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Windows XP computer unbearably slow


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I have a Dell Optiplex GX520, and it's been very slow lately. In fact, it's been even slower after installing a pc cleaner. Firefox at least takes 10 minutes to load, sounds are delayed, and these pc cleaners aren't helping!

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Many "cleaners" do more harm than good, better avoid those.

Check CPU/chipset/GPU/RAM temperatures. Change the thermal paste if needed. Clean the fans.

Check the amount of RAM reported - some Dell systems disable a DIMM if they find it faulty during POST. This can result in extensive swap file usage due to reduced amount of available memory. Clean the memory contacts and run Memtest86.

Run HDD Sentinel. Your drive may have developed bad sectors.

Does the disk activity light blink too much? It should be OFF most of the time.

If you have any addon cards installed, clean their contacts as well. Some may trigger excessive interrupts because of bad connection (or may have gone bad)

Also, check for viruses and other malware :P

 

P.S. you can also check with a new Firefox profile.

Edited by RainyShadow
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The computer runs fine in safe mode, but that's about all I checked
It even says 100% when I boot it up normally
When I try to scan, it says "Drive not found or doesn't support LBA mode"

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Are you sure you selected the correct drive?

It may not show-up in MHDD if it is running in AHCI mode, try to change the SATA setting to IDE/Compatible in BIOS.

HDD Sentinel can do a surface scan too, but there may be false issues unless you boot from another drive. And be careful to select a non-destructive test.

I think you're focusing too much on the disk and forgetting the other things.

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On 7/31/2020 at 4:20 PM, RainyShadow said:

Are you sure you selected the correct drive?

It may not show-up in MHDD if it is running in AHCI mode, try to change the SATA setting to IDE/Compatible in BIOS.

HDD Sentinel can do a surface scan too, but there may be false issues unless you boot from another drive. And be careful to select a non-destructive test.

I think you're focusing too much on the disk and forgetting the other things.

Well I think the disk is the problem, on HDD Sentinel, the disk activity is very high

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18 minutes ago, FelixPls1 said:

Well I think the disk is the problem, on HDD Sentinel, the disk activity is very high

Which may be caused by a memory problem...

You don't like giving out much info, do you? heh, whatevs

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Wouldn't be easy to fire up task manager and find out which processes are loaded and how much memory (and read/writes I/O) happen when idle?

At first sight what you describe seem the classic symptoms of intense on disk swapping because RAM is full.

jaclaz

 

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You definitely do need to check your RAM. A loss of speed like that sounds like a module may have failed or something is hogging the memory as others here have suggested. An anti-virus program perhaps (AVAST?).

When we were forced to dump the ideal for this purpose MSE with XP installations I had to find a suitable working alternative for XP on a VM. I settled for a claimed lightweight one but I immediately noticed XP on the VM was much slower to boot and things like browsers and even some system tools would launch, initially, with a significant delay. Shutdown was also delayed. 

I would not use a recent FF version with XP anyway but as somebody who had a Dell XP laptop with limited RAM support (max 1GB in two 516MB modules but would sometimes work with 2x1GB ones) I know just how much how much of an effect losing one stick can have.

With XP on the VM with 1GB of allocated RAM it works well with a pre-v57 FF version although I very rarely use it online now anyway. However the VM is on a SSD so that probably helps.

Anything running off a HDD is going to be slower initially but 10 minutes to launch FF - there's something unnatural going on. :)    

Edited by WalksInSilence
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  • 6 months later...

If it is old hdd drive electronic might be failing. I have had multiple older hard drives doing that. Took forever to boot and kept locking up even on fresh install of xp even with 4gb of ram. All tests showed drive was fine and was not defragmented. I replaced drive electronics on one and issue went away. For easier way I would buy new hdd unless got second broken hdd that is exactly same as original and you know how swap it. Also like WalksInSilence you may need more ram.

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Although it's been half a year, I'd just like to add for @FelixPls1's benefit (and anyone else looking for help with slow XP installs on older hardware) there was an old thread I posted years ago when I was having a problem with a Celeron laptop that ran XP, overheated very easily even when idling, and was generally sluggish.

@tomw gave me a link to a tutorial at AskVG which might help increase system responsiveness even if none of these remedies actually address the problem. The guide helped make the laptop much faster to boot and not as quick to overheat. I'd also check some of the other advice given to me on that thread, if applicable to your machine.

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