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Author Topic: Slow laptop problems?  (Read 6263 times)
WA9YOZ
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Posts: 28




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« on: December 14, 2011, 06:29:32 PM »

Greetings all! My Toshiba laptop #6100 is getting slower by the day and sometimes it shows a message "Internet Explorer cannot display this website". I'm connected via dial up & it worked fast in the beginning. Windows XP is installed and the CPU is 1.2Ghz....I think..
Don't know why it is so slow!
Any one know how to remedy and make it as fast as in the beginning when I got it?
Thank you for your time & best of Seasons Greetings to all!
Tony
LIFER: ARRL & AMSAT
Presently radio inactive.
73's
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K3AN
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Posts: 787




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« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2011, 02:54:28 PM »

Hit Ctrl-Alt-Del to open Windows Task Manager. Look at the column labeled CPU. This is a snapshot of the percentage of CPU cycles each of the listed programs is using. The snapshot is updated about once every second or so. At the bottom of the list (you may have to scroll down to see it) is System Idle Process which should be in the 90+ percent range most of the time, unless some program is consistently hogging the CPU.

Which programs are the "hogs" on your laptop?
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WB6RXG
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Posts: 73




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« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2011, 03:08:35 PM »

K3AN's idea is a good place to start.

The first thing I would do is change the default browser history settings in Internet Explorer.
Start Internet Explorer
Go to TOOLS, Internet Options.
Click on the settings button in the browser history section.  I set my 700mhz Dell laptop to 100mb of history.

The next thing I would do is defragment the hard drive.
Go to Start, programs, accessories, systems tools, Disk defragmenter.

If after you do the defrag and things are still slow you should run a complete virus scan.  then you should install and run AdAware and Malwarebytes.  They should get rid of any malware.

Good luck and 73,
Stuart

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W8JX
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« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2011, 04:10:50 PM »

De fragging is not going to fix problem here. I have REAL good idea as to what is going on here. This is a really old laptop. Back when it was built XP code was smaller and browsers were simpler. It maybe has 512 meg of ram and HD is very slow by todays standards too. CPU is very marginal for web browsing  with todays standards and HTML is far more complex.

What is happening here is this computer lacks enough ram to run and it is paging a LOT of code of hard drive to make virtual ram but this code must be swapped into memory to execute. And, the more code you swap the more active memory is lost because more of it is used tracking memory pages on HD. Through in a slow CPU and a old HD and it will reach a point it will stall or get page fault and not run apps because it does not have enough real memory.

The "fix"? Well I STRONGLY suggest you scrap it as you can buy a decent low end laptop for around 300 bucks that is light years ahead of that thing. I would not waste any time trying to keep it alive unless you are willing to install a new hard drive and more ram. (you need more ram, at least 1.5 gig total with 2 gig preferable with todays apps and code, and HD is on borrowed time) Do this and it can be viable for a few more years and run better too.  Anyone that tells your otherwise is just blowing smoke at you.    I use a 6+ year old HP laptop that I installed faster CPU that would fit (a 1.7 ghz Celeron M for7 bucks on Ebay) 1.5 gig of ram and a new faster and bigger HD a year ago and it does fine for radio stuff and browsing or even viewing streaming video. Also I might add that while i am no big fan of Google Chrome is is superior for video streamed content on a older low resource machines and will play clips smoothly on machines that chop using Internet explorer or FireFox.
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KC9Q
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« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2011, 04:31:01 PM »

Tony,

Try this too:  In Internet Explorer go to Tools/Internet Options.  Under General Tab go to the Browsing History section.  Click on the Delete Button.  Select Temporary Files and History.  Then click on the Delete Button.  This could a few minutes to clear.

Also if you have Microsoft Outlook:  Right Cllick on Outlook Today - [Personal Folders].  Click on the Advanced Button, then Click on the Compact Now button.  This will delete any deleted e-mail cache and clear alot of memory.

73,
Mike
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W8JX
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« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2011, 05:08:39 PM »

Tony,

Try this too:  In Internet Explorer go to Tools/Internet Options.  Under General Tab go to the Browsing History section.  Click on the Delete Button.  Select Temporary Files and History.  Then click on the Delete Button.  This could a few minutes to clear.

Will not help him one bit. It will only clear up some hard drive space and not much at that.

Also if you have Microsoft Outlook:  Right Cllick on Outlook Today - [Personal Folders].  Click on the Advanced Button, then Click on the Compact Now button.  This will delete any deleted e-mail cache and clear alot of memory.

73,
Mike

Same thing, it will not clear up active memory, only HD file size.

There is no point and click fix here....
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NA4IT
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« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2011, 04:32:56 AM »

Determine what make and model of modem you have, then go to Google, and enter that info plus the term "modem tweaks". See if there are some setting you can tweak that will ensure the highest Internet speed possible.

NOTE: If you are using dial up, and have a second line for your computer, take a look at some of the cellular companies and their "wireless broadband" service. I live in the boonies where my Verizon phone doesn't work, and no DSL or cable Internet is available. I decided to talk to US Cellular to see if they would let me try their service, and bring back the modem if it didn't work. They have a 30 day return window, and you only pay for data used. I pay just a few bucks more than what I was paying for dial up with a second line, and now have 3G wireless speeds, going from 48kbps to at times 1.5Mbps, with an average of 600kbps to 800kbps. That is 12.5 to 31.25 times the dial up.

de NA4IT
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W8QZ
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« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2011, 05:25:06 AM »

In my experience, the most effective Windows computer tune-up is to reformat the hard drive, and make a fresh install of Windows (and of the applications you really want). Don't install anything extra (since many programs want to 'help' you by installing other 'things').

Windows gradually degrades with use, it seems - at least when it's connected to the internet. That's why your computer doesn't work "as fast as in the beginning when I got it".

On the other hand, programmer 'bloat' has happened to a lot of websites, so that web pages now have more glitzy graphics and pictures to download than they used to.
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W8JX
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« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2011, 06:07:13 AM »

In my experience, the most effective Windows computer tune-up is to reformat the hard drive, and make a fresh install of Windows (and of the applications you really want). Don't install anything extra (since many programs want to 'help' you by installing other 'things').

This shows a lack of understanding here. You fix it but nuking and and re-installing it and then re-installing all needed up dates?  Get Real. There is no need for this. There are some good programs out there like MalewareByte and SpyBot that will remove scrip files and registry entries that might slow system down with a re-install. I have NEVER had to nuke and re-install to fix even a bad virus infestation.

Windows gradually degrades with use, it seems - at least when it's connected to the internet. That's why your computer doesn't work "as fast as in the beginning when I got it".

Only somewhat true. It slows for a several reasons. First the code itself is more complex now after it has been updated and patched. Second some spyware can add overhead but is easily removed as mentioned above. Third new standards in browsers take more memory and CPU cycles to use. A lot of things have happen since laptop was new and yet it has same CPU and slow HD and same limited memory. Only chance to try to keep it viable is more memory and new hard drive. If you think there is a point and click solution or that a re-install is going to fix this you are wasting time. Laptop in question lacks resources to be viable today

On the other hand, programmer 'bloat' has happened to a lot of websites, so that web pages now have more glitzy graphics and pictures to download than they used to.

This is not "bloat". It is the Web and why we like it. New standards like HTML 5 is taking over and it takes more resources on computer to keep up with it. Also IE/Internet Explorer is kinda the worse thing to use on a old limited resource computer. It is a resource hog and slow. Use FireFox or Google Chrome here. IE is also more vulnerable to spyware than others. A old laptop with XP is stuck at IE8 level which is not very secure from attacks vs IE9. But, latest FireFox or Chrome will run on XP.

I wish there was a easy fix but this laptop needs more ram and newer HD to stay somewhat viable.
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WA9YOZ
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« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2011, 09:33:19 AM »

Thanks to all for your informative suggestions. I'll try to do one piece at a time, no hurry, it's just another hobby for me.
Again,THANKS!
Tony
wa9yoz
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WB6RXG
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« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2011, 11:39:59 AM »

W8JX Said "De fragging is not going to fix problem here. I have REAL good idea as to what is going on here. This is a really old laptop. Back when it was built XP code was smaller..."

Really John?  His situation cannot be improved?  I am running Windows XP pro on a Dell Latitude CPx with a 700MHz processor and 256mb of ram.  It runs faster than my Dell desktop with a 1.4GHz processor and 1Gb ram.

My suggestions are valid.  Making some simple changes to Internet Explorer's settings and "tuning" the OS including defragging on a regular basis will improve the performance of the system.  Sometimes the improvement can be quite drastic.

Yes, he has old hardware but it can be made to perform better.

By the way I've been building PCs as a career since the early 1980s.

73,
Stuart
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W8JX
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« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2011, 12:09:44 PM »

W8JX Said "De fragging is not going to fix problem here. I have REAL good idea as to what is going on here. This is a really old laptop. Back when it was built XP code was smaller..."

Really John?  His situation cannot be improved?  I am running Windows XP pro on a Dell Latitude CPx with a 700MHz processor and 256mb of ram.  It runs faster than my Dell desktop with a 1.4GHz processor and 1Gb ram.

Stuart, you must have a VERY low standard of acceptable performance. XP with 256 meg is a joke. A very bad one at that. 512mg is marginal too. You have to get at least a gig or ram or you will spend a lot of time waiting or code swaps and pounding hard drive into ground doing it. It is runs faster than your desktop iut is only because it is so loading up with stuff it is even a bigger slug. Many let Windoze automatically manage swap file size which is also a mistake because the bigger it gets the less usable memory you have because a lot of it is locked to track code page swaps.


My suggestions are valid.  Making some simple changes to Internet Explorer's settings and "tuning" the OS including defragging on a regular basis will improve the performance of the system.  Sometimes the improvement can be quite drastic.

Yes, he has old hardware but it can be made to perform better.

By the way I've been building PCs as a career since the early 1980s.


Well you have not learn too much building them is my guess. I built, IT'ed and wholesaled PC's for many years but got out of it when cheap clones flooded market many years ago. Reloads were never a option for me to use or suggest to clients then or now. I did not have time to waste doing it then or now. I believe in cures not bandaids. the least powerful PC I have here is a old 2.8ghz P4 rebuilt with a modern 7200rpm drive and 1 gig of ram for wife to use with here sewing/embroidery stuff which needs serial and parallel ports. It is a vanillia XP install with virus protection to surf web to and does okay. It is kept updated. I found performance lacking with a slower CPU it had so I installed fastest CPU MB would support. I would not waste time with a slower machine or less ram for this task for her. I find it surprising for someone that claims to have built PC's since 80's uses such slow hardware and limited rams and finds it okay. It takes 300 to 400 meg just to boot a XP machine with latest updates installed and at to that for virus software and what have you. Lacking real memory it will make fake paged memory and run at a snails pace.
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AA6YQ
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« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2011, 01:08:25 PM »

Stuart, you must have a VERY low standard of acceptable performance. XP with 256 meg is a joke. A very bad one at that. 512mg is marginal too. You have to get at least a gig or ram or you will spend a lot of time waiting or code swaps and pounding hard drive into ground doing it.

The minimum memory requirement for XP SP3 is 64 mb, with 128 mb recommended; see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314865.

Yes, adding RAM is generally an effective way to improve performance, but not all hams can afford to do that. Optimizations like startup management, service management, VM tuning, and disk defragmentation may not be as effective as adding RAM, but they are definitely less costly -- and should be implemented before blindly abandoning ship. Free applications like Advanced SystemCare can also be effective at improving performance.

Your claim that you can accurately diagnose a laptop's performance problems sight unseen is simply ludicrous, consistent with many of your postings here.


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W8JX
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« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2011, 04:10:33 PM »

Stuart, you must have a VERY low standard of acceptable performance. XP with 256 meg is a joke. A very bad one at that. 512mg is marginal too. You have to get at least a gig or ram or you will spend a lot of time waiting or code swaps and pounding hard drive into ground doing it.

The minimum memory requirement for XP SP3 is 64 mb, with 128 mb recommended; see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314865.

It is called MARKETING back then as RAM was expensive too. MS has ALWAYS underestimated memory requirements. 512 is very minimal for XP today. The reason Vista flopped so bad on launch was two fold. One MS underestimated memory requirements for Vista big time at 512meg. Should have been 2 gig but memory was expensive and MS wanted to sell a new OS. Second reason was makers like Dell flooded market with cheap older chipsets that were not fully Vista compliant. I have 4 Vista machines here. One 32 bit with 2.5 gig and two 64bit with 4 gig and another with 8gig. NEVER had any problems with Vista on any of them and some are 4 years old. THis is because it is on fully compliant hardware and lots of ram. YOu want to run XP on 256meg knock yourself out.

Yes, adding RAM is generally an effective way to improve performance, but not all hams can afford to do that. Optimizations like startup management, service management, VM tuning, and disk defragmentation may not be as effective as adding RAM, but they are definitely less costly -- and should be implemented before blindly abandoning ship. Free applications like Advanced SystemCare can also be effective at improving performance.

A waste of time here. Effort would be better spent on either adding ram and a new HD with data cloned off old one or trash it and start over because he could spend days and get nowhere or even push old HD into failure. Some seem to think a HD lasts for ever. Newer ones are quieter, cooler running and much faster too. (decreases boot time) A solid upgrade. HD's of XP era are REALLY slow by todays standards.

You kinda remind me of some "experts" that fix PC's by reloading them because they do not really understand what problem it may have. And this can work for a bit because a fresh reload use less ram until you update it and use latest browsers  and utilities and memory runs out and it is a slug again.  


Your claim that you can accurately diagnose a laptop's performance problems sight unseen is simply ludicrous, consistent with many of your postings here.

This is easy here. Brand says it all. Dell was well know back then for minimal hardware and ram and used cheapest parts possible. Dell had nearly gone bankrupt over laptops a few years earlier. 99% of laptop owner NEVER add ram to them and never replace/upgrade hard drive in them. You would have him waste his time on a dying horse while i would not. Upgrade ram and HD or pitch it. A New 300 buck laptop is light years ahead of that thing. My son just got a new Compaq for 259 on sale with 64 bit OS and 3 gig of ram. It kicks but for what it is. I have better things to do than waste time with old slow hardware. You would have him reload or defrag or what have you and all this could be enough to push old HD into failure and then he will have nothing. I replace HD's in laptops that i still use after 3 or so regardless. Also use max ram they will support generally.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 07:14:59 PM by W8JX » Logged

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KE4DRN
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« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2011, 07:19:29 PM »

hi,

No reason to recycle a good machine,
depending on what  you are doing with it.

Run a non destructive test of the HD, use one from the
manufacturer of the HD.

Sometimes there will be a bad area and this can be
'repaired' by the software shifting the data from the bad area.
Sort of like driving around a large pot hole in the street.

Just finished working on a Dell with similar problem
along with excessive malware and browser search hijack.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals

Their stuff is so good MS purchased the company while ago.

Look at the Page Defrag and AutoRuns.

http://www.malwarebytes.org/   run it and see what it finds.

Free up wasted space by using Disk Cleanup built into the os,
go to c: drive right click on properties click on Disk Cleanup,
if the OS has been upgraded over the years you'll have lots of
space being used by earlier versions along with backup files from
MS patches and updates.  It will let you know how much is used and
will not take action unless you tell it to do so.

73 james
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