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Desktop running unusually slow... hardware problem?

Posted on 2006-10-31
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Last Modified: 2010-04-25
Hi all - hope this is the righ area to ask this type of question.

I have a client whose Windows XP PC is running unually slow. Started about 6 weeks ago. It's a Celeron 2.7 with 512MB RAM. HP Presario. not the gruntiest machine, I know - but it should be more than able to do what he wants - Office apps and email...

I did all the usual - spyware, virus, startup progs, defrag etc to no avail, so I decided to reformat and start from scratch. the PC is about 2 years old so I thought it was time.

After reformat and reinstall of the basic apps (antivirus, Office, SP2 etc) it is still running like a dog. I have done all the regular checks for hardware probs - scandisk, memory check (using MS memory check on a bootable CD), checked SMART for probs etc. I have a feeling it may be something wrong with the processor, because services and apps that usually only take a few system resources seem to be taking a huge amount. Processor is running constantly at 60% and often at 100%. It is no 1 app hogging it all, but all the usual apps - they just seem to need a lot more processor than usual.

My question is, can anyone suggest a way for me to test the processor to see if that is the problem? Could it be anything else? As I say, I reformatted and have only installed 2 or 3 apps - all of which work happily together.

Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.

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Question by:lukerussell
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by:burrcm
burrcm earned 75 total points
ID: 17848622
Boot it to a knoppix cd. If it will run normally then you may have a HDD issue, if it is still sluggish then it may be time to try another CPU, or at least strip it down, clean connections and reapply thermal paste etc.

Chris B
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by:Callandor
Callandor earned 75 total points
ID: 17849989
Make sure the cpu is actually running at the rated speed - if the FSB is lower than normal, you can end up running slow.  Use Everest to get an indication of what the system is doing: http://www.majorgeeks.com/download4181.html
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by:lukerussell
ID: 17853220
Thank you both. Will try both suggestions.
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Accepted Solution

by:
nobus earned 100 total points
ID: 17856567
-check in the bios if the cpu is seen normally, and the ram and disk too.
-check if the ram is seen in windows as 512 MB
-check if the disk is running in DMA mode, not PIO : http://winhlp.com/WxDMA.htm
more  :
http://www.ramelectronics.net/html/harddrive-dma-mode.html
http://users.bigpond.net.au/ninjaduck/itserviceduck/udma_fix/
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by:nobus
ID: 17856570
...and it can be a disk with errors too, so run a scandisk for errors on it
disconnect it from the network --> still slow or not?
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by:lukerussell
ID: 17856771
Hi nobus. thanks for all help. Checked RAM, bios scandisk etc and all good. but your suggestions did give me the idea to upgrade BIOS, motherboard and chipset drivers, which seems to have done some kind of miraculous job of speeding things up (enough to make client happy but not me - maybe the PC just needs replacing...)

Thanks for your suggestions, guys!
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by:nobus
ID: 17856834
no problem !
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