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Old 08-04-2010, 10:37 AM   #21
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About ready to drop kick it into the street. I'm as much of a cheap a$$ buzterd as the next guy, but I'm willing to go with a new tower that has more memory and frigging works right.
At some point it is or may be best just go ahead and do this. This is an old computer, as I recall. New computers are better and cheaper than they probably were when you bought this one.

I'd say that the most important thing right now is to back up everything on it that you want to keep, if you have not already. Then start looking at new computers to see how much a new one would set you back, so you know what your choices are.
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Old 08-04-2010, 12:01 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by ronin View Post
The RAM is low, 512.

About ready to drop kick it into the street.
If you are the curious type, you could try testing out Ubuntu linux on it. You'll need another computer to download it and get it loaded on a USB thumb drive. You test it out by booting into the thumb drive (absolutely no changes required to the computer, you just need to select the drive at boot time). It will run slow from a thumb drive, but it will give some idea. If all you want to do is some email and browse, I bet it works fine on that old system - it is really efficient on space and CPU and RAM.

But that is actually something I'd recc just about everyone to do - anytime you have issues with your computer, you could boot into the thumb drive to check things out from another system.

No geek degree required, it's all pretty simple.

Download | Ubuntu


You might still want a new computer, but this one may have some life in it yet.

-ERD50
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Old 08-04-2010, 12:13 PM   #23
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+1 on a new 'puter.

By the way it is amazing how much amusement a sledge hammer can provide on a computer. I'm particularly fond of erasing old hard drives with 20 pounder.
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Old 08-04-2010, 12:42 PM   #24
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Nodak has a good point about the low RAM. Here one more simple thing you can try. Boot the computer in 'Safe Mode' and see if you still have the issue with the thrashing. You can do this by pressing F8 before the Windows screen; you'll see a little menu and one of the options is Safe Mode. This is just temporary, but it'll load the OS without a lot of the drivers and/or startup items. See if it makes a difference in the thrashing.
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Old 08-04-2010, 03:14 PM   #25
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ronin, this might identify a problem with the hard drive itself, which is what I'm suspecting. I'm on Win 7, so if you have XP or Vista things may vary a bit.

Method 1
CTRL-ALT-DEL
Select Task Manager
Select Performance (it will likely just show CPU and Memory, so next step is required)
Click Monitor Resources button (you should now see graphs of HD read performance)
Does the HD look normal, which is spiking up and down, or is it flat out at the top?

Method 2
While still in Task Manager
Click the Process Tab
Click the CPU column header, which will arrange by most used.
"is anything hogging the CPU??" If so that is the culprit and needs Uninstall/Re-Install


Method 3
Click Start
Click Control Panel
Select Classic View (if not already in it)
Double-Click Administrative Tools
Select Event Viewer
Does it show lots of errors, or other messages that give a clue to what you see happening?

Credit given to this site: Site
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Old 08-04-2010, 04:26 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero View Post
ronin, this might identify a problem with the hard drive itself, which is what I'm suspecting. I'm on Win 7, so if you have XP or Vista things may vary a bit.

Method 1
CTRL-ALT-DEL
Select Task Manager
Select Performance (it will likely just show CPU and Memory, so next step is required)
Click Monitor Resources button (you should now see graphs of HD read performance)
Does the HD look normal, which is spiking up and down, or is it flat out at the top?

Method 2
While still in Task Manager
Click the Process Tab
Click the CPU column header, which will arrange by most used.
"is anything hogging the CPU??" If so that is the culprit and needs Uninstall/Re-Install


Method 3
Click Start
Click Control Panel
Select Classic View (if not already in it)
Double-Click Administrative Tools
Select Event Viewer
Does it show lots of errors, or other messages that give a clue to what you see happening?

Credit given to this site: Site
Not trying to hijack the thread. I was just wondering what you think of Win 7. I'm looking at a new notebook and have heard very little about the new version.
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Old 08-04-2010, 05:23 PM   #27
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Method 1: No monitor resource button to click, just the graphs, nothing clickable in performance tab.

Method 2: Ditto, nothing clickable. But system idle process shows 97-98% of memory usage all the time. Have no idea what system idle is.

Method 3: All kinds of stuff going on here, again no clue what it means, but relatively few error notes. A lot of Live Update (which I'm assuming is the Norton Anti-V) so I tried disabling that function to see what happens.
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Old 08-04-2010, 05:49 PM   #28
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ronin, hmmmm, are you using XP or Vista?


Nodak, I have been using Windows 7 for about 2.5 years, first 2 years was the "beta" test version and even during the beta testing it was super stable.

My Sony Vaio laptop has Windows Professional on it and in 9 months of usage I have not seen a single issue.

For me, it has been the best OS that I've ever seen MS put out. Very user friendly and nice interfaces. I would never voluntarily go back to XP or Vista.


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Old 08-04-2010, 06:53 PM   #29
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Old 08-04-2010, 08:10 PM   #30
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ronin, hmmmm, are you using XP or Vista?


Nodak, I have been using Windows 7 for about 2.5 years, first 2 years was the "beta" test version and even during the beta testing it was super stable.

My Sony Vaio laptop has Windows Professional on it and in 9 months of usage I have not seen a single issue.

For me, it has been the best OS that I've ever seen MS put out. Very user friendly and nice interfaces. I would never voluntarily go back to XP or Vista.


Thank you very much.
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Old 08-04-2010, 10:11 PM   #31
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Ahhh, OK, in XP, if you select the Processes tab, your task manager should look like the jpeg attached, and if it does not.

Click on VIEW and select the columns you want to display.

At that point you should be able to click the CPU column header and arrange the listing in CPU order with the highest CPU hog at the top. If any of them are running at more than 6-8%, something is wrong with the process that is hogging that much.

But, I still think it sounds like a flaky HD and at 7-8 years that's getting long in the tooth for a HD. Maybe take the side off again and feel the HD, if it's painful to leave your finger on it, it might have some mechanical wear that is causing lots of friction.

Maybe just time for a new one. Good luck.
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Old 08-04-2010, 11:18 PM   #32
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I'd like to make these suggestions: do you ever uninstall old software that you don't use anymore? If not, they're still probably being loaded when you power up. Also do you do any degragmentation of your hard drive? Clean the registry? clean up Windows and IE temp files and internet history? There's a lot of tracking cookies that'll kill your system response too. I do these things on a regular basis. Not sure what Norton software you have, I'm using Norton 360, LiveUpdate looks at all your Norton installed products to update. Also I've been using my 6+ yr old HP desktop, hard drive crashed and I replaced it with a 1999 hard drive for the last 4-5 months until I just got a new Seagate 1TB SATA drive for $55 @ Staples the last week. If you don't buy a new PC, I'd recommend more ram (I have 3.5 mb RAM) and another hard drive. Keep the old hard drive, wipe the thing clean and then you could swap it back and you should notice a big difference.

How big is the hard drive and how much is being used...if it's almost full, this is a big culprit!
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Old 08-05-2010, 09:31 AM   #33
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I looked at the processes under Task Man. right after start up when it was totalled bogged down and although nothing showed any particular CPU usage, in the memory column 2 files were outrageously hoggish- wuauclt.exe (which seems to be something in the system files) and svchost.exe (systems/communication files?). Later they had mellowed out, wuauclt.exe disappeared from the list and the svchost was very low usage.

I actually did uninstall several unused programs yesterday and the day before, primarily to get rid of earthlink and then a few others while I was at it. Don't know if it helped.

The hard drive is getting full. I'm running a defragmentation on in now. It's going to take quite a while. I forgot about that and haven't done it for a few years. It shows 74.46 capacity and 13.42 space free (18% free space) so I guess it is getting full as well as old. I'll go through the cookies/temporary files and eliminate as much as possible.

More and more I am being convinced it is going to be best to buy a new computer. I looked over the Windows Easy Transfer information and it looks like it transfers files and settings but not the actual programs I have installed, which while helpful leaves me to reinstall a bunch of stuff if I can find the original CDs or figure out how I down loaded it from the net like Zune and Nikon transfer (at least those should be easy). I saw some software (PC Creator?) that claims to copy everything, programs and all, and transfer it all to the new computer. Am I right about Easy Transfer not moving my programs?
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Old 08-05-2010, 10:31 AM   #34
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Ronin,
I'm using Norton 360, it provides me with all these tools for system performance/maintenance. When I got that new Seagate hard drive, it came with software to do a full hd clone which helped make an exact copy of my old system boot drive onto the new one. I can tell you I tried to use freeware hard drive cloning software which crashed on me in the process. Another option is via Norton 360, I had created backup/restores for my data and when I initially crashed my old drive, I was able to get all the important data recovered. You didn't mention which Norton software you were using, all I noticed was anti virus.

I'm not familiar with Easy Transfer or PC Creator software. Sounds like you're leaning to a new pc, you'll have to reload all software to it anyway. If you decide to keep using this one, once the hard drive is stabilized, you can do a system backup and then restore it to another hard drive using Norton software. Just did all this earlier this year.
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Old 08-05-2010, 10:39 AM   #35
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I have the most basic Norton available, not 360, but I looked at it at Costco this week and when my annual subscription expires in 3 weeks I think I will upgrade. I can't keep the auto-protect option enabled on it for some reason. I thought about the security suite from Verizon, but it didn't have much in the way of information that I could see and I haven't heard anything about it (other than its 6 bucks a month).
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Old 08-05-2010, 10:44 AM   #36
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As far as new computers go, any brands to avoid or lean towards? What kind of stuff is recommended? Seems most now have 6 - 8 DDR for the RAM (some call it DDR2 others DDR3?), processor Intel/AMD/? speeds 2.6 - 3.?, hard drive capacity 1 - 2 TB seems common. Don't game, store photos/music files.

Seems like the $500 - 1000 price point has a lot more computer than I currently have.
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Old 08-05-2010, 11:05 AM   #37
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Based on what you're using now, anything out there new will be light years better. I personally used to build my own PC's from scratch (as a hobby), but I'm using an old HP demo I bought new for $125, pumped up the ram to 3.5. You should get min 4mb RAM, 300 gb hard drive space (think this is lowest they offer now on desktops). Hard drives and RAM (except DDR3) are cheap now, you can upgrade later too or do external hard drives later too. I assume your monitor still works, fine, you can get a system without the monitor. I personally only purchased laptops from Acer, best bang for the buck from my own experience, now have 3 of these and very happy with them. Got one about 3 months ago w/Intel I5 processor for $550, 4mb RAM. I only bought it cause I had expiring Staples rewards cash. AMD's are a little cheaper, but it's harder doing the comparisons Intel vs. AMD. Still have 3 and 4 yr old Acers running just fine.

As far as Norton 360, look around, always goes on sale for cheap (<20) or free several times a year @Frys,Staples,etc. Provides all kinds of protection,maintenance, firewall. I have version 4.0, protects up to 3 pcs.
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Old 08-05-2010, 11:29 AM   #38
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I went from Norton Internet Security to Norton 360 earlier this week. It cost me $59 as a "preferred customer". The ad was visible when I logged into my account.

I didn't remember this, but the 3 free activations of that program have to be within the first 60 days after purchase of the downloadable version.

As for computers, you are going to have a myriad of good choices. My desktop is a couple of years old and I really like it. It is a Dell that I got on sale at Best Buy (since the configuration was exactly what I wanted, and the price was less than the same configuration through Dell). I think it was around $550 but I couldn't swear to it - - would have to look it up.
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Old 08-05-2010, 11:31 AM   #39
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So far I have just looked on line at Costco.com, Best Buy.com, and Fry's.com to get a general idea of what's available and at what price these days. I did see Acer somewhere, maybe costco, have to go back and check. Norton 360 was $69 at costco, glad I didn't get it. Thinking of going to the local BestBuys to talk to the people. They have been very helpful in the past even when I wasn't buying something or asking about something from another store. As opposed to Fry's where the employees seem to suck lemons before starting their shifts. Surly, disaffected @#$%s.
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Old 08-05-2010, 11:42 AM   #40
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You can get a big external hard drive for less than $100 these days, too. That would make the backup pretty easy and painless I would think.

Here's a 1 TB external hard drive for $90 and it's not even on sale. If you don't need that much (you probably don't) there are others for less.
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