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Slow computer

  1. Jun 3, 2010 #1
    About every ten days or so, my computer, with Windows XP, especially internet explorer (#8 I think) gets slower and slower so I run the free version of ccleaner...and it speeds right up for another week or ten days....Almost all the files "cleaned" are under the internet explorer category. I always install Microsoft updates.)

    So yesterday, I again ran ccleaner, again my computer seemed normal afterwards, but I decided to also check with "doublemyspeed.com" another cleaning tool ..

    Supposedly it found 515 "problems" but I have no idea what they mean.

    items found:
    system software settings: 291
    user software settings: 126
    Activex,OLE and com settings: 55
    Invalid file associations:24
    uninstall section : 15

    So should I spend about $30 for a year of "doublemyspeed.com" for to fix those supposed "problems"?? To my knowledge I have NOT manually selected any user settings..whatever Microsoft provided is what I use.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 3, 2010 #2
    I would point out that if you took a brand new computer to their site they would find several hundred problems anyway. They will say that so that you will use their software.

    Honestly, I would suggest that you back up all your data and reinstall xp. It is a good practice to put everything back in order. I generally do it about once a year or so.
    This way you can insure that you have no malware on your computer and set up a few programs to better defend your computer while there is nothing on it.

    You can find a lot of tips online to help speed up your computer by tweaking your OS and perhaps upgrading some hardware to avoid such a extreme step as a HD wipe though.

    Could you give some more info on your PC?
    Do you have adequate virus protection?
    How much memory do you have?
  4. Jun 3, 2010 #3
    I'm not brave enough to reinstall XP, but that IS a good suggestion; my luck is such that it's unlikely I'll try!!!!! My data is backed up on an external hard drive and I always use Norton antivirus and make sure it's running. I don'tdo any heavy duty graphics or games of any kind and my C drive is something 70% available and D about 50%....Have about 3 x 256MG RAM...80GB hard drive, interl processor..unsure which one, maybe 3.2 GB/S or thereabouts...

    Anyway, the computer runs just fine after ccleaner....when I download photos and videos from friends, 95% of the time I just run them, not save any.....that's the only activity can imagine that might slow things down in a week or ten days...
  5. Jun 3, 2010 #4
    Ah, I forsee a RAM upgrade in your future. Your IE 8 is using up all your ram with temporary internet files and is starting to cache them on your Hard Drive. The reason it runs faster after you run the cleaner is it deletes these files. IE 8 gets pretty bloated pretty fast. Are other programs running slowly?

    Would you be against buying more ram? I think that would be an inexpensive long term solution. There are some settings you could change in internet explorer, but I don't think it would really help in the long term unless you have a really fast internet connection.

    I would suggest at least 1 gig RAM to run XP and IE 8 without a hitch. I'll have to check maybe to if you are using a lot of video.

    As cheap as you can get RAM in these numbers the upgrade won't heart at all.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2010
  6. Jun 3, 2010 #5
    Thanks for the feedback:

    I can add another 256 RAM no problem....when you say "using video" what does that mean??

    I watch some video news clips and similar but do not save them, only "run".....would a "run" video stay stored on RAM..if so that could be the issue....

    I don't mind running ccleaner but then I have to re sign in everywhere I go on the internet...like Physicsforums for example...
  7. Jun 3, 2010 #6
    That is actually what happens. When you "run" the video it is placed in the temporary internet folder. When the folder gets too large it starts to place the data in your page file on your HD. The HD searching a lot will make the whole computer run a lot slower.
  8. Jun 3, 2010 #7


    Staff: Mentor

    The videos that you watch don't stay in RAM, but as Pattonias points out, they are stored in the directory that IE uses for temporary internet files.

    When you turn your computer off, everything in RAM is lost, but files stored on the hard drive remain.
  9. Jun 3, 2010 #8
    Ok now i understand ......although why a small amount of video stored on a HD that is 70% or so empty would slow a computer hardly seems like a robust design....Is that the best modern computer design can do????

    Ah well, back to physics..

    Thanks for the help.
  10. Jun 3, 2010 #9


    Staff: Mentor

    The thing is that if the video is in RAM, access is pretty fast, but if it's on the hard drive, access is much slower. Because you have a relatively small amount of RAM, stuff in RAM has to get swapped out to the hard drive, slowing things down.
  11. Jun 3, 2010 #10
    Sounds like you have one or even more "background" running processes that are slowing your computer.
    Easy to test: Go into SafeMode with Networking.

    Activate I.E. and peruse safe sites(your Anti-Virus may not work in SafeMode). If the problem disappears that is a solid clue.
  12. Jun 4, 2010 #11


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    You can use the task manager to find out what processes are running at any given moment and what % of cpu time is being used by each process.

    Right click on the blue area at the bottom of the screen. Left click on "task manager" and then left click on "processes".
  13. Jun 5, 2010 #12
    So the CPU column is %'s..ok, that's helpful too...I followed post #11 instructions...and I have seen that listing in the past..the problem is I don't know most of the acronyms shown nor whats normal abnd what's abnormal...like alg, svchost,ccscchst,wmiprvse,than ieexplore which IS recognizible...and the biggest memory at 20MB...whem 'mem usage' are all these listings, RAM or hard drive???

    Anyway, I added 256 RAM...now have 1GB total and at the moment the old computer is doing great...

    Once about a week has passed, all I know for sure is that when I run ccleaner the huge majority of the cleaned files listed are a/w internet explorer...let's suppose there IS video on the hardrive...

    Would that slow down, for example, IE the next time I turn my computer on.....and would that also slow microsoft office when opening it?? even if I am not watching any video clips...??
  14. Jun 5, 2010 #13


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    When you are not doing much of anything, most of the time should be "system idle". If it is something else, that is probably the problem.
  15. Jun 5, 2010 #14
    I say get a new computer man..
  16. Jun 6, 2010 #15


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    No, if the files are just sitting on the hard drive, it won't slow your computer down at all. Or, well... it could. It depends on how the programs are written. A well-written program on a well-written filesystem won't care how many files you have on your hard drive, but it's possible that there could be some code that does get slowed down by the presence of all those files.

    I'd say get as much RAM as possible in your computer (I tell that to everyone :wink:) and keep running CCleaner regularly. Make sure that you shut down or restart your computer every once in a while, at least every week or so - and I mean really shut it down. Hibernate or suspend doesn't count. Reinstalling Windows (as Pattonias suggested above) wouldn't be a bad idea but it shouldn't be necessary.

    If you want more, superuser.com might be a better place to ask, but be prepared to provide specific information about what's going on with your computer.
  17. Jun 10, 2010 #16
    Good idea...just checked....almost all 0, IE about 4%..so looks good

    silly idea. Been there, done that several times over the years.....They all run great for a month or two. That's like suggesting I buy a new car because my current one has an engine misfiring....were I rich, I'd probably consider it, yet finding why things don't work and fixing them IS more instructive.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2010
  18. Jun 10, 2010 #17


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    One reason IE8 could be slow would be due it's searching of its temporary directory for cached copies of web sites you're accessing via IE8. IE has a delete feature, you can delete everything but "cookies" to clean up most of the temporary folder. You can also go to tools options, general and click on the delete browsing history on exit check box.
  19. Jun 11, 2010 #18
    While that is true, the search of the temporary folder really shouldn't be an issue unless he has a really, really old computer.
  20. Jul 4, 2010 #19
    The newer PC programs are getting more resource intensive and tougher on your computer. Everyone wants their computer to run as fast as it possibly can. This website contains tips and guides to make sure your computer is running the fastest it can be running. Many times, your computer is slow because of a problem due to defragmentation, a full hard drive, spyware, or some other problem like this. This isn't always the case, but often times, a slow computer can be repaired and brought back to a reasonable speed.
    It's your turn to be http://www.seniorpictures.com and that means it's time to get your Senior portraits done.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  21. Jul 4, 2010 #20
    Probably not enough room for the paging file (pagefile.sys) left on the drive as internet explorer spams the drive with temporary download files and internet cache.

    You need to manually set the pagefile on a fast drive and a partition with lots of free space.

    http://img571.imageshack.us/img571/2953/pagefile.png [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  22. Jul 5, 2010 #21
    Sony..post # 20...changed virtual memory from 756 to 1200...am allowed 1500+...I'll see if that makes a difference,,,,thanks for the suggestion

    Over the last few weeks I have realized my wideband modem is reflecting some sort of wideband problems....delays, no phone serv ice, etc, but the trouble seems to come and go on it's own....and at least some of the time, that has been a factor contributing to my slow searches and getting hung up....
  23. Jul 8, 2010 #22
    If you computer is accessing your page file often this can be a cause of your speed problems. The page file is the place the ram overflows to as we described before. If your modem is having access problems that can def cause the problems you are having so perhaps you aren't having pc problems after all.

    I'm loving the wiki def. of wideband modem,"2.A modem whose bandwidth capability is greater than that of a narrowband modem.", so I can't say that I can help with any problems specific to this modem. Having you talked to your internet provider?
  24. Jul 14, 2010 #23
    After expanding my RAM from 756 to 1GB and page file from 756 to 1200 sometimes my computer seems faster more of the time...but not consistently....

    Even when my router is flashing normal I still get held up but more intermittently now. When I check task manager I almost always find 90% or so system idle..as expected....even when hung up.....but sometimes IE is taking maybe 20% or more of CPU.....

    Just now for example, I tried to scroll back to the prior page of this thread to read my page file numbers that I posted in the first sentence here....it took five or seven seconds or so to get to the firsdt page of this thread....with my router showing normal status...CPU was over 90% idle...This Physicsforums website might have been briefly slow, my internet provider may have been, or maybe something in internet explorer was at fault, etc, etc.....

    How can a user isolate the cause of such a temporary delay, in a few seconds, to a network component????? ...

    Although I have NOT noticied it recently, my on line searches, like reaching a news site for example, used to seem slow evenings rather than days...and I always was suspicious that Cablevision was slowing me down...also slower on Saturdary afternoon relative to early mornings, another possibly indicator of network usage related slow downs.... I haven't noticed that lately....
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2010
  25. Jul 14, 2010 #24
    Can some one tell me if this is normal PC operation:

    I recently "ran" some sort of website information, did not "save" it. I happened to go back a few minutes later to check something, and when I chose to "run" the material after selecting the website, it appeared to download a second time...arrows, etc showing % complete on my regular screen...

    I thought that odd since I assumed it was temporarily stored on my computer...so I did it two or three more times...in succession.....each time it appeared to repeat the download of the material...or does searching for it on my computer show the same type of status?

    I'm wondering if those repeat requests now had five or so copies of the same material occupying RAM, or maybe hard drive disck space????
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2010
  26. Jul 14, 2010 #25
    Interesting question, I would think that you are downloading the program to ram when you hit run... When you close the program the memory is released for the program so it is essentially gone. When you click run again it has to be downloaded again as the previous instance is overwritten or no longer accessible - essentially gone. So yes, this is normal computer operation.

    Again, increasing your page file will not help your situation. I am positive now that your issues are with system memory. The page file is where the memory overload goes when your ram is used up. The page file is on your hard drive and the hard drive is much much slower than your ram. Once you start using the Hard disk everything will slow down considerably. The page file is intended to be a back up to your memory should it overflow and a repository of active programs that are seldom accessed.

    If you are running xp, I would suggest 2 gb of ram. This should solve your speed problems in that regard. If you are running anything higher than xp 2gb should be the minimum.
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