XP running extremely slow

Posted on 2005-04-11
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-05-18
I have two occurances of XP machines running extremely slow. Both the machines have 256mb ram and are not relly rrunning and heavy applications

They both have updated virus definations. Any Ideas?
Question by:SyedHNaqvi
LVL 49

Expert Comment

ID: 13752572
Hi SyedHNaqvi,

Basically , windows xp requires 512 MB of RAM .  

Is your windows completely updated ?

Did this issue suddenly start or after some update or these are new XP machines ?

I like the steps in this website .. It might help you in optimizing the speed.

LVL 57

Expert Comment

by:Pete Long
ID: 13752580
Windows XP running slowly?

The following is a list of tweaks and tips for speeding up Windows XP.


Make Sure You're virus Free

Go To http://security.symantec.com/ssc/vc_about.asp?ax=0&langid=ie&venid=sym&plfid=23&pkj=LUDKIHKERRDTIPOKYJL
For a Free online check


Make sure you don't have any Spyware or Adware running on you're PC

Visit http://www.lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware/


Turn off automatic updates!

Start >Control Panel > Performance and Maintenance > System >Automatic Updates tab > Tick "Turn off Automatic Updating"

Or if you're on Windows Classic view

Right Click My Computer and select Properties > Automatic Updates tab > Tick "Turn off Automatic Updating"

You will now need to stop the service

Start >Control Panel > Performance and Maintenance > Administrator Tools > Services >Locate the "Automatic Update" service > Right click it and select Properties > Change the Startup Type to "Disabled".

**Warning its now up to you to keep up to date with any hot fixes or service packs.


Disable "System Restore" service and "Indexing" service

Start >Control Panel > Performance and Maintenance > System >System Restore Tab > Tick "Turn off System Restore"

Or if you're on Windows Classic view

Right Click My Computer and select Properties > System Restore Tab > Tick "Turn off System Restore"

You will now need to stop the service

Start >Control Panel > Performance and Maintenance > Administrator Tools > Services >Locate the "System Restore" service > Right click it and select Properties > Change the Startup Type to "Disabled". Then Locate the Indexing Service and disable that also.


Tweak the Page File settings.

See http://www.geocities.com/ziyadhosein/wxptwks.htm


Defrag the Hard Drive!

Even if XP tells you it doesn't need doing!


Find out what’s running in the background!

Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete

Then click the processes Tab (Lot of stuff there eh!) Find out what all that means here


If there's anything that shouldn’t be running, uninstall it! Or find out where it was launched from, either the startup folder, or from the registry, look at this registry key



Find out what services (You don’t need) are running in the background

Look here http://www.blackviper.com/WinXP/service411.htm


Ensure You’ve got all the latest Service Packs and Hot fixes From Microsoft
Ensure You have all the latest Drivers for Your Hardware (And Windows XP supports it!)


If you don’t see any improvement after that lot GO AND BUY SOME RAM!!!
LVL 49

Accepted Solution

sunray_2003 earned 750 total points
ID: 13752598

I have to edit my comment about xp requiring 512 MB of RAM..

The system requirement says 128 or higher http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/upgrading/sysreqs.mspx
In my experience , windows xp running on 512 MB of RAM shows a better performance than any lower RAM machine..

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LVL 21

Expert Comment

ID: 13752619
Not a very detailed description, but give this a try...:

1. How is your virus scanner configured? Check if it scans all files on every start...

2. Start the task manager (Right-click on the clock...) and check if a specific program comsumes a huge amount of CPU power...

3. Choose 'Run' from the start menu and type: 'msconfig'
Check especially the last two tabs for any unneeded program which start everytime and disable them. After that restart and check if the machines are running with normal speed. If yes, enable the recently disabled programs gradually to find out which program caused the problem.

Expert Comment

ID: 13754111
What AV you running? Norton tends to be very sluggish, the internet security versions make you machine run like treacle...

Check what processes and applications do you have running in task manager, and how are the CPU and memory graphs doing?...

ctrl + Alt + del

Expert Comment

ID: 13757188
Check your RAM with Memtest:
Memtest CD Image: http://www.memtest.org/download/1.51/memtest86+-1.51.iso.zip
Memtest Floppy Disk Creator: http://www.memtest.org/download/1.51/memtest86+-1.51.exe.zip

Check your HardDrive with Drive Fitness Test (DFT):
DFT CD Image: http://www.hitachigst.com/downloads/dft32_v402_b00.iso
DFT Floppy Disck Creator: http://www.hitachigst.com/downloads/dft32_v402_b00.exe

NOTE: Run an advanced test in DFT - a Red background is BAD
You can lookup the error code in the manual: http://www.hitachigst.com/downloads/dft32_user_guide.pdf

If both of those pass fine, then do the following:
1) run a virus scan at http://www.housecall.antivirus.com
2) download, update & run spybot: http://www.safer-networking.org
3) download, update & run adaware: http://www.lavasoft.com
4) download, run hijackthis and post your logfile up here for us to see: http://www.merijn.org/files/hijackthis.zip

Good luck

Author Comment

ID: 13781921
I tried doing the above mentioned tips but none of them helped.

I choose selective startup from MSconfig and found that by unchecking SYSTEM.INI and WIN.INI processes, the system starts working fine but as soon i check WIN.INI process it doesnt let me do any thing. Using System.INI is better than WIN.INI.

How can i fix this problem?

Any advise!?

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