venuscat2
Posts: 461
Joined: Fri Sep 08, 2000 1:44 am

Computer Problems

Sun Nov 16, 2003 1:22 pm

I posted a while back about some computer problems on one computer (which have since been resolved) but I am now having trouble with a different computer.

It is an HP pavillion running windows XP. It has been running extremely slowly lately, with way too much disk activity (even when the computer is just sitting there idle, it never stops writing to the disk). I tried turning off the virtual memory, defragging the hard drive, and turning it back on at a fixed size. This didn't seem to work. I ran PC Pitstop, and it told me that the 128 MB of RAM installed on the computer was not sufficient. I went and bought 256 MB of RAM (K-Byte PC133 SDRAM) and installed it in the open slot. Crucial Memory's website informed me that the computer will accept this. I turned the computer back on, and haven't noticed any difference. It almost seems as if things have gotten worse. Any idea what might be going on here? Thanks.

Jordan
 
csavel
Posts: 1265
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2001 9:38 pm

RE: Computer Problems

Sun Nov 16, 2003 1:35 pm

At first glance it sounds like you may have some spyware/adware running in the background. Does this happen when you are on-line and you aren't doing anything? This is happening a lot, and web surfers sometimes don't even know they;ve downloaded it - esp. if you download Gator, Bonzi buddy or any of those other buggy pieces of crap.

I'd definitely get a spyware/adware checker and a virus checker.

Have you checked what programs are running (even when idle there are usually some processes running. You can see if there are any that are unfamiliar.)

You also may have to increase your virtual memory. with 256MB + 128MB, you probably can.

I may be ugly. I may be an American. But don't call me an ugly American.
 
venuscat2
Posts: 461
Joined: Fri Sep 08, 2000 1:44 am

RE: Computer Problems

Sun Nov 16, 2003 11:15 pm

PC Pitstop checks for spyware and didn't find any. I have norton personal firewall and anti-virus, and everything appears the be clean.

On windows XP it is hard to tell what programs are running in the backround. I guess it classifies them as "processes." Which of these processes are essential to have running?
 
csavel
Posts: 1265
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2001 9:38 pm

RE: Computer Problems

Sun Nov 16, 2003 11:44 pm

It depends on your configuration, and what programs you've loaded, e.g. If you have PageMaker or the full version of Acrobat you may see acrotray.exe or distiller.exe, if you have DSL or a Cable modem, you'll have lots of processes depending on provider. Same with scanners, Zip drives, etc.

In WIn XP, if you don't have the latest service pack, Explorer.exe can continue to run even when idle.

Here is a knowledgebase article that describes it.
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;317751&Product=winxp

HTH

csavel
I may be ugly. I may be an American. But don't call me an ugly American.
 
UN_B732
Posts: 3529
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2001 12:57 am

RE: Computer Problems

Mon Nov 17, 2003 1:00 am

Virus (Check with Norton)
Spyware (Adaware)
Both of which you can download trials for.
If you have any more questions, feel free to contact me via my e-mail address.
Regards
-UN
What now?
 
mas a330
Posts: 1476
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2000 11:12 pm

RE: Computer Problems

Mon Nov 17, 2003 1:43 pm

The best cure is to take a hammer.....
 
airlinelover
Posts: 5287
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2001 8:03 am

RE: Computer Problems

Mon Nov 17, 2003 2:56 pm

It -COULD- be an issue with Virtual Memory, but my first thoughts were also along the lines of ad/spyware.. The Processes may also be a part of it..

Go to the "Start" menu and choose "Run" and type MSCONFIG and hit enter.. the RIGHT TWO tabs are SERVICES and Startup.. Check and see what is running in those. if there is a lot, see if there is anything you don't need, and uncheck it..

A lot of programs these days set themselves to run when you start windows, and it can be a memory hog..

Any ?'s feel free to email me

Chris

(already working on fixing 4 right now  Smile )
Lets do some sexy math. We add you, subtract your clothes, divide your legs and multiply
 
UTA_flyinghigh
Posts: 6304
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2001 8:46 pm

RE: Computer Problems

Mon Nov 17, 2003 5:27 pm

To increase virtual memory in XP :
Control Panel - System - Advanced - Performance "Settings Button", then Advanced then Virtual Memory.
Also, how much free disk space do you have ?
And while you're in "System", check that the computer has detected the new memory module (since it starts up, it should have, but then, you never know Big grin)
Will

Airlinelover, you in IT support 2 ?
Fly to live, live to fly - Air France/KLM Flying Blue Platinum, BMI Diamond Club Gold, Emirates Skywards
 
airlinelover
Posts: 5287
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2001 8:03 am

RE: Computer Problems

Tue Nov 18, 2003 2:26 am

It has been running extremely slowly lately, with way too much disk activity (even when the computer is just sitting there idle, it never stops writing to the disk)

This is, in most cases I have seen, 99% due to virtual memory.. How much do you have it set to use for virtual?


UTA, Yeah, I am.. Actually have been for a while, since my first IBM compatible, a WANG 386sx20, but just now actually bothering to get certified and stuff, and maybe make a full-time job out of it.. Before now, I just did it more out of a hobby standpoint (the extra $ was nice) but now, gonna go for it full time  Smile
Lets do some sexy math. We add you, subtract your clothes, divide your legs and multiply
 
Qb001
Posts: 1923
Joined: Fri Apr 28, 2000 12:42 am

RE: Computer Problems

Tue Nov 18, 2003 7:20 am

Never let the facts get in the way of a good theory.
 
bobrayner
Posts: 2038
Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2003 8:03 am

RE: Computer Problems

Tue Nov 18, 2003 12:49 pm

I'd say...

1. Check that the new physical memory as been recognised. It should be, but let's make sure.
2. DO NOT increase virtual memory. Buy more physical; it should be dirt-cheap. Disable VM if at all possible.
3. Get rid of the usual spyware &c.
4. Disable (or set to manual) any unnecessary services.
5. Clean the junk out of hklm/software/microsoft/windows/currentversion/run (and also hkcu).
6. Clean the junk out of the respective Startup folders.
7. Nail down your AV. You don't need continual checks of the whole fs if you're already checking everything that goes in and out, surely?

And so on...

7. Check windowsupdate. It won't help your performance, but I always recommend it anyway  Wink/being sarcastic

After doing all that, try looking at the process list, after a clean restart. How many processes, and how much memory in use?
Cunning linguist
 
RoyalDutch
Posts: 862
Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2001 9:51 pm

RE: Computer Problems

Tue Nov 18, 2003 4:07 pm

If all of that doesn't work out, you can always format and re-install...I kind of like to do it every so often (6 moths to a year or so)...it does wonders for the machine...gets rid of all that extra crap that piles up over time...I have 2 HDDs, too, so that makes backing up the important stuff easy. My friend's laptop was doing something similar lately, and I went through msconfig and all sorts of stuff to see if I could clean it up, and no go...he had so much crap on his system it was just dying, and It wasn't worth our time to hunt it all down. We re-formatted it..took about 3 hours to dump the old installation and get everything back on...works like a new machine now.
One other thing you might want to consider is newer RAM...SDRAM is a thing of the past...even PC2100 DDR is comparatively slow now...and Windows XP draws a lot of juice. Your motherboard may not support the newer RAM, though, so be sure to check before you buy.
 
maiznblu_757
Posts: 4952
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2002 12:05 pm

RE: Computer Problems

Tue Nov 25, 2003 3:44 am

Chris,
what is a good setting for virtual memory usage?

[Edited 2003-11-24 19:44:58]
 
bobrayner
Posts: 2038
Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2003 8:03 am

RE: Computer Problems

Tue Nov 25, 2003 8:11 am

what is a good setting for virtual memory usage?

If you have a good idea of how much memory you're likely to use... estimate the maximum memory you'll ever need, then subtract the amount of physical memory installed in your machine. The difference (plus, say, 20% for the road) is the amount of virtual memory that you'll need.

If not, tell Windows to manage VM for you automatically. This is an easier choice, although in the long term you may find that the swapfile becomes fragmented (so, tasks requiring virtual memory are even slower than before). This fragmentation is inconvenient (although not really difficult) to fix.

Don't lose any sleep over it. In most conditions, performance differences between the two are fairly small compared to various other things that you can do with (or inflict on) your machine.
Cunning linguist

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