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SLOW computer - could it be Trados? or Norton?
Thread poster: Alison Schwitzgebel

Alison Schwitzgebel
France
Local time: 19:22
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Jul 29, 2004

Forgive me for writing an epistle here, but if figure that the more information I can provide, the easier it might be to help me.

I have recently bought myself a really nice, high-performance notebook to replace my old, but still high-performance desktop (for private reasons - I have to be able to pack up my work and go if needs be).

Here's the lowdown:
Intel Celeron
2.6GHz
DVD/CD R/W
40GB hard drive capacity
Great graphics card
256MB DDR RAM
blah, blah,
WLAN 54 Mbit/S
blah, blah

I have a small network with two desktops attached to a router, and two laptops attached to same router via a WLAN access point.

I have live in Germany and have a T-Com T-DSL Business 2000 Internet connection (ADSL with 2048 Mbit/s download).

My new laptop is VERY slow - both when I change between windows, and also when I access the Internet. I get an average download speed of 200 kbit/s, which is nothing like the 2000 I ought to be getting (although I'd be quite happy with 1000 or so).

A technician from T-Com finally came out last week (after a week-and-a-half of them telling me that there couldn't possibly be a problem).

He plugged his laptop directly into my DSL modem and - voila! He got 2000 kbit/s straight up.

Then he plugged his laptop into my router and got 2000 kbit/s straight up.

Which makes me think that it's a sofware problem on my computers.

They all have different versions of Windows (yes, I know we don't all like Windows, but it's my personal preference). They all have office 2000. They all have Norton Internet Security with all the latest updates, and they all have a copy of Trados (5.5. or 6.5). My memory is huge - 272,745 translation units, or 97036 KB.

I've tried disabling various functions in Norton that I don't particularly need, but that doesn't increase my speed by much.

The funny thing is that my speed sometimes lets the odd page load at around 1000 kbit/s, but that's a fairly infrequent occurance.

My CPU usage box in my bottom toolbar is mostly pretty empty, but sometimes (when things get really slow), it's full all the way to the top.

And the long and the short of it is....

I'm fed up with this SLOW computer. My main desktop is also pretty SLOW nowadays too. All I want is a bit of SPEED! Anyone have any ideas about what might be clogging up my system and how to fix it?

Thanks already to anyone who feels benevolent enough to help a poor financial translator with not too much clue about technical stuff.

Alison


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:22
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
This can very good be an issue with Norton Jul 29, 2004

Not a long time ago we had a discussion about virues and so on in polish forum. Andrzej Lejman mentioned there, that the Norton solution provides tough work for the PC.
Nowadays I tend to share this meaning.
My brand new desktop with really high-end components is sometimes veeery slow. And this even without Trados running. To be precise, Trados is not slow, even with my TM of similar size as yours.
Deactivating Norton does not prevent it to slow down the PC, as far I can tell.
Switching it completly out or deinstalling is not a solution too, unless you install other antivirus software.

Regards
Jerzy


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Ivan Eikås Skjøstad  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 19:22
Member (2002)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Check your equipment Jul 29, 2004

Check your equipment here. Is it certified?: http://www.wi-fi.org/OpenSection/certified_products.asp

Another comment: When two computers share ADSL, and you are using a router, wrong settings might reduce the speed. You should also check the security settings, since many people leave their network wide open.


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Fernando Toledo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:22
German to Spanish
Try with Jul 29, 2004

TuneUp utilities, for me was a great help.




Alison Riddell-Kachur wrote:

and they all have a copy of Trados (5.5. or 6.5). My memory is huge - 272,745 translation units, or 97036 KB.

Alison


I suppose that you have all your clients in a TM?

I have for each client a TM with the corresponding filter setting.
I do not think it is a good idea to put all together. Bigger is not necessary better

Regards

Toledo


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Fernando Toledo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:22
German to Spanish
I hate Norton ;( Jul 29, 2004

Once I install Norton but after that, I decided to uninstall it, I do as usual, than I run regedit.exe and needed 10 minutes to delete all the garbage that Norton left inside my PC.

Gruß

Jerzy Czopik wrote:


Switching it completly out or deinstalling is not a solution too, unless you install other antivirus software.

Regards
Jerzy


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Luca Tutino  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:22
Member (2002)
English to Italian
+ ...
It does not really like a Trados problem. Did you check the RAM? Jul 29, 2004

First of all I never work with real time AV scanning. It is far too slow. Just keep the Firewall on, filter all incoming mails against viruses, and run virus checks often.

Do you have a lot of swapping? i.e. does the HD light stay on while you wait? If yes, you are probably left with much less than 256 MB RAM.

Even if you do not have swapping, it could be that your RAM is slower that it should be, either because it is not the right kind of RAM for your laptop (There are many different types of RAM), or because it is damaged.

RAM is a delicate stuff: during transport and/or mounting it can easily get burned, and RAM errors are not always diagnosed by basic routines. First of all, you should check the Ram in your System in the Control Panel... The you could consider having a techician look at it (you can remove it and take it to a lab, but try not to touch it directly).

HTH!
Luca

[Edited at 2004-07-29 22:17]


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Suzanne Blangsted  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:22
Danish to English
+ ...
slow PC Jul 30, 2004

Aside from agreeing with the excellent suggestions above, I recommend you first run a registry cleaner on your PC (like RegVac) and then use defragmentation utility build into your computer. Also when you are running a PC which automatically set restoration points, the PC will scan all of the equipment to scan for performance in order to set the restoration point(s). If you go into your system and check the tab "system restore" you will find what the PC is scanning, and you can disable the equipment you don't want the PC to check. This will give you more CPU percentage and make your PC run faster.

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RWSTranslation
Germany
Local time: 19:22
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
slow notebook Jul 30, 2004

Hello,

yes Norton can slow dwon a pc dramatic. You can reduce security which will maybe help.

Another possible points:
You have not enough ram, Maybe you graphic memory is part of the ram. You can buy more ram or reduce the number of colours to reduce the memory usage of the graphic.

Sometimes notebooks have a energy saving concept which reduce the processor clock rate. I have read an article in ct magazin. Sorry don't know the number, but maybe you can fint it on www.heise.de or you can try to sent a mail to the ct editors.

Viele Grüße

Hans


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tectranslate ITS GmbH
Local time: 19:22
German
+ ...
Norton Jul 30, 2004

The culprit is most likely Norton, together with a lack of RAM.
512 MB is standard today, at home I have 1 GB RAM. And it was worth every cent.

Something to consider: As you say you have a Router, you probably have no need for a firewall software running on your PC. Most routers today have integrated firewalls. Therefore, you may want to switch to a pure virus scanning utility which has no firewall functions and is therefore not as bloated as Norton.

I must admit, though, that my stance on security and the software you need on your PC to ensure it is based on my personal way of managing my PC. I keep it updated at all times, rarely install anything new and am very cautious and aware about e-mail virii. I haven't had a single case of virus infection, Trojan horses or successful hacking attempts on my computer(s) in the last five years or so.

This obviously requires a good amount of inside knowledge about PCs, Operating Systems and such and a bit of tweaking and tuning. Most people don't want to get involved with all this, which is legitimate - because the computing industry tells them they don't have to. A blunt lie, in my opinion - either you put some effort into keeping your system tidy, or you let it "self-manage" and it becomes infested with bloatware, spyware, virus infections etc. over time...PCs have not been, are not, and possibly won't ever be "simple" tools that are easy to use. (Please excuse my ranting)

Anyway, get some RAM (768 MB total RAM should be about right), dump Norton, and get a good virus scanner.

Best wishes and good luck,
Benjamin


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TRANSRAPID  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:22
German to English
RAM Jul 30, 2004

Hi Alison,

I really recon you haven't got enough RAM and that that alone is the cause of your trouble.

Seeing that this is a brand new laptop, you are probably running XP, which is known to be rather unwieldy and to require a lot of RAM just to get reasonable performance - i.e. using XP with less than 512 RAM seems murder to me, and on top of that, there are of course all the other programs you use.

I run XP with 1024 RAM and even that can be slow at times.
It shouldn't be a problem adding some RAM.

Best of luck,
A.


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Alison Schwitzgebel
France
Local time: 19:22
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
...the story continues... Jul 30, 2004

Thank you all for your input. I have a few questions:

1. How do I add more RAM to a Notebook?

2. I have deinstalled the Firewall from my desktop (I have two separate norton packages running there). Now I get around 300kbit/s download speed. Still nothing like the 2000 i should be getting according to T-Com. My Anti-Virus on my desktop is set to: Autoprotect (on), E-Mail check (on), Script block (on). I am loathe to remove the antivirus software....

Any other suggestions?


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Ivan Eikås Skjøstad  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 19:22
Member (2002)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Good options for free Jul 30, 2004

tectransDE wrote:

Something to consider: As you say you have a Router, you probably have no need for a firewall software running on your PC. Most routers today have integrated firewalls. Therefore, you may want to switch to a pure virus scanning utility which has no firewall functions and is therefore not as bloated as Norton.



I do not agree on this point, since a hardware firewall are not designed to stop outward bound traffic (for instance a virus).

I would use the free, and highly recommended Zonealarm (standard ed, available here: www.zonelabs.com) together with Norton Antivirus (NOT Norton Internet Security) or another well know anti virus programme. That should work well, and should not claim a lot of RAM. 512 should be enough.

Microsoft gives away one year of free use of a antivirus programme and a firewall here: http://www.my-etrust.com/microsoft/


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Endre Both  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:22
Member (2002)
English to German
Answers Jul 30, 2004

Alison Riddell-Kachur wrote:
1. How do I add more RAM to a Notebook?


Ask your dealer or hardware expert; depending on the notebook, it may be quite easy and inexpensive (about EUR 50/100 for 256/512 MB, respectively) to upgrade.
However, insufficient RAM cannot conceivably be the reason for a low download speed. This is a separate problem which should be solved first, since afterwards you might well decide that your current 256 MB are sufficient after all. Unless you use very specific applications -- CAD, image or video processing, speech recognition -- 256 MB should be just about enough for now. It most likely won't be in 5 years' time though, so if you plan on using the computer for that long, it might be worth investing the additional 100 bucks.

Luca's suggestion to check if your hard drive is rattling away at times when the computer slows down is a good way to judge this problem. Another one is to open the Task Manager (Ctrl-Alt-Del) and see how much RAM the system actually uses. Unless total memory use is well over 300 MB, RAM is not the problem.

The Task Manager also indicates CPU load (split by individual programs) -- unless CPU load is consistently over 50-60%, the problem is not CPU shortage either. Check what programs cause the high CPU loads (and when) you have mentioned.

2. I have deinstalled the Firewall from my desktop (I have two separate norton packages running there). Now I get around 300kbit/s download speed. Still nothing like the 2000 i should be getting according to T-Com. My Anti-Virus on my desktop is set to: Autoprotect (on), E-Mail check (on), Script block (on). I am loathe to remove the antivirus software....


Almost all Norton software is known to cause trouble (as indicated above), so it might be worth deinstalling the whole lot of it as a last resort. However, there are other potential reasons for low download speeds (the Telekom whiz should at least have mentioned that).
First thing: how do other computers connected to the router perform? If their download speeds are as high as expected, try switching a) their network cables, b) the network port they are connected to on the router.

Second: if you hook up the laptop to the modem directly, is there any change in download speed? (To test that, you probably need to establish a RAS connection on the laptop -- the connection is currently managed by the router.)

This would help in looking further...

Endre


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Endre Both  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:22
Member (2002)
English to German
Difference between bits and bytes / WLAN Jul 30, 2004

Two more ideas.

I apologise for asking, but is it an estabished fact that we are talking about 200kbit/s and not 200 kB/s (kBytes) -- which would be approximately what could be expected from DSL2000?

Second, does your laptop connect to the router by cable or by W-LAN. There are lots of reasons why wireless data rates can be low, and in fact even if everything works fine, you can only achieve the 250 kB/s max. afforded by your DSL connection if the laptop is placed quite close to the router.
So if you have been using a wireless connection, the first thing would be to try hooking up a cable. If your d/l speed improves, the laptop is innocent (its W-LAN card may be faulty though).

Endre


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Alison Schwitzgebel
France
Local time: 19:22
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Well, guess what I'll be doing for fun this evening.... Jul 30, 2004

Endre Both wrote:

Luca's suggestion to check if your hard drive is rattling away at times when the computer slows down is a good way to judge this problem. Another one is to open the Task Manager (Ctrl-Alt-Del) and see how much RAM the system actually uses. Unless total memory use is well over 300 MB, RAM is not the problem.



It's at 356 - just ordered a new "512 RAM bar". Might take a few days to get here but we'll see if that helps.


Endre Both wrote:

The Task Manager also indicates CPU load (split by individual programs) -- unless CPU load is consistently over 50-60%, the problem is not CPU shortage either. Check what programs cause the high CPU loads (and when) you have mentioned.



Okay, I've found that now. The biggies are Outlook, Word, Internet Explorer at around 10,000 but Trados has more than 30,000K!!! Wow!


Endre Both wrote:
However, there are other potential reasons for low download speeds (the Telekom whiz should at least have mentioned that).
First thing: how do other computers connected to the router perform? If their download speeds are as high as expected, try switching a) their network cables, b) the network port they are connected to on the router.

Second: if you hook up the laptop to the modem directly, is there any change in download speed? (To test that, you probably need to establish a RAS connection on the laptop -- the connection is currently managed by the router.)



Nah, Telekom man he didn't say nuthin'.... I guess that's what I'll be playing around with this evening once the kids are in bed.

Thanks!

Alison


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