Why doesn't the processor on my laptop run at optimal speed?

I have a Dell Latitude D620, running a duel processor 2.1 GHz with 2 G of memory.  I just replaced the hard drive (wd 250 Gb).  Running windows XP Professional

The problem is that, the system is running like it is going through molasses.  It took all morning just to get the OS installed.  Just to get the installation files copied to the hard drive took about two hours.  
    When I pull up the task manager it shows that one processor is running at 100% all the time while the other one is nearly idle.  This doesn't seem right to me.  I set the bios to it's default settings.  I didn't see anywhere in the BIOS about any settings for the processor.  
    I would like to do a BIOS update, but am afraid to because I do not have the drivers installed and the system is so difficult to run that i just about can't install the drivers.
Any help on this issue would be appreciated.
Will Schmidtowner Asked:
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bbaoIT ConsultantCommented:
have you found the user manual from Dell's support site?
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sanjayrajtCommented:
Hi,
Go to BIOS and check you processor and reset all bios setting and check it again.
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Darr247Commented:
In the Task Manager, go to the Processes tab, click on the top of the CPU column to sort by what's using the most processor power.  

What is it?
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Will Schmidtowner Author Commented:
Did you mean service manual?  I don't see that the user manual would offer much help in this situation.  I did not find any troubleshooting steps in the service manual.

I went into the BIOS and could not find any where to change any setting relating to the processor.  I set the BIOS to it's default settings but that didn't help either.  

In the Processes tab, cvchost is taking the most - form 55 to 67
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Will Schmidtowner Author Commented:
In the general computer information about the processor it says: "Genuine Intel CPU - T2600 MHz - 1.99 Hz - 994 mhz

Why is it only running half speed? (994 mhz instead of 1.99 mhz)
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bbaoIT ConsultantCommented:
did you use the genuine recovery CD of Dell to install the OS?
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Darr247Commented:
Usually they lock themselves at half speed when the cooling fins on their heat pipes get clogged with dust and allow the CPU to overheat, or when the controller has told the cooling fan[s] to turn on and did not receive any electrical feedback from the fan[s], or the CPU's overheated so badly the heatsink compound liquefied and ran out from between the heat pipe's contact plate and the CPU (I've only ever seen that happen with phase-change pads).

So if the fins aren't clogged, check if it has fans that are supposed to blow across those fins and that they're running, and if both those things check out you'll likely have to pull the keyboard in order to get to the heat pipe assembly (on the bottom of Dells, the screws that hold on the keyboard sometimes have a 'K' next to them... if yours doesn't, you'll have to refer to its Service Manual... which probably isn't a bad idea anyway) in order to check for the presence of heat sink compound.
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Darr247Commented:
You can also check your CPU temp using a program like CPU Thermometer. It doesn't need to be installed other than telling it where to put its files when you run the downloaded file. e.g. I 'installed' it to C:\UT\CPUTherm
Here are samples of its output - CelciusCPU Thermometer in CelciusFahrenheitCPU Thermometer in Fahrenheit
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Will Schmidtowner Author Commented:
I did remove the keyboard and I found the battery clock disconnected, like somebody else had been into it and had messed around.  I also found the heat sink pretty much clogged up. I cleaned it out, started the laptop up again but it still acts the same.  I really needed to apply the thermal grease but I would have to take the palm rest and the lcd screen assembly off to do so.  But, if I have to I will.  Before I do that, I am going to install the cpu thermometer and see what the temp is.  Will let you know

   Reply to bbao:  The disk I used is the disk I have always used for windows xp professional. It is a Dell installation disk with service pack 2 and then, after installing the drivers I install service pack 3 because I don't have a windows xp professional service pack 3.  But, of all the systems I have installed, I have never came across this problem.  I have used this same disk for many latitude D600 series laptops.
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nobusCommented:
check if you get the same readings after a proper cool down period, an have a fan blowing on it.
how does the cpu show in the bios?  correct speed?
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bbaoIT ConsultantCommented:
> I have used this same disk for many latitude D600 series laptops.

just in case, you may try to use the same disc to install XP on one more computer and see if everything goes well.

> I went into the BIOS and could not find any where to change any setting relating to the processor.

also try to determine the processor speed this way.

Determining the Processor Speed in Windows XP
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?cc=uk&lc=en&dlc=en&docname=c00370524
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Will Schmidtowner Author Commented:
I checked again in the BIOS and here is the info on the processor:
Processor type:               Intel(R) Core(TM) Duo processor
Processor ID:                 O6E8
Current Clock speed;      2.16 GHz
Maximum Clock speed:  2.16 GHz
Minimum Clock Speed:  1.00 GHz
Processor Cache size:    2048
Duel Core Present =       Yes

I took two snapshots - one is the processor activity and the other is the temperature.  I attempted to run the app that you suggested, but it would not run saying that the application could not initialize.  So I found another one and ran that.

I have not tried blowing a fan on the processor, but if the temp app is showing correctly I don't see how over-heating would be a problem
Document2.rtf
Document2.rtf
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nobusCommented:
it can be the cpu is damaged, or locked somehow
try running from a live knoppix cd - it uses different drivers, and soft - then test again with windows
ftp://mirrors.kernel.org/knoppix-dvd/KNOPPIX_V7.0.5DVD-2012-12-21-EN.iso
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Darr247Commented:
> but it would not run saying that the application could not initialize.

It requires .NET framework, which was not installed in XP by default... version 1 is in the 'additional components' folder of the installation CD, if I recall correctly.
At least on the XP SP2 and XP SP3 CDs.

There are *lots* of programs (including some graphics drivers) that require .NET frameworks, so that's probably something you should install.
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Will Schmidtowner Author Commented:
Hello, I am back again.  I am downloading the ISO file that you suggested.  I am also going to install the .NET framework (it might take all day as slow as this laptop is running).  I am also planning to update the BIOS, but first I had to order a battery.  The existing battery is not taking charge and the BIOS update will not run with a dead battery.  The new battery should arrive tomorrow.  If that doesn't fix it, then I am going to order a different processor and see  it that solves the issue.  

   I installed a different hard drive and installed another fresh copy of the os and I could tell that the processor was working slow right from the very beginning. It took two hours to just copy the installation files.
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nobusCommented:
>>  It took two hours to just copy the installation files.   <<  let's hope knoppix kicks it into gear again..otherwise, time for a new processor - or even motherboard
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Will Schmidtowner Author Commented:
while I was waiting for Knoppix to to download, I took the laptop apart, cleaned the surfaces of the processor & the heat sink, applied fresh thermal grease, and put the laptop back together.

I booted up with knoppix and processor worked perfectly.  Knoppix showed both processors running at only 3 to 7 percent.

Ok, so then I let the laptop boot to windows xp, opened up windows task manager up and the processor worked perfectly for about 2 or 3 minutes. I thought it was fixed, but about that time, processor number one suddenly took a spike to 100% and stayed there.  The other one stayed at 7 to 10%

I then clicked on the processors tab and found that the svchost was taking up a lot of processor usage. I shut that down and immediately the processor was showing idle again.

Like I said, when the new battery comes in, I am going to update the BIOS and see what happens
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nobusCommented:
it looks like an OS problem to me
try a  repair -  or sfc :
http://www.updatexp.com/scannow-sfc.html                        SFC use in XP
http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm            Repair install  XP

updating the drivers can help also - but:
the best fix is a fresh install - you cna test it on another disk drive, or partition to be sure it works out fine
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Will Schmidtowner Author Commented:
Ok, here is an update:

    Yesterday evening another customer happened to bring in another laptop (Dell latitude D620), I pulled the hard drive out of this laptop in question and installed it into the one that was brought in and it ran like a champ.  everything ran smooth and fast with no issues whatsoever.  

   And, just to comfirm that,  I took another spare hard drive, stuck in the installation disk and 10 minutes later I came back and it had already copied the installation files, re-started and was installing windows.  

So evidently, it is either the processor or the motherboard.  

  I did try a BIOS update and that did no good.
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Darr247Commented:
Just removing the heat pipe to check its proper seating and presence of heat transfer medium means you'll need to replace that medium. So you should have some on hand...
If you don't have any, I recommend Dow Corning 340 Heat Sink Compound 2oz Jar.
I bought a 5 oz tube of it almost 20 years ago and have applied it to literally dozens of heat sinks over that time. That 2 oz jar should last you a long time. It cleans up nicely with paper towels and 99% isopropyl, but you don't want to apply it too thick or it squeezes out and makes a mess when the heat sink's mounting spring or screw is tightened. Far-less expensive than Arctic Silver ($8 for 0.061 times as much, but has a syringe applicator), which is allegedly marginally better as a heat transfer medium.
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nobusCommented:
since another laptop disk made it work 100%, and install runs ok, the hardware is OK - NOT a motherboard or cpu problem at all.
as i posted - it looks like an OS problem
use the steps i posted above
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Darr247Commented:
One of us has misread what the Author said...   :)

> Yesterday evening another customer happened to bring in another
laptop (Dell latitude D620), I pulled the hard drive out of this laptop
in question and installed it into the one that was brought in and it ran
like a champ.  everything ran smooth and fast with no issues whatsoever.
 

The way I interpret that, the Author pulled the hard drive out of the malfunctioning laptop, put it in the customer's laptop that had just been brought in, and it worked fine.
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nobusCommented:
yes Darr - i read it the other way round;
i'd say  time to hear from beemmer how it is..
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Will Schmidtowner Author Commented:
Sorry I did not get back any sooner on this

I did discover that when I shut off automatic updates, the processor went back to only one to 5 percent and the laptop run fine.  I have discovered the same thing happens with other computers running windows xp.  Why this is so, I do not know.  
Anyway, thanks for all your help and again, I apologize for neglecting my question
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nobusCommented:
tx for feedback - and a very unusual outcome
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