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Client with slow computer

Posted on 2011-02-15
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I have a small office with a 2008 SBS domain and about 10-12 desktops all running Windows 7 Pro.  I have one user - the owner - who consistently is complaining that her PC is so slow she can't handle it.  It's a Dell Vostro - not the top of the line I know - and we just upgraded to 4GB of RAM.  I've remoted in and performed all types of maintenance on the PC, defragged, scans for virus, malware, etc.  While I'm logged in remotely (under her account), it seems to run pretty well as far as I'm concerned (and I like to think I have high standards).  But I'm sure if she is seeing a problem, it's when she is running Outlook, Firefox, and a few applications via the server.  Their network is a 10/100, and while I've talked to them about upgrading to a gigabit switch (all of the PCs could use it), nobody else in the office is having the issues she is having.  And I'm pretty sure they are using their PCs to the same degree she is.

What I'm wondering is if there is something I can run to monitor her PC for CPU spikes or memory useage over the period of a day so I can go back and see if I can spot a problem.  I have EventSentry on the network monitoring the logs, but I haven't seen anything unusual come through.

Todd
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Question by:Todd Richards
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Expert Comment

by:WayneGro
ID: 34903080
I would download wireshark and watch the packets exchange.  There are so many assumptions here it's going to be difficult to attempt the answer you accurately.  I would assume your at full duplex, I don't think a gig-switch is going to help you, but slaving the computer to 100/full may.  You could have anything from a virus, to a massive .hosts file, to spyware/mailware,,.  it goes on and on.  Wireshark should tell you what is being transferred but I would isolate the issues as network and not PC issues first.
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Accepted Solution

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shadowmantx earned 250 total points
ID: 34903490
I had a problem with a Dell Vostro workstation.  Had to flash new BIOS and that solved my problem. Another thing I had to try is use a spare NIC card to rule the onboard NIC.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 34904424
>>  nobody else in the office is having the issues she is having  <<   imo you should establish in some way if there is a problem to start with; you can use monitoring software, to compare network speeds, etc..or just time some operations on her pc, and on a "good" one
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Author Comment

by:Todd Richards
ID: 34907052
@WaynGro - thanks for the suggestion on Wireshark.  I don't know the program, but have downloaded it and will look at it a little.  I was on her machine late last night, and it does seem slow.  I checked the hosts file and it was good.  I will do some additional malware/virus scans and see if there is anything that gets found.

@Shadowmantx - thanks, I will look and see if there is an updated BIOS for that machine.  

@Nobus - That was my first question - is it just in her head?  However, when I logged in last night it did seem a bit slow.  So that's what I was trying to do is come up with a utility that I could monitor the PC - like a surveillance camera monitoring the store all day.  Then I could go back and see who broke in when I found I was missing something.  I just don't know of any utilities that would allow me to do that.  Any suggestions?
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Assisted Solution

by:cblapp
cblapp earned 125 total points
ID: 34907134
Depending on the version of Firefox she's using, the "Memory Fox" (aka AFOM) add-on may also help.  

Firefox has had a memory leak and this tool periodically tells Firefox to release any memory it's not using.  I've noticed over time that this has significantly reduced the amount of memory Firefox is using and allows my PC to run faster plus reduced the number of browser crashes.  Firefox memory usage dropped from 400,000K+ of memory to about 80,000K+ while still using lots of tabs and a number of other add-ons.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 34907436
why not just time some operations with a watch?  does not take long imo
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Author Comment

by:Todd Richards
ID: 34908059
@Nobus - I don't think it's as simple as seeing how long something takes.  It sounds more like she can do something just fine, then a little bit later trying to get back to something else is painfully slow.  That's why I was hoping for something that would measure over the course of several hours.

@cblapp - thanks, I will look at that.  I know she is a "heavy" FF user, but she might have 8-10 tabs open at a time.  I've had 40 open at a time without too much problem...
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Assisted Solution

by:nobus
nobus earned 125 total points
ID: 34908830
you could install Cacheman to monitor cpu and ram usage :  http://www.outertech.com/?_charisma_page=index&PHPSESSID=c6b78e5c1ab04b289b500e74575fff1e
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Author Comment

by:Todd Richards
ID: 34909487
Thanks nobus - I will check that out!
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Expert Comment

by:mitrum
ID: 34912654
Try CCleaner (http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner) highly-recommended, weapon against system slowdowns. Clean you laptop's Fan airoutlet some time when mainboard / processor heatup it  slows computer too.

You can find nice info from here
http://helpdeskgeek.com/windows-xp-tips/99-ways-to-make-your-computer-blazingly-fast/
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Author Closing Comment

by:Todd Richards
ID: 35028520
Sorry for the delay on following up.  I haven't heard any more complaints from the client on this, but I know she hasn't been using it as much lately (been traveling).  I awarded the points the way I did because the BIOS, was in fact in need of an upgrade.  I also installed Cacheman and will look at the Firefox extension next if needed.  We already do run CCleaner on a regular basis.  Thanks again everyone.
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by:nobus
ID: 35029270
tx for feedback
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