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System running slow as hell

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Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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January 6, 2013 10:18:31 PM

I have an old laptop (Samsung M40, 1.8ghz cpu, 512mb ram) that I brought out of retirement for my kids to use, it has a clean install of windows XP and was running fine when I last used it, but now is running really slow.
So I thought I would try out Linux Mint to speed things up being as it requires and uses much less system resources than Windows and generally runs better on old hardware.
But Linux is running even slower than windows.
Literally everything is slow, booting, shutting down, opening programs, browsing the web, watching video is impossible, even typing text is slow. If there is anything else going on such as a download or system update, it is totally unusable.

Clearly there is something wrong here somewhere, but i'm not sure where. The obvious culprit seemed to be the disk, but I have checked it for errors and have defragged it and everything seems fine.

anyone got any ideas?
a b D Laptop
January 6, 2013 10:27:53 PM

Hello... LOL... I always tell people you only notice how much faster a NEW computer is VS your OLD... is to go back and start using you OLD Computer... RAM is low on that by todays standards... SO... WINDOWS will be PAGING alot of MEMORY to the SLOW Hardrive.
boot the computer... and open the TASK MANAGER... are there any other programs that open when starting?

are you connected to the internet? is a virus program running? Do you have any automatic updates turned on? Have the kids started loading thing on it? Screen Savers were such a favorite for them in the Past...

The point is... mult-tasking programs will slow you down.
a b D Laptop
January 6, 2013 10:28:31 PM

Run hdd manufactures diags drive maybe dying. Also check the CPU temp to verify its not throttling die to heat the thermal grease maybe shot.
Related resources
a b D Laptop
January 6, 2013 10:38:54 PM

Ironsounds said:
Hello... LOL... I always tell people you only notice how much faster a NEW computer is VS your OLD... is to go back and start using you OLD Computer...



Ya, sometimes something that seemed "fast" a few years when you used it last, seems slow after using a new PC but doesn't mean it's any slower, it's just perception from a few years ago.

I did the same thing, brought out my laptop, install Ubuntu for some Android stuff. I'm like WTF, this is slow. It's not really, it's a dual core intel, Nvidia dedicated graphics, 2GB DDR2, but compared to my 6core 8gb desktop, it's slow. It seems slower than I remember, but I've been spoiled by AMD 6 cores for so long.....
January 6, 2013 11:13:36 PM

Looks like you just hit reply without reading my original post properly.
no this is not a "compared to my new computer this is slow".
I'm talking about, open a program, or open a webpage, wait 5 minutes for anything to happen.
Install a program, may as well go to bed and come back tomorrow to see if it has finished.
Typing takes anywhere from 10-30 seconds for each word to appear on the screen.
I have several old laptops and computers I have refurbed and reinstalled for my kids and parents, so I regularly use them know exactly what to expect from them performance wise with both Windows and Linux and they generally run fine. This level of slowless is not normal and was not even normal 10 years ago.
I am not trying to run a new OS like windows 7 on an old laptop, as I said it is running Windows XP, which is intended to run on a laptop of this age and this spec and was running fine for years. Yes times change, and systems improve, but computers that happily ran windows XP 8 years ago will still happily tun them today, the requirements for old OS's don't suddenly change.

As I said, it was a totally clean install of XP and now a clean install of Linux, nothing else had been installed on either OS, no antivirus or any other programs causing issues, CPU barely used.

The system is well within the requirements for both windows XP and Linux, and again as I said, it was working fine the last time I used it, which was only about one year ago when I originally reinstalled it and cleaned it up, and it has not been used until now.

It still feels disk related to me.
a b D Laptop
January 6, 2013 11:40:25 PM

Hello... well I try to keep things simple at the start to a reply... Tech level varies alot here... and yours is very Good... to excelent...

Sometimes the simple things get overlooked in repairs... and before you throw $$$ at a problem right away.

Ok... another simple... are all your drivers/hardware happy in the DEvice Manager?
a b D Laptop
January 7, 2013 12:00:45 AM

Easy way to eliminate your HD. Download Ubuntu, follow their directions to make a bootable USB key, remove your HD, boot from the key so it's only running from the key. See if it's slow, laggy, etc. If not, then put the HD back in, install the same Ubuntu from the USB key (it gives the option to install or run from the key).

If it's slow after installing, it's probably the HD.
January 7, 2013 12:08:43 AM

Hello... LOL...

Ya, the title of this thread set me off laughing. But it's been several minutes now and I've managed to compose myself. @loardsnake I think you made my day. Well you and the "dance like nobody's watching:mall" vid on youtube. Feels good to laugh.

But anyway, I had a similar problem with an old laptop as well. The thermal paste dryed out and to keep from buring up the CPU would heavily underclock itself, to the point where the machine was basically unusable.
January 7, 2013 8:02:35 AM

All hardware is showing as ok in device manager and the equiv in Linux.
I will try running from USB and see what happens, thanks, had actually thought of doing that last night as well.
wdmfiber, not sure why you found the title so funny, but glad it gave you a laugh.

BwwwJ1st, as I have said the performance issue is on Linux too, then it cannot be a Windows problem.
January 7, 2013 8:31:56 AM

The guy really needs help. He wouldn't have posted if it was just for laughs.
January 7, 2013 1:25:13 PM

Yes, no more laughs.

So to fix my laptop I removed the CPU cooler and applied new thermal paste. Download CPU-Z and make sure your PC is running at 1.8 GHz. If it's badly overheating, your operating GHz will prob be in the 100's, not 1800. And that's way lower than what speedstep would throttle back to.

It took me a bit to figure out. As listening to my fan (cycle between hi - med) and watching CPU usage in the task manager, didn't give a clear indication it was overheating.

If you figure out the peoblem let us know what is was.
December 27, 2013 6:03:13 PM

thanks, I missed the last reply, didn't get a notification, so never checked that.
I threw a bit of extra memory in it which made a slight improvement, but still Linux was running like a dog, so had to stick with XP for now, even though it has expired. It is only being used by my 4 yr old and has parental controls enabled, so isn't in much danger. Hopefully it will suffice for the simple games she plays on it.
!