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What could be wrong with my computer?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by adamfgt78, Feb 28, 2004.

  1. adamfgt78

    adamfgt78 IncGamers Member

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    What could be wrong with my computer?

    I've been having problems with my computer for quite some time and I'm hoping some you may be able to give some advice. First off my machine, as it was purchased Summer 2001, to the best of my memory:

    Dell 8100
    1.5 Ghz P4
    256 MB RAMBUS RAM
    40 GB hard drive
    latest nVidia video card at the time, GeForce2? 3?
    CDR and DVD drives
    Windows ME

    I changed the OS to a pirated copy of XP Professional edition maybe 2 years ago. That didn't see to cause any performance problems. I've also recently added a 120 GB drive.

    The problem is that my machine seems to run really slow. It feels like I'm running a Pentium 200 or something. I'm going to have to mention DII , since that is a program most everyone is familiar with and its an app that I've been using throughout the lifetime of the machine so I feel its a good benchmark. When I exit DII to the desktop, it takes about 5-10 seconds for my icons to load. I can see each go from the "unknown" icon to the actual icon. While playing the game, I get a lot of graphical lag. It didn't used to do this. I should be able to handle the game because it was made a number of years ago. DII is just one example; the slow performance is present in pretty much any use of the machine.

    A couple months ago, I decided I wanted to try to do something about this since its really pissing me off. I figured it might be good to do a complete reinstall. Now, I lost in a move all the discs that came with the computer and I no longer have the XP Pro disc. So I went out and bought XP Home. I did a dual OS install, so now I can boot into Pro or Home. However, when I use Home, something seems weird with the internet connection. I'm connected, but whenever I make a request, it transfers data really slowly for several seconds and then speeds up. This is obviously unacceptable for an avid surfer and game player. And the general performance problem is still present.
    After seeing the internet problem thing, I was hesitant to do a complete wipe of my system and reformat the drive and do a reinstall of the OS. I didn't have the XP Pro disc, so I'd be stuck with XP Home. Around the same time is when I added the 120 GB hard disk. The old one was REALLY full, so I thought it might help to free some space on it. I did this, but nothing changed. I also considered adding more memory. I went to Best Buy and was told that my memory was too fast/expensive for the market and never really caught on. I'd have to buy my memory online and it would cost a couple hundred dollars. I haven't done this yet since I'm not sure it would help.

    I'd done basic PD and cannot find anything wrong. In the system info, there is no indication of any hardware failures. I've looked in the processes and I cannot find any memory hogs. I do have a really large number of files on my main hd, could this be causing slow hd performance? I have somewhat split them up between the hard disks though, to no avail. Is it possible for RAM to "break" and become much less effective, yet the system not know about it? Or any other hardware pieces?

    Anyone have any ideas of what might be going on or offer any advice?
     
  2. th5418

    th5418 Banned

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    Well.....you DID buy a Dell, haha just kidding. Maybe update drivers?
     
  3. Canadia142

    Canadia142 Banned

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    I might be able to help with the diablo studderness.

    Run the video test and check to see if the graphics is set on 3d or 2d. If its set on 3d set it on 3d. That might be a reason d2 is studdering.
     
  4. Steel_Avatar

    Steel_Avatar IncGamers Member

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    Blizzard has long acknowledged that DII has issues with Nvidia.
     
  5. adamfgt78

    adamfgt78 IncGamers Member

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    I didn't really mean for this thead to ask how I can get DII to run better. I was just using that as an example since its probably the one program that I've used over the time span. And I didn't used to have performance problems with it. My main concern is the slow overall performance of the computer. For example, when I click on the Start button, the computer chugs for 3 seconds before bringing up the menu.
     
  6. Canadia142

    Canadia142 Banned

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    try these things:
    defrag, run spy-bot and ad aware, and do a virus check.
     
  7. Steel_Avatar

    Steel_Avatar IncGamers Member

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    My advice? Do a complete wipe of your hard disks. Partition the 120 GB one into smaller blocks; 120 is WAY too big to handle as one partition.
     
  8. adamfgt78

    adamfgt78 IncGamers Member

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    Oh, I forgot to mention that I did defrag not too long ago. I can try again though. I did run ad-aware recently, without any effect. I'll look into a virus checker.
     
  9. SuggestiveName

    SuggestiveName IncGamers Member

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    I agree, back up all your docs and emails, music and saved games onto cds and flatten that beast. Then partition and reinstall xp.
     
  10. adamfgt78

    adamfgt78 IncGamers Member

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    That was my original plan, but buried deep within my post, I stated that there was a weird internet performance thing while in XP Home that isn't present in XP Pro. If I do a complete wipe, I'm afraid I'll be stuck with this problem since I can't reinstall XP Pro.

    I've got the 120 divided in half. Should I partition further? Thanks for the advice :)
     
  11. Steel_Avatar

    Steel_Avatar IncGamers Member

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    More. I would say 20 GB units, but someone else will be able to give you a better idea. What you should do is save one partition exclusively for Windows. That way when you need to reinstall Windows, you can save your data.

    This weird problem you're talking about is probably a badly configured set up in XP Home. I wouldn't worry about it.
     
  12. SuggestiveName

    SuggestiveName IncGamers Member

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    What kind of connection do you have? (dial-up, dsl, cable, college etc...)

    EDIT: 20 gig partitions is probably overkill, as long as you have windows on a separate partition, you can go as big as 60 gigs. 40 is probably a good number though.
     
  13. adamfgt78

    adamfgt78 IncGamers Member

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    Sorry, forgot to mention that. I'm using DSL.
     
  14. SuggestiveName

    SuggestiveName IncGamers Member

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    I would say flatten, and if the internet problem persists you should call your dsl provider and they can give you advice on settings or troubleshoot for you.
     
  15. Mad Merlin

    Mad Merlin IncGamers Member

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    You've probably got lots of TSRs programs, spyware/adware, and bitrot without even (directly) realizing it. If it's gone unchecked for 2 years then chances aren't too good for a full recovery without a reformat, especially if you don't really know what you're doing. You can try the other suggestions here and cross your fingers, but I suspect you'll want to reformat in the end.
     
  16. ragnar_ii

    ragnar_ii IncGamers Member

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    I would try using spy-bot first. and if that doesnt make a noticable difference i would do what everyone else is saying and go for the format. also if you have kazaa installed on that computer you should delete it now. that was the main reason my computer was acting the same way yours is now, and once i got rid of it and used spy-bot to clean out kazaas spy/ad-ware my computers been fine.
     
  17. adamfgt78

    adamfgt78 IncGamers Member

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    Thanks for the input everyone.

    What are TSRs programs and bitrot? I'm guessing that bitrot is the general degradation of performance of a machine as time passes and more stuff is loaded onto it and changed? Isn't it funny how a supposed digital machine degrades over time much like a mechanical device such as a car. You'd think it would be a binary on/off, works/doesn't work kind of thing.

    I have run ad-aware and should have gotten rid of all the ad/spyware. If something was running and using up system resources, wouldn't I see it in my Processes?
     
  18. Mad Merlin

    Mad Merlin IncGamers Member

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    Back in the day, makers of Windows software found out that by having a program run at startup and always run in the background, even after you've closed it, that the program would be "better" because it "loads faster". While true to some extent, everybody started doing it, bringing the speed of the computer to a fraction of it's former self. Have a look at the horde of icons directly beside the clock on 9/10 Windows systems and you'll see all sorts of stuff that doesn't need to be there. It gets started at startup, is often never used, and simply eats up memory and processor time. To "solve" this problem, XPee put in the button that hides most of these icons, which really only makes the problem worse, because users are even less aware. Not only do they take up system resources, but often times they'll conflict with other programs that you're trying to run, rarely with positive results. All in all modern TSRs (Terminate Stay Resident) programs are bad.

    Generally bitrot is the result of many installs and uninstalls of programs, though can also be caused by poorly written programs as well. Basically, what happens is that the registry and system directories get filled with so much junk that it takes longer and longer for programs and the OS to find what they're looking for. Corruption of files is also quite possible, and can lead to disastrous results.
     
  19. zoey

    zoey IncGamers Member

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    Not all spyware beasties are detected by ad-aware/spybots&d. In s&d, there's a tools tab were you can edit your windows startup programs - try disabling some of the programs that aren't necessary.

    Also, lately i've noticed that a lot of programs seem to be getting better and better at sneaking pass a non-asp enabled browser and ad-aware detection/ I've had several instances of Gator/Xupiter/WildTangent etc infestations that ad-aware hadn't caugtht until recent updated reference files came out.


    But i think you're better off just doing a complete reformat and installing only 1 OS, it really makes things much simpler doesn't it?

    Also: hows your computer fan? I know this sounds funny - but during the summer sometimes my computer will just plain shut off from being overheated (sometimes while playing d2!!). This may explain your sluggish windows performance but not your weird sluggish internet connection though - if you're usiing IE, try going into the internet options -> advanced security thingie (sorry i don't remember this offhand, i'm now using mozilla firefox and don't remember the layout of IE andmuch too lazy to go check). Basically the tab where you can "check off" all the surfing properties like securty, javascript, asp and etc. There should be one that says "allow third-party -something-or-another" - disable it. I remember a few years ago, my connection got extremely bad and when i disabled this feature, it was instantly solved.
     

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