Old Windows XP box too old to browse the internet ?

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by Fly, Jul 5, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Fly

    Fly Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2007
    Posts:
    2,069
    This is about a desktop computer. About ten years old, AMD Athlon XP 2800+ 2.08 GHz (single core!), 512 MB, Windows XP SP3. No preaching about too little RAM please :)

    I usually run it with a security suite for several reasons, in particular having a bidirectional firewall and a requirement (legal status unclear) for internet banking (which I rarely do and requires multi-factor authentication anyway).

    I'm still stuck with IE 7 since I really didn't like IE8. Often, I use Opera.
    There isn't much else running when I browse the internet.
    But over the last couple of months 'slow browsing' and crashes while browsing (IE 7) have become more frequent and annoying.
    Memory issues aside (the suites and Opera can hog RAM), CPU spikes of internet explorer (at/near 100%) and possibly other Windows processes can really slow down or even stop/crash/freeze browsing while using IE7.

    Have web standards changed, or has the implementation of these standards changed ? Web sites I could run without problems in the past are sometimes slow or buggy. I have implemented Windows updates (manual) and the latest version of Adobe Flash (manual update). Some popular sites like Facebook are blocked (although perhaps only partially) in the HOSTS file (mvps, manually edited).

    I'm puzzled as to what slows down the browsing experience so much !

    Any ideas/suggestions ?

    I do have a newer computer (Win 7) but given the recent disclosures about data collection practices I don't feel like connecting it to the internet, exposing private stuff !
     
  2. NormanF

    NormanF Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Posts:
    1,441
    You can install Linux and get years of extended life out of that old Windows XP computer. It would probably choke running newer versions of Windows. ;)
     
  3. ZeroDay

    ZeroDay Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2011
    Posts:
    693
    Location:
    Hogwarts.
    +1 for Linux :)
     
  4. tgell

    tgell Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2004
    Posts:
    1,076
    Even with linux, you should increase your ram. Adding an extra 512MB or memory is like night and day on XP. I would use 1GB min and preferably 2GB if your motherboard takes it. I have the same processor running XP with 1GB or ram and it is runs decent but nothing like a newer computer. You can find cheap ram on pricewatch (1GB DDR2700 for $12 with free shipping). Check the specs of your ram.
     
  5. MisterB

    MisterB Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2013
    Posts:
    1,103
    Location:
    Southern Rocky Mountains USA
    I use Xp all the time for a variety of things including web browsing. No problems, all the latest browsers are compatible but 512k is not enough memory. With SP3 installed and a fully updated system, the system alone will need half of that and with a security suite installed, there won't be much left for web browsing. All my Xp machines have 2-3gb.

    Updating the browser usually takes care of the updated web standards. I use Opera 12, Firefox and Seamonkey. Firefox and Seamonkey can usually handle anything in XP. Opera 12 has some site compatibilities but not very many.
     
  6. PastTense

    PastTense Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    Posts:
    42
    What is the security suite? Some of them are much heavier on resource usage than others.

    If you switch to Firefox and use addons like Adblock, it improves performance some (the browser is not spending so much time running these complicated multimedia ads...)

    You might consider a fresh install of XP.

    Again, installing additional RAM is fairly cheap. Check it out at a site like crucial.com
     
  7. AlexC

    AlexC Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    Posts:
    1,280
    I agree, running windows xp with a security suite and only 512MB is not enough memory. I would consider to add more RAM (if you really intend to keep windows xp) or change to some Linux light distro (XFCE, LXDE...).


    Another option, if you don't want to upgrade RAM and also dont want to change to Linux, would be a clean and tweaked windows XP install (disable some services, startup programs, etc), install as few programs as possible and use Panda Cloud free (because is light). If you really want to continue using IE7, try it then, but if yet you still have problems, that´s because it´s time to move to a more recent browser...
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2013
  8. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2010
    Posts:
    3,931
    Location:
    Québec
    i had this problem at work.
    it was a XP machine with 384 megs of RAM.
    the boss wanted me to 'fix' it. ;)

    i installed Lubuntu 10.04 on it and that solved the problem.
    it uses about 70 megs of RAM.

    i also installed Ghostery in Firefox to cut down on the sludge.
     
  9. SirDrexl

    SirDrexl Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2012
    Posts:
    545
    Location:
    USA
    That large HOSTS file might be an issue. I've read that it can cause performance problems on older PCs, although I don't have any personal experience with that. If you're comfortable doing so, you might want to try disabling it temporarily and see if that helps.
     
  10. Boost

    Boost Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Posts:
    1,293
    I'm currently using a 1.81 GHz PC with XP with 1gig of RAM :D

    I was using GesWall but since it's no longer supported,etc I figured it was finally time to move on,especially after their website is no more.So,now with sandboxie installed,I have no issues browsing the net.HOWEVER,there are times you'll wish you had the added RAM.

    Personally,I think it's about time to upgrade,sooner rather then later,at least for myself :argh:
     
  11. pajenn

    pajenn Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Posts:
    930
    I have a similar desktop, although I updated it to 2 GB ram a few years ago - the original specs said it could only support 512 MB, but I read on the intertoobs that 2 GB was fine (just needed to update bios and get exactly the right kind of RAM).

    In any case, it's still too slow with a full security suite like Comodo Internet Security or programs like Avast or Online Armor, so I only run it with Privatefirewall (which I haven't dared to update for over a year), combined with manual virus scans every now and then (a2cmd or whatever they now call it). I also installed PEGuard, but keep it off most of the time (well, I hardly use the machine anyway). Drive Snapshot works well for backups, but Image for Dos was perhaps even faster after I manually added it to the boot menu and configured it to automatically make backups when launched from there. Lately I've thought about switching that machine to linux.
     
  12. anon

    anon Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Posts:
    4,101
    After April 8, 2014, Microsoft won't provide any security updates for XP.
    That means any security flaws that hackers find won't be fixed.
    Your computer will be a sitting duck.


    What does it mean if my version of Windows is no longer supported?

    .
     
  13. Boost

    Boost Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Posts:
    1,293
    This has been covered many times before.Quite frankly many of us do not depend on Microsoft to keep our PC's malware,virus free.
     
  14. anon

    anon Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Posts:
    4,101
    Not in this thread.

     
  15. Fly

    Fly Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2007
    Posts:
    2,069
    True about Linux, but I'd have to learn it ! I'm sure it has quite a learning curve.
     
  16. PastTense

    PastTense Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    Posts:
    42
    The people who are worried about Microsoft dropping XP support don't realize that many of us have already shut off updates: Updates come down and lock up the machine. Sophisticated users don't have a problem diagnosing and fixing this problem. A unsophisticated user like myself will simply do a restore to a previous version and shut off updates permanently.
     
  17. Fly

    Fly Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2007
    Posts:
    2,069
    In the past two years I have used Avira, Eset Smart Security, Kaspersky (KIS). Perhaps one or two others. At one time, VIPRE, probably an early version that didn't last long .... (continuation of subscription to Counterspy).
    Avira used to be lighter.

    I use an imaging setup so it should be fairly clean.

    Btw, locally (euros ...) RAM is a bit less cheap. But true, it's not expensive. I'm just inclined to spend money on this old box.

    I just really don't like Firefox ... probably a personal thing.
     
  18. Fly

    Fly Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2007
    Posts:
    2,069
    In the past I had no issues whatever. Unless blocking Facebook, Google Analytics and similar is somehow more of an issue these days it shouldn't be a problem.
     
  19. Fly

    Fly Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2007
    Posts:
    2,069
    What about IE 7 (and possibly some Windows services/processes) hogging 100 % of the CPU (or close), prompts if I want to stop a script (recent) ?

    That doesn't seem to be a RAM thing.

    I think I have already disabled/set to manual several services but that was ages ago. For example, Windows update is at manual.
     
  20. luciddream

    luciddream Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2007
    Posts:
    2,497
    If it was running better before with the same software & specs and all the sudden seems slower... it may be time for a reformat. I could use the setup I have right now with those specs and it'd run relatively well. I know because I did it not long ago. In fact I even used a real-time AV back then (Avira), which I've since dropped, so my setup is even lighter now and I got by fine with 512 MB back then. So yeah, it's definitely doable.

    I highly recommend Firefox with Adblock Plus & NoScript (if you can stand it). Much more responsive than IE or Opera to my experience. By tweaking the bejezus out of XP you can make it much lighter too... disabling services and themes especially. I have only 10 services running right now for instance. And the only thing I have running real-time is Comodo FW/D+. Remove anything from your startup that isn't absolutely essential (msconfig). I'll bet nothing that's ticked on that list do you really need.

    Sandboxie is extremely light. Sandbox your browser and do on demand/shell scans of any new files introduced to your box before moving them from the sandbox to your real system instead of using a real-time AV. With something like VT Hash Check, MBAM Free, both.

    If you don't care to monitor outbound traffic you don't even need something like Comodo like I have, and just rely on the XP FW and your router. Just tick the box to allow no exceptions in the Win FW.

    Roll like that and for sure you can still use that box with those specs, and it'll even be faster than a lot of people's brand spankin new boxes. It's all in how you use what you've got.

    That being said though... 1 more stick of 512 MB will make a significant difference, even after all those measures. Though I know you don't want to hear that, it's true. With 1 GB + my advice that thing will not only be acceptable, but flat out fly.
     
  21. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Posts:
    4,222
    You reported this problem some time last year (if my memory is right) and everybody unanimously were advising to add RAM. It is not about preaching, it is a matter of technical fact.

    If you insist in having a full security suite with 512 MB of RAM you will always have slowdowns, either run something like Sandboxie with restrictions or use something like Avira as a scanner only together with Hitman Pro, these are all solutions that require no RAM and are very effective.

    I have a similar computer (8 years old) which I have upgraded RAM to 1 GB, running XP Home with Chrome, and it is as fast as my Win8 for browsing. In your case it is not one single issue, it is a combination of issues that slowdown your computer.

    Well this is personal of course but a new fast computer without a connection is just a piece of furniture.
     
  22. anon

    anon Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Posts:
    4,101
    Check once again =>
    Memory Usage Test to See Which is the Lightest Antivirus Software

     
  23. guest

    guest Guest

    ""Your computer will be a sitting duck""

    No it's not, not if you know how to secure it and I haven't taken updates in years, matter of fact the entire update system has been removed, haven't had a virus in years either, even if I tried to infect it, most likely the code wouldn't even run, it is all in how it is setup:thumb:
     
  24. SweX

    SweX Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2007
    Posts:
    6,429
    I have the exact same HW as you do, except that I got IE 8 installed and you got IE 7. And SP3 and all Win Updates.

    Anyhow, in 99% of the cases the slow downs and freezing while browisng etc... are due to the Flash Plugin eating away all the RAM. Some websites that were fine to visit before, isn't working that well anylonger, mostly because of an increase in the Flash based ADS that they use, and it doesn't matter if I browse with IE 8 or Safari wich I use 99% of the time, same problems with both.

    So a solution may be an Ad Blocker, wich I have thought of trying for a while. :)

    But buying more RAM is probably "our" best bet. The reason I haven't done so is that the rest of the hardware GPU, CPU, HDD is also 9yrs old so it's not worth to buy something new when anything else can break at any moment, and when it does I get a new one instead.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2013
  25. luciddream

    luciddream Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2007
    Posts:
    2,497
    Not to mention that updates won't REALLY end on that day... just official updates from Microsoft. There will still be hardcore, oldschool techies prodding & probing it for vulnerabilities and releasing patches accordingly, if you know where to look for them *ahem - MSFN*

    Some of those guys are still patching 98SE over there, and using it and getting by just fine. And Win2K too. They will turn their efforts toward XP when it's EOL comes.

    Not to mention with software like Sandboxie, VM's, imaging, EMET/ES and whatnot... updates tend to be rendered kinda moot these days anyway.

    XP will not be any sitting duck for a long, long time. It's still the most secure and private OS Windows has ever made, with the right tweaks, IMO... and will remain as such probably forever. Because with each successive version there will be more and more concessions the end users will need to make, mostly privacy related.

    I aim to use XP Pro for as long as I can. And if/when for some reason I no longer feel it's a viable option, will probably move away from Windows altogether.
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.