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Chronicle: Mother's computer slows down or freezes

Chacham (981) writes | more than 4 years ago

User Journal 6

Well, my mother's computer runs slow or freezes now and then. Also the mouse periodically jumps around. Ignoring the mouse issue, i decided to check out the slow downs.

There were some slowdowns on startup, and after then when IE was running. IE running slow is probably what most people consider XP's sluggishness.

Well, my mother's computer runs slow or freezes now and then. Also the mouse periodically jumps around. Ignoring the mouse issue, i decided to check out the slow downs.

There were some slowdowns on startup, and after then when IE was running. IE running slow is probably what most people consider XP's sluggishness.

Uninstalled old programs, removed startup items via Autoruns, and checked out processor time in Process Explorer. The slowdowns are hardware interrupts which means drivers(, hardware settings,) or hardware.

Disabling or unplugging hardware made no difference. Shutting IE8 made all the difference. My guess is its the hard drive. Windows is notorious for thrashing the HD on startup and IE isn't too good either. Firefox had the issue to a lesser extent.

To verify this, i'd have to disable the HD. So i'm not quite sure how to continue. I could just get a new HD, but i could be wrong and just wasted $100 or whatever. I'm debating whether booting off a USB key of CD would make sense as a test.

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Any chance of PIO mode? (1)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 4 years ago | (#32979156)

Did the HD get knocked back to PIO mode?

Re:Any chance of PIO mode? (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 4 years ago | (#32979300)

Good point. I'll have to check that.

Re:Any chance of PIO mode? (1)

Cyberdyne (104305) | more than 3 years ago | (#32989676)

Did the HD get knocked back to PIO mode?

That makes sense - I had a machine showing similar symptoms, and eventually found this was the culprit. Windows has an error counter, and it seems that once the drive hits the threshold, Windows assumes it's not DMA capable - of course, in reality, it could just be cumulative random glitches over a long period of time, as it was in this machine's case. There was a little script I found which cleared the relevant registry keys so the drive would no longer be on the Windows "blacklist" of dodgy drives, ResetDMA.vbs, which is top of the Google results for that term at the moment; as soon as I ran that, the performance was completely different.

Re:Any chance of PIO mode? (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 3 years ago | (#32991064)

Thanx, that may be exactly what i need.

if you haven't already done so (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 4 years ago | (#32984930)

From your description, I'd say clear out all the temp dirs (%TEMP% and %TMP% and under %SystemRoot% and under your mom's user account's dir and IE's temporary Internet files dir and whereever FF stores its stuff) and defrag the drive (I can't remember if XP comes with one or not) or use a defragger to see if it looks bad.

I moved my mom's PC from Win98SE to XP Home a few years ago when something in her case arced to the hard drive or vice-versa and burned it out. It was running like a well-oiled machine with the new OS and her apps on it. And then we put AOL's software on it. Instant dog, just like it was with Win98. (And this was before Windows had a chance to accumulate a bunch of cruft and/or get a fragmented HD.) Then we loaded the drivers for her HP Winprinter (uses the PC's RAM instead of having any kind of decent-sized on-board buffer), adding half a dozen more processes to the dozen or so AOL had running taking up CPU time constantly. Non-technical consumers are particularly subject to poorly-written bloatware that just makes their blood boil over their computers. They have to turn their computer on and wait about 15 minutes for it to thrash and HP and AOL to phone home or whatever the heck they're doing, before it settles down into its normal mode of barely usable.

Re:if you haven't already done so (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 4 years ago | (#32985162)

Thanx for the advice. I'll probably try Com2Kid's and your tomorrow and report.

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