Slow XP machine

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.perform_maintain (More info?)

My mother has a Compaq Ultra DMA 80 GB Hard drive, DDR SDRam 256 MB, 2.5
Intel Celeron processor, with Window XP Home and SP2. The problem is that it
is SLOW! She said that performance improves after she runs defrag, but I
don't understand why it slows so much. She is not a power user and she rarely
creates or deletes files. The hard drive is partitioned and she has the hard
drive from her old computer piggybacked in there somehow (I don't know the
specs or other details - my brother set that up for her). She also runs her
virus scans, ad blocks, spyware scans regularly. Her system is as clean as we
can manage.
Any insights, suggestions? Need more info?
--
Lisa N.
7 answers Last reply
More about slow machine
  1. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.perform_maintain (More info?)

    Since your mother is not a power user, the piggybacked HD appears not to be
    necessary, but perhaps is there because your brother found it easier to set
    up that way. Easier for him, but what purpose is it serving? It could be the
    cause of the slowing.

    "intrepid007user" <intrepid007user@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in
    message news:839D032A-7FE8-4D76-8919-665956E39539@microsoft.com...
    > My mother has a Compaq Ultra DMA 80 GB Hard drive, DDR SDRam 256 MB, 2.5
    > Intel Celeron processor, with Window XP Home and SP2. The problem is that
    it
    > is SLOW! She said that performance improves after she runs defrag, but I
    > don't understand why it slows so much. She is not a power user and she
    rarely
    > creates or deletes files. The hard drive is partitioned and she has the
    hard
    > drive from her old computer piggybacked in there somehow (I don't know the
    > specs or other details - my brother set that up for her). She also runs
    her
    > virus scans, ad blocks, spyware scans regularly. Her system is as clean as
    we
    > can manage.
    > Any insights, suggestions? Need more info?
    > --
    > Lisa N.
  2. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.perform_maintain (More info?)

    Check the cabling and jumpers on both drives although I doubt this is the
    cause.
    It also may depend on exactly what is meant by "piggybacked"

    Also carefully follow this even though you may have done part of it:
    http://www3.telus.net/dandemar/slowcom.htm

    --
    Jupiter Jones [MVP]
    http://www3.telus.net/dandemar
    In memory of our dear friend, MVP Alex Nichol
    http://www.dts-l.org


    "intrepid007user" <intrepid007user@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in
    message news:839D032A-7FE8-4D76-8919-665956E39539@microsoft.com...
    > My mother has a Compaq Ultra DMA 80 GB Hard drive, DDR SDRam 256 MB, 2.5
    > Intel Celeron processor, with Window XP Home and SP2. The problem is that
    > it
    > is SLOW! She said that performance improves after she runs defrag, but I
    > don't understand why it slows so much. She is not a power user and she
    > rarely
    > creates or deletes files. The hard drive is partitioned and she has the
    > hard
    > drive from her old computer piggybacked in there somehow (I don't know the
    > specs or other details - my brother set that up for her). She also runs
    > her
    > virus scans, ad blocks, spyware scans regularly. Her system is as clean as
    > we
    > can manage.
    > Any insights, suggestions? Need more info?
    > --
    > Lisa N.
  3. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.perform_maintain (More info?)

    intrepid007user <intrepid007user@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote:

    >My mother has a Compaq Ultra DMA 80 GB Hard drive, DDR SDRam 256 MB, 2.5
    >Intel Celeron processor, with Window XP Home and SP2. The problem is that it
    >is SLOW! She said that performance improves after she runs defrag, but I
    >don't understand why it slows so much. She is not a power user and she rarely
    >creates or deletes files. The hard drive is partitioned and she has the hard
    >drive from her old computer piggybacked in there somehow (I don't know the
    >specs or other details - my brother set that up for her). She also runs her
    >virus scans, ad blocks, spyware scans regularly. Her system is as clean as we
    >can manage.
    >Any insights, suggestions? Need more info?

    Depending on how many background "tools and toys" are running on the
    machine (and with a Compaq there usually are a lot) and also on what
    these background items are then it could be that the 256 mb of RAM is
    not really enough and therefore a RAM upgrade might provide some
    performance improvement.

    Adding more memory can noticeably improve performance only if the
    added memory results in reduced usage of the virtual memory paging
    file. Therefore if the paging file is not currently being used to any
    significant extent then adding more memory will not provide a
    significant improvement.

    Unfortunately there is no ready way of determing actual paging file
    usage provided with Windows XP - it does not have an equivalent to the
    'Memory Manager - Swap File In Use" reporting provided by the System
    Monitor utility in Windows 95/98/Me.

    There is a free utility that you can download and run which will
    provide this information for you. It was written by MVP Bill James and
    you can get if from
    http://www.dougknox.com/xp/utils/xp_pagefilemon.htm or from
    http://billsway.com/notes_public/WinXP_Tweaks/

    If that utility shows actual page file usage of 50 mb or more on a
    regular basis then that is indicative of fairly significant paging
    file activity. Adding more RAM will reduce or even eliminate entirely
    this activity thereby improving performance.

    This apples regardless of how much or how little RAM is currently
    installed in the computer, at least up to the 4 gb RAM maximum for
    Windows XP.

    Good luck


    Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
    --
    Microsoft MVP
    On-Line Help Computer Service
    http://onlinehelp.bc.ca

    In memory of a dear friend Alex Nichol MVP
    http://aumha.org/alex.htm
  4. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.perform_maintain (More info?)

    On Fri, 22 Apr 2005 04:05:37 GMT, Ron Martell <ron.martell@gmail.com>
    wrote:
    <snip>

    >Unfortunately there is no ready way of determing actual paging file
    >usage provided with Windows XP - it does not have an equivalent to the
    >'Memory Manager - Swap File In Use" reporting provided by the System
    >Monitor utility in Windows 95/98/Me.
    >
    >There is a free utility that you can download and run which will
    >provide this information for you. It was written by MVP Bill James and
    >you can get if from
    >http://www.dougknox.com/xp/utils/xp_pagefilemon.htm or from
    >http://billsway.com/notes_public/WinXP_Tweaks/
    >

    >Good luck
    >
    >
    >Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
    Ron, is the information on the task manager
    performance tab - "PF usage" not the same as the
    info provided by "memory manager swap file in use" ?

    If it's not, what is "PF usage" ?

    Dave
  5. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.perform_maintain (More info?)

    da_test <davexnet02NO@SPAMyahoo.com> wrote:


    >>Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
    >Ron, is the information on the task manager
    >performance tab - "PF usage" not the same as the
    >info provided by "memory manager swap file in use" ?
    >
    >If it's not, what is "PF usage" ?
    >
    >Dave

    PF usage includes all memory content that has been mapped to locations
    in the pagefile. This also includes the *unused* portions of memory
    allocation requests, which can be quite extensive.

    By design Windows must identify memory address space for all of the
    memory allocation requests that are issued by Windows components,
    device drivers, and application programs. All of these items tend to
    ask for memory allocations that are somewhat larger than what they
    will actually need under normal circumstances. What Windows does is
    to assign locations in RAM to only those portions that are actually
    used, and it uses locations in the pagefile for the unused portions.

    Note that mapping the unused portions of memory allocation requests to
    the pagefile does not involve any actual hard drive activity. All
    that is required is to make entries in the memory mapping tables
    maintained by the CPU. And if subsequently it is necessary to use
    some of the requested but previously unused memory then at that point
    Windows will remap that portion to an available location in RAM.

    This type of memory mapping was also used by previous versions of
    Windows. However what is different with Windows XP is that the unused
    requests mapped to the pagefile can exceed the actual current physical
    size of the file, provided that they do not exceed the maximum limit.
    So long as Windows can increase the pagefile to the required size, if
    and when that should ever become necessary, is all that is needed.

    Here are some current actual figures from my own computer, which might
    help to illustrate what is going on:

    Paging file size settings: Minimum = 80 mb, maximum = 1,000 mb

    From Bill James' page file info utility:
    Current pagefile usage: 34 mb
    Session peak usage: 34 mb
    Current page file size: 80 mb

    From Windows Task Manager, Performance tab:
    PF Usage: 335 mb

    This tells me that I currently have 301 mb (335 - 34) of memory that
    has been requested but not used by the various items that are running
    on my computer. That includes 5 applications on the taskbar,
    antivirus, antispyware, folding@home, and probably some others.

    Hope this helps clarify the situation.

    Good luck


    Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
    --
    Microsoft MVP
    On-Line Help Computer Service
    http://onlinehelp.bc.ca

    In memory of a dear friend Alex Nichol MVP
    http://aumha.org/alex.htm
  6. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.perform_maintain (More info?)

    Hi 'TW', thanks for responding. The PiggyBacked HD is there because of some
    applications and games that Mom did not want to give up and she was not able
    to upload the software to her new machine. I really don't remember what these
    items are but I do know that she has a german 'Word' version on the HD under
    discussion. I will have to ask her whether she still uses these
    programs/games.
    Also I don't recall her system being this slow when the PB HD was first
    installed.
    Oh Yes I just remembered that 'Windows 98(?)' is the OS on the PB HD.
    The whole thing sounds peculiar to me but my brother did seem to know what
    he was doing.

    Lisa N.
    "T. Waters" wrote:

    > Since your mother is not a power user, the piggybacked HD appears not to be
    > necessary, but perhaps is there because your brother found it easier to set
    > up that way. Easier for him, but what purpose is it serving? It could be the
    > cause of the slowing.
    >
    > "intrepid007user" <intrepid007user@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in
    > message news:839D032A-7FE8-4D76-8919-665956E39539@microsoft.com...
    > > My mother has a Compaq Ultra DMA 80 GB Hard drive, DDR SDRam 256 MB, 2.5
    > > Intel Celeron processor, with Window XP Home and SP2. The problem is that
    > it
    > > is SLOW! She said that performance improves after she runs defrag, but I
    > > don't understand why it slows so much. She is not a power user and she
    > rarely
    > > creates or deletes files. The hard drive is partitioned and she has the
    > hard
    > > drive from her old computer piggybacked in there somehow (I don't know the
    > > specs or other details - my brother set that up for her). She also runs
    > her
    > > virus scans, ad blocks, spyware scans regularly. Her system is as clean as
    > we
    > > can manage.
    > > Any insights, suggestions? Need more info?
    > > --
    > > Lisa N.
    >
    >
    >
  7. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.perform_maintain (More info?)

    The only thing that I know she has added, that runs in the background, is
    'Webshots Daily Photos' as a screen saver.

    Thanks for the link for the utility I will probably use it as soon as we get
    the system up again. Now she can't get the monitor to stay awake for more
    than a very few seconds! This just happened yesterday (Sat) while she was
    trying to install an update purported to be from Earthlink Total Access. I am
    the point of having her take it back to Best Buy (since it is still under
    warranty) and letting them deal with it!

    Lisa N.

    "Ron Martell" wrote:

    > intrepid007user <intrepid007user@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote:
    >
    > >My mother has a Compaq Ultra DMA 80 GB Hard drive, DDR SDRam 256 MB, 2.5
    > >Intel Celeron processor, with Window XP Home and SP2. The problem is that it
    > >is SLOW! She said that performance improves after she runs defrag, but I
    > >don't understand why it slows so much. She is not a power user and she rarely
    > >creates or deletes files. The hard drive is partitioned and she has the hard
    > >drive from her old computer piggybacked in there somehow (I don't know the
    > >specs or other details - my brother set that up for her). She also runs her
    > >virus scans, ad blocks, spyware scans regularly. Her system is as clean as we
    > >can manage.
    > >Any insights, suggestions? Need more info?
    >
    > Depending on how many background "tools and toys" are running on the
    > machine (and with a Compaq there usually are a lot) and also on what
    > these background items are then it could be that the 256 mb of RAM is
    > not really enough and therefore a RAM upgrade might provide some
    > performance improvement.
    >
    > Adding more memory can noticeably improve performance only if the
    > added memory results in reduced usage of the virtual memory paging
    > file. Therefore if the paging file is not currently being used to any
    > significant extent then adding more memory will not provide a
    > significant improvement.
    >
    > Unfortunately there is no ready way of determing actual paging file
    > usage provided with Windows XP - it does not have an equivalent to the
    > 'Memory Manager - Swap File In Use" reporting provided by the System
    > Monitor utility in Windows 95/98/Me.
    >
    > There is a free utility that you can download and run which will
    > provide this information for you. It was written by MVP Bill James and
    > you can get if from
    > http://www.dougknox.com/xp/utils/xp_pagefilemon.htm or from
    > http://billsway.com/notes_public/WinXP_Tweaks/
    >
    > If that utility shows actual page file usage of 50 mb or more on a
    > regular basis then that is indicative of fairly significant paging
    > file activity. Adding more RAM will reduce or even eliminate entirely
    > this activity thereby improving performance.
    >
    > This apples regardless of how much or how little RAM is currently
    > installed in the computer, at least up to the 4 gb RAM maximum for
    > Windows XP.
    >
    > Good luck
    >
    >
    > Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
    > --
    > Microsoft MVP
    > On-Line Help Computer Service
    > http://onlinehelp.bc.ca
    >
    > In memory of a dear friend Alex Nichol MVP
    > http://aumha.org/alex.htm
    >
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