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#287820 - 01/20/10 04:18 PM Helping your Technotard friends and relatives
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8488
Loc: Tacoma
Looking for help.

You all know I'm basically a generalist; I speak "geek" but I'm not nearly as tech savvy as many of you. Nevertheless, I am certainly the alpha geek in my family and in many other circles.

I need to help a dear friend with a "slow" computer. It's a ~3 YO XP machine. That's all I know.

I'll be running the following, but would love any other tips you care to provide:

PC Decrapifier
Startup Inspector
Ad-Aware
Spybot S&D

Will also be invoking Firefox instead of IE and Avast! instead of anything that might be currently installed. And uninstalling all kinds of stuff, I'm sure.

Grateful for any general suggestions. \:\)
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#287828 - 01/20/10 04:48 PM Re: Helping your Technotard friends and relatives [Re: tomtuttle]
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 18044
Loc: NoVA
I would go with MalwareBytes over Spybot, myself, for general removal. We also use CacheCleaner at work. Check the amount of RAM--having 2GB would help a great deal, and that should be pretty cheap right now.

If the hard drive's full, that could also be problematic.
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#287830 - 01/20/10 04:53 PM Re: Helping your Technotard friends and relatives [Re: Ken.C]
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8488
Loc: Tacoma
Thank you, Ken.
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#287834 - 01/20/10 05:02 PM Re: Helping your Technotard friends and relatives [Re: tomtuttle]
Sloped Offline
veteran

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 110
Loc: Fonthill
Check out Smart Defrag 1.40 as well. It has some scheduling features and it's easy to use.

I'd guess with certainty the HD has never been touched.
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#287839 - 01/20/10 05:20 PM Re: Helping your Technotard friends and relatives [Re: Ken.C]
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16437
Loc: Ben Lomond, California
I've been really happy with SuperAntiSpyware. It wants to install itself into your startup items, but you can skip that and run it manually. The free version does everything you need.

http://www.superantispyware.com/
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#287844 - 01/20/10 05:29 PM Re: Helping your Technotard friends and relatives [Re: Sloped]
PeterChenoweth Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 1349
Loc: Jacksonville, IL
Replace it with a new Windows7 machine. Or even better, a Mac. Problem solved. ;\)

Seriously though, +1 to all of the suggestions you've already received.

RAM is a good idea. I've known many "slow" XP machines that came with only 256 or 512MB of RAM. If this is the case with your friend's PC, upgrade that memory if the motherboard supports it. 1GB is good, 2GB is better. Makes a world of difference with XP, and the cost and time involved to upgrade RAM is usually trivial.
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#287846 - 01/20/10 05:34 PM Re: Helping your Technotard friends and relatives [Re: pmbuko]
madjak Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 91
Loc: Victoria, Australia
Tom,

Definitely look at upgrading the Ram first - XP home uses about 700MB of ram without anything else running once all the security patches have been applied. This is really cheap and easy to do and can give a couple more years life to an old machine.

I am finding more and more problems with common antivirus tools slowing windows machines down. It seems the most popular AV tools get targeted by the virus writers. Try some of the free ones like avira and a firewall.

Try opening up task manager and finding the processes using the most CPU. Google the Process name and see what comes up.

Failing that, a full rebuild every once and a while of a windows machine is a sure fire way of speeding things up.

If it was a Mac, I would really recommend getting an SSD drive put it. I just did this for my wifes mac, and it takes less time to startup/shutdown than our Plasma TV does. I don't recommend this yet for Windows as the Operating systems are heavily geared to older hard disk drives, which can be problematic. This is meant to be solved with Windows 7.
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#287847 - 01/20/10 05:57 PM Re: Helping your Technotard friends and relatives [Re: madjak]
Joe_in_SC Offline
devotee

Registered: 02/16/04
Posts: 309
Loc: Charleston, SC
I would also check the to see what's running at start up. It's amazing how many programs feel it's their right to add an automatic start up with Windows.
Click the Start button, then Run, and type msconfig in the box then hit enter. Click the Startup tab and see what has a check mark. XP really doesn't need much running. If in doubt, Google the Startup item.
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#287858 - 01/20/10 06:42 PM Re: Helping your Technotard friends and relatives [Re: Joe_in_SC]
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8488
Loc: Tacoma
Thank you again, gentlemen. I was already hip to most of that, but certainly appreciate the affirmation and reminders!

The time/beer relationship is hopelessly inadequate for me to rebuild this machine.

I already suggested he get a Mac. No sale at this time. Will definitely look at the RAM.

Another tool I like is to initiate dxdiag from the Run prompt. Nice, concise snapshot of what you've got to work with.

Thank you so much for your time and expertise!
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#287860 - 01/20/10 06:47 PM Re: Helping your Technotard friends and relatives [Re: tomtuttle]
EFalardeau Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 08/27/07
Posts: 3399
Loc: Laval, Quebec, Canada
 Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
The time/beer relationship is hopelessly inadequate for me to rebuild this machine.

That's great philosophy Tom: There's a time and a beer for everything!
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