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Will a Solid State Drive help?

by woota88 / February 18, 2013 10:57 AM PST

I'm definitely not a computer person, though i can navigate around one fairly well. I'm far more familiar with Apple but since mine died I haven't been able to afford one yet, thus I've been using a hand-me-down HP Compaq nx 7400.

It started off alright, all I use it for is surfing the web, Microsoft Word, and iTunes, but for the last few months it's been running extremely slow. The fan runs like mad, especially when I'm watching something on Netflix, and when I boot it back up or wake it up from hibernation a black screen appears with a loading bar and instructions that go something like, "Press F11 to emergency start"

My brother mentioned a Solid State Drive might help. I was wondering if anyone has any advice on this because they aren't cheap, but neither are new laptops.

Any ideas on whether a SSD will help my computer run a little faster and not act up as much?

I appreciate any input!

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All Answers

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by Jimmy Greystone / February 18, 2013 12:11 PM PST

Nope. What you describe sounds like a software issue, and more specifically probably some kind of malware issue. If you put in a SSD, you'd have the same problems unless you reinstalled the OS from scratch on the SSD.

So you may as well just save yourself some money and reinstall on the HDD if you're prepared to go that far.

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reinstalling OS
by woota88 / February 19, 2013 12:25 AM PST
In reply to: Nope

What do you mean prepared to go that far? Is it a pain in the *** to reinstall?? Should I install the OS that is already on it or the latest version out there? Sorry, I'm definitely a noob...

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Some things you could do
by wpgwpg / February 19, 2013 12:34 AM PST
In reply to: reinstalling OS

First it sounds like your computer could be overheating. Download SpeedFan and check. If the cores are under 50 degrees C, you're OK, if over 65, that's your problem, in between bears watching. If it's overheating, get a can of compressed gas and blow the dust out. Another thing that can greatly slow computers down is having a lot of started tasks which take up memory and can cause a lot of paging. Hold down the Windows key and press R. Then type MSCONFIG and hit enter. Click the Startup tab. There you can uncheck anything except your antivirus program. I usually leave the hardware related ones checked because they don't take a lot of resource and can be helpful at times.
If you have to reinstall, restoring to factory settings is better than reinstalling from scratch since it takes care of needed drivers, and retains any software that was installed when the computer was shipped from the factory.

Good luck.

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by Jimmy Greystone / February 19, 2013 2:17 AM PST
In reply to: reinstalling OS

Yes, it is a pain to reinstall the OS, but sometimes it's far less of a pain to do that then try and repair an existing install.

However, looking at the specs briefly, you've got a 1.66GHz Core Solo CPU, so you're just going to have to accept that there are a number of limitations to what that unit can do compared to even the low end laptops you see going for $500 or so at Best Buy and the like. Watching streaming videos on Netflix is a little vague, because if you're trying to watch say a 1080p encode, that could cause the unit to work extremely hard to decode the video.

Checking CPU temps is not necessarily a bad idea, as suggested, but avoid SpeedFan; it is rather well known to give unreliable numbers, unless it has gone through a significant rewrite since the last time I looked at it. Also looking at the specs, the base model came with 512MB of RAM, so you'd probably get far more bang for your buck if you bought more RAM to put into the unit compared to a SSD. It looks like it should be able to handle up to 4GB of RAM, so check the ads for places in your area as well as online and see what you can find. I'd say go with at least 1GB if you're still running XP on that thing, though 2GB wouldn't hurt either. Unless you find an outstanding deal on RAM, probably not worth going beyond that given the limitations of the CPU.

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I'll give these things a try
by woota88 / February 19, 2013 11:06 AM PST
In reply to: Yes

I'll play around with unchecking some of the starting tasks to see if that helps. I definitely try to keep my computer clean and use dust off on it.

I upgraded it to 2GB of ram about 2 months ago, but unfortunately that didn't help. I'm glad i didn't spend money to get 4GB.

I'm not really sure how to tell what videos are harder to encode (is that even the right terminology?) i literally just watch king of the hill, lost and family guy haha

probably just need to save up for a new one...

i really appreciate your input!

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