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HP Pavilion 520c running slow after reformat

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March 2, 2008 5:59:11 PM

Hello,
I've been working on a computer that has me stumped as of late. It is an HP Pavilion 520c and I am having trouble getting it to run Windows XP in a smooth and stable environment. At first, I thought it could be loaded with various malware/spyware and virii but after a reformat of the HDD, the system is still very slow. Example, it took over 24 hours just to install Windows XP. Mouse was responsive like normal, but typing was very slow and clicking on next on the install prompts took anywhere from 10 minutes + for the system to process. I've checked the PSU and the Memory and both seem to be working fine, no errors in POST and nothing really looks out of the ordinary except for some dust buildup inside. Here are the system specs:

AMD Athlon XP 1.4 GHz
2 pieces 256MB PC133 SDRAM
80GB HDD 7200RPM (Upgrade, brand new)
Via KM 133 Chipset

If you need any more information please let me know, thanks in advance.
March 4, 2008 4:20:05 PM

Quick guess.... could be a problem with bad sectors on the hard drive. Typically, if you can complete an installation of WinXP, even slowly, you don't have a RAM problem.

How did you check your RAM? Something like MemTest? Start system in Safe Mode (hitting F8 when comp first boots up) then run MemTest overnight. Check results in morning.

How did you check your PSU?

Aside from defective RAM, there are other potential culprits (or combination of things). You state there's dust built up inside of the case. How bad? Dust can cause electrostatic arcs across circuits. It can cause improper cooling of components. If your CPU, chipset or RAM aren't cooled properly, they can start to burn out causing all sorts of problems.

Was your system running slow when you bought it? Or just since you installed the new HDD?

Did you upgrade your CPU from the AMD Duron which typically shipped with that model system? If so, did the problems start at that time?

Is your BIOS up to date? Check Here
When you check your BIOS, make sure the time & date are correct. If it seems to have reset to a much older year, such as 2000, then you may have a bad battery on your motherboard. Cheap & easy to replace.

What kind of peripherals are connected?

Try removing all extra PCI & AGP cards, ensure no printers or extra things are connected then boot system. Any better? I've seen defective devices cause all sorts of problems, including a bad DVD-RW drive which prevented the PSU from powering up or the motherboard from even posting.

With a 133MHz system bus speed, that computer will always be "slow" in today's environment (newer software = higher hardware demands, etc.) But 24 hours to install WinXP seems too long. What exactly constitutes 'installing' WinXP'?

Are you using the System Recovery discs that came with your Pavilion? How many discs are there?
If so, are those discs WinXP or WinME?
If WinME, are you attempting to use a WinXP Upgrade, or WinXP full retail (or OEM) version?
In that "24 hours" does the installation encompass only the original WinXP? Or does it include SP1 or SP2?
In that "24 hours" does the installation include downloading & installing all of the latest patches from Microsft? If so, what's your Internet connection speed?


Other than clear signs of fault, determining what is causing a computer to run slowly is typically one big process-of-elimination. Since your computer seems to have installed WinXP much too slowly, that's a better place to start than how it runs when WinXP is fully installed. It shows that there can be a hardware issue and/or an issue with how basic elements of WinXP recognizes and runs on the system.

If you have WinXP successfully installed on the system, check that the "IDE Channel" is set properly. To do this...

1. right-click on "My Computer"
2. select "Properties"
3. select the "Hardware" tab and then click on "Device Manager"
4. expand the "IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers" section
5. right-click on "Primiary IDE Channel" and select "Properties"
6. select the "Advanced Settings" tab and look at the "Transfer Mode:" for the devices

Both should be set to "DMA if available". If set to "PIO only", you've got a problem. Report back here for the solution.


And lastly for this reply, it is assumed that all of your wires & connections inside the case, including jumper settings for devices, are all installed properly. It's amazing how often I get customers who are ready to throw their systems into the trash and buy a new because they don't work anymore, only to have me reset a lose cable and turn their "broken piece of junk" into a fully functional system again. ;) 
August 25, 2010 11:32:33 AM

I have the same problem. I just installed Windows 7. The first time I installed it, it took 30 minutes. Now it took 6 hours, on the same machine.

The machine has 3 gigs of ram, its about a year old. Ran every game, program, and action very fast without any problems.

I reformatted it and now it takes 10 minutes to open up the start menu, if it opens at all without going to "Not responding..."

Shutting it down takes 15 minutes.


I tried deleting my partition, creating a new one, and installing Windows 7 on the new one. Still the same issues.

Is my hard drive dead? Am I missing something? How do I check if I have faulty hardware?


Again it was running very fast, I reformat, and now it doesn't function anymore.
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August 25, 2010 1:34:17 PM

Might want to check this out.

http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

I think when you download this disc you download as an iso, then burn to disk. It's got some disc wiping tools on it, one of which is Darik's boot and nuke. Maybe try doing a zero erase to the drive, reinstall the os and see if it helps.
August 26, 2010 4:23:06 AM

did u install the drivers for the hardware including the graphics driver an being internal it might not support the graphics properly in vista or win 7
!