How to Speed up Dell Studio 540 running Windows 10, 32 bit.

Can I speed this up by adding to the memory?

Dell Studio 540 originally running Vista, now running  Windows 10.

Processor: Intel (R) Core (TM) 2 duo CPU E7400 @ 2.80GHz 2.80GHz
Installed memory 4GB (3.25 usable)
System Type: 32 bit OS x64-based processor
Michael MurphyAsked:
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Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
You could install  more memory but you'd have to change to the 64 bit OS as the 32-bit OS cannot access anything beyond 4 Gig.

One other thing you could do would be to swap out the HDD for a  SDD.

It most likely has a SATA connection.  You'd want to check that before buying a SSD.

That machine is close to 10 years old.  There is only so much you'll be able to do to it.

Your money would be better spent saving for a new computer.  A decent machine can be bought for $400-$500.

By the time you upgrade the memory and HD, you'll already have a good chunk of money sunk into the machine and while it may run a bit faster, you'll still have a 10 year old machine.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You have a slug.  Time to upgrade the machine to a much faster 64-bit machine. My own ThinkPad X30 with 8 GB of memory and Windows 10 Pro 64-bit is nice and fast.
I don't agree with the comment above stating the machine is a slug. It has a core2duo CPU, and those still perform well.

I agree that you could install an SSD, that should improve it's speed. Changing the OS to 64 bit and adding RAM (it should be up-gradable to at least 8GB) would only make it faster if you have a lot of things running at the same time and your RAM is already being used up to it's limits. If you look at the RAM usage, and it isn't already at it's limits, the speed will be about the same with more RAM. The 2GB DDR2 RAM modules for this PC shouldn't be that expensive, look on ebay or a similar portal for 2nd hand modules (make sure you get the version that work in that PC though, ECC and FB modules probably don't work).

Was this a clean installation of Windows 10, or did you upgrade to Windows 7 or 8.1, then 10? If it was an upgrade, you might have installed too much crap which is usually the cause for slowing down PC's. Also, if it was a clean install of Windows 10, and you have meanwhile installed too much crap, that would slow it down.

I suggest you do a clean installation of Windows 10. Install the 64 bit version right away. Even if you have it registered with a 32 bit version now, the 64 bit version will also activate without problems as long you install the same edition as you have now (Home or Pro). During the installation you get asked for the product key at least twice, just ignore that and move on.

Once the OS has been installed, and you have installed the manufacturer's drivers (if no drivers exist for Windows 10, use the Windows 7 drivers). When that is done, and if you don't want to rely on m$ defender as your AV tool, install something light and good, like Panda AV. You can use the free version if the PC isn't being used in a business. Don't use any crap like Norton AV or similar.

Only install the software you really need. When installing something, make sure you read the setup displays and select the advanced options, where you can disable toolbars and other added crapware. If you keep to those simple rules your system should run fast. If your RAM is fully used, upgrade it to 8 GB as you now have a 64 bit OS that supports it.

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Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
New memory can be had for a little more than $60. 600006042 600006071

And here you can get an SSD for around $90.

I agree that the machine isn't a slug, You just have to determine if putting about $150 is worth it to you to speed up the computer vs. applying that money towards a new computer.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I have a core 2 duo in my basement and it is quite slow (even with 8 GB of memory) compared to my quad core machine that is much newer.
Michael MurphyAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the responses. I will ponder on it for a while. Will look at Rindi's advice on this one and get back to you in time - maybe a week.
Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
And the Core 2 Duo my wife has is slow compared to my i7, 32-Gig, SSD equipped gaming laptop that I have but it suits her needs. Wouldn't suit mine though.

It's what people need vs. what they can/want to spend on a new computer.
Obviously an i7 will be faster than a core2duo, it probably has at least double the cores, plus hyperthreading, and is at least one generation newer than the core2duo. Things must have improved in those generations. But that doesn't mean a core2duo is slow and should be replaced.

But of course it can matter what you use the PC for.
Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
Exactly my point.  My wife's computer is not powerful enough for me, and mine is way more than she needs.

I was pointing out that the older computer can still be adequate.
Michael MurphyAuthor Commented:
Can I find out from the screenshot attached below  what type of Sata Connection (3 or 2) I have on the machine.
The screenshot is of the Universal Serial Bus Controllers
Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
Looks like they are SATA 1.  I don't think SATA 3 existed when this computer was made.

Go to the Dell website, enter your service tag and look at the specs.

It won't really matter; all SATA are backwards compatible.  You can hook a SATA 3 drive to a SATA 1 or 2 port and it will work.  Just at the slower port speed.

You can also hook a SATA 1 drive to a SATA 2 or 3 port but you will be limited to the SATA1  speed.
No. For that you'd have to look at the SATA ports, not the USB ports.  But it probably uses a SATA controller with 3GB/s speeds.
Michael MurphyAuthor Commented:
I found this in the technical manual.

10 serial ATA drive connector
11 serial ATA drive connector (SATA1) 12 serial ATA drive connector
13 serial ATA drive connector (SATA4)
Michael , why do you want that info?  you cannot change it -  or make it faster
it will work - and that's what you want right?
Can you tell us why you want to make it faster? on what is it slow?

check in device manager if there are errors, or unknown hardware
As I mentioned already, you have 3GB/s speeds, that is SATA2. The info you posted from the technical manual is useless.
Michael MurphyAuthor Commented:
Can't finish this question until the items ordered arrive and are installed, namely the SSD and the additional memory modules.
that will surely boost up the performance; i upgraded several like these and was happy with their performance
**you did not answer my questions
Michael MurphyAuthor Commented:
1.  I was trying to find out whether my PCs was compatible with Sata 3.
2. I want to speed it up because:
I inherited the PC and want to make the best use of it. It is suitable for my work but a little slow. Slow to start and for applications to open; also for multi tasking. But when programs boot up and applications open it then works well. I have done various things such as run msconfig  and disable at start up most programs etc.
Michael MurphyAuthor Commented:
The previous post is in response to Nobus, who has kept me above water for years  (will have noticed my name change) . Sorry for not answering your  questions earlier. Have got the memory upgrades and am expecting the SDD shortly. Have checked with Microsoft so as not to have problems with Windows license and am all ready to go.
michael, (or Eamon) the sata info above simply lists your sata connectors - from 0 to 5
there are lots of Dell Studio 540 models - so to be exact i need a more specific model
but if it is a core 2 duo system - i would guess it is sata 1 (= 3 GB)
your SSD will give it a VERY noticeable boost
i have done exactly that on a couple HP laptops - and the people are very happy with it
Michael MurphyAuthor Commented:
Have now got the SSS and Memory modules. I have also copied all material I need from the old C drive to an external drive.  I notice when examining 'System' that the OS installed on the PC is not Windows 10 home, but Windows 10 pro. I upgraded to this from Windows 8.1 pro. Can I do a clean install free of charge with Windows 10 Pro? I see a lot of references to clean install with Windows 10, but not for  10 pro? And cant find any installation media  to be downloaded for 10 pro.
Michael MurphyAuthor Commented:
I fired from the hip too quickly. I have now found the media tool creation for Windows 10 pro .(selected 'create installation for another PC' )
Of course. Just use the media creation tool to download the correct Windows 10 iso, burn it to DVD, boot the PC with it and install the OS. Since the OS already is registered for that PC with m$, when you get asked for a product key just skip that option. You get asked at least twice. Once the OS is installed, and you have an Internet connection, it will automatically be activated.
Michael MurphyAuthor Commented:
All done and dusted. Running much faster after installing new SSD and additional memory and doing clean reinstall. No problem with activation and have all programs now reinstalled and working. Thanks to Experts Exchange
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