Slow Computer Running Work Apps and Web Surfing Despite Good Specs

Hi all,

I have tried everything and simply don't know what to do anymore.

My computer at work runs a lot slower than I believe it should. It takes a long time to start Windows, and starting Firefox and Outlook after Windows is loaded adds a few minutes more to that time. It isn't painstakingly slow, but it lags often. Running basic Office applications and web browsing seems slower for a clean computer that isn't infested with malware, has a failing HDD, etc. And trying to watch a YouTube video is extremely choppy!

Here are the specs:
Intel Pentium 4 2.4 GHz
NVIDIA GeForce 2 MX/MX400
Intel D845PESV Motherboard
Windows XP Pro SP3

As far as I know, these specs are just fine, if not more than enough for simply surfing the web and running office applications (Word, Excel, Outlook, the occasional Peachtree). I am a pretty advanced user and have gone through every scan one would normally recommend to someone with this problem. Here are some of the things I have tried:

Thoroughly cleaned, defragged, etc., running CCleaner (regular clean and registry clean), Malwarebytes, and Defrag. All was well.
The hard drive's S.M.A.R.T. check was fine.
Temps are all normal.
The machine originally had 768 MB RAM. Tried upgrading it to 1.0 GB, which didn't help. Then upgraded to 1.5 GB, which did not help either.
The computer originally had Norton AntiVirus on it, which I heard is a resource hog. Temporarily turning off the auto protection didn't help. After trying everything else, I tried to uninstall Norton. I was running with no anti-virus for awhile, and since there wasn't any improvement, I decided to reinstall one, except I installed avast! this time around.

Other than that, I can't think of anything that might cause this machine to run like this. I don't know what I could be missing... I included a HiJackThis log since someone will probably ask for it:

Logfile of Trend Micro HijackThis v2.0.4
Scan saved at 4:12:15 PM, on 4/17/2012
Platform: Windows XP SP3 (WinNT 5.01.2600)
MSIE: Internet Explorer v8.00 (8.00.6001.18702)
Boot mode: Normal

Running processes:
C:\Program Files\AVAST Software\Avast\AvastSvc.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\logishrd\LVMVFM\UMVPFSrv.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\AppleMobileDeviceService.exe
C:\Program Files\Bonjour\mDNSResponder.exe
C:\Program Files\Java\jre6\bin\jqs.exe
C:\Program Files\Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware\mbamservice.exe
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\VS7DEBUG\mdm.exe
C:\Program Files\Pervasive Software\PSQL\bin\w3dbsmgr.exe
C:\Program Files\iTunes\iTunesHelper.exe
C:\Program Files\AVAST Software\Avast\avastUI.exe
C:\Program Files\AIM\aim.exe
C:\Program Files\iPod\bin\iPodService.exe
C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\OUTLOOK.EXE
C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\plugin-container.exe
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\EXCEL.EXE
C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\plugin-container.exe
C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\plugin-container.exe
C:\Program Files\Spotify\spotify.exe
C:\Program Files\Trend Micro\HiJackThis\HiJackThis.exe

R1 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Default_Page_URL =
R1 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Default_Search_URL =
R1 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Search Page =
R0 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Start Page =
R1 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Connection Wizard,ShellNext =
R1 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings,ProxyOverride = *.local
O2 - BHO: AcroIEHelperStub - {18DF081C-E8AD-4283-A596-FA578C2EBDC3} - C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Acrobat\ActiveX\AcroIEHelperShim.dll
O2 - BHO: avast! WebRep - {8E5E2654-AD2D-48bf-AC2D-D17F00898D06} - C:\Program Files\AVAST Software\Avast\aswWebRepIE.dll
O2 - BHO: SkypeIEPluginBHO - {AE805869-2E5C-4ED4-8F7B-F1F7851A4497} - C:\Program Files\Skype\Toolbars\Internet Explorer\skypeieplugin.dll
O2 - BHO: Java(tm) Plug-In 2 SSV Helper - {DBC80044-A445-435b-BC74-9C25C1C588A9} - C:\Program Files\Java\jre6\bin\jp2ssv.dll
O2 - BHO: JQSIEStartDetectorImpl - {E7E6F031-17CE-4C07-BC86-EABFE594F69C} - C:\Program Files\Java\jre6\lib\deploy\jqs\ie\jqs_plugin.dll
O2 - BHO: WinToFlash Suggestor - {FC36B0BD-27F0-4cdd-8AB1-50651EFC3EFD} - C:\Program Files\WinToFlash Suggestor\WinToFlashSuggestor.dll
O3 - Toolbar: avast! WebRep - {8E5E2654-AD2D-48bf-AC2D-D17F00898D06} - C:\Program Files\AVAST Software\Avast\aswWebRepIE.dll
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [NvCplDaemon] RUNDLL32.EXE C:\WINDOWS\system32\NvCpl.dll,NvStartup
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [nwiz] nwiz.exe /install
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [NvMediaCenter] RUNDLL32.EXE C:\WINDOWS\system32\NvMcTray.dll,NvTaskbarInit
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [BluetoothAuthenticationAgent] rundll32.exe bthprops.cpl,,BluetoothAuthenticationAgent
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [QuickTime Task] "C:\Program Files\QuickTime\qttask.exe" -atboottime
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [PeachtreePrefetcher.exe] C:\Program Files\Sage\Peachtree\PeachtreePrefetcher.exe /configfile:peachtreeprefetcher.winstart.config
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [Adobe ARM] "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\ARM\1.0\AdobeARM.exe"
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [APSDaemon] "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple\Apple Application Support\APSDaemon.exe"
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [iTunesHelper] "C:\Program Files\iTunes\iTunesHelper.exe"
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [avast] "C:\Program Files\AVAST Software\Avast\avastUI.exe" /nogui
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [Aim] "C:\Program Files\AIM\aim.exe" /d locale=en-US
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [ctfmon.exe] C:\WINDOWS\system32\ctfmon.exe
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [Google Update] "C:\Documents and Settings\buddy\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Update\GoogleUpdate.exe" /c
O4 - HKUS\S-1-5-18\..\RunOnce: [RunNarrator] Narrator.exe (User 'SYSTEM')
O4 - HKUS\.DEFAULT\..\RunOnce: [RunNarrator] Narrator.exe (User 'Default user')
O8 - Extra context menu item: Add to Google Photos Screensa&ver - res://C:\WINDOWS\system32\GPhotos.scr/200
O8 - Extra context menu item: E&xport to Microsoft Excel - res://C:\PROGRA~1\MICROS~2\Office12\EXCEL.EXE/3000
O9 - Extra button: Skype Plug-In - {898EA8C8-E7FF-479B-8935-AEC46303B9E5} - C:\Program Files\Skype\Toolbars\Internet Explorer\skypeieplugin.dll
O9 - Extra 'Tools' menuitem: Skype Plug-In - {898EA8C8-E7FF-479B-8935-AEC46303B9E5} - C:\Program Files\Skype\Toolbars\Internet Explorer\skypeieplugin.dll
O9 - Extra button: Research - {92780B25-18CC-41C8-B9BE-3C9C571A8263} - C:\PROGRA~1\MICROS~2\Office12\REFIEBAR.DLL
O9 - Extra button: WinToFlash Suggestor - {A52C66B3-D4A9-4d10-A67D-2BEF0A85AB3F} - C:\Program Files\WinToFlash Suggestor\WinToFlashSuggestor.dll
O9 - Extra 'Tools' menuitem: WinToFlash Suggestor options - {A52C66B3-D4A9-4d10-A67D-2BEF0A85AB3F} - C:\Program Files\WinToFlash Suggestor\WinToFlashSuggestor.dll
O9 - Extra button: (no name) - {e2e2dd38-d088-4134-82b7-f2ba38496583} - C:\WINDOWS\Network Diagnostic\xpnetdiag.exe
O9 - Extra 'Tools' menuitem: @xpsp3res.dll,-20001 - {e2e2dd38-d088-4134-82b7-f2ba38496583} - C:\WINDOWS\Network Diagnostic\xpnetdiag.exe
O9 - Extra button: Messenger - {FB5F1910-F110-11d2-BB9E-00C04F795683} - C:\Program Files\Messenger\msmsgs.exe
O9 - Extra 'Tools' menuitem: Windows Messenger - {FB5F1910-F110-11d2-BB9E-00C04F795683} - C:\Program Files\Messenger\msmsgs.exe
O9 - Extra button: PDFill PDF Editor - {FB858B22-55E2-413f-87F5-30ADC5552151} - C:\Program Files\PlotSoft\PDFill\DownloadPDF.exe
O16 - DPF: {1E54D648-B804-468d-BC78-4AFFED8E262F} (System Requirements Lab) -
O16 - DPF: {6414512B-B978-451D-A0D8-FCFDF33E833C} (WUWebControl Class) -
O17 - HKLM\System\CCS\Services\Tcpip\Parameters: Domain =
O17 - HKLM\Software\..\Telephony: DomainName =
O17 - HKLM\System\CS1\Services\Tcpip\Parameters: Domain =
O18 - Protocol: skype-ie-addon-data - {91774881-D725-4E58-B298-07617B9B86A8} - C:\Program Files\Skype\Toolbars\Internet Explorer\skypeieplugin.dll
O22 - SharedTaskScheduler: Browseui preloader - {438755C2-A8BA-11D1-B96B-00A0C90312E1} - C:\WINDOWS\system32\browseui.dll
O22 - SharedTaskScheduler: Component Categories cache daemon - {8C7461EF-2B13-11d2-BE35-3078302C2030} - C:\WINDOWS\system32\browseui.dll
O23 - Service: Adobe Flash Player Update Service (AdobeFlashPlayerUpdateSvc) - Adobe Systems Incorporated - C:\WINDOWS\system32\Macromed\Flash\FlashPlayerUpdateService.exe
O23 - Service: Apple Mobile Device - Apple Inc. - C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\AppleMobileDeviceService.exe
O23 - Service: avast! Antivirus - AVAST Software - C:\Program Files\AVAST Software\Avast\AvastSvc.exe
O23 - Service: Bonjour Service - Apple Inc. - C:\Program Files\Bonjour\mDNSResponder.exe
O23 - Service: Google Updater Service (gusvc) - Google - C:\Program Files\Google\Common\Google Updater\GoogleUpdaterService.exe
O23 - Service: iPod Service - Apple Inc. - C:\Program Files\iPod\bin\iPodService.exe
O23 - Service: Java Quick Starter (JavaQuickStarterService) - Sun Microsystems, Inc. - C:\Program Files\Java\jre6\bin\jqs.exe
O23 - Service: MBAMService - Malwarebytes Corporation - C:\Program Files\Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware\mbamservice.exe
O23 - Service: NVIDIA Display Driver Service (NVSvc) - NVIDIA Corporation - C:\WINDOWS\system32\nvsvc32.exe
O23 - Service: Peachtree SmartPosting 2012 - Sage Software, Inc. - C:\Program Files\Sage\Peachtree\SmartPostingService2012.exe
O23 - Service: Pervasive PSQL Workgroup Engine (psqlWGE) - Pervasive Software Inc. - C:\Program Files\Pervasive Software\PSQL\bin\w3dbsmgr.exe
O23 - Service: UMVPFSrv - Logitech Inc. - C:\Program Files\Common Files\logishrd\LVMVFM\UMVPFSrv.exe

End of file - 8696 bytes

There are a fair amount of services running, but no more than most unknowing people will blindly keep on without taking a performance hit when simply running work applications and surfing the web. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
7 answers Last reply
More about slow computer running work apps surfing good specs
  1. Update bios and check to see HT is enabled, also make sure you update the chipset drivers. Have you ever tried XPlite? Also disabling the indexing service will help. Even if the HDD passed s.m.a.r.t. try another hdd. Had the same thing happen to me while fixing a computer. Took me a while since I thought the HDD was good. But once I changed it the system was running much better without lagging.

    At idle what is the cpu % and memory usage? If you have a spare usb thumb drive try to move the pagefile on to it. -->[System Properties]<----
  2. check the size you your pagefile or set it to system managed and remember to click set befor ok (i all ways forget)
  3. Make sure the hdd is in DMA mode not PIO mode.. [Devmgmt.msc] Look under the controllers
  4. Thanks for the replies everyone! I have not tried XPLite, but would be surprised if I had to use it.

    I uploaded a pic of my performance after a couple of minutes of idle. As you can see, the CPU usuage sits around 15-25%, with the occasional spike to 50 or 100, and the RAM usage stays around 600 MB.

    The pagefile is system managed. Both the Primary and Secondary IDE Controllers are in DMA. I just tried disabling indexing, I'll see if that helps.

    One of the most puzzling things that I mentioned in the OP is the choppy youtube videos... they stabilize sometimes if I close all tabs and just have that open, but any other time they're very slow, and the video tends to pause (while audio still plays).
  5. Default memory usage with Xp lite is about 160MB - 200MB. 15-25% is a little high. At idle you should be around 8-15% .Check to see if the cpu is not overheating. Also clean the system out with compress air. You might have to re add thermal paste on the cpu. You can always use a live linux distro to boot the system. You will be able to go online, open office documents and listen to audio
  6. If you are playing HD or higher quality video, upgrade the video card. This is on a new installation of Windows, all drivers updated? A P4 of that speed with 1.5 gig of RAM (as long as it's all seen properly and used), should be fine for video playing with a decent video card.

    Issues with online sites can also be caused by network issues, internet speeds.
  7. Temps are normal... There's two T1s at work. So not the fastest, but still reasonable. One of the things that bothers me the most is that gmail can get laggy. Not excruciatingly laggy, but enough to notice.

    I'm starting to think that the computer is actually running as it should, and I'm just so used to my super fast build at home that it makes me notice every little slowdown.
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