Old Dell machine, fresh XP install, extremely slow

Discussion in 'Computer Help' started by Denithor, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. Denithor

    Denithor Diamond Member

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    Working on a friend's old Dell P4 system, was infested with viruses/malware so just did a fresh XP Pro install from OEM disc.

    Everything worked initially, loaded all necessary stuff, gave to him.

    Now, less than a week later, he brings it back saying that it is extremely slow.

    I fire it up and he's not kidding. At all. It boots up fine but once into Windows it's horrible. Simply right clicking on desktop to bring up that menu takes anywhere from 5-30 seconds (click ... wait ... wait ... wait ... menu pops up). And everything is like this, it takes up to half a minute for the system to accept any single click.

    Note that the mouse works just fine the whole time - no sluggishness or anything like that, just excruciatingly long waits once you actually click on something.

    Only times I've seen anything like this before was when a hard drive went into PIO mode but that's not the case here - the first thing I checked - hdd is in DMA5 mode.

    I'm stumped, any suggestions/advice is appreciated!

    TIA
     
  2. bibletoter

    bibletoter Member

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    Run MSConfig and turn off a bunch of junk. I'll bet that it's an anti-virus killing the CPU. They are notorious for it.
     
  3. sm625

    sm625 Diamond Member

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    Go into task manager and enable your cpu time column. After computer has been running for at least 20 minutes, post a screenshot.
     
  4. Super56K

    Super56K Golden Member

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    I had this once on an XP machine, and it turned out to be a corrupt or broken Adobe plugin that was tied into the right click context menu. How I found that out was by using a program called ShellExView. Your problem may be different if it's with both left and right clicks, but it's worth a shot if it's specific to right clicking.

    Read about it here (there's a download link too) - http://www.raymond.cc/blog/fix-for-very-slow-or-hang-when-right-click-on-a-file-or-folder/
     
  5. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Diamond Member

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    McAfee just about drug my old Dell/XP machine to a halt... it was that bad.

    I've reloaded 3 of my XP machines with a fresh install... did you secure erase the old HDD first, and then reinstall on a wiped disk, or did you reinstall on top of the old OS? I did that the first time and within a month what you described happened.

    Also, did you install just the OS, or did you also install the Dell 'bloatware' disk?
     
  6. bruceb

    bruceb Diamond Member

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    I agree about McAfee slowing an XP P4 system to a crawl. Could not use it on my pc. Avast is what I use and it is lightweight. Easiest way to tell what is going on, is disconnect from internet, then uninstall the existing AV. Reboot and see how it responds (stay off internet for now). If it is back to normal speed, then your AV you took out was the culprit. Install Avast and you should be good to go.
     
  7. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Diamond Member

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    Even MSE is better than McAfee... that's what I'm running now (along with SAS and Spybot.)
     
  8. Steltek

    Steltek Golden Member

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    BTW, exactly how much memory does he have in that machine? I worked on one recently for a relative who was complaining that XP was slow. Turns out she only had 386mb of memory. I bumped up to 1GB, and it started working just fine.
     
  9. daveybrat

    daveybrat Diamond Member

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    It's highly probably that he wasn't just infected with 'normal' infections. If he had rootkits on the drive, even a format and reinstall of Windows XP won't remove them. They write themselves into the MBR of the drive and cannot be removed without a low-level format or this utility:

    http://www.majorgeeks.com/Kaspersky_TDSSKiller_d6895.html

    Classic sign of a rootkit? Massive slowdown.

    TDSSKiller can detect and remove it, it only takes minutes to run. :)
     
  10. jjsbasmt

    jjsbasmt Senior member

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    Wouldn't hurt to check out that Hard Drive either. Could have bad sectors or be of the older slower 5400 RPM with possibly only 2MB on board cache. Make sure write caching is enabled and that it isn't running too hot. I use Hard Drive Tune to check the drives on all systems that I come in contact with. Another possibility is even thought this my say P4, some of these had Celerons with 128 or 256 caches which makes them slow no matter what. Just my 2 cents.
     
  11. Denithor

    Denithor Diamond Member

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    Thanks for all the suggestions, haven't had time to try them yet, will work on it tonight.

    To address some things though -

    This isn't a bloatware or loaded up startup issue - I installed just the OS, none of the extras. I know exactly how those behave and how to fix. This is a literal 20-40 second delay from clicking anything before the computer responds and runs/launches/opens the object. It's not just right clicks, that was just an example, everything is painfully slow. Click the start button. Wait. Wait. Twiddle thumbs, wait some more. Finally opens. Click Control Panel. Wait. Wait...you get the picture.

    Machine has enough memory (at least half gig, maybe more) that it wasn't sluggish when I first did the fresh XP install. Now, the memory could have gone bad, need to test that, but usually bad memory shows up as reboots or blue screens not slowdowns.

    Running AVG free edition antivirus, none of that McAfee crap here.

    Had not thought of rootkits, could be a possibility, however after the clean install it ran just like any other P4 era machine (fairly snappy feel for general use).

    Will check the cpu time tonight.
    Will do a hdd check tonight (and yes, this is a true P4).

    Thanks for the advice & ideas, will keep you posted on what I find.
     
  12. amdskip

    amdskip Lifer

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    Running AVG free edition antivirus, none of that McAfee crap here.

    I would remove that and install something lightweight. AVG has gotten heavy imho.
     
  13. Ketchup

    Ketchup Lifer

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    Here, here. Go with MSE. AVG is horrible, especially if you are only working with 512 MB of RAM.
     
  14. daveybrat

    daveybrat Diamond Member

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    Yup, it USED to be very lightweight and one of my favorite antivirus's back in the day. Unfortunately it has become both bloated and an advertising mess lately.

    If you want speed, go with MSE or Avast free antivirus's, both consume much less resources than AVG.
     
  15. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Diamond Member

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    I hope you have more RAM than that... o_O
     
  16. Puppies04

    Puppies04 Diamond Member

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    If you have 512MB of ram then that will be your problem, windows will be in a page file situation almost as soon as it has started with AVG and whatever else is running.

    Programs just use more memory now than they did when the machine was new, you could load up the exact same setup as the machine came with and with windows service packs and modern software it will slow to an absolute crawl.

    If you want to test it then remove your internet connection and turn all startup programs including AVG and anything else not essential to windows off then reboot and see if it responds faster. If it does it is time to buy some RAM.
     
  17. Dahak

    Dahak Diamond Member

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    if all the above suggestions don't work, another thing that I have noticed especially after afresh install and all windows updates especially the .net framework updates, is that there is a few mscorsvw.exe (usually 2 or 3) process running.

    now these are suppose to only run when idle, but can sometimes run when it should not.

    to force it to run, open up a cmd prompt and go to c:\windows\microsoft.net\framework\v2.0.50727
    and type ngen executequeueditems

    this will force it to run and once done reboot and it should be better
     
  18. hoorah

    hoorah Senior member

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    I'm thinking bad sectors on the hard drive. Like you said, bad memory usually manifests itself as bluescreens. Systems where the hdd has gone bad are painfully slow as the system tries to re-read sectors over and over and over again.

    The fact that the system ran decent on a fresh wipe rules out a lot of things like amount of memory, viruses, and bloatware installed (assuming no new garbage was installed by the user).

    I would run a spinrite or scandisk and see what it reports.

    Also, what kind of P4? I have some upper level P4 socket 478 chips lying around with no use. Pay for shipping and they're yours. One of them might even be a 3.0ghz.
     
  19. Denithor

    Denithor Diamond Member

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    Sorry didn't get back to you guys sooner but did find a solution - as a couple of you stated - more RAM was needed. I remember being able to run XP fine a few years ago on a P3 with 256MB so I assumed that couldn't possibly be the problem. But after throwing in some old sticks I had around (thank goodness for leftover parts, right?) it moves much better. Took it from 512MB to 896MB and everything smoothed out.

    As a side note, those old Dells are halfway RAM locked - it simply would not recognize or boot with several other 256/512MB sticks that I tried or I would have taken it up even higher.
     
  20. bruceb

    bruceb Diamond Member

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    How did you get around the no boot with extra ram on the Dell ? A couple years back I also tried to up my RAM in my Dell 8200 with some with the same part number and speed and make from Ebay ... it also would not booth with the extra RAM in slots 3 & 4 .. not sure if the ram was bad or the mobo connectors 3 & 4 are flaky or what. An easier way would be to buy higher capacity sticks and put them in slot 1 & 2 but Rambus RAM is hard to get and costly.
     
  21. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Diamond Member

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    I have a Dell 5150 Pentium D system that I installed 4 different RAM (DDR2) modules on... (this was before I knew any better) and didn't have any problems.... in fact, even though I know better now, I think I still have 4 sticks of mismatched RAM in it... something like 2.5GB total. It's still running XP on it.
     
  22. squirrel dog

    squirrel dog Diamond Member

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    if a week has passed,he may have gone back and re infested his pc.
     
  23. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Diamond Member

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    If we don't learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it... :whiste:
     
  24. C1

    C1 Golden Member

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    So many people's computer Ive looked at with "slow" complaints (P4 class particularly) turned out to be the AV hogging resources. Throttling back the AV and cleaning up the machine and turning off everything but essentials in startup/msconfig usually does the trick. Sometimes though there's also one or more auto updates running in the background which create slow down when connected to the network. Adobe, Corels, MS Products along with a lot of low end game software (eg, Cosmi) does this. Disable all that stuff too.

    Most people dont have any insight as to what is really happening inside their machine much less how to eliminate resource hogs. The tip off is looking at the organization of their machine, start up and file structure organization/layout. If it's a mess (or looks like the typical child's play pen), then you know what to do, but it doesnt last very long as once a pig, then always a pig.
     
  25. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Diamond Member

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    True that.