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Can my Dell power adapter cause my PC to run slow?

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
June 24, 2012 2:15:44 PM

My Inspiron 9100 laptop is running slow. CPU is at 100% most of the time, when just doing one or two things. The battery is pretty much shot, so I've been running it off the AC Power Adapter for years. It's been working fine for years but just recently, it started running real slow. Window XP seems to be in slo-mo on everything.

I remember reading somewhere that if your AC Power Adapter has a broken or disengaged single pin inside, it can reduce the voltage output and send a lower voltage, or less power, to the laptop. It's enough to run the computer, but maybe not enough to keep the CPU operating at peak performance.

When I first read this idea, I thought it couldn't be true, but now I'm thinking there may be something to it.

So, is it possible that my Dell AC Power Adapter could be causing my PC to run slow, due to what I described above? If so, how can I check it to see if that's why my PC is running slow.

I've done all the housekeeping already (virus scan, defrag (multiple times), etc.).

Everything purchased in 2004:

Dell Inspiron 9100
Windows XP
Dell 150W AC/DC Adapter, model ADP-150EB B (PA-15 Family), Input 100-240V, Output 19.5V 7700mA

Thanks for your help,

June 24, 2012 2:40:33 PM

no your power adapter wont slow down your computer.
just back up your data and reinstall windows. its either bit rot or really sneaky malware. either way reinstalling will fix it.
June 24, 2012 2:58:36 PM

OK, thanks farrengottu.

I no longer have my original Windows XP and Drivers install discs that came with the laptop.

However, I believe I can download all the drivers from the Dell website, but do I need a Windows XP installation disc that's specific to my PC?

If not, I guess I can use a generic XP disc from somewhere?

Also, I can backup my folders and files and load them back in after reinstalling Windows, but what about all the programs I have installed? Will they also come back or do I have to reinstall them from the executables, to get the registry entries populated? If I have to reinstall the programs, many of them I don't have the install discs for either.

farrengottu said:
no your power adapter wont slow down your computer.
just back up your data and reinstall windows. its either bit rot or really sneaky malware. either way reinstalling will fix it.

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June 24, 2012 3:08:33 PM

We're talking about getting your laptop back to where it was when you bought it - in extreme situations (probably justifiably like this) you'll want to reinstall windows (after backing up your data). Unfortunately, you will have to reinstall all your other programs....just write down what you have, alongside all your passwords & email acount info.
A generic OS disk should be ok, though preferably a new Win7.

I also have an old Dell Inspiron laptop (came with vista) and installed win7 (full install - not an upgrade) 5 weeks ago! No probs so far.

Oh yes, almost forgot, once you do this get an image backup program (e.g. acronis true image, ghost, etc) and make a backup image when you finish all installations. Save this and don't touch it. Then make regular backup updates. Now, if the same problem happens you have options on which image to backup from....and the image install process is very, very fast (compared to what you are about to do).

If needed, you can get a replacement psu + battery....should be fairly cheap.
June 24, 2012 3:13:32 PM

I had a similar problem with an ACER laptop about two years ago. The problem turned out to be excessive dust build up in the CPU Heatsink causing the CPU to overheat and throttle down. Could also be that the heat sink fan has failed. Can you monitor your CPU temperature and see if it is getting too hot. If it is then I would suggest you take the laptop to a competent Laptop repair technician and have them clean it out and/or replace the fan.
January 7, 2013 12:06:01 PM

although this is an old post, I'd like to add this since nobody has mentioned it: Dell AC adapter has a logic/signature pin (you can see it in the middle of the plug). If the laptop cannot verify find this signature, it will slow down to half speed (WTF, Dell?). Needless to say, check the DC plug, if this pin is broken, the laptop will run in half-speed only.

I encountered this situation a few times while using a good genuine Dell AC adapter too, simply because the plug is a little loose. Most of the time this can be easily solved by shutting down the laptop, unplug and replug the DC plug.