I need a 1,2,3 approach to getting this up to speed...change this, remove that. The 80GB drive is 75% used and the 250 GB drive is just about empty. System: WIN XP 2002 SVC Pac 3
I'm using AOL, so if that has anything to do with it, let me know. Thanks.
Empty as in there is nothing on that hard drive or "EMPTY" as in no more storage space? In any case a Hard Drive is very easy to install. You can go to YouTube and do a search on "Installing Hard Drive". Since you have an old PC you need an IDE hard drive not the newer SATA hard drive.
If you are saying your computer is overall kinda slow then there isn't much you can do.
#1 you need enough empty space on the hard drive so that Win XP can write temporary files. At least 10GB of empty space is a good idea for whichever hard drive the Page File is written to. By default it is the C: drive unless you manually changed it. In generally, the temp files and Page File that Windows writes will not be close to 10GB, but the less free space there is on the hard drive, the more time Windows needs to look for empty space to write files.
#2. Google a program called "CCleaner" and install it. It will help you erase temp files, thus freeing up some space. It can also be used to clean up old / invalid keys in the Registry file which can slow down Windows. CCleaner can be used to delete these keys or entries; it's a good idea to make a backup of the Registry when it prompts you since this is something you are not familiar with.
#3. Defrag your hard drive. Over time files can become fragmented which means it takes more time to read and write to the hard drive.
#4. The last resort is to completely reinstall Win XP. This will wipe out all the "crap" on the c: drive. Backup any important files 1st before doing this last step.
#5. When all else fails consider buying a new PC (or laptop). CPU (and graphics) performance has progressed at lot since the "good old days" of the Pentium 4. Many programs have become more demanding and also needs a dual core CPU to perform optimally. For example, simply watching a HD video is beyond the capabilities of an old Pentium 4. Even surfing the web is likely to be a bit sluggish because there are a lot of background code that must be processed; much more than a decade ago. In terms of overall performance, a Pentium 4 2.8GHz is about equivalent to a 1.4GHz modern single core CPU... and there are no single core CPUs anymore (at least to the best of my knowledge for general computing usage).
I agree with jaguar there is only so much you can do, your computer is pretty old now and it has a crappy processor. You can try to max out the RAM and do a clean install of Windows. That will get rid of any junk on there that you don't need. Other than that again you aren't going to be able to do much.