General discussion

slow startup and extremely slow to get online.

I have a demension 8400 with windows xp pro media center. It has a 3 ghz processor 160gb hard drive. I have it on a wireless setup. I don't know much about the inside of a computer so I need help. It is extremely slow to open 1/2 hour or so and even more so to get into any program or internet. Yesterday I checked everything I could check and somehow or another I found a screen that had appeared stating errors and saying something about images not being able to open. The computer at times sounds like it is processing something and then it becomes quite again. Like surges. Any help anyone can give is appreciated. I you need more info I will try to find it.

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The most common cause of slow performance

is shortage of memory also known as RAM which stands for Random Access Memory, this is the one piece of info you omitted to include.
To find out how much you have, right click on My Computer and choose Properties.
In the box that opens tell us what it says under the heading Computer:

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slow computer

Hi, Peacox

Thanks for helping, It says 2.00gb

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Well 2GB should be plenty so the next place to check

is to see how many processes are running and if one of them is hogging the CPU.
Give the machine time to settle down after loading and then hold down the Ctrl key, the Alt key and press the Delete key. A dialogue box called Task Manager will open, it may take a few seconds if your machine is as slow as you describe.
Across the bottom of the box there is a line containing Processes: and a number CPU usage: a number, and Commit Charge: some numbers.
Please post those numbers.
Also please count the number of icons in the notification area of the task bar, thats the area in the bottom right corner of the screen next to the clock, don't forget that some of these icons may be hidden until you click the little left pointing arrow.
It's just after 11pm here so I'm going to bed now, but I will check this thread again in about 12 hrs and give it some more thought

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slow computer


I am here searching for help with my slow computer as well. I followed the instructions you gave to the original post. It sounds like I have the same problem as she is having.

I opened my task manager with the following information:
CPU Usage: jumps from 0% to 4% back and forth.
Commit Charge: 697M/1226M

Our desktop is a Dell Dimension DV051.
Intel Pentium (R) 4 CPU 2.80ghz
2.79 ghz, 504mb or ram

Can you give me any advice?? Thank you so much!

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Ouch. Look at the RAM.

While that was OK just a few years ago, even a move to 1.0 GB would give good payback.

Yes you could tinker endlessly with what's starting or running or change the protection software (antivirus) but that RAM is a drag chute.

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slow computer

Thanks Peacox, Here are the readings: processes 47, cpu usage 0 to (fluctuates from 0 to 3%, Commit Charge 523m/1240M. There are 6 including the task manager.

Also wanted to say that last night I made a mistake in the total RAM. I was reading this at my other computer and not even thinking read the numbers from that one, sorry. Anyway, this one says 2.99 gb/512 mb. Sorry about that.

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Your amended figures for RAM

and the additional info about Norton and windows defender explains the lack of performance.
512MB is no longer enough to run windows XP efficiently, and Norton Internet Security while it is an excellent anti virus only performs well in lots of memory.
Also you have windows defender running which is doubling up on nortons anti spyware activity and causing further delays. Norton has aquired a bad reputation unjustly in my opinion, and due to the fact that people will try to run it in systems that are short of memory.
My advice would be to get a technitian to install additional RAM as much as you can afford up to the limit of the hardware.The parts are comparitively cheap these days and it takes about 10 minutes to fit. If you can afford to go to 2GB and have purchased Norton Internet Security,then keep it but uninstal windows defender as Norton will take care of the spyware.
Run Malwarebytes about once a month just to check that norton is doing it's job

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(NT) Nod to all of that.
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One thing I noticed in your post.

The advice given so far is good, but one thing I noticed is your comments about 'images not being able to open'.

Which screen did you find this error message?

This is a common problem with Windows' systems where Explorer is struggling to display image files, (or video files), where the files are corrupted. Explorer often fails, or just freezes and is non-responsive for a time.

In Windows, "Explorer" means many things. Apart from "Internet Explorer", your browser, it also means Windows Explorer, (the file manager), as well as your Desktop display, your My Computer, My Documents, My Pictures, and so on. So, what affects one is likely to affect all, and this can cause performance issues that you are experiencing.

How can this happen on Startup? Do you have any images on your desktop? EG Photos. etc? They may even be simple Shortcuts to images stored elsewhere on your system. If so, remove those files to some other, temporary storage folder. You can create a folder anywhere on the hard drive and move those files to there. Try a reboot and see if that speeds things up.

If not that, does the startup process attempt to open any windows on startup, eg the My pictures folder? If so, remove that from the Startup list.

Does IE attempt to load on Startup? If so, remove that from the Startup list.

If it is Explorer causing the problems, then often the cause is corrupted files and the solutions are either to change the "View" settings of such folders from Thumbnail or Icon to List or Details, then examine each file and delete the corrupted ones.

Finally, what anti-malware scans do you perform?


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slow computer

Thanks Mark,

I have only one background picture. Not quite sure how to remove it. I don't know where that error message came from. I just kept pressing the dash up on top and closing stuff. No, IE does not try to open at start up.

Sorry, not too savvy on technical stuff.

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slow computer

update on the stuff at the bottom, eventually it got to 9 items there.

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slow computer

Forgot, I have malwarebytes, have Norton security,windows defender

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Links, comments.

While interesting I know to never stick with any installed antivirus when troubleshooting a sluggish PC. My list is unacceptable to some but it is what I use. Here it is:

1. Boot up the PC and time it to some point we'll use again and again.
2. Since we are going to remove firewalls and more we'll want to disable internet access and repeat Step 1.

3. Now that we have a number we can see what affects it. Uninstall one or two products at a time and test what the new number is in step 1. Be sure to keep notes.

After all the software we can uninstall is uninstalled what's the final results?

Be sure to uninstall any file sharing software or CD/DVD DEMON SOFTWARE as well in this test.

And one more thing. Many of these machines suffer for a simple thing we can fix in a jiff. Read and do:

And benchmark it again.

There are lots of other items to research and work on. Including CCLEANER, CLEANING (watch how at: ) and replacing the old CPU HEATSINK COMPOUND (how to at links: )

The one thing you learn is it's never one thing.
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My advice on Ram to leticia goes for you too

and I would add that 79 active processes seems a bit high and reflects the number of applications that are loaded every time you load windows and then just sit there not being used except perhaps once in a blue moon. Go through the Icons down by the clock and identify the application they represent then decide how often you use them. If they are only used infrequently it is better to load them when you need them rather than every time you start your system.
Unfortunately it's not always an easy task to stop some applications from laoding every time, software writers like to think that their's is the only application you are interested in.

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I seem to have scrambled the links up here

my previous remarks were aimed at srhnglnn in reply to 'slow computer'

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There is only a few icons on the desktop by the clock. MSN,printer,mcafee and one other. I've heard many people mention that XP stores, stores and stores everytime you're searching the net. Besides the temp file is there another place that I should look to delete unnecessary baggage?

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slow computer

Thanks to all of you......I will do as you suggest. I appreciate your help.

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You are right about the accumulation of baggage

but it accumulates on disk and, unless you are critically short of disk space it will have no effect on performance, called Temporary Internet Files, the area used is anything from 50MB to 1024MB (1GB) and it's cyclic.
With 79 processes capable of running every one of them will have a piece of your memory even if it is only enough to be able to request more if it gets a wakeup call and has to do some work. Many of them could have a requirement to wake up and check for updates to it's current status and this can be happening every few minutes.
For a dormant process to actually do some work it must first aquire some memory which means that some other process code has to be written out to the swapfile on disk and then the required code for our newly awakened process must be read in from the swap file and the run. The more processes that exist the more time is spent rolling code in and out of memory.
In the long ago and far away when memory was very expensive, programers were required to write efficient code that did the job and took up very little space in memory, now memory is cheap and programs have become less efficient and much larger so the need for memory has increased over the years.

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