to clean your machine and keep it running like a top. Visit the Anti-spyware Suite.


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I'm not missing all of that
by birdflew / October 24, 2005 7:36 AM PDT

I'm running Norton Antivirus (as part of Systemworks), Webroot Spy Sweeper, and Zone Alarm Pro. I empty the cache and defrag fairly regularly. Now, about having a gazillion processes running in the background, I dunno ... Task Manager tells me there are currently 85. Thanks--I'll check your site.

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Here's a little something. . .
by Coryphaeus / October 24, 2005 8:46 AM PDT

85 processes is really too much. I have only 42, and my web server has only 18. You have a lot of something hogging your machine. Do a Google for Process Explorer. Great little freebie will tell you what is running, what started it, and how much resources it's all using. I'll bet you can shut down a lot of them.


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faster XP
by linkit / October 24, 2005 12:37 PM PDT

Norton SystemWorks tends to slow a system in general. Here is a nice article on getting XP to start faster:

If you are moving from a 7200 rpm, 8MB cache, ATA/100 HD to a HD with same specs (regardless of size), you will not see an improvement. What are the specifications of the old and new drives?

I like Coryphaeus' idea about scanning for spyware and viruses. Scan with at least one other (free) antivirus program. SpySweeper is great, but no single progam will catch everything. I would scan with Microsoft AntiSpyware Beta and a couple others (free) as well.

You aren't running any P2P software are you? I'd get rid of that, too.

You can use WD's DataLifeguard Tools to copy the contents of your old drive to the new; however, since you are concerned about reclaiming speed, I would perform a fresh installation (repartition, format, install) on whatever drive you choose to use as the boot drive. After that, keep track of the junk you install. SpySweeper has a nice installation shield that will keep stealth programs from installing.

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Bigger buffer better?
by birdflew / October 25, 2005 12:27 AM PDT
In reply to: faster XP

Thanks, linkit. My current HD is 7200 rpm, 2MB cache, ATA/100; the new one is 7200 rpm, ATA/100, with a 8MB cache, so I assume the buffer difference alone will provide some improvement.

I've scanned with Adaware and Spybot in addition to my regular stuff (NSW, Spysweeper, and whatever the current ZA pro provides). I'm following Coryphaeus' suggestions and reviewing/pruning all the crap that starts up when I boot.

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bigger buffer is better
by linkit / October 25, 2005 2:16 AM PDT
In reply to: Bigger buffer better?

Yes, bigger buffer is better. I have experienced noticable speed improvements with 8MB cache drives over 512K and 2MB cache drives. FYI, Maxtor makes parallel ATA drives that have 16MB cache.

There is newer ATA technology that is even faster. An example is the Western Digital Raptor line of hard drives. They have an 8MB buffer and spin at 10,000rpm!. However, at the time of this posting, a three year old computer will not support the Serial ATA interface on these drives without inserting a SATA controller card in a PCI slot.

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Try this "DIESCUM"
by tomloy / October 25, 2005 3:30 AM PDT
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