Can Vista run on this hardware?

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by noone_particular, May 26, 2015.

  1. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    I was recently asked to work on a PC for a computer illiterate friend. She told me it was XP. Turns out it's Vista Home premium. The hardware is a Compaq Presario with 1GB of RAM and a 1.8GHZ Celeron. Her complaint was extremely vague, "I can't chat on Facebook". In reality, this PC can't do much of anything. It's in a constant state of swap. The PC came with Norton Internet Security, which was expired. Someone installed AVG, but never removed Norton. I managed to uninstall it. How complete the uninstall is I can't say. Windows Explorer is barely responding at all. Updated AVG. It's scan found nothing. The next thing I saw was this unit was completely out of date. It didn't have SP1 or 2. Windows update couldn't properly install either. I had to download both manually and do offline installs. These took all day. From what I've read here, Vista got better after the service packs. They had the opposite effect on this unit. This thing is swapping shortly after it boots, and stays that way. Someone installed Chrome on this thing. The load appears to be from a services level with several tied to Google. Everything is constantly freezing and stalling. I don't know what is "normal" with Chrome and its service components but I can't believe it's supposed to be this heavy.

    I haven't seen a unit this sluggish since fighting the Kazaa bundle. ATM, I'm torn between a factory reset and replacing Vista with XP. Can Vista be expected to run semi-decently on 1GB of RAM and a 1.8GHZ Celeron? As far as I know, all she does is light web use and small games.
     
  2. WildByDesign

    WildByDesign Registered Member

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    Is it running 32-bit or 64-bit?

    I would probably look for some used RAM and see if you can at least get that to 2GB. If possible, I would go with Windows 7. But whether Vista or 7, stick with 32-bit considering the lower amount of RAM. You will still probably have to do a lot of manual performance tweaks as well to make it more efficient.
     
  3. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    It is 32 bit. She can't afford any upgrades. I don't have copies of Vista or Win 7.

    Regarding Chrome, if I uninstall it using its own uninstaller, does it remove all of the service components?
     
  4. WildByDesign

    WildByDesign Registered Member

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    The uninstaller should remove them, yes. I believe there are several tasks as well in Task Scheduler to check that are related to Chrome. Chrome is pretty rough on older hardware, even some earlier netbooks as well.
     
  5. Daveski17

    Daveski17 Registered Member

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    I had a Belnea 0book that ran Vista HP (x86). It had 1Gb of RAM and a 1.6 GHz CPU. It was hard work doing anything with it, I could just about run Maxthon and ended up with Panda AV. It would take a good 15 mins after booting from a cold start to page enough RAM to do anything. I'm guessing it was originally intended for XP and ended up with Vista. The notebook still runs, although it's eight years old now, but I run it with Ubuntu. It was seriously in need of more RAM with Vista. I wouldn't honestly run any Windows OS post XP on anything less than 4 Gb of RAM.
     
  6. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    I was afraid of that. I suppose that I could try a factory reset, remove Norton again, then try a lighter browser. I've never worked with Vista. No idea where to start on that mass of services. The fact that this woman is completely computer illiterate limits my options. She didn't even know which browser she was using, Chrome or IE. I don't know if that would make linux more or less of an option. It's not like she'd have to relearn anything. That might depend on how important those games are to her. The hardware limits the choices there as well. With 1GB of RAM, does that limit the options to the XFCE packages?
     
  7. Daveski17

    Daveski17 Registered Member

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    I can run my Belnea on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Trusty Tahr relatively well. So it can handle Unity, it starts up and closes down rapidly now and I can surf the Net as soon as it boots. Ubuntu is pretty easy to use, I should imagine a noob would quickly learn how to use it. I think certain things are simpler than Win anyway.
     
  8. MisterB

    MisterB Registered Member

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    2-3gbs of ram would help. Vista is memory hungry. Disabling the "superfetch" service will help too. That is one of the worst ones in Vista for memory. On low memory systems, Vista will just be continually swapping the page file.
     
  9. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    From what I can determine so far, insufficient RAM and a weak processor aren't this units only problems. I've been trying to browse some with Chrome, partially to familiarize myself with it and partially to see if I can figure out if there's other problems I haven't identified. I'm almost positive that this thing is infected with something that the AV isn't detecting. I don't know how much advertising "features" are included with Chrome, but I'd bet that it doesn't regularly open popup windows with ads in them on sites that don't normally have them. As difficult as it is to get anything to run on this unit, I'm not sure that I want to fight that battle, especially when I'm not familiar with Vista. ATM, I'm torn between a factory reset and replacing Vista completely. Need to call her again and let her make the choice.

    Got a quick link to "superfetch" and what's involved in disabling it?
     
  10. MisterB

    MisterB Registered Member

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    You disable it from the Windows Management console. A quick way to get there is to open a command prompt as an administrator. You should be in Windows\system32. Typing services.msc will bring up the services control applet. Select superfetch, double click it and you will get the menu for it . Stop it first and then change its startup to disabled.

    The adware sounds like what I dealt with a few months ago. It had installed programs and extensions in both Chrome and Firefox. Getting it out of Chrome involved completely uninstalling Chrome and deleting the Chrome application folders in the user/appdata folders.

    A quick way to get the system to a state that it can be worked on is to just run msconfig from a command prompt and disable all services and startup items it allows you to. You instantly get a trimmed down system that will be more responsive. Then you can selectively reenable services.
     
  11. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

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    Vista on a 32 (bit) machine needs at least 2GB of RAM. If you can't increase RAM you ought to install XP. I have a machine (core duo with 2GB RAM) with Vista, when idle it has on average 600 MB RAM usage, as soon as Chrome is launched RAM usage reaches 900 to 1 GB usage depending on the website. 1 GB of RAM is only enough with XP.
     
  12. WildByDesign

    WildByDesign Registered Member

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    I've put some more thought into this. I see that a big part of your concern relates more toward Chrome feeling heavy. And also the possibility of Chrome being infected with adware.

    The first point that I wanted to make is that Chrome can feel sluggish and heavy depending on GPU support or even sometimes down to specific graphics drivers. Sometimes, depending on hardware, it may even be beneficial to disable hardware acceleration in Chrome settings. If that does not make any difference in performance, put hardware acceleration back on with the check box (likely have to restart Chrome), then go to chrome://flags and go to Override software rendering list which should be at the top, click Enable and restart Chrome. The description for that flag shows as Overrides the built-in software rendering list and enables GPU-acceleration on unsupported system configurations and that has been beneficial on some of the systems that I have worked on. You can then go to chrome://gpu to see more details on graphics related support. The flag that I suggested changing makes several changes in those details.

    If Chrome is infected with adware extensions, try Google Chrome's own Software Removal Tool: https://www.google.com/chrome/srt/

    You could also uninstall and re-install Chrome, or alternatively use Chrome's settings option for Reset settings which is intended to reset Chrome (and profile, I believe) back to factory defaults.

    And if all else fails, you may just have to go back to XP. As many have pointed out, that hardware is just not enough for Vista. It's unfortunate that Windows 7 isn't an option because it would likely run smoother than Vista and XP.
     
  13. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    Linux LXLE would make that fly. Just saying.
     
  14. Gullible Jones

    Gullible Jones Registered Member

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    @noone_particular

    This sounds like "Windows rot." I've encountered the same many times with Windows 7 and XP; both in office environments, and on home PCs. I've seen it on everything from 512 MB Celeron laptops, to 4 GB Core 2 Duo workstations. The only cure I know is to reimage the machine.

    I would not advise downgrading the computer to XP; I don't think unsupported OSes are good for people who are that inexperienced.

    Wish I could give a good recommendation re antivirus, BTW, but I really can't; they're all godawful, especially the free ones. At this point I simply have no idea what security solutions are acceptable for Windows; never mind for novices. The situation is quite dire, IMO.

    Edit: couple other things -

    1. Is this a laptop? If so it's probably losing some RAM to the shared video card. Likewise, it will probably have a slow 5200 RPM hard disk. Disk I/O from antivirus software is killer on laptops.

    2. Does the computer have available USB ports? Is there a fast USB stick you can use? You could give ReadyBoost a try; that wouldn't fix the swapping, rot, and lack of RAM, but probably would reduce the disk I/O load a bit.

    Edit 2: one more thing, try using the Windows Classic GUI theme. Even Vista Basic is a surprising resource hog.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015
  15. Daveski17

    Daveski17 Registered Member

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    Yes, I reckon that would be even better than the mainstream Ubuntu release.
     
  16. Gullible Jones

    Gullible Jones Registered Member

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    Err, yet another thing: look inside the machine, and check how much dust is in there. If needed, go at it thoroughly with canned air and electronics wipes. If you don't have canned air, anything that blows should work - basketball pump, squeeze bulb, whatever. You also want a brush for dealing with heat sinks; and a vacuum cleaner for sucking up dust balls. Don't use the vacuum cleaner on the computer itself though, that would risk a static discharge.

    Electronics don't like heat. Dust is a huge performance sink.
     
  17. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    Agreed. If I did that, I'd end up having to maintain the unit on a regular basis. The XP option is for the most part off the table anyway. Their site has no drivers of any kind for XP. I don't feel like hunting them down. There's a limit to how much I want to do as a favor for a family members friend. I'm leaning to a factory reset, a free AV, and SeaMonkey. The factory reset probably means that I'll have to remove Norton again, and install SP1 and 2 again.

    I might burn a LiveCD of one of the light linux distros just to see how she reacts to it. Depends on how important those lousy little games are to her.
     
  18. MisterB

    MisterB Registered Member

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    If it has a factory restore partition or DVD, that is the best way to go. The "windows rot" will be gone. I would just update it and install Firefox in addition to Seamonkey. In the instances where I've dealt with systems for the elderly and inexperienced, Firefox was definitely acceptable and generally preferred over Chrome. Imaging the fresh system will give you a way to restore it quickly and avoid the service pack reinstall. Vista has built in imaging that will work for this. The only caveat is that, unlike 7, there is no built in function to create a rescue cd and you have to use a Vista installation CD to restore an image.

    If you could find another 1gb of ram for it, that would speed things up considerably. Disable the "superfetch" service and it should be a lot better memory wise. Windows Classic Theme will help too, that is what I use with the one Vista machine I have.
     
  19. Gullible Jones

    Gullible Jones Registered Member

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    Something that might help:

    http://download.wsusoffline.net/

    ^^^ This lets you create an installer CD with all the updates, so you don't have to re-download them.

    Live USB (using unetbootin: http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/ ) would be better in this case, I think. Live CDs are notoriously slow. Although, from what I've seen, a live Linux CD can often be faster than a thoroughly rotted Windows system...
     
  20. Gullible Jones

    Gullible Jones Registered Member

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    @noone_particular

    Quick question - how many third-party fonts are/were installed on the system?
     
  21. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    Not familiar with LXLE. Is that a complete distro or a package like LXDE or XFCE? For someone who doesn't keep up with it, linux distros and packages are a titanic mess. I have used a few XFCE desktops, didn't think they were too bad. Had no luck with LXDE versions. The rest seem to need better hardware than I'm using. Cosmetically, which would be close to XP classic desktop, minus the eye candy?

    Right now, I don't have an extra USB stick available. I did have one with 3 or 4 linux versions on it from a couple of years back. Might still have it. I'm very hesitant to plug one of my sticks into that unit. I've become very distrusting of USB devices after they've been on PCs that I don't control.
     
  22. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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  23. Gullible Jones

    Gullible Jones Registered Member

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    @noone_particular

    Good point re trusting USB devices. If possible then, I'd at least use a DVD; they perform better and in my experience are more reliable.
     
  24. Gandalf_The_Grey

    Gandalf_The_Grey Registered Member

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  25. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    It's unfortunate that an XP type DE is wanted as this will suck up system resources.
     
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