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Best light AV to use on a slow win2k system?


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Hi. I have a very old ???MHz (probably less than 1GHz), 128mb RAM and 11gb HD-equipped laptop running Windows 2000 SP4. I just newly formatted it seeing as a regular XP release ran super slow on this unit. I tried running avast 5 on it, but it really drained a lot of the RAM even if I shut off the auto-update and sounds. Is there something just as good or at least can perform decently on a Windows 2000 OS? If not, is there a way to make avast 5 lighter or something? I'd appreciate all the help I can get.

Also, I heard something about cloud antiviruses being super light, but none of the ones I found are compatible with Windows 2000. Is there even such a thing for this OS?

Edited by p7s7x9
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I just newly formatted it seeing as a regular XP release ran super slow on this unit.

You may have had luck making XP as fast as 2K by disabling un-needed services. See: http://wiki.blackviper.com/wiki/Main_Page

Hi. I have a very old ???MHz (probably less than 1GHz), 128mb RAM and 11gb HD-equipped laptop running Windows 2000 SP4.

I believe AVG Free would still work. It uses a plugin system, so during install, select 'custom'. You'll be able to NOT install the components for say... e-mail scanning (I use yahoo, and gmail), link scanning (know what site you're going to), and just leave the real time protection on (system/user file accesses).

If that isn't enough, disable the AVG startup with 'msconfig', or a program like CCleaner. Then go to the start menu, and type without quotes 'services.msc'. Find the AVG service, set it to manual. Now you have on demand virus scanning, and it'll only be on when you turn it on. Note if you do this, you may not need to prevent any plugins during install.

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PCWorld just did a review on full suites. The least intrusive as to memory usage was Trend Micro. Don't have any idea whether it will run on 2K or not. I went with Avast because they appeared to be fairly lightweight and figured that they would support 2K quite a spell since they just did drop 98se support.

Good luck on finding something light enough.

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  • 3 weeks later...

AVG 9 works fine with Win2k+sp4+Update Rollup 1, version 9 is still current and AVG updates normally.

You can disable Resident Shield and anything else through AutoRuns and run it command line on demand:


..\avgscanx.exe /COMP

Edited by Phenomic
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  • 3 weeks later...

128MB is very little even for W2k. <1GHz would be acceptable, as I saw with a 800MHz PIII.

Could you increase the Ram? W2k will always stay very slow on that capacity.

If running alone, W2k gets its full speed at 256MB at is just 10% slower on 128MB - this is better than Xp, right. But as you pointed out, the antivirus takes a lot of Ram (Avast 4.8 free takes 120MB out of 512MB here; this version still gets signatures updates) and the firewall as well (20MB for Comodo v2.4.18.184). Then, Firefox 3.5.2 (more recent ones exist) crunches 100MB before I open many big pages.

Avast has the advantage of being slept-in and awakened in two clicks without rebooting, and even selected parts of it: mail, Internet. Very useful for video games if you lack Ram.

As well, W2k demands a fast hard disk drive - more so than Xp, whose prefetch is very efficient, and the smaller Win Me.


Knowing that, and after having used W2k on many old machines, I believe it will remain unusable on your Ram (and disk). So unless you want and can upgrade at least the Ram to 512MB, I would suggest:

- Not to go on the Internet with that machine. Then, remove the antivirus and the firewall, which allows you to put the excellent Win Me on it. That will be real comfort.

- Or replace the mechanical disk drive with one or two Compact Flash cards.

That is, I suppose you have a single bay with a P-Ata interface. Cheap and thin adapters exist for two CF on a 44 pins P-Ata port. Their quality isn't decisive.

The quality of the CF cards is all-important. They must be of type 1, and they must have a stable UDMA transmission, which means Transcend - though Lexar and Adata are not bad: they get one step slower rather often but lose no data. The card's transmission is the point, not the adapter as we users thought for a while.

A CF1 card improves hugely a machine with a too small Ram because paging gets so much faster than on a mechanical drive - even compared with a good 7200rpm 3.5" drive. But only a type 1 is fast and will live long in this use. This works also for desktops with a decent disk drive: just paging on a CF1 accelerates all application switching. Very nice for i815 chipsets that limit the Ram to 512MB, which is getting narrow for W2k+security+browsers and is long too little for Xp. Then, the CF can also hold the scratch folder for the browsers.


Only SLC (single layer cell, type 1) Compact Flash are good here. MLC (type 2) don't work, as they lack the buffer that now makes MLF SSD acceptable. SLC is to be checked on each and every model, as sometimes bigger capacities of the same product line are MLC.


- Transcend 266x from 2GB to 8GB

- Transcend 300x from 4GB to 8GB, but the 16GB is slow and the 32GB even worse

- Lexar 300x from 2GB to a bit more

- Adata 266x 4GB or 8GB, but the 16GB seems much slower

The key point to check is the throughput at writing small files like 4kB. Unless you're willing to spend much time and money on benchmarking everything after bringing it to work, don't experiment about it. Especially, all 400x and 600x speeds use MLC as far as I know.

Examples right now are eBay's 230592803121 and 230592803260 (paste in their search window). Not Transcend, not big, but around $20 each when new, and used SLC are acceptable.

Such a capacity isn't much... Enough for some laptops, or for the paging file of a desktop. Hence the dual adapter as well. My Bios doesn't see the the second CF, but Windows - starting with W95 - redetects all hardware and uses the second CF as soon as it has a driver for the P-Ata host, which may require you to provide this driver. Some users also take a bigger MLC as the second card and the SLC for Win, the paging file, and selected applications.

P-Ata SSD are extremely bad or (MTron) extremely expensive. They look like a worse choice than Compact Flash with an adapter.

Of course, you decide if this investment makes sense, as compared with a less old used laptop.

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Great post, very helpful. Thank you. :) I am in a similar position to that which you refer - Windows 2000 on an ageing laptop - and this is exactly the kind of information about increasing performance through hardware additions that I was looking for. In particular, thanks for your CF SLC1 recommendations.

That is, I suppose you have a single bay with a P-Ata interface. Cheap and thin adapters exist for two CF on a 44 pins P-Ata port. Their quality isn't decisive.

Could you provide an example or two, please? I'd like to house such an adapter and card in the media bay of an old Dell Inspiron, so "cheap and thin" is exactly what I'm looking for. Hope I can benefit again from your experience.

Edited by bristols
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I've found two eBay objects looking identical to the one I use with success: paste 150564908127 or 350209471995 in eCreek's search window.

Sellers (YvonneWindy and Rexchg) ship worldwide, they were on the first results page of the "CF IDE" search, there are certainly more.

Important features :

- P-Ata has 44 pins at laptops but 40 pins plus a power connector at desktops, so the adapters to CF differ

- Many adapters from P-Ata to dual CF stack the Compact Flash cards, which then don't fit in my laptop's tray. The ones in links are flat.

- I can't say if one adapter will fit in your tray, nor if your driver will see both CF. The Bios must see one to start booting.

- Dma and Udma should work with any adapter, booting as well.

The fastening points don't fit my tray, but I hold the adapter in foam.

Even on my P1 120MHz 40MB, W95b boots in 20s from an SLC CF instead of 60s from a 5400rpm. Expect a bigger difference from a faster Cpu.

If your Bios knows only CHS as mine does, good luck... Prefer LBA if you can.


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