9 year old laptop slow to respond.

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by twl845, Jan 4, 2014.

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  1. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    Hi all, My Daughter inherited a 9 year old Dell Inspiron laptop mainly because it had gotten really slow and the owner, who is computer illiterate figured it was finished. I worked on it for a few days, uninstalling a lot of crap, and did a Check Disk, and ran a MBAM and AV scan. I finally got it running quite fast for a 9 year old Windows XP with 1GB RAM. My Daughter has had it for about a month, and does nothing with it except Facebook and an occasional web search, plus e-mail. Well, now it's back to being extremely slow. It boots up great, but when accessing an app or the browser, you just sit there for over a minute. I can't think of anything else to try so I thought I'd ask if anyone here can help. One thing that occurred to me is the fact that she has over 1 hundred e-mails on her Outlook Express. Could that decrease her bandwidth speed on her Time Warner? She has the standard access so it should handle 1 hundred e-mails I would think. A re-install of XP isn't an option at this point. Thanks in advance for any help from your experience. :)
     
  2. kC_

    kC_ Registered Member

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  3. gorhill

    gorhill Developer

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    That's a perfect opportunity to install Linux.

    I have an almost as old Inspiron (2006) and it runs quite nicely, except that I upgraded the hard disk (which was painfully slow) with an SSD (had to order from China through ebay since I couldn't find an SSD IDE where I live).

    Doing this is a money saver as this removed the need to buy a new laptop. My experience with XP on old hardware is that the performance problem will always be back shortly after you spent time optimizing it -- my Inspiron was just completely unusable.

    Usually Linux installs seamlessly on these old laptops. I have Linux Mint 15 on mine. The annoyance might be to have to move from Outlook Express to Thunderbird, it has been such a long time I used MS stuff I don't remember if it's straightforward to migrate.
     
  4. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

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    A restore or clean format with XP will sure do the job.
     
  5. redgrum

    redgrum Registered Member

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    I suppose the first thing to do would be to run process explorer or similar to see if there is something eating all the cpu cycles.

    Physically, more RAM if possible and maybe clean the dust from the inside?

    It is possible that it is hanging due to the windows update issue on xp recently (I have a family member who had the same issue), try disabling auto updates and manually applying updates via the website - whether it works or not, re-enable them afterwards!
     
  6. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    Don´t waste money and time. Buy your daughter an iPad.
     
  7. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    Thanks for all the suggestions. I didn't think to run CCleaner, I'll try that. I won't spend any money on it, but I'll try some of the suggestions except the one about buying my Daughter an ipad. :D My pension and Social Security checks won't allow it. Besides I wouldn't spend $500 to go on Facebook. :)
     
  8. Gullible Jones

    Gullible Jones Registered Member

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    I think I'll echo redgrum and say you should check it for dust. That can't hurt.

    Other things you might want to check:

    - DMA on the hard disk. If this is not working, your system will be *slow*. If Process Explorer shows "Interrupts" consuming a lot of CPU time, it might be that DMA isn't working.

    - Disk I/O hogs. Even on a 9 year old laptop, the hard disk is probably the main bottleneck. Process Explorer has a bunch of column settings for disk I/O.

    - Hard disk health. Failing hard disks can cause crashes and performance issues. Try running the disk self test.

    Re Outlook and lots of emails, that shouldn't affect bandwidth, or the launch speed of applications in general. It might affect Outlook's performance, but I don't know enough about Outlook to tell you one way or another. Note that poor network performance and slow application launch speed are (usually) separate problems.

    BTW, do you know the exact model and specs of the laptop? If it's got a high-end Pentium 4 processor, it may be able to handle Windows 7; though chances are you'd still get better performance with Linux.

    Edit: if you're not planning on spending any money on the laptop, I would recommend looking into a lightweight Linux distro. Xubuntu 12.04.3 LTS is good in my experience; I wouldn't recommend the full Ubuntu desktop with Unity, nor the current (13.10) Ubuntu or Xubuntu releases. Windows XP basically has no future anyway, and is going to be unmaintained come April.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2014
  9. whitedragon551

    whitedragon551 Registered Member

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    XP gets very buggy and bloated the longer its installed. Not to mention its being phased out and wont offer any security patches in the very near future.

    I would recommend setting something up like Fedora on it and use that. Those specs dont allow any modern OS (Vista, 7, or Win:cool: and its not worth the cost to upgrade a laptop that old.
     
  10. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    Defrag the HDD with a modern defrag program like IObit SmartDefrag. My current favorite for older machines.
     
  11. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    Hi Gullible Jones, Sorry DMA is a new one on me. Can you tell me what that is and how I can check it and fix it if that's possible? Thanks. I am self taught on computering, and not a techie, so please take that in mind explaining. Thanks. :p
    I don't have the computer at my home at this time, but I know it's 2004 vintage and and has 53 GB of space on the HD, one GB RAM and a cpu big enough to do general computering.
     
  12. wat0114

    wat0114 Registered Member

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    If you go the Linux route, here ya go...


    -https://www.linuxliteos.com/

    ...you can't go wrong with it :)
     
  13. Gullible Jones

    Gullible Jones Registered Member

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    DMA = Direct Memory Access. It's a way of interacting with hardware. The alternative is PIO (Programmed Iput/Output), which doesn't require as fancy drivers, but uses many more CPU cycles. If some issue has caused Windows to fall back on PIO mode, hard disk access will become much slower and more CPU intensive.

    Microsoft has some documentation on this:
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/hardware/gg463526.aspx

    Note that, if Windows keeps mysteriously falling back on PIO, it is possible that you have a hardware problem.

    Re the hardware specs, it's probably sufficient to run Linux; it sounds roughly on par with my EeePC. However, while it should be faster than with Windows, it will probably still be a bit sluggish... I'll post some general guidelines for speeding up Linux desktops, over in the UNIX section.
     
  14. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    Thanks for that info! :)
     
  15. Gullible Jones

    Gullible Jones Registered Member

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  16. Windows_Security

    Windows_Security Registered Member

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    A friend lately got a second hand first generation AMD dual core @ 1.6 GHZ laptop (it was from 2006) from his work for € 50, put in a Seagate SSHD with 1 TB for € 105, re-installed XP and it works like a charm.
     
  17. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    I was told that when this lap top was made in 2004, you normally had to plug the WIFI into a usb port. The person who ordered this laptop from Dell was able to order the WIFI installed in the computer. I guess WIFI installed inside was new technology. My question is this: If the WIFI is installed as an extra do you think I would lose it if I re-installed XP by clicking F8 and restoring it to out of the box condition? Or do you think it's a separate deal?
     
  18. henryg

    henryg Registered Member

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    It is a separate deal. I would at least identify the WiFi card from the device manager (for driver id.), before re-install.

    Dell has used different cards in various laptop configurations...
     
  19. OldMX

    OldMX Registered Member

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  20. Noob

    Noob Registered Member

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    Get a Nexus Tab. :D
     
  21. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    OK thanks Henryg for the tip. :)
     
  22. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    Hi All, Me again. I had it in my mind that I could return the XP in this laptop to it's original out of the box condition by clicking F8 and following the instructions like I did twice before on a different computer, but when I tried it on this laptop there was no option when I clicked F8 where safemode is. Either it's been too long since I did it last time and I forgot how to get to the procedure to click, or this laptop doesn't have the option. Does anyone have the step by step instructions to do this? The last time I clicked something like "Return to original condition", and watched it go through its paces until it was done. Thanks :)
     
  23. stapp

    stapp Global Moderator

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    When the Dell screen appears, press and hold the CTRL and F11 key simultaneously, this usually brings up the restore to factory option on xp.
     
  24. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    Hi Stapp, Thanks. I'll give that a try. ;)
     
  25. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    Stapp, That was it. I restored to the factory out of the box condition and it's back to being fast. Thanks to all who offered help! :)
     
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