PC turned VERY slow, W2K installation takes 10+ hours

I have two IBM ThinkPad 600x's, both with W2K Pro SP4, Office 2000, ZoneAlarm and AVG 6. One of them (with 132 MB RAM, the apps include Office and learning games of Knowledge Adventure)  has become very slow, booting up takes over ten minutes and everything else is also very, very slow. (The other, with only 64 MB RAM works OK) In safe mode (with networking) the PC appears to work at normal speed. I Have ran defrag and approx 60% of the HDD is free. Ad-Aware did not indicate any problems either.

After reading whatever I could find on the topic, I decided to reinstall the OS. First, the setup found a damaged OS and suggested to repair it. The setup took overnight to complete, but did not solve the problem. Then, I started the PC in Safe Mode and launched a clean installation. The setup started much faster, but turned sluggish at the "Installing Devices" phase when the blue completion indicator bar was at approx. 60% For example, after clicking the "Customize" button of the regional settings it took several minutes for the "Regional Options" screen to show up.

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NetExpertConnect With a Mentor Commented:
1. How do you install the clean copy of Windows 2000? If the installation itself is slow, then either the CD has the problem, or the hardware (particularly the hard drive) has some defects (possibly). Or if you start the installation from inside an OS (after you boot up the Windows), the old OS may screw up the installation as well. Try to have a clean installation by booting from CD, format the hard drive and have a REAL clean installation. It should take maximum 1 hour, and there should not be any problem (if there is, it is only hardware related).
2. For your reference: Booting in safe mode does not load all hardware drivers, that's why you can avoid the freezing in normal mode. It may also because of some software, but software doesn't often screw up the installation of OS. 6 1/2 hours is too long, and from my experience, you got some hole on your hard drive (try repair it), or a real bug jump into your mainboard and short-circuit something.
It sounds like there is a hardware error - possibly the hard drive or the motherboard. Once you've got windows working, take a look through the event viewer.
GATOR420Connect With a Mentor Commented:
The thing that concerns me is that Windows 2000 starts up fine in safe mode. This would lead me down the path of a driver, or something loading at startup that is causing this long delay. Find a copy of msconfig.exe from an XP machine or on the net somewhere and have a peak one you get it loaded.

What does the task manager say? Are you using up all of your resources? (Right click on task bar and select task manager)

What does the event viewer say? Are you getting any errors under the System or Application logs? (Right click on my computer and select manage)
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kaaremiAuthor Commented:
At one point "system" process was consuming almost all the resources.

I will look at the event viewer as soon as the clen install completes. BTW, the installation was started about 6½ hours ago, now the PC asks to "wait while Setup Registers components".

My gut feeling is that this is sofware related, given the fact that in Safe Mode the machine is not slow. But I will probably run some hardware tests as well...
Rob StoneCommented:
I had this before in Win95 when the chipset drivers were incorrect. It took a ridiculous time to install.

Another thing that can cause general slowdown is the L2 cache setting in the BIOS.  It might be worth resetting the BIOS to normal settings to see if that helps.

Try swapping over the RAM as well if you have two identical machines. Eliminate as much as possible. You can also put the HDD from the other in your machine and see if the problem follows the HDD or machine.
kaaremiAuthor Commented:
Thanks guys, albeit the story still continues without much success, I do appreciate your advice...

Once the W2K installation completed (again), I used the IBM Disk Drive Fitness Test (DFT) to find out if there is a problem with the HDD. It did indicate Failure COde 0x75 - Defective Device. Component Failure, Technical Result Code (TRC) 7500C0FC. I used the same DFT to erase the disk (physically filling the disk with 0's) and the the repair utility of the DFT. Another test then showed that the disk is OK.

Then I booted from the W2K CD and started a clean (sterile?) OS installation. Again, the installation started to progress at reasonable speed, but turned sluggish at the "Installing Devices" phase when the blue completion indicator bar was at approx. 60%. I did not wish to wait another ten hours to get the same result as before and brutally powered the PC off.

Now, I am in the process of doing a "sterile" installation of Windows XP, formatting the disk once again. Let's see how that will work. Watch this space, I'll be back...
Don't try with Windows XP. It may cause even more problems. Remove any hardware that is not necessary (PCI card, etc), and try to test the hardware again. Can you post the full hardware config here, so someone may have an idea.
Rob StoneCommented:
Are they both using the same BIOS revision?

Try updating the BIOS too.

How does the install go in the other laptop? Does it do the same at 60%?
kaaremiAuthor Commented:
The XP installation appears to have gone OK, and much faster. I will certainly not make any experiments on the other Laptop.

BTW, after installing XP (SP1) and activating its Firewall, I went to get the OS updates. While the system was analyzing my needs, the PC got Sasser and also turned into a junk mailer. I got an on-line alert straight to my browser window from my ISP. Got off-line, used another PC to get proper FW, AV and Ad-aware, plus the Sasser patch on a USB Flash stick... I hope I can now safely get the XP updated... Maybe.

In the process, I also noticed that WINSYSI.EXE process was hammering the firewall like crazy. I wonder what that might be? Spyware? Trojan? I could not find any info on that name from the Web, not from the F-Secure.com...
It could be a variant of WORM_BAGLE.K or Win-Spy

Check out these links for removing it:
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