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Improving Computer Performance





socceraggie
Hello all,

I know there are several posting here related to improving computer performance and I've read all that I can find. I obtained a laptop from my sister that is several years old. Here are some basic specs on the machine:
Windows XP SP2 Media Center Edition
AMD Turion (tm) 64 Mobile Technology ML-34
1.79 Ghz - 448 MB RAM

I have performed the following steps since I obtained the machine to try and improve its performance:
- Installed and run SUPER AntiSpiware
- Installed Firefox
- Defraged the harddrive
- Installed McAfee virus protection
- Installed and run HijackThis and MSCONFIG
- Uninstalled unnecessary applications

I'd like to avoid formatting the machine and re-installing everything. Any advice would be a great help![/list][/list]
coreymanshack
socceraggie wrote:
Hello all,

I know there are several posting here related to improving computer performance and I've read all that I can find. I obtained a laptop from my sister that is several years old. Here are some basic specs on the machine:
Windows XP SP2 Media Center Edition
AMD Turion (tm) 64 Mobile Technology ML-34
1.79 Ghz - 448 MB RAM

I have performed the following steps since I obtained the machine to try and improve its performance:
- Installed and run SUPER AntiSpiware
- Installed Firefox
- Defraged the harddrive
- Installed McAfee virus protection
- Installed and run HijackThis and MSCONFIG
- Uninstalled unnecessary applications

I'd like to avoid formatting the machine and re-installing everything. Any advice would be a great help![/list][/list]


Well when you installed McAfee virus protection the performance went down the drain. It's using up a lot of recourses.
socceraggie
Quote:
Well when you installed McAfee virus protection the performance went down the drain. It's using up a lot of recourses.


What would you suggest then? Do you have a recommended virus software I should consider?
Diablosblizz
Give NOD32 or Windows Security Essentials a try. I'd try the Windows one first, it should be perfect for your laptop. In addition, your laptop will run but without at least 1GB of ram your laptop is going to be slow. Most programs use 512 anyways. I do agree though, ditch McAfee.

Also, this shouldn't matter much but is the laptop dual core?
ocalhoun
Also, try doing Google searches about your anti-spyware software...
Things like "________ slows down my computer", "______ is spyware malware", or "______ sucks".
If you get lots of results for these with people complaining about it, you might want to switch to a different software. If there are not many complaints, you'd probably be fine using the one you have now.

And I don't have to ask to know that McAffe is slowing you down.

I use 'spyware search and destroy' and 'AVG free edition'. Both, especially AVG, are good about not slowing down your system or being intrusive. Also, both are completely free, including updates. And, obviously, I trust both of them to not install more than they remove, like some programs will. (There are some, especially anti-spyware programs, that will install spyware when you install them. Then, they'll detect the spyware they installed, and prompt you to upgrade to the full version 'only $29.99' in order to remove that spyware.)


Another piece of advice: use one of the several free XP tweaking programs available. Get one that can shut down windows services. On my (vista) computer, I've shut down several windows services, which makes boot times faster, and reduces load on the system:
-security center (not needed with 3rd party protection software, and disabling it removes annoying warnings as an extra plus.)
-update manager (I only update when I think an update will fix a problem I have; all too often updates break things that are working fine.)
-messenger service (don't use it)
-printer spool (I don't have a printer installed)
-and others I forget about
blueray
If you do change your anti-virus app.
Then you can ignore this. Else then
you can tweak the mcafee by setting its options
only check for virus on sending and receiving mail.
But disable the real time check on the mcafee security options center.
It is the stuff that slow down much your system.

Disable uneeded service also be a big help on resource usage as mentioned on the post above.
On my Windows XP it reduces almost 100MB memory usage.
Especially the version of Windows XP your system currently in use.
Donutey
Three things:

Add more RAM, Add more RAM, Add more RAM.

512MB is small for running XP on, you'll notice a considerable speed improvement by going to at least 1GB.
tamilparks
ya you are using McAffe Virus Scanner, you can to extent your RAM, if you Extent really your computer will Speed UP.. another way is you can change your virus scanner to some other virus scanner..
socceraggie
Thank you to everyone for their time and feedback. I think I'll start by adding more RAM and see if that shows some improvement and go from there.
Diablosblizz
I'd advice against what ocalhoun said about disabling automatic updates. While not all of them are security risks, most are. By disabling this and not updating your computer regularly your computer is more open to a security attack. That's not saying it's going to happen, but if it ever does that because you didn't patch that one security hole.
ocalhoun
Diablosblizz wrote:
I'd advice against what ocalhoun said about disabling automatic updates. While not all of them are security risks, most are. By disabling this and not updating your computer regularly your computer is more open to a security attack. That's not saying it's going to happen, but if it ever does that because you didn't patch that one security hole.

Perhaps, but in my experience this: 'hey, my ________ suddenly doesn't work anymore (caused by update)' happens more often than 'hey, somebody hacked my computer' or 'hey, I got a virus (despite the anti-virus program)'. That, plus the savings in resources and user annoyance makes it worthwhile to me.
(I got spoiled by linux, where I can choose to only do security updates, and when I have a problem, look through a list of available non-security updates for one that might fix it. Then, when I have to use windows, I get very annoyed about the 'all or nothing' approach to updates.)
coreymanshack
ocalhoun wrote:
Diablosblizz wrote:
I'd advice against what ocalhoun said about disabling automatic updates. While not all of them are security risks, most are. By disabling this and not updating your computer regularly your computer is more open to a security attack. That's not saying it's going to happen, but if it ever does that because you didn't patch that one security hole.

Perhaps, but in my experience this: 'hey, my ________ suddenly doesn't work anymore (caused by update)' happens more often than 'hey, somebody hacked my computer' or 'hey, I got a virus (despite the anti-virus program)'. That, plus the savings in resources and user annoyance makes it worthwhile to me.
(I got spoiled by linux, where I can choose to only do security updates, and when I have a problem, look through a list of available non-security updates for one that might fix it. Then, when I have to use windows, I get very annoyed about the 'all or nothing' approach to updates.)


Linux is neat, but people don't like to develop drivers and software for it.
Diablosblizz
ocalhoun wrote:
Perhaps, but in my experience this: 'hey, my ________ suddenly doesn't work anymore (caused by update)' happens more often than 'hey, somebody hacked my computer' or 'hey, I got a virus (despite the anti-virus program)'. That, plus the savings in resources and user annoyance makes it worthwhile to me.
(I got spoiled by linux, where I can choose to only do security updates, and when I have a problem, look through a list of available non-security updates for one that might fix it. Then, when I have to use windows, I get very annoyed about the 'all or nothing' approach to updates.)


I somewhat understand where you're coming from, it could cause a hassle although you can uninstall the updates if need-be. I've never had a update corrupt / break anything.

Quote:
Linux is neat, but people don't like to develop drivers and software for it.


Yeah, like right now would be nice.
coreymanshack
ocalhoun wrote:

Perhaps, but in my experience this: 'hey, my ________ suddenly doesn't work anymore (caused by update)' happens more often than 'hey, somebody hacked my computer' or 'hey, I got a virus (despite the anti-virus program)'. That, plus the savings in resources and user annoyance makes it worthwhile to me.
(I got spoiled by linux, where I can choose to only do security updates, and when I have a problem, look through a list of available non-security updates for one that might fix it. Then, when I have to use windows, I get very annoyed about the 'all or nothing' approach to updates.)


I've never had anything break due to a windows update. People get viruses all the time due to them not knowing what they are downloading... example: Nickleback-Burn_It_Into_The_Ground.exe .... OH I NEED THAT SONG /download /virus....
What resources are you talking about saving? What user annoyance are you talking about? You can turn off windows update notifications.
Non-Security updates are sometimes a newer version of the .NET framework or something of the sort. The updates are exactly their definition
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/update wrote:

update
vb [ʌpˈdeɪt] (tr)
to bring up to date

An update may increase the performance of your system, or install a new library that other programs could use and be faster, but if you didn't install it they reverted to the old library.

You don't have to install all updates at once on a windows system. You can actually select which ones you want to install, and leave the rest in the updates list. You can also choose to install updates automatically or manually, but you already knew that.
ocalhoun
^My windows systems don't ever get very far out of date anyway. I completely re-install them every 6 months, a habit gained from older versions of windows to prevent the gradual bloat-slow-die trend they have, and I continue it, assuming newer versions are still susceptible to the same cycle, though it is perhaps slower.

Part of the re-installation process is to get all of the new updates, before disabling the update manager. So, any windows system of mine is never more than 6 months out of date; perfectly acceptable, given that I rely on 3rd party programs (and hardware) for security.
deanhills
Diablosblizz wrote:
I'd advice against what ocalhoun said about disabling automatic updates. While not all of them are security risks, most are. By disabling this and not updating your computer regularly your computer is more open to a security attack. That's not saying it's going to happen, but if it ever does that because you didn't patch that one security hole.
I'm all for disabling automatic updates. I've had so many BAD experiences with them, that I feel much safer not using them.

With regard to anti-Virus software, I use Kaspersky and am very happy with it. I changed from Norton Anti-Virus last year. I found Norton Virus slowing down my system, and am not even aware I have an anti-virus system with Kaspersky.

Does look though that more memory is needed. These days one should have at least 2GB if you are working with desk top publishing or any other sophisticated design programmes. I'm not an expert but I believe if you plug in an external hard disk or memory stick of 8GB or more, that that may speed up things as well.
MarzEz
things that slow down your computer:
-antivirus
-automatic updates
-programs that run in the background

I recommend backing up all your files, reformatting with XP Pro, installing Bitdefender as antivirus and restoring documents. the number of antivirus programs you have probably slows the computer down more than any virus.
ForceRun
I believe for most people the best upgrade thAt will give you the best return as far as speed is conserned is buying a faster hard drive such as an SSD. The system boots much faster, and most interactions with the computer are usally based on the hard drive. I haven't really seen ram upgrade speed a system up very much. ram usally just let's the system run smoother, and to a small amount allow better mulitasking.

For gaming the video card is the most import aspect of your hardware, then ram and processor. Try getting an SSD for you system and you should be happy with the speed boost.
Fire Boar
Not yet - SSDs (Solid-State Drives) are extremely expensive for their storage: the best overall value I've seen is 160GB at a whopping 420. You can get decent conventional HDs for around half that now if you know where to look.
ocalhoun
Fire Boar wrote:
Not yet - SSDs (Solid-State Drives) are extremely expensive for their storage: the best overall value I've seen is 160GB at a whopping 420. You can get decent conventional HDs for around half that now if you know where to look.

Ideally, you could get a smaller, cheaper one to store the most critical and most commonly-accessed files, and use a larger conventional drive for primary storage. Windows would be less versatile than linux in getting that set up though.
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