Speeding up CPU

Hello all,
I'm trying to help speed up my parents desktop so I'm looking for a little help.

To start with, the main problem is the cpu is very slow at starting computer based programs such as control panel, computer, task manager, and other programs and games.

I believe the problem is ram although I'm no expert on the matter. Currently the cpu is sitting at 3gbs, two 1gb sticks and two 512 sticks, I am hoping that by replacing the two 512s with 2gbs will speed things up considerably.
The cpu is a Dell XPS
Model - 0TP406
Processor- Intel Core Quad 2.40GHZ
Graphics card-Radeon HD 4670
32 bit operating system(I've read that upgrading past 3-4gb of ram on a 32 bit is unnecessary)
If any other information is needed/useful let me know.
Edit: forgot to add that its idle memory usage is 50%, I've read that is normal, but my laptop idles at 25%, so I'm unsure.

Thanks for the help.
6 answers Last reply
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  1. Welcome to Tom's Hardware Forums!

    Look in the start folder and disable (not delete) unnecessary programs.

    And yes, increasing RAM will make a big difference. Just make sure that the added RAM modules match the specs of the existing RAM. Do not mix RAM.
  2. also do some house cleaning...ccleaner..malware bytes..defrag. a good anti virus sweep. check to see if the hard drive is full..a drive that almost full wont let windows make a swap file.
  3. Did it come from the manufacturer with different size sticks of ram? that's unusual. If you or someone else put a different kind of RAM in the machine that alone could slow it a bit.

    Agree with the other two suggestions. A program like ccleaner (free - google it) can do both of those for you -- use it to disable unneeded startup programs and clean up the hard drive and registry.
  4. Thanks for the speedy responses and tips. I'm checking out ccleaner now.
    deadlockedworld- It did come with the different size sticks, I thought it was rather unusual myself.
  5. rennik said:
    Thanks for the speedy responses and tips. I'm checking out ccleaner now.

    Cool - if that doesn't work its also possible that your HD is malfunctioning in some way. Its pretty common for hard drives to die (back up your information now). Yes your computer is aging, but it shouldn't have trouble accessing windows components.

    Depending on how long you plan to keep this PC, a SSD might be a worthwhile investment. See this Tom's article:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-upgrade-hard-drive,2956.html 128gb would run your system and probably most programs and will run you about $100.

    rennik said:
    deadlockedworld- It did come with the different size sticks, I thought it was rather unusual myself.

    Generally ram works as well as the slowest stick -- so if you were to replace it (depending on cost) you should try to either get two more 1 gb sticks exactly like the two you have, or just replace all of them at once. Not sure this is a cost-effective upgrade though, as the speed of the ram is probably trivial in the PC's overall performance.

    Its not just that they do not need it -- 32 bit PCs cannot understand/use more than 3.4 gb of ram -- so you have no need for more than 4gb unless you were to buy a new copy of windows. I would recommend just waiting for 64bit in your next PC.
  6. Well just to add to the others.

    You never said what OS you are running other then 32bit.

    A 32bit OS will not support all of the 4GB of memory at best it will only support 3.6 GB but on some MB's it will only support 3.2 GB.

    So you will not really get much more memory by upgrading to 4GB with your current OS.

    If your running Win 7 and have many other programs installed then it will be slow with low memory, if you can you should also upgrade to a 64 bit OS, that will give you all of the 4 GB's of memory .
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