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How to Speed Up a Slow Computer
Thread poster: ATIL KAYHAN

ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 08:08
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Jan 7, 2015

I own a Compaq Presario 2700T notebook computer with Windows XP Professional SP3 installed. The CPU is Intel Pentium III Mobile 1.2 GHz Model 11. The memory is 512 MB 133 MHz SDRAM (256 MB and 256 MB).

I bought the notebook in the year 2002, and have been using it since then. However, the computer has been slowing down in the last few years, and this has become a headache now. In the extreme, the computer literally stops, and I have to restart it to get it up again.

I have Avira free antivirus program as well as Spybot Search & Destroy installed. I used both to scan the computer but I got nowhere. When the computer slows down, I hear the hard disk running inside.

Of course, I have the original Windows XP Professional CDs but Microsoft does not offer any support for XP anymore. This is kind of unfortunate.

I look forward to your suggestions regarding how to speed up this computer. I am mostly interested in software improvements rather than hardware. Thank you all in advance.


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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 13:08
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Obvious solution Jan 7, 2015

Even if it's not the answer you want to hear, there is really no point in putting any time and effort in trying to resuscite a 13-year old computer when a brand new laptop costs $300 USD. In particular, I won't be the slightest bit surprised if mechanical components like the hard disk have already run the course of their useful lifecycle.

It's not worth it, especially if it's your work computer. It's not even worth putting in the time trying to figure out what the problem is.


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:08
German to English
Reinstall everything (unfortunately) Jan 7, 2015

One of the effects of a congested Windows registry is system slowdown. I use a registry cleaner that operates in the background, cleaning out broken links, shortcuts and other detritus that collects in the registry over time, so by the time the system slows down noticeably, it's time to buy a new computer anyway.

Perhaps there is a better solution, but you may have to wipe the disk clean (reformat) and reinstall Windows, then your other programs. If any of your software needs to have licenses returned (e.g. SDL products), do so before reinstalling windows.

Make sure you check any operating instructions for your software/computer before attempting this.

Plan to have the computer out of service for at least a day while you reinstall/update all the software.

Good luck, no matter what the solution may be!


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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
French to Danish
+ ...
Agree Jan 7, 2015

Computers are much more expensive in Europe than in Hong Kong. You can just about double the prices and add a bit more. I paid €600 for a new Lenovo IdeaPad two years ago on Amazon. That's $700.

But still, trying to keep an old XP alive seems futile. And as XP isn't supported any more, you shouldn't really use it for customer files, as security bugs won't be fixed.

Just be careful if you buy a new computer, because some of us find Windows 8 horrible. Maybe a used Windows 7 computer could be a compromise for you.


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Shai Navé  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 07:08
Member
English to Hebrew
+ ...
You can't Jan 7, 2015

The bottom line is that you can't.

You can try some basic maintenance, but it won't help much, and quite frankly doesn't really worth the hassle:
1) The fan is probably clogged with dust and dust is covering the entire motherboard, causing everything to heat up. You can open the laptop, clean everything, and re-apply the CPU thermal paste on the CPU (or hire someone to do this for you).
2) Your HDD is 12 years old. Like most 2.5" HDDs it is slow as it is, and with wear and tear becomes even slower overtime. In theory you can replace it with a new one, but in practice a laptop from 2002 probably doesn't have a SATA controller, so replacing the HDD is not practical.

From the software side, you simply lack processing power. You are probably not using the same softwares and software versionss from 2002, and with time newer versions require a more suitable and appropriate (e.g. available instruction sets) processing power. Pentium 3 is painfully underpowered today even for loading and handling modern websites. You would be better off with a modern Atom processor than with a Pentium 3.

My advice, get a new laptop or desktop. Don't waste time, energy or money on the old one.


[Edited at 2015-01-07 19:39 GMT]


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A. Sercan  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:08
Member (2009)
English to Turkish
+ ...
Update drivers Jan 7, 2015

Atıl bey,

You should always install the newest drivers for the hardware components. The process is very simple. Use "Driver Booster", it will update automatically.

Here is a link,

http://download.cnet.com/Driver-Booster/3000-18513_4-75992725.html?part=dl-&subj=dl&tag=button


You can also use, "Advanced System care", it's about cleaning up your notebook.

http://www.tamindir.com/advanced-systemcare/?landing=1&a=1

Hope this helps.

A.


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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 13:08
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Computers retail at pretty much the same price everywhere Jan 7, 2015

Thomas Frost wrote:

Computers are much more expensive in Europe than in Hong Kong. You can just about double the prices and add a bit more. I paid €600 for a new Lenovo IdeaPad two years ago on Amazon. That's $700.

Well, maybe that has something to do with the fact that you're getting a Lenovo IdeaPad. It's not like that would cost less than $700 in HK.

=============

The cheapest real PC laptop out there is the HP Stream. The cheapest model retails at $199 USD and it is a full-fledged Windows laptop that also comes with Office. You're making compromises on quite a few things, of course, but it can't possibly be worse than continuing to use a Pentium III with 512MB RAM and a hard disk in its dying throes.


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Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:08
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Registry cleaner Jan 7, 2015

It might be worth while using a "registry cleaner". This article provides some information about that: why it is worth while, how to do it, and tests of a few registry cleaners (done in 2008):

http://www.pcworld.com/article/149951/registry_cleaner.html


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Alistair Gainey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:08
Member (2009)
Russian to English
Link to tips Jan 7, 2015

There are some tips here:

http://www.marcofolio.net/tips/22_tips_on_how_to_speed_up_windows_xp.html

For me, getting rid of a large number of fonts produced an immediate effect, so if you haven't done so you could try that.


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Shai Navé  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 07:08
Member
English to Hebrew
+ ...
Don't use registry cleaners Jan 7, 2015

Performance gain out of registry cleaning is a myth.
The risks involved outweigh any potential benefit. Even in the unlikely event these tools will not delete important entries overtime, removing a couple hundreds KBs or couple MBs (from huge registries, not very common for Home/SOHO users) from the registry won't make any noticeable performance difference anyway.

[Edited at 2015-01-08 05:03 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:08
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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A fresh install, more RAM, and new hard drive Jan 7, 2015

ATIL KAYHAN wrote:
I own a Compaq Presario 2700T notebook computer with Windows XP Professional SP3 installed. The CPU is Intel Pentium III Mobile 1.2 GHz Model 11. The memory is 512 MB 133 MHz SDRAM (256 MB and 256 MB).




I bought the notebook in the year 2002, and have been using it since then. However, the computer has been slowing down in the last few years, and this has become a headache now. In the extreme, the computer literally stops, and I have to restart it to get it up again.


With a computer that old, I think the only way to fix it is a fresh installation of Windows, plus more RAM and a new hard drive. I'm not sure if you can still find RAM for that computer, though. You should be able to find a hard drive that you can also use in newer computers and in external housings, so if you buy a new hard drive and the computer breaks, you can still use the hard drive. You won't be able to reuse the RAM, though... it's too old.

I assume you've done the usual things to speed up the computer, e.g. turn off all visual effects, use the Classic theme, make sure nothing runs in the background.

The latest version of CCleaner is very effective at detecting programs and processes that run automatically when you start the computer, and you can disable them in CCleaner easily.

For detecting malware, I use Malwarebytes, not Spybot. You can also downgrade to older versions of software, e.g. old version of your browser or e-mail program.

I agree that you can check if you have the latest drivers.

In a worst case scenario, have you considered downgrading to Windows 2000? You have a single-core processor, so using Windows 2000 shouldn't hurt it. You may find that you can't use your laptop on a battery anymore if you install Windows 2000, though, because Windows 2000 don't know how to be careful with battery versus mains power (appropriate usage of the battery should return when you install Windows XP again some time later).


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Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 06:08
English to Russian
+ ...
Agree with Shai + more details Jan 8, 2015

Shai has already said most of what I wanted to say. The first obvious thing to do would be to back up your data, reinstall Windows and application software from scratch, then restore the data onto the new system. Do not try to repair the existing system - you'll need to wipe the hard disk and install a fresh copy of everything. If you have done it but the computer is still slower than it used to be, it's most likely due to processor overheating and hard disk degradation. If you are handy with computers and have free time, you can try fixing it, otherwise just get a new computer. If your budget is low, I'd recommend not to buy the cheapest new model, but rather get a refurbished business-class laptop by a reputable manufacturer (e.g. Thinkpad series by Lenovo) - these are a lot more reliable than cheap consumer-oriented models.

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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
French to Danish
+ ...
Brands Jan 8, 2015

I've seen a Packard Bell laptop fall apart in half a year. The on/off and touchpad buttons stopped working very quickly. It was a present to a friend of mine, and the person who gave it had lost the invoice, so no warranty repair could be done. I was told Acer is the same type of junk. That's why I stick to brands of decent reputation, like Samsung and Lenovo. If you have to throw a Packard Bell on the trash pile every other year because it's crap, it's cheaper in the long term to buy decent quality.

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Shai Navé  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 07:08
Member
English to Hebrew
+ ...
As with evertyhing else Jan 8, 2015

Thomas Frost wrote:
If you have to throw a Packard Bell on the trash pile every other year because it's crap, it's cheaper in the long term to buy decent quality.


Exactly! And this advice applies to almost everything else. Cheap is very costly in the long term, in more ways than one.
For a business, a computer is a professional work tool, and for some more than others. Therefore, it should be considered an investment, not an expense. This doesn't mean that expensive is automatically better, but cheap is almost guaranteed to be a mistake.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:08
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Defragment! Jan 8, 2015

First thing is to defragment the hard disk with Windows' own application or with another tool in the market. Then you have to consider that modern applications use a lot more memory than older versions, so your computer will automatically slow down because of all the memory-disk swapping required. A measure that would immediately increase your speed in this sense is a memory expansion.

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