Very Slow Computer

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Topic Author
pkcrafter
Posts: 14677
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 12:19 pm
Location: CA
Contact:

Very Slow Computer

Post by pkcrafter »

A friend has a 6 year old computer running XP with Norton AV. It has recently become extremely slow to respond. What do the experts say?

Paul
When times are good, investors tend to forget about risk and focus on opportunity. When times are bad, investors tend to forget about opportunity and focus on risk.
User avatar
Mel Lindauer
Moderator
Posts: 31503
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 8:49 pm
Location: Daytona Beach Shores, Florida
Contact:

Re: Very Slow Computer

Post by Mel Lindauer »

pkcrafter wrote:A friend has a 6 year old computer running XP with Norton AV. It has recently become extremely slow to respond. What do the experts say?

Paul
IMO, Norton may well be the problem. I used to use Norton, but switched to Webroot and have been happy ever since.
Best Regards - Mel | | Semper Fi
User avatar
Igglesman
Posts: 439
Joined: Fri May 01, 2009 2:20 pm

Re: Very Slow Computer

Post by Igglesman »

Without more info, run Ad-Aware or Malwarebytes or Spybot. This may clean it up so the machine is fast again.
User avatar
jpsfranks
Posts: 1005
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2007 11:45 pm

Post by jpsfranks »

If it's still on the original install and he has the installation discs, wiping the machine clean and starting fresh would probably do wonders.
User avatar
LazyNihilist
Posts: 949
Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:56 pm

Post by LazyNihilist »

I'd say give ubuntu a try. It doesn't need as many resources as windows.
The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must -Thucydides
bb
Posts: 325
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2007 10:04 pm

Post by bb »

+1

for a fresh install of the Windows OS if possible.
DH287
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2007 8:59 pm
Location: Shoemakersville, PA

Post by DH287 »

Microsoft Security Essentials is an astoundingly good free product, compatible with XP (with SP2), Vista, and Windows 7:
http://www.microsoft.com/security/pc-security/mse.aspx.

I suggest trying replacing your current AV software with MSE.
Topic Author
pkcrafter
Posts: 14677
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 12:19 pm
Location: CA
Contact:

Post by pkcrafter »

Thanks for all the suggestions. Maybe reinstall is the answer, but I'm also suspicious of Norton. Can Malwarebytes or Spybot be installed with Norton, or does Norton have to be removed or disabled?

How about CC cleaner?


Paul
When times are good, investors tend to forget about risk and focus on opportunity. When times are bad, investors tend to forget about opportunity and focus on risk.
Bruin
Posts: 165
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:43 pm

Post by Bruin »

pkcrafter wrote:Thanks for all the suggestions. Maybe reinstall is the answer, but I'm also suspicious of Norton. Can Malwarebytes or Spybot be installed with Norton, or does Norton have to be removed or disabled?

How about CC cleaner?


Paul
Use Malwarebytes - it can be used in conjunction with Norton.
User avatar
9Iron
Posts: 219
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 6:41 pm
Location: South Florida

Post by 9Iron »

I'm not fond of Norton. I have found it to be a resource hog. Search for the Norton removal tool. Yes, you have to download special software to completely remove it from your system.

That being said, you may be overdue for a reinstall of windows. If you are a little adventurous, you can give Ubuntu a try. You don't have to install it, you can boot it from a flash drive and give it a try. I use it every day on a Pentium 4 based pc ( circa 2004).

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Insta ... omUSBStick
tomd37
Posts: 3545
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 10:39 pm
Location: Middle Tennessee

Like Norton 360

Post by tomd37 »

I found a big improvement in the Norton Suite when they introduced Norton 360. Prior to that it was a true hog, but that changed significantly with Norton 360.

Could the OP still be running a real old version of Norton, thus causing the slowdown?
Tom D.
Tabs
Posts: 231
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2008 8:48 am

Post by Tabs »

XP is pretty light and fast.

Norton, except for the latest 360, has been known to be a resource hog and will noticeably slow down your computer.

If your hard drive is nearly full, that will slow down the computer.

If your computer is infected with lots of malware, that too will slow down the computer.

If the registry isn't cleaned, it will slow down the computer as well.

If the drive is very fragmented (after 6 years, it can be) that too may slow it down.

If the owner has installed a lot of search bars and other add-ons, that too will slow things.

If the hardware is below the software's recommended specs, that will slow.

There may be more. I think much of it is already covered by others, but I'm just throwing that out there.
cacophony
Posts: 606
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:12 pm

Re: Very Slow Computer

Post by cacophony »

pkcrafter wrote:A friend has a 6 year old computer running XP with Norton AV. It has recently become extremely slow to respond. What do the experts say?

Paul
1. Fresh install of Windows

2. Perform all Windows updates, and set future updates to be automatic (with prompt).

3. Only reinstall programs that are actually used.

4. Disable unnecessary services. This will make your machine run faster and be more secure. Personally I use the "SAFE" config listed here: http://www.blackviper.com/2008/05/19/bl ... gurations/

5. Don't reinstall Norton. If you insist on running active security software Microsoft Security Essentials is fairly lightweight, though even that can get annoying on an older system.

BTW, I'm typing this message on a 5-6 year old laptop running Windows XP and it absolutely flies for tasks like web browsing and word processing. No reason an older computer can't be fast. Though you do want to ensure you have enough RAM (1 GB should be fine).
csmith
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 8:31 pm

Post by csmith »

Tabs wrote:XP is pretty light and fast.

Norton, except for the latest 360, has been known to be a resource hog and will noticeably slow down your computer.

If your hard drive is nearly full, that will slow down the computer.

If your computer is infected with lots of malware, that too will slow down the computer.

If the registry isn't cleaned, it will slow down the computer as well.

If the drive is very fragmented (after 6 years, it can be) that too may slow it down.

If the owner has installed a lot of search bars and other add-ons, that too will slow things.

If the hardware is below the software's recommended specs, that will slow.

There may be more. I think much of it is already covered by others, but I'm just throwing that out there.

This.

I personally am not a fan of norton at all.

There is a lot of general issues associated with computers here, if you don't know what some of them are google them. They are very basic "quick fixes"
scrabbler1
Posts: 2544
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 2:39 pm

Post by scrabbler1 »

Tabs wrote:XP is pretty light and fast.

Norton, except for the latest 360, has been known to be a resource hog and will noticeably slow down your computer.

If your hard drive is nearly full, that will slow down the computer.

If your computer is infected with lots of malware, that too will slow down the computer.

If the registry isn't cleaned, it will slow down the computer as well.

If the drive is very fragmented (after 6 years, it can be) that too may slow it down.

If the owner has installed a lot of search bars and other add-ons, that too will slow things.

If the hardware is below the software's recommended specs, that will slow.

There may be more. I think much of it is already covered by others, but I'm just throwing that out there.
Good list. One thing I would add is to Start/Run/MSCONFIG then the STARTUP tab which tells you which programs run when you start up the system. Uncheck any unnecessary programs (use an internet search for anything you are unsure of) and restart the system. If you have spyware or malware, unchecked boxes will magically become rechecked if the registry overrides the startup instructions.

You need to have 15% of the hard drive free to run the Defrag program, I have found.
Sidney
Posts: 6751
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:06 pm

Re: Very Slow Computer

Post by Sidney »

cacophony wrote:
pkcrafter wrote:A friend has a 6 year old computer running XP with Norton AV. It has recently become extremely slow to respond. What do the experts say?

Paul
1. Fresh install of Windows

2. Perform all Windows updates, and set future updates to be automatic (with prompt).

3. Only reinstall programs that are actually used.

4. Disable unnecessary services. This will make your machine run faster and be more secure. Personally I use the "SAFE" config listed here: http://www.blackviper.com/2008/05/19/bl ... gurations/

5. Don't reinstall Norton. If you insist on running active security software Microsoft Security Essentials is fairly lightweight, though even that can get annoying on an older system.

BTW, I'm typing this message on a 5-6 year old laptop running Windows XP and it absolutely flies for tasks like web browsing and word processing. No reason an older computer can't be fast. Though you do want to ensure you have enough RAM (1 GB should be fine).
this is what I did with my old desktop. I reimage the machine about every year to year and a half. It is now 10 years old. I did put in a newer hard disk about 3 years ago as the primary drive. I also turned off indexing and the system restore for all drives except the primary.
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.
User avatar
Kenkat
Posts: 7012
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:18 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Post by Kenkat »

LazyNihilist wrote:I'd say give ubuntu a try. It doesn't need as many resources as windows.
Ubuntu is cool but you need to be a pretty technically savvy to be able to get it set up and everything running satisfactorally.
User avatar
Kenkat
Posts: 7012
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:18 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Post by Kenkat »

This has been covered by others above in chunks, but I would try:

1) Getting rid of Norton - even 360 seems like a hog to me - and replace with a lighter weight product
2) Run Malware Bytes
3) Run CCleaner - especially focus on the Startup Programs (less is better) and Registry Cleaner.
4) If you have 512MB of memory or less, you might consider adding memory to get to 1GB minimum
Topic Author
pkcrafter
Posts: 14677
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 12:19 pm
Location: CA
Contact:

Post by pkcrafter »

Kenschmidt wrote:
Ubuntu is cool but you need to be a pretty technically savvy to be able to get it set up and everything running satisfactorally.
This person is not technically savvy at all, so I suspect this computer has had no maintenance at all. I'll help her go through the 4 steps you recommended and see what happens.

Thanks,

Paul
When times are good, investors tend to forget about risk and focus on opportunity. When times are bad, investors tend to forget about opportunity and focus on risk.
hsv_climber
Posts: 3969
Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 7:56 pm

Post by hsv_climber »

Run Disk Defragmenter as well.
User avatar
CABob
Posts: 4998
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2007 8:55 pm
Location: Southern California

Post by CABob »

I recently had the problem with a slow computer and being a Luddite I took the computer to a local fix-it place and for less that $100 they did a clean up and the difference was remarkable. Probably someone who is more computer friendly could do the job cheaper and faster, but, it was worth it to me.
Bob
skibbi9
Posts: 248
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:19 am

Re: Very Slow Computer

Post by skibbi9 »

Igglesman wrote:Without more info, run Ad-Aware or Malwarebytes or Spybot. This may clean it up so the machine is fast again.
Mostly agree, Run MalwareBytes first then maybe spybot. i dont like adaware
User avatar
tyrion
Posts: 1289
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2008 3:33 pm

Post by tyrion »

Take a can of compressed air and clean off the processor fan. If it's a laptop shoot it in the exhaust vent. If it's a desktop open up the lid first and clean it off.

When the fan gets dusty it causes the processor to throttle itself down. This may or may not be the issue but it's a quick $3 fix that anybody can do, and I find it helps in about half the cases (I do local IT support for an office of 200ish).
c.Alvin
Posts: 295
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 4:57 pm

My 2 cents . . .

Post by c.Alvin »

I am not a fan of Norton either. It slowed my 8 year old Win-XP machine to a crawl. Poor performance is usually a combination of things. Here are my suggestions.


FREE & EASY:

1. Clean the Windows Registry. Download and run "CCleaner" it is a freebie and safe.

2. Get a faster security suite. I switched to the free version of "AVG" virus checker and the free version of "ZoneAlarm" firewall. They play well together.


NOT FREE & NOT NECESSARILY EASY:

1. Check whether the PC needs more memory. Not too difficult.

2. Upgrading to a faster hard drive can make a big difference. A little more difficult


Good Luck,
c.Alvin
User avatar
Higman
Posts: 227
Joined: Wed Aug 20, 2008 7:51 pm

Post by Higman »

There are a lot of good suggestions above. But first I would launce Task Manager (CTL-ALT-DEL) and click on the Performance tab. Check the memory usage and the CPU usage. If high CPU then click on the Processes tab and double click the CPU column to sort in descending order. Look for anything hogging the processor and then research it prior to ending the Process. It could be an application or a system function gone wild.
User avatar
sperry8
Posts: 2353
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:25 pm
Location: Miami FL

Post by sperry8 »

kenschmidt and hsv_climber have the best 2 suggestions.

1- Run ccleaner. http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download It's free. Simply download it - install it, and then run it.
2- Run a disk defragmenter. It's free. Download it here: http://www.auslogics.com/en/software/disk-defrag/

Do the following above steps in that order.

Norton is not slowing you down. I have Norton and my computer zips along. It's the fact that you have probably never cleaned your machine.

After those two steps, you'll notice a significant difference in speed.
Shane
BH contests: 2020 #253 of 664 | 19 #233 of 645 | 18 #150 of 493 | 17 #516 of 647 | 16 #121 of 610 | 15 #18 of 552 | 14 #225 of 503 | 13 #383 of 433 | 12 #366 of 410 | 11 #113 of 369 | 10 #53 of 282
User avatar
soaring
Posts: 1441
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 9:09 am
Location: North Central Florida

Post by soaring »

First remove norton!
hsv_climber wrote:Run Disk Defragmenter as well.
+100

Absolute must if it hasn't been done to run disk defrag. Do this before anything else.

Start > programs > accessories > system tools > disk defrag

then perform "error check"

my computer > C drive (or main drive)> properties > tools > error checking > check now > check both boxes. It will ask if ok to perform when starting computer again. click yes and restart computer. Do not touch anything until program is finished. It will automatically restart your computer when finished.

Both may take an hour or two each to run especially if not done before.
Desiderata
User avatar
wander
Posts: 3581
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 9:10 am

Re: Very Slow Computer

Post by wander »

pkcrafter wrote:A friend has a 6 year old computer running XP with Norton AV. It has recently become extremely slow to respond. What do the experts say?

Paul
Re-install fresh windows may help.
User avatar
Watty
Posts: 21855
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Post by Watty »

soaring wrote:First remove norton!
hsv_climber wrote:Run Disk Defragmenter as well.
+100

Absolute must if it hasn't been done to run disk defrag. Do this before anything else.

Start > programs > accessories > system tools > disk defrag

then perform "error check"

my computer > C drive (or main drive)> properties > tools > error checking > check now > check both boxes. It will ask if ok to perform when starting computer again. click yes and restart computer. Do not touch anything until program is finished. It will automatically restart your computer when finished.

Both may take an hour or two each to run especially if not done before.
At the same place do the "disk cleanup" befoe you do the defrag.
User avatar
Kenkat
Posts: 7012
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:18 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Post by Kenkat »

tyrion wrote:Take a can of compressed air and clean off the processor fan. If it's a laptop shoot it in the exhaust vent. If it's a desktop open up the lid first and clean it off.

When the fan gets dusty it causes the processor to throttle itself down. This may or may not be the issue but it's a quick $3 fix that anybody can do, and I find it helps in about half the cases (I do local IT support for an office of 200ish).
This is a good suggestion also. My son was having an issue with his laptop and although I tried several things, I think this was the solution that fixed things in his case.
User avatar
Kenkat
Posts: 7012
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:18 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Post by Kenkat »

pkcrafter wrote:Kenschmidt wrote:
Ubuntu is cool but you need to be a pretty technically savvy to be able to get it set up and everything running satisfactorally.
This person is not technically savvy at all, so I suspect this computer has had no maintenance at all. I'll help her go through the 4 steps you recommended and see what happens.

Thanks,

Paul
Hi Paul -

When I have fixed friends/neighbors/family computer issues, often I have found that no "maintenance" is typical. So, given some of the good suggestions on this thread, I would revise my list to:

1) Getting rid of Norton - even 360 seems like a hog to me - and replace with a lighter weight product
2) Run Malware Bytes
3) Run CCleaner - especially focus on the Startup Programs (less is better) and Registry Cleaner.
4) Defragment the hard drive
5) Clean fan and heat sinks of dust
6) Make sure all Windows updates have been applied
7) If you have 512MB of memory or less, you might consider adding memory to get to 1GB minimum

Perhaps #1 should be modified to "Try a different anti-virus solution". I am sure many people run Norton successfully and I know there have been issues with other products as well.

I personally have had a bad experience with Norton. My neighbor's computer wouldn't connect to the internet anymore - ultimately traced to Norton. What really bothered me is that even after disabling and uninstalling Norton I had to download a special Norton Removal Tool to eliminate all traces and finally fix the problem. So - I am gun shy of Norton but other's mileage may vary as they say!

Hope it all works out! Your friend will be very grateful if you can get things working!
scrabbler1
Posts: 2544
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 2:39 pm

Post by scrabbler1 »

Something else I just began doing which has helped my PC load many web pages lately:

All those graphics, ads, and plugins often slow the loading of many web pages to a crawl. What I did was to add to my list of restricted websites (Tools/Internet Options/Security tab) those websites which appear briefly at the bottom of the screen as all that junk is loading. For example, I don't use Facebook so I added it to the list so its plugins don't run.
ataloss
Posts: 887
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 3:24 pm

Post by ataloss »

I got into a situation of low free space on the C drive which seemed to hurt performance. I moved some old data files to my D drive. It helped. For some reason the actual hard drive is split between C and D
User avatar
Dolomite
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:30 pm
Location: Finger Lakes, NY

Post by Dolomite »

The CC Cleaner freeware works great. It reduced my XP boot time from 5 minutes to 30 seconds, and it is easy to use.

Also check the RAM to see if you can add more memory.
Post Reply