HELP- pc becomes sluggish over time....

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support (More info?)

Not sure if this is the right group, but I notice that my pc becomes
sluggish over time. (Dell Dimension 4550 - P4 with 2.53 GHz and 256
RAM)

Using XP with SP2.....may not even be an XP issue.

The pc seems to be slowing down as the day goes on.

I check CPU usage constantly and know which programs put a significant
drain on the system.

I also see which programs utilize the most memory.

I'm careful about using N-AV with current definitions, Adaware,
Spybot, etc., so I'm pretty confident I'm virus & scumware free.....

Is it simply a matter of running as few programs as possible or adding
more memory?

Is there any software that might monitor performance and point at
potential problems? (I've tried Cool Beans 2.0.0.10, Windows Task Mgr,
Fresh Diagnose, etc. and see lots of information, but nothing has been
obvious about possible problems. IE: memory leaks???)

Any suggestions?

If I'm in the wrong group, which would be a better place to post?

thnx!
13 answers Last reply
More about help sluggish time
  1. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support (More info?)

    RAM memory is very inexpensive and in this case would
    probably show a performance improvement ranging from 10 to
    60 percent, depending on the programs involved. I'd
    double it to 512Mb.

    Using Task Manager, list the programs running right after
    you turn the computer on, compare it to the programs
    running at the end of the day. You may find a clue
    there.

    Remember that not only do application programs use RAM but
    Windows XP uses a significant amount of RAM just to
    function. Depending on how many and which Windows
    Services you have runing, you may be running out of RAM as
    the day goes by.

    >-----Original Message-----
    >
    >Not sure if this is the right group, but I notice that my
    pc becomes
    >sluggish over time. (Dell Dimension 4550 - P4 with 2.53
    GHz and 256
    >RAM)
    >
    >Using XP with SP2.....may not even be an XP issue.
    >
    >The pc seems to be slowing down as the day goes on.
    >
    >I check CPU usage constantly and know which programs put
    a significant
    >drain on the system.
    >
    >I also see which programs utilize the most memory.
    >
    >I'm careful about using N-AV with current definitions,
    Adaware,
    >Spybot, etc., so I'm pretty confident I'm virus &
    scumware free.....
    >
    >Is it simply a matter of running as few programs as
    possible or adding
    >more memory?
    >
    >Is there any software that might monitor performance and
    point at
    >potential problems? (I've tried Cool Beans 2.0.0.10,
    Windows Task Mgr,
    >Fresh Diagnose, etc. and see lots of information, but
    nothing has been
    >obvious about possible problems. IE: memory leaks???)
    >
    >Any suggestions?
    >
    >If I'm in the wrong group, which would be a better place
    to post?
    >
    >thnx!
    >.
    >
  2. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support (More info?)

    phil6666 <phil6666@adelphia.net> wrote:

    >
    >Not sure if this is the right group, but I notice that my pc becomes
    >sluggish over time. (Dell Dimension 4550 - P4 with 2.53 GHz and 256
    >RAM)
    >
    >Using XP with SP2.....may not even be an XP issue.
    >
    >The pc seems to be slowing down as the day goes on.
    >
    >I check CPU usage constantly and know which programs put a significant
    >drain on the system.
    >
    >I also see which programs utilize the most memory.
    >
    >I'm careful about using N-AV with current definitions, Adaware,
    >Spybot, etc., so I'm pretty confident I'm virus & scumware free.....
    >
    >Is it simply a matter of running as few programs as possible or adding
    >more memory?
    >
    >Is there any software that might monitor performance and point at
    >potential problems? (I've tried Cool Beans 2.0.0.10, Windows Task Mgr,
    >Fresh Diagnose, etc. and see lots of information, but nothing has been
    >obvious about possible problems. IE: memory leaks???)
    >
    >Any suggestions?
    >
    >If I'm in the wrong group, which would be a better place to post?
    >
    >thnx!

    Adding more memory can noticeably improve performance only if the
    added memory results in reduced usage of the virtual memory paging
    file. Therefore if the paging file is not currently being used to any
    significant extent then adding more memory will not provide a
    significant improvement.

    Unfortunately there is no ready way of determing actual paging file
    usage provided with Windows XP - it does not have an equivalent to the
    'Memory Manager - Swap File In Use" reporting provided by the System
    Monitor utility in Windows 95/98/Me.

    There is a free utility that you can download and run which will
    provide this information for you. It was written by MVP Bill James and
    you can get if from
    http://www.dougknox.com/xp/utils/xp_pagefilemon.htm or from
    http://billsway.com/notes_public/WinXP_Tweaks/

    If that utility shows actual page file usage of 50 mb or more on a
    regular basis then that is indicative of fairly significant paging
    file activity. Adding more RAM will reduce or even eliminate entirely
    this activity thereby improving performance.

    This apples regardless of how much or how little RAM is currently
    installed in the computer, at least up to the 4 gb RAM maximum for
    Windows XP.

    Hope this is of some assistance.

    Good luck


    Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
    --
    Microsoft MVP
    On-Line Help Computer Service
    http://onlinehelp.bc.ca

    In memory of a dear friend Alex Nichol MVP
    http://aumha.org/alex.htm
  3. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support (More info?)

    WOW- More food for thought!

    I've downloaded that program and will give it a try.

    If it doesn't provide some information on how to interpret the
    results, do you know of any resources to help in my "education?"

    THANKS!!!


    On Tue, 29 Mar 2005 20:36:04 GMT, Ron Martell <ron.martell@gmail.com>
    wrote:

    >phil6666 <phil6666@adelphia.net> wrote:
    >
    >>
    >>Not sure if this is the right group, but I notice that my pc becomes
    >>sluggish over time. (Dell Dimension 4550 - P4 with 2.53 GHz and 256
    >>RAM)
    >>
    >>Using XP with SP2.....may not even be an XP issue.
    >>
    >>The pc seems to be slowing down as the day goes on.
    >>
    >>I check CPU usage constantly and know which programs put a significant
    >>drain on the system.
    >>
    >>I also see which programs utilize the most memory.
    >>
    >>I'm careful about using N-AV with current definitions, Adaware,
    >>Spybot, etc., so I'm pretty confident I'm virus & scumware free.....
    >>
    >>Is it simply a matter of running as few programs as possible or adding
    >>more memory?
    >>
    >>Is there any software that might monitor performance and point at
    >>potential problems? (I've tried Cool Beans 2.0.0.10, Windows Task Mgr,
    >>Fresh Diagnose, etc. and see lots of information, but nothing has been
    >>obvious about possible problems. IE: memory leaks???)
    >>
    >>Any suggestions?
    >>
    >>If I'm in the wrong group, which would be a better place to post?
    >>
    >>thnx!
    >
    >Adding more memory can noticeably improve performance only if the
    >added memory results in reduced usage of the virtual memory paging
    >file. Therefore if the paging file is not currently being used to any
    >significant extent then adding more memory will not provide a
    >significant improvement.
    >
    >Unfortunately there is no ready way of determing actual paging file
    >usage provided with Windows XP - it does not have an equivalent to the
    >'Memory Manager - Swap File In Use" reporting provided by the System
    >Monitor utility in Windows 95/98/Me.
    >
    >There is a free utility that you can download and run which will
    >provide this information for you. It was written by MVP Bill James and
    >you can get if from
    >http://www.dougknox.com/xp/utils/xp_pagefilemon.htm or from
    >http://billsway.com/notes_public/WinXP_Tweaks/
    >
    >If that utility shows actual page file usage of 50 mb or more on a
    >regular basis then that is indicative of fairly significant paging
    >file activity. Adding more RAM will reduce or even eliminate entirely
    >this activity thereby improving performance.
    >
    >This apples regardless of how much or how little RAM is currently
    >installed in the computer, at least up to the 4 gb RAM maximum for
    >Windows XP.
    >
    >Hope this is of some assistance.
    >
    >Good luck
    >
    >
    >Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
  4. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support (More info?)

    I'll keep up my research & report back in a week or so, but, in the
    meantime, what do these results immediately after start-up mean vs.
    your statement about "actual page file usage of 50 mb?"


    Current Pagefile Usage: 83 MB
    Session Peak Usage: 86 MB
    Current Pagefile Size: 384 MB

    Other than my obvious options of opening up fewer programs --OR--
    adding memory, is there anything to do?

    thnx


    On Tue, 29 Mar 2005 20:36:04 GMT, Ron Martell <ron.martell@gmail.com>
    wrote:

    >There is a free utility that you can download and run which will
    >provide this information for you. It was written by MVP Bill James and
    >you can get if from
    >http://www.dougknox.com/xp/utils/xp_pagefilemon.htm or from
    >http://billsway.com/notes_public/WinXP_Tweaks/
    >
    >If that utility shows actual page file usage of 50 mb or more on a
    >regular basis then that is indicative of fairly significant paging
    >file activity. Adding more RAM will reduce or even eliminate entirely
    >this activity thereby improving performance.
  5. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support (More info?)

    phil6666 <phil6666@adelphia.net> wrote:

    >
    >WOW- More food for thought!
    >
    >I've downloaded that program and will give it a try.
    >
    >If it doesn't provide some information on how to interpret the
    >results, do you know of any resources to help in my "education?"
    >
    >THANKS!!!
    >
    Just post your question back here. I will be watching for any further
    responses from you for the next 10 days.

    Good luck


    Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
    --
    Microsoft MVP
    On-Line Help Computer Service
    http://onlinehelp.bc.ca

    In memory of a dear friend Alex Nichol MVP
    http://aumha.org/alex.htm
  6. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support (More info?)

    phil6666 <phil6666@adelphia.net> wrote:

    >
    >I'll keep up my research & report back in a week or so, but, in the
    >meantime, what do these results immediately after start-up mean vs.
    >your statement about "actual page file usage of 50 mb?"
    >
    >
    >Current Pagefile Usage: 83 MB
    >Session Peak Usage: 86 MB
    >Current Pagefile Size: 384 MB
    >
    >Other than my obvious options of opening up fewer programs --OR--
    >adding memory, is there anything to do?
    >
    >thnx
    >

    Current Pagefile Usage = 83 mb means that there is 83 mb of active
    memory content that has been relocated from RAM to the pagefile so as
    to allow that RAM to be used for other, currently more important
    tasks.

    Session Peak Usage = 86 mb means that at some prior moment there was
    86 mb of this content in the pagefile.

    Current Pagefile Size = 384 mb means that you have a minimum size of
    384 mb specified for the pagefile.

    Because of the actual pagefile usage figures I suspect that you would
    notice a modest improvement in performance, including a somewhat
    faster startup, if you added more RAM. The indicated amount is 86 mb,
    which means that an additional 128 mb module (at least) should be
    considered.

    As a matter of curiosity, what did Task Manager report for PF Usage at
    the time you recorded the above figures?

    Good luck


    Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
    --
    Microsoft MVP
    On-Line Help Computer Service
    http://onlinehelp.bc.ca

    In memory of a dear friend Alex Nichol MVP
    http://aumha.org/alex.htm
  7. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support (More info?)

    2 hours after the prior readings (on boot-up), here are the current
    readings:

    Current Pagefile Usage: 97 MB
    Session Peak Usage: 97 MB
    Current Pagefile Size: 384 MB

    As you asked, PF Usage = 245 MB with Task Manager

    Also, Task Manager shows the following:

    Physical Mem: Total 261124
    Available 58756
    System Cache 113840

    Kernel Mem: Total 57068
    Paged 42388
    Nonpaged 14680

    Are any of these supposed to add up?


    On Wed, 30 Mar 2005 01:32:10 GMT, Ron Martell <ron.martell@gmail.com>
    wrote:

    >As a matter of curiosity, what did Task Manager report for PF Usage at
    >the time you recorded the above figures?
    >
    >Good luck
    >
    >
    >Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
    >--
  8. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support (More info?)

    phil6666 <phil6666@adelphia.net> wrote:

    >
    >2 hours after the prior readings (on boot-up), here are the current
    >readings:
    >
    >Current Pagefile Usage: 97 MB
    >Session Peak Usage: 97 MB
    >Current Pagefile Size: 384 MB
    >
    >As you asked, PF Usage = 245 MB with Task Manager
    >
    >Also, Task Manager shows the following:
    >
    >Physical Mem: Total 261124
    > Available 58756
    > System Cache 113840
    >
    >Kernel Mem: Total 57068
    > Paged 42388
    > Nonpaged 14680
    >
    >Are any of these supposed to add up?
    >

    Some of them do. For Kernel Mem the Paged + Nonpaged = Total
    Also the Physical Mem Total should be your RAM amount, which I take to
    be 256 mb minus 1 mb dedicated to on-board video.

    Your figures still tell me that it is probably worthwhile looking at
    adding more RAM. This is almost always beneficial on Windows XP
    systems with (only) 256 mb of RAM. I was getting similar pagefile
    data to yours recently and I added another 256 mb of RAM giving me a
    total of 768 mb. My motherboard has only 2 RAM slots so I replaced
    one of the 256 mb modules with a 512 mb one, and I did notice an
    improvement in performance. I may replace the other 256 mb module as
    well in the near future as I plan on installing Virtual PC and the
    extra RAM will certainly come in handy then.

    By the way your PF Usage figure of 245 mb and Pagefile Usage of 97 mb
    means that there is 148 mb (245 - 97) of RAM that has been requested
    (by application programs, device drivers, and Windows components) but
    never used. By design Windows always maps the unused portions of
    requested memory to the pagefile, using RAM only for the portions that
    are actually used. The fact that the Task Manager reported PF Usage
    includes these unused allocations make that figure unusable for the
    purposes of assessing the potential benefit of adding more RAM.

    Good luck


    Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
    --
    Microsoft MVP
    On-Line Help Computer Service
    http://onlinehelp.bc.ca

    In memory of a dear friend Alex Nichol MVP
    http://aumha.org/alex.htm
  9. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support (More info?)

    Quick question- Is XP pretty good about freeing up unused portions of
    requested memory once the program has been closed?

    thnx for all your help!


    On Wed, 30 Mar 2005 04:36:43 GMT, Ron Martell <ron.martell@gmail.com>
    wrote:

    >phil6666 <phil6666@adelphia.net> wrote:
    >
    >>
    >>2 hours after the prior readings (on boot-up), here are the current
    >>readings:
    >>
    >>Current Pagefile Usage: 97 MB
    >>Session Peak Usage: 97 MB
    >>Current Pagefile Size: 384 MB
    >>
    >>As you asked, PF Usage = 245 MB with Task Manager
    >>
    >>Also, Task Manager shows the following:
    >>
    >>Physical Mem: Total 261124
    >> Available 58756
    >> System Cache 113840
    >>
    >>Kernel Mem: Total 57068
    >> Paged 42388
    >> Nonpaged 14680
    >>
    >>Are any of these supposed to add up?
    >>
    >
    >Some of them do. For Kernel Mem the Paged + Nonpaged = Total
    >Also the Physical Mem Total should be your RAM amount, which I take to
    >be 256 mb minus 1 mb dedicated to on-board video.
    >
    >Your figures still tell me that it is probably worthwhile looking at
    >adding more RAM. This is almost always beneficial on Windows XP
    >systems with (only) 256 mb of RAM. I was getting similar pagefile
    >data to yours recently and I added another 256 mb of RAM giving me a
    >total of 768 mb. My motherboard has only 2 RAM slots so I replaced
    >one of the 256 mb modules with a 512 mb one, and I did notice an
    >improvement in performance. I may replace the other 256 mb module as
    >well in the near future as I plan on installing Virtual PC and the
    >extra RAM will certainly come in handy then.
    >
    >By the way your PF Usage figure of 245 mb and Pagefile Usage of 97 mb
    >means that there is 148 mb (245 - 97) of RAM that has been requested
    >(by application programs, device drivers, and Windows components) but
    >never used. By design Windows always maps the unused portions of
    >requested memory to the pagefile, using RAM only for the portions that
    >are actually used. The fact that the Task Manager reported PF Usage
    >includes these unused allocations make that figure unusable for the
    >purposes of assessing the potential benefit of adding more RAM.
    >
    >Good luck
    >
    >
    >Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
  10. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support (More info?)

    phil6666 <phil6666@adelphia.net> wrote:

    >
    >Quick question- Is XP pretty good about freeing up unused portions of
    >requested memory once the program has been closed?
    >
    >thnx for all your help!
    >
    Yes


    Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
    --
    Microsoft MVP
    On-Line Help Computer Service
    http://onlinehelp.bc.ca

    In memory of a dear friend Alex Nichol MVP
    http://aumha.org/alex.htm
  11. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support (More info?)

    I performed the following experiment by noting the pagefile
    immediately after boot-up, after I opened lots of programs, and then
    after I closed everything except those that were open during boot-up.

    I wonder why the pagefile ended at 148MB and didn't go back to the
    initial 83 at boot-up. (I expected a small increase from opening
    software which might not "totally" close, but it's almost double the
    initial size.....)

    Is this "normal?"


    Using XP Page File Monitor

    11:20PM- Boot-up PC

    Current Pagefile Usage 83MB
    Session Peak Pagefile Usage 85MB
    Current Pagefile Size 384MB

    11:50PM- ~20 programs running

    Current Pagefile Usage 295MB
    Session Peak Pagefile Usage 295MB
    Current Pagefile Size 384MB

    12:18PM- Close all programs except those open on boot-up

    Current Pagefile Usage 148MB
    Session Peak Pagefile Usage 295MB
    Current Pagefile Size 384MB


    On Wed, 30 Mar 2005 19:55:01 GMT, Ron Martell <ron.martell@gmail.com>
    wrote:

    >phil6666 <phil6666@adelphia.net> wrote:
    >
    >>
    >>Quick question- Is XP pretty good about freeing up unused portions of
    >>requested memory once the program has been closed?
    >>
    >>thnx for all your help!
    >>
    >Yes
    >
    >
    >Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
  12. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support (More info?)

    phil6666 <phil6666@adelphia.net> wrote:

    >
    >I performed the following experiment by noting the pagefile
    >immediately after boot-up, after I opened lots of programs, and then
    >after I closed everything except those that were open during boot-up.
    >
    >I wonder why the pagefile ended at 148MB and didn't go back to the
    >initial 83 at boot-up. (I expected a small increase from opening
    >software which might not "totally" close, but it's almost double the
    >initial size.....)
    >
    >Is this "normal?"
    >

    It would seem so.

    There would be quite a bit of stuff from Windows itself and from
    background programs such as your antivirus and/or firewall that would
    be moved out to the pagefile if RAM requirements increased
    substantially, as your "20 programs" data indicates.

    And once an item has been moved to the pagefile it will not be loaded
    back in again unless and until that specific code page (4K) was
    actually required for processing (data) or excecution (program code);
    even if there is now available unused RAM that these items could be
    moved to,

    Hope this explains the situation.

    Good luck


    Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
    --
    Microsoft MVP
    On-Line Help Computer Service
    http://onlinehelp.bc.ca

    In memory of a dear friend Alex Nichol MVP
    http://aumha.org/alex.htm
  13. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.help_and_support (More info?)

    Ron-

    I guess the bottom line is you gotta have enough RAM or things will
    slow up.

    Will open up the PC and see if Dell gave me a 256MB DIMM when I bought
    the computer or put a 128 in each of my 2 slots....will take it from
    there.

    Thanks for all your help!!!!

    Phil


    On Mon, 04 Apr 2005 23:25:57 GMT, Ron Martell <ron.martell@gmail.com>
    wrote:

    >phil6666 <phil6666@adelphia.net> wrote:
    >
    >>
    >>I performed the following experiment by noting the pagefile
    >>immediately after boot-up, after I opened lots of programs, and then
    >>after I closed everything except those that were open during boot-up.
    >>
    >>I wonder why the pagefile ended at 148MB and didn't go back to the
    >>initial 83 at boot-up. (I expected a small increase from opening
    >>software which might not "totally" close, but it's almost double the
    >>initial size.....)
    >>
    >>Is this "normal?"
    >>
    >
    >It would seem so.
    >
    >There would be quite a bit of stuff from Windows itself and from
    >background programs such as your antivirus and/or firewall that would
    >be moved out to the pagefile if RAM requirements increased
    >substantially, as your "20 programs" data indicates.
    >
    >And once an item has been moved to the pagefile it will not be loaded
    >back in again unless and until that specific code page (4K) was
    >actually required for processing (data) or excecution (program code);
    >even if there is now available unused RAM that these items could be
    >moved to,
    >
    >Hope this explains the situation.
    >
    >Good luck
    >
    >
    >Ron Martell Duncan B.C. Canada
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