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Solved: Drastic slowdown of Computer

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by mchopeck, Jun 9, 2006.

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  1. mchopeck

    mchopeck Thread Starter

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    A few days ago I was getting podcasts from Itunes (not sure if that's related) when my new laptop seemed to slow down. This seemed to happen in a few hours, but it might have been over more time without me knowing it. Anyhow, I scanned for viruses and spyware and nothing really came up. I also checked the memory with a windows diagnostics tool from Microsoft. Nothing was found wrong so I brought it back to Best buy where I bought it so they could do something. They said they checked some of the hardware and nothing was wrong, but they found 133 items of spyware with Ewido and said that was the problem. So I brought it home and got rid of the spyware with Ewido (which was just cookies). This didn't help, so I've tried some other programs to try to solve the problem, these were:
    Ashampoo WinOptimizer Platinum 3
    BurnIn Test
    Advance WindowsCare

    And still nothing is coming up as wrong. So anyways I am using a barely usable computer which is running so slow that the music constantly is stuttering. Its getting very frustrating, so any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  2. mchopeck

    mchopeck Thread Starter

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    Also which seems unusual is that when I use the HP Quickplay to startup the computer DVDs work fine with no slowdown or stuttering. Strange.....

    Mike
     
  3. wilson44512

    wilson44512

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  4. mchopeck

    mchopeck Thread Starter

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    Yes, I've used spybot since I got the computer, and I have used some other ones (like Ewido) incase Spybot doesn't catch something.
     
  5. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    See item 6 in this list first and foremost, but answer all questions if necessary:


    PERFORMANCE QUESTIONS:

    1 > is it very slow to boot up?
    2 > do programs open slowly?
    3 > does the same behavior occur both offline and on?
    4 > does it matter how long the system has been on, and does a restart improve things?

    Slow performance issues can often be due to overheating, so if the system is faster after it has been shutdown for a while and then restarted -- that would be especially suspect. To check for possible problems here, shutdown, open the case and blow out any accumulated dust. Then turn it
    on and check to see that the fan is working. Sometimes it helps to physically clean the fan. Programs are available that can help monitor temperatures as well.

    5 > if you do a ctrl-alt-del, do any processes show excess cpu usage, other than System Idle Process?

    6 > If you open the Device Manager (windows+pause/break > Hardware > Device Manager) and select the entry for IDE ATA/Atapi and select the Primary IDE > Advanced Settings, does it say the "current transfer mode" is DMA or PIO?

    If it says PIO, first ensure "Use DMA if Available” is selected, then select the driver tab and uninstall the driver and reboot. Then check again.
    ____________________________________________________________________________
    COMMIT CHARGE

    Do ctrl-alt-del to open up the task manager. Select the "performance" tab. Let me know what you see under:

    Physical Memory

    Total: this is your total installed ram -- "physical" memory
    Available: this is the amt of real "physical" memory presently uncommitted

    Commit Charge

    Total: this is the combination of total physical and virtual memory currently in use
    Limit: this is the total physical and virtual memory available
    Peak: this is the most you have had in use in this session
     
  6. mchopeck

    mchopeck Thread Starter

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    1 > is it very slow to boot up?
    - Yes
    2 > do programs open slowly?
    - Yes
    3 > does the same behavior occur both offline and on?
    - Yes
    4 > does it matter how long the system has been on, and does a restart improve things?
    - No
    5 > if you do a ctrl-alt-del, do any processes show excess cpu usage, other than System Idle Process
    - No, just system idle process of course
    6 > If you open the Device Manager (windows+pause/break > Hardware > Device Manager) and select the entry for IDE ATA/Atapi and select the Primary IDE > Advanced Settings, does it say the "current transfer mode" is DMA or PIO?
    - It says PIO and 'use DMA if available'

    ------------------------------

    Physical Memory

    Total: this is your total installed ram -- "physical" memory
    - 1046704

    Available: this is the amt of real "physical" memory presently uncommitted
    - 5108**
    Commit Charge

    Total: this is the combination of total physical and virtual memory currently in use
    - 522012
    Limit: this is the total physical and virtual memory available
    - 2517480
    Peak: this is the most you have had in use in this session
    - 833468

    Thanks alot,
    Mike
     
  7. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    Okedoke, I think we have the problem:

    6 > If you open the Device Manager (windows+pause/break > Hardware > Device Manager) and select the entry for IDE ATA/Atapi and select the Primary IDE > Advanced Settings, does it say the "current transfer mode" is DMA or PIO?
    - It says PIO and 'use DMA if available'

    >> What you want to do is go back there and select the "Drivers" tab and uninstall the driver and reboot.

    You may get a new hardware detection -- but when you return to that device it should say the "current transfer mode" is Ultra DMA (and a number 2 or greater)
     
  8. mchopeck

    mchopeck Thread Starter

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    Messages:
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    I did it and it went to Ultra DMA 5. So far (with about 1 min of music playing) there has been no stuttering. Tested out movies and a couple of other things and it looks like its back to normal. Thanks a lot man. Also, do you have any clue why it did this in the first place?

    Thanks again,
    Mike
     
  9. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    Great, when you are confident all is well, you can mark the thread "Solved" using the Thread Tools menu.

    This problem, from what I've seen, tends to occur more frequently in laptops. It is due to drive read errors which, after a certain consequetive number, causes Windows to degrade the speed of the drive IDE controller.

    The official MS whassup is here:

    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;817472

    I suspect laptops are more vulnerable to this due to their handling which may cause the drive to have a poor connection.

    Sometime they need to be removed and reseated. This is not really a difficult procedure, and usually only one or two screws is involved -- but you would need to consult your vendor's documentation.

    There is also a registry workaround covered in the above article that can be used to minimize the problem if it tends to recur.
     
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