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speedemon86

Trimming down a less than reliable XP system

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I agree with above....

More RAM is good - if possilbe.

Personally I'd go Firefox 3 for web browsing (benchmarks quicker than IE6 for rendering much html, images and esp java). Also get the IE tab add-on for IE only pages. Then remove all links to IE (from Desktop, Start Menu and Quick Start) cause old habits die hard. If you insist on keeping IE, at least install Spyware Blaster as a preventative (probably worth installing anyway).

I love it when people post before they even read the first post in the topic. He can't get any more RAM, and HijackThis shows that he had Firefox open at the time he posted...

Edited by Th3_uN1Qu3

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I love it when people post before they even read the first post in the topic. He can't get any more RAM, and HijackThis shows that he had Firefox open at the time he posted...
Sorry, my bad on the RAM :blushing: (obviously its not possible- that's what I get for not taking my time reading...)

I still stand by the Firefox 3 comment though (although in fairness you are right, I should've read better!) HijackThis only shows he's running Firefox Portable (suggesting to me it may not be installed on the local system?) and also it doesn't say which version. Previous to v3 Firefox was a huge RAM hog and was also a bit heavy on CPU (in my opinion) if too many tabs open. I thought it was better to say that, than assume it was update and installed locally, but perhaps I was wrong (stranger things have happened!)

Edited by JedMeister

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I still stand by the Firefox 3 comment though. HijackThis only shows he's running Firefox Portable (suggesting to me it may not be installed on the local system?) and also it doesn't say which version. Previous to v3 Firefox was a huge RAM hog and was also a bit heavy on CPU (in my opinion) if too many tabs open.

No, the C drive isn't part of the local system. Never. :lol: I agree on the older versions being memory hogs, but as i've been an Opera user for 3 years and counting, i don't have anything else to say. :P

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Let's see if I can get this all in one reply:

Poolshark: I'm familiar with my registry and services at home (good ole 2k!). Here... eh, I can figure it out, at least. Not sure where it was purchased from, I'm told it was bought in 2001. It's a compaq *shrug* (mine is an emachine, and like I said it does all I want, all the time). North is Orlando (home is Palm Beach).

Unique: I have to admit, it's been so long since I've had to deal with the evils of symantec that I had completely overlooked it :wacko:. I'll switch it to AVG. I use foxit at home and adore it, but adobe reader didn't register very high prioritywise :P

Yes, this chipset only supports 512 max, but keep in mind that I only run 192MB pc133 sdram on my 2k machine, and for what I use it for I have to try pretty hard to go overboard with that (especially since ff3 came out!). Also, it's not that hard to find old sdram nowadays, but it's almost always horribly overpriced. It's so old that the price has come back up a bit.

I'll look into SP3, and I do recall seeing CCleaner somewhere on this HD (something I use at home, though I rarely need to).

I will be consulting BlackViper's guide in the near future. Many thanks for that.

Symantec/Norton

Google toolbar (I've always found that to be annoying. As mentioned before I was overwhelmed, didn't really have a plan for how to go about doing everything)

PCTelspk

Viewpoint

then DriverHeaven TuneXP 1.5

CCleaner startup entries (I've used spybot's version of this in the past, and it worked great

The internet connection seems fine.

I will investigate autoruns.

I am a complete supporter of ff3 (+ABP and Noscript), awesomebar and all. I'm running ff3 portable just for me, I can't stand IE7.

I've been talking with a very reliable friend of mine, and we may see fit just to backup, reformat and reinstall (which my uncle and I have already discussed), and then I can set up a solid base on a clean slate from there (as I did with my 2k box at home). Either way, things are going to get fixed. I will provide updates as they come in, thanks to everybody for the suggestions and support!

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Update: uninstalled most of the things mentioned, and the improvement is wondrous. However, I checked the size of the windows directory, and it's 4.8 gigs O.O ... so yes, I discussed it with my great uncle (the owner, and a member of aforementioned family), and we are going to back up, reformat, and reinstall. Now I just need to find XP SP3 Pro so I don't have to use the original manufacturer's disc (*wink wink*?)

And yes, ff3 portable. They use IE here, and I think I've converted them, but after the reinstall. I just installed portable for myself. I was just overwhelmed with the mess on this system, I'm not an id***! :D

Edited by speedemon86

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@speedemon86 - Nice work mate, sounds like you've fully got the situation under control. :thumbup You're right, sometimes a clean reinstall is the best medicine for a messed up system! Often quicker and easier to tweak a clean sys than muck around with a messed up one!

@Th3_uN1Qu3

No, the C drive isn't part of the local system. Never. :lol: ....
Probably no need for the sarcasm dude. You were right that I should've read the original and subsequent posts better, isn't that enough? Besides, yes its running off C drive but running Firefox Portable from anywhere (C or any other drive) suggests to me that it's not installed on the local system. Whilst it comes down to a matter of semantics, 'portable' doesn't suggest to me a permanent installation. I believe my comments are somewhat vindicated...
And yes, ff3 portable. They use IE here, and I think I've converted them, but after the reinstall. I just installed portable for myself. I was just overwhelmed with the mess on this system, I'm not an id***! :D

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Uhhh, just find the original I386 install folder, back it up somewhere, download full SP3, then slip it / burn it. More info on how-to on MSFN (search!). Be sure to get the key first and bear in mind re-activate (no biggie since it's been so long).

Probably the reason for such a big Windows folder is due to all the updates (unhide the hidden/system and you'll see them). One folder is wher the stuff gets downlaoded to, multiple folders for backups of previous versions. Clean reinstall will vastly reduce the number of updates with SP3 slipped.

And please don't wink too loudly, OK? Ya wanna stay, right?

Peace!

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I'll look into that, thanks! I've already made a phone call or two, and might be able to work things out that way.

In the meantime I've been trying to clean up a bit more in case circumstances change or we run out of time or whatever. Superantispyware has found 5 trojans, and it's still not done scanning D:

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Speedemon86,

Great, seems like you have everything in order...

Before I do a clean install, I completely disconnect everything from the case and then open it up. Being that your computer is soooooo old, there is a really good chance that you will find a whole bunch of built-up crap: dust, cat hair, dog hair, dust-bunnies, food crumbs, spider webs, dead flys, (LOL) and the like inside the case -

I usually take it to the garage and GENTLY blow it out with my air-compressor at it's lowest setting - or you can use a household vacum or shop-vac to suck the crap out but be very carefull - try your hardest to make sure you respect your components inside that box - and wear a pair of goggles and painter's mask! LOL ;)

What happens is that when the fan draws in air to keep the CPU cool, it also brings in all that dust and crap, - just about everything that can fit into those little holes on the side of your case - (I found a old postage stamp once inside a client's case).

This builds up over time into a "layer" that becomes like a insulating "blanket" keeping your CPU running at a much hotter temp than it should be - there by slowing down it's performance - I do this with my case once per year - it can't hurt, it takes 15 minutes.

Also, very gently wipe off any build-up from the fan's blades with a soft, damp cloth.

Once you have cleaned it out and correctly replaced the cover back on the case, make sure that you give 3-5 inches of space for proper air flow for them holes that are on the sides of your case as well as for the back for the fan to exhaust properly -

You don't know how many times I have seen people shove their case way in the back against a wall and then have the case pinned up next to a desk, there-by blocking and restricting the air flow! :yes:

If you can't find XP SP3 Pro - try eBay, Amazon, or Google.

If you are going to put a fresh install of XP SP3 Pro over the OEM version - I would suggest running Eraser 5.86a first - but first research this program!!!!!

http://majorgeeks.com/Eraser_d4221.html

This very powerful program has the ability to completely wipe everything from your hard drive - permanently - forever - starting you off with a fresh, clean slate.

If used incorrectly, it could lead you to a whole mess of problems!

If you have to use the OEM "Restore CD" install - download and use the free version of the PC Decrapifier - it will force uninstall the many "trial-wares" that come with most older OEMs - e-machines PCs are the worst when it comes to crap-ware!

After using the PC Decrapifier, I would then hit first Windows Update (of course).

If you are going to spend any money on that system, I would suggest getting a new keyboard, lazer mouse, and a 19 inch flat panel monitor - your family will thank you in more ways than one! (and, you are now half way towards a new system $$$$$-wise)

I would also research into updating the bios - check HP's website - they should still have some resources there for your system.

Update the drivers for your chipset - check Intel's website, there should be quite a few published updates - look for the Intel Application Accelerator and the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator Driver if available for your system.

Looking over your HijackThis log again, a few things pop out at me:

Quicktime Player - qttask.exe

Use CCleaner to delete the start-up run entry - remove shortcut from the startup folder and then after rebooting go to: C:\Program Files\QuickTime folder and then delete qttask.exe - this program "calls out" at each and every start-up looking for updates - not necessary if you remember to check for updates once in a while.

I would also make sure you have the latest updated version, 7.5 - there were quite a few critical security issues with the older versions.

Uninstall the Apple Software Updater if you have it installed - the updater is now built into the QuickTime Player itself - too many security problems with it.

Use the Control Panel Applet to change the default settings of the auto-update feature (turn it off completely) and to "fix" any file associations that are almost always "misterously" changed by installing Quicktime.

Windows Media Player 11 should be your default player and have most of the music and video files associated with it - check all the others as well.

Adobe PDF Reader - If you are going to uninstall and install Foxit Reader - good move

If not - after updating to the latest version (Adobe Reader 9) you can install the Adobe Reader Speed-Up v 1.36 from:

http://majorgeeks.com/Adobe_Reader_SpeedUp_d4139.html

* It automates the process of speeding up Adobe Reader's launch time by disabling the majority of plugins and features that are completely useless for most users.

Uninstall Adobe Air and whatever else comes with it now-a-days.

Check Lexmark's website or HP's website for any printer driver updates.

For Norton, you may have to download and run the lastest version of the Norton Removal Tool (SymNRT) which you can find here:

http://majorgeeks.com/Norton_Removal_Tool_SymNRT_d4749.html

Make sure it is for your anti-virus version!

If you do not use Messenger - uninstall it - too many security problems.

Shut off and disable the Indexing Service - for performance reasons.

Back up and Recovery:

1.) Always set a Restore Point before making any changes to your computer.

2.) Single Click System Restore Point - download from: http://www.dougknox.com/

* Create a shortcut and place it in your startup folder, and then everytime you boot-up, an "auto-restore point" will be created - each and every time you startup.

3.) Download and install ERUNT and NTREGOPT from:

http://www.larshederer.homepage.t-online.de/erunt/

ERUNT and NTREGOPT are XP's Registry Backup and Restore & Registry Optimizer.

Please Read: http://www.larshederer.homepage.t-online.de/erunt/erunt.txt

* Create a shortcut for ERUNT and place it in your startup folder, and then everytime you boot-up, a backup copy of the registry will be created for that date, one per day.

4.) Download and install the free "Private Edition" of DriveImage XML -

http://www.runtime.org/driveimage-xml.htm

Online Tutorial:

It's what I use - there are many others out there, need to research.

Finally, if you feel a bit "froggy" and would like to explore in much greater detail the fine art of "Slimming Down" your new install of Win XP - Bold Fortune is "da man" -

http://www.graphixanstuff.com/Forum/index.php?showforum=89

He is the online resident expert when it comes to "Slimming Down Windows XP"

He has a step-by-step guide - please read it very carefully - I just use it for the basics.

Okay - you got it all now - sorry if you are swamped -

Write back when you are completely finish with this project - there are a few more things you can do with the system's settings and there are quite a few registry settings we can dabble into that will increase overall performance.

Then we could get into "eye-candy" - customization and visual styles! LOL :w00t:

Just think: you will have a new computer when this is over with!

Take care and have fun! :thumbup

poolsharkzz

Edited by Poolsharkzz

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Speedemon86,

"Superantispyware has found 5 trojans" - ouch! :thumbdown

After it has finished scanning, install and update AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 8.0.138:

http://free.avg.com/ww.download?prd=afe

Then use Spybot S&D, Ad-Aware, and Spyware Terminator - it will help! :thumbup

You can also install Process Explorer to find out what is running and kill off services:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinte...s/bb896653.aspx

poolsharkzz

Edited by Poolsharkzz

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Ahead of the game in some respects, been using processexplorer before I started and googling my heart away, just finished installing AVG an hour ago, going to start a scan then lounge about in the pool.

No need for eye candy. If you saw my foobar at home... yeah :whistle:

I'll make sure when we back up all my uncle's data and such that I have all the drivers. I'll take a peek in the tower to see what the junk situation is in there (I watch mine like a hawk at home).

More as it becomes available, I'll definitely check out those links when the time comes (I was so happy when I found the Intel App Accelerator for my i810 set at home!).

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Great, enjoy some time by the pool!

Not sure here but if you do not have the ability to burn CDs / DVDs for your backups with this system, I would suggest creating a free Yahoo Account and then just e-mail the photos, docs, pics, and such to that e-mail address - its temporary - after your fresh install, you can just e-mail it back to yourself using Outlook Express or simply download everything back onto the system.

After cleaning up all them nasties - I would shut off System Restore, reboot, and then turn it back on to get rid of any corrupted System Restore Files - the last thing you need is a reinfection.

Cool - Sweet - I have done my good deed for the day, maybe there is a place in heaven for me?

LOL :angel

poolsharkzz

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Well, at some point you need to decide wether you spend days or just hours. I wouldn't spend days for someone else's computer, you'll never get any reward for that, you'll just be called again when anything goes wrong. And I wouldn't slim down someone else's XP, same reasons, even worse, here, it's really your fault if things go wrong.

You also need to decide if you spend hours fixing it or hours reinstalling it. It seems you are pushed both ways here, potentially loads of wasted time. Just my two cents.

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Well, at some point you need to decide wether you spend days or just hours. I wouldn't spend days for someone else's computer, you'll never get any reward for that, you'll just be called again when anything goes wrong. And I wouldn't slim down someone else's XP, same reasons, even worse, here, it's really your fault if things go wrong.

You also need to decide if you spend hours fixing it or hours reinstalling it. It seems you are pushed both ways here, potentially loads of wasted time. Just my two cents.

Well, it wasn't me who recommended a full reinstall or slimming down XP... I just told him what should be removed and what he should replace the removed stuff with (if needed). That, and a defrag does the trick in most cases.

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I hate to say it, but the easiest and quickest way of doing this is to simply backup all the personal files to an external drive (or another computer) and wipe the system clean.

Start with a fresh install of XP. Avast AntiVirus is a small reliable AV program that doesn't require too much in the way of resources. If a software firewall is needed, then Comodo Firewall would be my preference.

As for active anti-spyware programs - don't bother. Educate your family in the way of safe computing practices. That should be the #1 line of defense against malware. If you still want scanning and removal software, LunarSoft Anti-Malware Toolkit is a great tool for getting all those onto your system.

Make sure that the system has a schedule for the XP built-in defragger to run about once a week. You can make this a scheduled task so it's done automatically. Alternatively, buy a copy of Raxco PerfectDisk for $39.99 and use it's built-in scheduler.

Lastly - disable all unnecessary startup programs using AutoRuns For Windows. DO NOT DISABLE SERVICES!!!! There is absolutely no need for this, and more often than not, you'll end up breaking something you might need later.

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