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Serious "lag"-like problem

Last response: in Windows XP
September 28, 2009 4:26:59 PM

My system specs:

Core 2duo 3.0Ghz
2GB Ram
Soundblaster Extreme Audio Bulk
1x 500GB (Windows)
1x 750GB (Pagefile)
1x 80GB (Backup)

This is my third XP-installation on this computer. I had this problem on the first installation as well, but not the second. Now it's back again. Only hardware I've changed is I've added the 750GB drive.

I don't really know how to explain better than this. Whenever I have a video file running, and something is making the computer "work", any video or audio file running starts to lag. If a person in a movie is supposed to pronounce the sentence "I live in Europe", It comes out "I l-l-l-live in-n-n-n-n Eur-r-r-r-rop-p-p-pe. The more I load the computer, the greater the lag. But loads as small as just browsing around the harddrive, provokes lots of "lag". If I am installing a software in the background, the video gets completely lagged up, making nothing but repeating noices, and the video itself lags in accordance to the audio. I could be wrong, but I might've noticed the "lag" in cursor movement when there wasn't even any audio or video files running.

I remember the problem went away after several months the last time I had it, but I cant remember how.

I've tried moving the pagefile. I installed the latest Soundblaster drivers (the only ones I can find anyway). I tried adding buffering time to VLC, but no change. And any playback software lags just as much.

Please help, this is really annoying.

More about : lag problem

September 28, 2009 10:50:38 PM

Keep an eye on your task manager to see if your CPU or page file usage is spiking.
September 29, 2009 12:35:35 PM

When I took this screen, I had VLC running a movie, Firefox running, Photoshop running, and was browsing through folders on my harddrives. Seems like whenever I click a large folder, a larger spike occurs. What can I do? And why was this not a problem in my previous XP, but WAS a problem in the XP before that, on this same computer?

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September 29, 2009 5:29:49 PM

What is the size of the pagefile?

Keep an eye on the processes that are hogging the CPU usage. Is there one in particular that's causing the spikes?
September 29, 2009 7:13:30 PM

Explorer in particular. Browsing folders with lots of files, moving files etc. Installing programs is bad too.

Note: I just reinstalled XP on a whole other disk, installed Graphic drivers, Sound card drivers, let Asus install ("InstAll") whatever it wanted to install, started VLC, opened a video file, and tried browsing around my folders. And it lagged the video and sound up as before.
September 29, 2009 7:28:40 PM

Did you check the size of the pagefile?
September 29, 2009 7:31:47 PM

Make sure you have all the updates from Microsoft, I said this because there are installments that you need to install manual, check the update and do a custom search and look for hardware and software.. Another reason is that you need to maybe install Iolo system Mechanic 9. It's one of the top programs that defrag everything from memory and hard drive, it does configure boot time (speed up), Optimize windows startup, increase performance, fix security Vulnerabilities, Repair hard drive problems and boot time Check it out at

It will run your system twice as faster than before. I need using it for a long time now and I love what it does for my gaming...

if you need anymore help just let us know. That is why we are a community to help each other in times.

Hopefully I help a little bit
September 29, 2009 8:16:34 PM

The pagefile is 2-4GB, and is located on a different harddrive from the one windows is installed. It's being used noramally, no spikes, just a straight line with occasional bumps.
September 29, 2009 10:35:25 PM

Check to see if the device manager is reading your CPU correctly.
control panel-->system-->device manager-->under computer, it should list your CPU as a multiprocessor PC.
September 29, 2009 11:15:02 PM

It says: ACPI Multiprocessor PC

Also, the distribution between my CPUs/cores looks bad from time to time. I just experienced one of them at 95-100% for a long time, during heavy load, while the other was down at <20% the whole time.

The fact that the most direct "provocation" for the lag/spikes is when I browse through folders with lots of files, doesn't that say anything in particular about what is causing it to?

Thanks for helping out btw
September 30, 2009 12:18:27 AM

You can make sure and assign the tasks to use both CPU cores, if they aren't already. Open the files, VLC, browser and whatever else is lagging. Go to the task manager-->application tab-->right click app-->go to process-->right click-->set affinity-->make sure both cores are checked. Repeat this for the other tasks that are lagging.
September 30, 2009 10:00:45 AM

Both are already checked.
September 30, 2009 1:13:37 PM

I'm thinking you either have a rogue windows process or a dying CPU.
September 30, 2009 2:12:09 PM

But how come this is a problem I've encountered beefore, and then went away completely after an XP-installation, and stayed away for a whole year, and now suddenly came back when I installed XP once again?
September 30, 2009 4:16:33 PM

Look at my sig. I own a Pentium 4 CPU, and that has never happened to me. I know people its happen too, but not me. 3 things came to mind:

1) Your hard drive is faulty.
2) You need to update windows to SP3 for maybe compatibilty issues on software/hardware perhaps.
3) The XP CD You own is a copy, which was infected whilst burning from your PC with a virus attached to it.

Try updating windows, if that does not work, try useing another copy of XP from a different source. If that also dosn't work, it maybe your harddrive thats acting up.

Hope this helps, some how.
September 30, 2009 8:13:16 PM

I've tried to run XP on all my drives, no change.

I'm going to install a whole different XP later, but i bugs me that this problem, which I've had before, was on a whole other XP. And, it feels like giving up, running from the problem, not trying to find a solution.
October 1, 2009 1:01:08 PM

Well, it could be hardware related, PSU or GPU. Try taking out the GPU and trying with onboard graphics and see what happens. If its still happening, then it could be the Hard Drive, if you've tried with a different hard drive then its most probbally the motherboard.

Just the advice I can give you without having the PC in front of me, sorry.
October 1, 2009 2:11:17 PM

I'm sorry. I figured it out.

Whenever I tried to load the computer to see if it still lagged, I was browsing through files on the same disk over and over. The one disk I never put XP on. That disk, the 80GB, Is getting a bit old, and obviously broken in some way, since there is no lag when I browse stuff, use programs located on the other two drives.

I thank you for all the help, and apologize for being stubborn.

As a last request: I am now using an XP located on a 5400 RPM disk. But the other one is 7200 RPM. Should I use the 7200 instead, or won't I notice any difference?
October 1, 2009 4:32:25 PM

Well, theres a 2000RPM increse, but thats only if your a really demanding user that needs files/apps to be found/loaded a few seconds quiker.

I own a laptop with 5400 and frankly I don't see the difference if your not speed hungry. :) 

But for a long term, the 7,200 is better of course, you never know when you need it.
October 1, 2009 5:04:03 PM

Yes, there is a big difference. The read, write, throughput...response time big difference.