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Old 12-31-08, 01:19 PM   #1
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Help with computer performance.

Hey guys. I am looking for some info as computers are not my area of expertise. I currently have a desktop computer. It is sooooooo slow. With my limited knowledge it seems as if it is always running like 100 things at once and is slow to open up anything. Is there anything I can do about this? Do these numbers look normal? I also have a laptop that has 1GB memory and is a single core and it is faster then this desktop. It seems as just sitting there this desktop uses 1GB memory. That doesn't sound right to me.

I took some screenshots. If you need me to get any info let me know. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks

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Old 12-31-08, 01:38 PM   #2
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Look at the process tab and start-up items in msconfig. I can't remember where Vista's run command is, but if you find anything on the menu that says "run..." or type "cmd" or "run" into Vista's start/search bar, then "msconfig."

Also, do you have tons of icons on the right side of your taskbar?

Or you could just have spyware running in the background. Hard to tell from here.

I usually give an 8 item checklist to see what is going on with the computer, but I don't have it in front of me at the moment...

Good luck. Others will certainly have plenty more to say.
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Old 12-31-08, 11:39 PM   #3
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Run spy/virus checkers

Start going through the running processes to see what is running (look in the process list, google, see if you need it)

Vista uses lots of memory - so 1gb doesn't seem bad - but 77 processes does. I have 36 now - with mail, web browser, steam etc running.
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Old 01-01-09, 04:06 AM   #4
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The box is using all of its physical RAM and having to swap (which kills performance.)

Vista with 1GB is almost unusable. I would highly recommend a RAM upgrade to 4GB if you can, but at least 2.

This will speed up things a lot.

I also would recommend doing a check for malware as stated above. Sunbelt's VIPRE is a good cleaning utility, if you don't have an up to date A/V product installed.
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Old 01-01-09, 05:00 AM   #5
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Sure, but you need to come over and clean my gutters for free...
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Old 01-01-09, 09:52 AM   #6
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The box is using all of its physical RAM and having to swap (which kills performance.)

Vista with 1GB is almost unusable. I would highly recommend a RAM upgrade to 4GB if you can, but at least 2.

This will speed up things a lot.

I also would recommend doing a check for malware as stated above. Sunbelt's VIPRE is a good cleaning utility, if you don't have an up to date A/V product installed.
he has 3gb already.

OP: Have you tried defragmenting the hard drive? Do try the a/v spyware. Take a look at the processes that are running and see if there is anything strange running. Also disconnect from the internet and try running something you know is safe and see if it is quicker. It could be the a/v program checking stuff before it runs.
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Old 01-01-09, 10:09 AM   #7
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Hang on, I will find a couple of links I've used to speed up Vista comps for you - I have done all of these so they work, even if just marginally so. Your computer should be faster and the fact that you feel 100 things are going probably means 100 things are going on.

With this link, do only #2 if you don't use "search" all that much. Do #5 if you do not feel extremely compelled to use "hibernate". I would suggest using ReadyBoost, but you seem to have enough RAM for it not to be the most cost-effective.

Someone suggested using mcsonfig; use this site to figure out what it necessary and what is not.

Turning off Sidebar will speed up boot times - you do this by right clicking sidebar and properties and somewhere in there is a box that says start on bootup or something like that (I am too lazy to log onto my Vista comp to tell you exactly).

This freeware disk defragger is the best I've used in terms of speed and relative performance.

The Vista graphics "feature" can slow the computer a bit so I would get rid of that. I also tend to use Windows Classic for my Start menu and make everything as basic and as small as possible.

If there is a Powertoys TweakUI (downloaded from Microsoft) you can shave off some unneeded User Interface "features" there.

And of course, make sure you computer is up to date via Windows Update and I would also suggest using Update Checker from FileHippo.com

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Old 01-01-09, 11:52 AM   #8
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i'm wondering what the laptop is.

from what i've read, the Phenom has poorer performance, clock-for-clock, than current Intel chips.

i'm wondering what kind of performance hit you're taking from running a 32-bit OS build on a 64-bit cpu (realizing your choice of applications may have dictated this).

and that does seem like a lot of processes.
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Old 01-01-09, 12:31 PM   #9
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i'm wondering what the laptop is.

from what i've read, the Phenom has poorer performance, clock-for-clock, than current Intel chips.

i'm wondering what kind of performance hit you're taking from running a 32-bit OS build on a 64-bit cpu (realizing your choice of applications may have dictated this).

and that does seem like a lot of processes.
The laptop is a 4 year old dell model.

I am currently defragmenting the hard disk. Ill see if that helps.

As far as all the processes. Ill take a screenshot of all of them and maybe that will help?
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Old 01-01-09, 12:36 PM   #10
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Here are all the processes running. I organized them by memory usage. If there are any I should end let me know lol.

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Old 01-01-09, 12:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlts22 View Post
The box is using all of its physical RAM and having to swap (which kills performance.)

Vista with 1GB is almost unusable. I would highly recommend a RAM upgrade to 4GB if you can, but at least 2.

This will speed up things a lot.

I also would recommend doing a check for malware as stated above. Sunbelt's VIPRE is a good cleaning utility, if you don't have an up to date A/V product installed.
He has 3 Gbytes, and is using only one. It's his other computer (which is faster) that has the 1 Gbyte RAM. There's no point in going beyond 3 Gbyte with his OS...it can't access it, anyway, and it'd just sit there. Even though 32 bits of address translates to 4Gbytes, the upper portion of the address space is reserved for Memory Mapped I/O, and is not available for use in accessing the RAM.

Nothing was using much memory (by Vista standards) or putting any significant load on the CPU in the screen shots posted.

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Old 01-01-09, 12:49 PM   #12
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I think most of the problem is vista. The other computer is XP and seems to just run so much better.
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Old 01-01-09, 12:57 PM   #13
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I think most of the problem is vista. The other computer is XP and seems to just run so much better.
Microsoft seems to be working at solving the problem of Vista being slower than XP...by slowing down XP. My old XP computer has begun behaving kinda like the OP describes since the past few months worth of Microsoft "improvements".

Defragging is not likely to help. Since Microsoft went to NTFS file system (I presume Vista uses it or something better), the need to defrag seems to have greatly diminished. Every time I ask my computer, it tells me that it doesn't need or want to defrag.

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Old 01-01-09, 03:34 PM   #14
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I must have misread the OP when he said he had 1GB of RAM. With 3GB, if there are performance issues, I'd strongly consider a malware scan.

True, 32-bit Vista only uses a part of the 4GB, but I have method in my madness. First, if you install RAM in pairs, most motherboards can interleave it, so performance is improved. Second, you can enable PAE to use more RAM in Vista. You can also enable the 3GB switch to have the system use one GB of RAM, and have the remaining 3GB available to apps. Its kludgy compared to just using a 64 bit OS, but better than nothing, especially if you have to use Win16 apps.

To be honest, there isn't much of a point running XP on newer hardware. Its an OS going on 8 years. Its perfectly fine on Netbooks, but on hardware made in the past six months and systems with RAM more than 1-2 GB, there is not much of an advantage in running it. Believe it or not, Vista is innately far more secure than XP out of the box. If you don't like UAC, there is a utility from Norton Labs that can allow you to check apps to elevate to administrative rights without asking you.
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Old 01-01-09, 03:53 PM   #15
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I'd strongly consider a malware scan.

Any recomended programs?
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Old 01-01-09, 03:56 PM   #16
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avast...
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Old 01-01-09, 04:05 PM   #17
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When you say "slow," what exactly do you mean? How long, for example, does it take to load Photoshop or Internet Explorer on a normal basis?

Keep in mind that one man's slow is another man's "damn quick;" it's all relative.

From looking at everything at face value, your CPU usage seems okay and you have plenty of RAM to spare, so it shouldn't be touching the disk too much for more memory. However, using 1 GB of RAM is a lot, so you might want to turn off some background applications to save some RAM. Given the screenshot you gave us, I would turn off the following:

Quote:
aolsoftware.exe (Unless you use AOL, but otherwise this might have come pre-bundled with AIM or another application)

TiVo Notify (Unless you communicate with a TiVo receiver through your desktop)

FlashUtil10a (Not sure if this is a startup program, but it's probably just used to speed up Flash)
You have more apps running, but they are not shown. These are important. If you have malware or any other nasty stuff going on, they will probably use the LEAST resources (i.e. the least amount of memory) and would be in the area that you didn't show us.

A few other things to keep in mind:
  • You seem to be running a Symantec product. Do you have Norton Antivirus installed on your computer? This program is resource intensive and can slow down your computer sometimes, especially when running a scan.
  • You also have Search Services enabled, which can slow your computer down depending on if it is indexing or not. (If you've left your computer idle for a while, then that may not be an issue, but it is something to consider)
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Old 01-01-09, 04:06 PM   #18
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I think most of the problem is vista. The other computer is XP and seems to just run so much better.
The other computer may or may not have the same programs as this desktop, and probably doesn't have the same configuration either.

Your computer is really well-equipped, if you were worrying about that.
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Old 01-01-09, 04:08 PM   #19
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Any recomended programs?
I keep Avast on a USB flash drive, but I do highly recommend Sunbelt Software's VIPRE utility. I've had users download and install it and it has cleaned up almost hopeless cases of infection with users that have no install media to reinstall.
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Old 01-01-09, 04:10 PM   #20
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^^

I'll keep that in mind. I've been recommending AVG for a long time now and haven't been considering alternatives.
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Old 01-01-09, 07:13 PM   #21
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Spybot Search & Destroy is also useful (as an adjunct to antivirus software like Avast).
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Old 01-01-09, 07:22 PM   #22
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^^^ Isn't that program pretty big for a spyware scanner?
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Old 01-02-09, 12:54 AM   #23
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Make sure the L2/L3 cache on the CPU is turned on. There were some problems with WinXP and certain AMD motherboards where the CPU cache wasn't activated. This results in the CPU only being 25-50% as fast as it could be.

Also when things runs slow, open up the TaskMgr again and sort by CPU usage and see what process hogs up most of the CPU. If you see SystemIdleProcess taking up most of it and your overall CPU usage is 100%, it's typically a driver/interrupt issue. I've seen some issues where IRQ-steering doesn't work correctly.

Turn off extra unneeded services: http://downloads.techrepublic.com.co...x?docid=296633
I've got my Vista installs trimmed down to just 35 processes running, not quite as compact as WinXP with just 25, but much, much better than 70+.
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Old 01-02-09, 06:52 AM   #24
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^^^ Isn't that program pretty big for a spyware scanner?
just don't "immunize" the computer. just run the app once a month or so to clear out any spyware you've picked up.
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Old 01-02-09, 07:43 AM   #25
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Make sure the L2/L3 cache on the CPU is turned on. There were some problems with WinXP and certain AMD motherboards where the CPU cache wasn't activated. This results in the CPU only being 25-50% as fast as it could be.

Also when things runs slow, open up the TaskMgr again and sort by CPU usage and see what process hogs up most of the CPU. If you see SystemIdleProcess taking up most of it and your overall CPU usage is 100%, it's typically a driver/interrupt issue. I've seen some issues where IRQ-steering doesn't work correctly.

Turn off extra unneeded services: http://downloads.techrepublic.com.co...x?docid=296633
I've got my Vista installs trimmed down to just 35 processes running, not quite as compact as WinXP with just 25, but much, much better than 70+.
Thanks for the post. I will check out that link and see if there are some processes I can stop. Just browsing through the list it's either stuff I know I need running or something from windows I am afraid to stop because I don't know what it will do. So that link is really helpful.

Also how would I "Make sure the L2/L3 cache on the CPU is turned on."

Thanks
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