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slow slow slow.... with 97% of processes at idle

First, I have an old issue which may or may not be related:.

Issue 1 (This is an old issue that I have chosen to ignore because it is rare enough to do so) Sometimes my computer turns off by itself. I have rejected thermal-related problems because one of the days it ran 12 hours without incident was VERY hot. The fan ran all day, but no shut down. Sometimes it will shut down 10 times day. Then it will be fine for a day or two.... seemingly independent of temperature. One clue: It NEVER restarts after one press of the on switch when it crashed in this way. It ALWAYS takes two presses.

Issue 2: (as of today) The computer (a five year old Dell 360 Workstation with 1G Ram and 7 Gigs (?) of empty HD will boot without problem and then start to run extremely slowly after 15 minutes or so. The reason for the guess regarding empty HD space is because the system is SO slow I gave up asking it. I checked this morning and remember about 7Gig free. Using Process Explorer, I cannot see any program hogging resources. Idle remains very high. Control Alt delete will open its window, but it too is VERY slow to open. Opening or closing a program can take many minutes. Everything was fine yesterday (a day when the room was unusually warm.)

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makeroftoys
Asked:
makeroftoys
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1 Solution
 
CorruptedLogicCommented:
Check your motherboard for leaky capacitors. Read this for a few details, http://www.thegeekpub.com/Home/ArticleView/tabid/59/smid/399/ArticleID/42/reftab/65/t/Leaky-Capacitors---More-common-than-you-think/Default.aspx I have seen a lot of older Dell machines plagued by leaky caps and last time i checked, Dell would replace the MLB free of charge whether or not the machine was under warranty (but you may need to double check that!)

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ahmad2121Commented:
Corrupted's suggestion is good.

Being slow could be a sign of a dying power supply as well. If you have another PSU you could throw in there, might be worth a shot.
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CorruptedLogicCommented:
Ahmad2121, that would also be my second suggestion. PSU's can be fickle beasts these days!
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zorionterrellCommented:
How long have you been running windows without a fresh install? Do you run Defrag? Also your MFT might be full. Try getting your hands on diskeeper. It can do a better defrag, as well as expand the size of the MFT.

I would agree with Ahmad and Corrupted though. Make sure your hardware is working properly before trying to troubleshoot your OS. Wasting time on performance issues thats actually dying hardware and not software would be frustrating.
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makeroftoysAuthor Commented:
First, I ran Search and Destroy, and found nothing of interest.

Second, I was excited when I read the capacitor article, but did not see anything that looked wrong with the caps.  Toobad, because that would be a good solution.
 
As for PSU, I do not have one lying around and am relucant to buy a new one if this motherboard is on last legs.

I did defrag a few weeks ago and I thought the HD is in reasonable shape. I will try diskeeper tho.

Is there any use of the clue that when the system turns off it only starts after the second press of the ON button?
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ahmad2121Commented:
that doesn't change the culprits, it could still be either the PSU or the motherboard.

This is because:

a bad power supply will not produce correct voltages to the mobo

a bad mobo will not provide good clean current to components

so you see, you can never know for sure until you test. That is why leaky caps could help identify the mobo as the culprit, but obviously if you don't spot them it does not mean the motherboard is good.
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ahmad2121Commented:
also, dont use S&D any more, its a little outdated :)

http://www.spywareterminator.com/

and don't install the crawler toolbar when asked (its good, but slows down browsing).
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makeroftoysAuthor Commented:
Oh, and to answer another question, I am sure I have never done a fresh install. I can't find the original disks.
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zorionterrellCommented:
Wow. You reaaallllyy should do a fresh install. Try and find the Dell OEM WIndows XP Pro SP2 Disc online. Since you have a Dell with a Vaild Windows license, The Dell OEM disk will work on your system.

Also, go to support.dell.com to get the drivers for your system.

Here is a link to the Dell OEM Disk
http://www.torrentreactor.net/torrents/963367/Dell's-OEM-Windows-XP-Pro-SP2

Hope this helps.
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makeroftoysAuthor Commented:

Is there any use of the clue that when the system turns off iby itself, it only starts after the second press of the ON button?

Press once, and it will never start the boot sequence.  Press a second time.... and it starts.
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Danny ChildIT ManagerCommented:
I'd get the RAM tested.  Use memtest86, and if any errors AT ALL come up, replace the RAM.  I had a similar prob 3 years back on a supermicro board.  First time I tested the RAM, it had 9 errors on 1 stick, none on the other.  Ran on 1 stick, still had probs.  Tested it a few weeks later after swapping psu, mobo, rebuilding, everything.  On the 2nd test, got 32000 errors.  
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makeroftoysAuthor Commented:
I tested "all available" RAM with memtest86 for a few hours (900% coverage) and it did not find a single error, which almost seems TOO good, but that is what happened.

BTW: tonight I used the computer for about 1.5 hours (MS word) before any problem showed up. The problem seemed to start when I started to use Chrome. I will try this test (no web acces) again...

And since no one has answered: Is there any use of the clue that when the system turns off iby itself, it only starts after the second press of the ON button? Press once, and it will never start the boot sequence.  Press a second time.... and it starts.

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zorionterrellCommented:
Download SpeedFan. Its an app that will tell you a lot about your system. Find out what Voltages your PSU and MB are supposed to be running at. Then look and see what SpeedFan is reporting. If the Voltages arent correct then it would explain some of the issues you have.

A buddy of mine had a system that would kick off when he had too many devices attached.

So first things first, find out if your PSU is actually able to handle the load. Might explain the powering up as well. If the PSU has bad capacitors.
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makeroftoysAuthor Commented:
I figured it out!!!

I am sorry to say that none of your suggestions led to the answer.... at least to the slowing problem.

The problem was Chrome! As long as I do not use that one program, I am fine. I have run at full speed (and without any crashes for days) by reverting to IE. I tried reinstalling once, but that did NOT work. I am sure if I did a "full" reinstall I will be OK, but I am behind because of the downtime, so for now I will simply use IE.

The oddest thing is that I am 100% sure that Process Explorer did NOT show ANY program was hogging processor time, including Chrome. Maybe one of you can explain what is going on.

Thanks.
David



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zorionterrellCommented:
Glad to hear you figured it out!!!
A single piece of software causing all the problems you were having is bizarre.

Hope it continues to work with no problem.

Do you still have to hit the power button twice to turn it on?
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makeroftoysAuthor Commented:
It has not died since I stopped using Chrome, and it was only after these mysterious power losses that it took two presses to start.

Normal restarts only take one press.

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zorionterrellCommented:
Great!
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makeroftoysAuthor Commented:
As an update: My computer continues to run fine.... as long as I don't use Chrome. I have sent in a query to Google help as of this morning. I will add a note here before closing this string.
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ee_autoCommented:
Question PAQ'd, 500 points refunded, and stored in the solution database.
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