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help speeding up a computer

Discussion in 'Computer Talk' started by Evil Beejeebers, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. Evil Beejeebers

    Evil Beejeebers Warlord

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    Hi, I am at my Mums and her computer is really really dreadful. I was wondering if any of you have any advice on how to speed it up a little. It is technically better than my own computer but it runs awfully slow compared to mine.

    Make: Acer.
    OS: vista home premium
    Intel core 2 duo procesor 1.66GHz 667 Mhz 2mb l2 cache
    intel graphics media acelerator 950
    it says 160gb but I think it is 2 70gb partitions with the last 20gb maybe being hidden back up?
    1GB ddr2

    I feel it should run quite a bit quicker than what it does. any pointers to improve the performance would be greatly appreciated. I have already tidied the desktop and got rid of about 20 icons. I have changed it to 16 bit and reduced the resolution. would moving the files from C: to D: help? as D: has nothing on it?
     
  2. aimeeandbeatles

    aimeeandbeatles watermelon

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    or some of it could be lost in the conversation to gigabits to gigabytes. (manufacturers list hard drives as multiples of 1000 -- gigabits. However the OS lists them as multiples of 1024 -- gigabytes. So you're losing 24 bytes per kilobyte which really adds up).
     
  3. shadowplay

    shadowplay ars moriendi

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  4. Evil Beejeebers

    Evil Beejeebers Warlord

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    well that is worth a download for the name alone.
     
  5. illram

    illram Deity

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    1GB RAM? Get more RAM. There is no software solution that will do more than that.
     
  6. GoodGame

    GoodGame Red, White, & Blue, baby!

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    The suggestions in this thread so far are good. Removing desktop items is a good idea too. Not you don't have a video card, from the list you posted, so you can't really expect great video playback performance regardless of the name of the onboard video GPU.

    How much total free disk space is in your hard-drive? How much free disk space does the Vista OS drive have? If there's very few GB free then you should delete excess files as that will help. Defragging the hard drive is a good idea too. I recommend getting something like Auslogics free hard drive defragger (many times more efficient than XP's deframenter; I have no experience with Vista's defragmenter). You can also get a program like CCleaner to remove broken notations in the Registry which will speed up some activity as well.

    Also look at the Startup folder. You can remove some programs from that folder to make the PC start faster.

    Running a lean anti-virus/anti-malaware is a good idea too. MSE is a good idea (mentioned), as might be running something like Ad-Aware once in a while. Malware might be monopolizing resources (check processes and look them up on the internet to see if any are malicious/unnecessary).

    Updating your components' drivers might help too.

    Sidenote:
    Are you sure you have only 1 hard drive? Partitioning a lone harddrive is probably pointless. If you have a back-up external drive, you might try copying your valuable info and program to the external drive, and then reformat your computer's drive and reinstall Vista without a partition.

    If you have any budget and slots for extra RAM, consider getting a pair of 2GB sticks of the DDR that your motherboard accepts. Is this a laptop by the way?

    It's also probably a good time for upgrading to an Intel iCore series, since they are on sale due to newer components being near release. i3-based laptops are $400 these days, and a i5-based desktop PC can be built from $400 worth of components (probably $600+ for pre-built).
     
  7. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    No effect on performance.

    Don't do that, it's going to make it look ugly, and if it's an LCD, blurry, and will have essentially no effect on performance.

    Probably not. As a rule of thumb, try to keep at least 15-20GB free per partition (for defragging, swap files, temp files, etc.) but beyond that it's not going to make any difference where you place files.

    This, no modern computer should really have any less than 4GB of RAM. 4GB of DDR2 runs around $50 now.

    Video playback is a CPU thing, not a GPU thing, unless there's some sort of hardware acceleration. (Which there isn't, with that hardware.) That CPU is probably too slow to do 1080p well, but should probably do 720 alright.

    Unnecessary, any recent version of Windows deals with fragmentation automatically.
     
  8. Iranon

    Iranon Deity Whipping Boy

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    Running Vista in a form that isn't stripped to the bone on anything below 2GB RAM means inviting recurring misery. It's about as heavy as Windows 7/8, has more wasteful defaults and was sold with many systems that weren't up to the task.
    The only choices for long-term sanity seem "more RAM" and "install a lighter operating system".

    There's a tool for creating lightened Vista installs (vLite) but that only does so much for day-to-day performance and probably not useful.
    If you have (or can get) a spare copy of Windows XP, that's probably going to give you a better experience. Yes it's behind the times but a lesser evil than overtaxed hardware.

    Depending on your needs and willingness to try something different, Linux can give an excellent experience on modest hardware... but that's a bit of a drastic solution and most commercial offerings run only with some fiddling if at all.
     
  9. civ_king

    civ_king Deus Caritas Est

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    get 2x2GB RAM, probably the best $50 you'll spend in a while
     
  10. mdwh

    mdwh Deity

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    One of the problems I've noticed on my parents' 1GB Vista laptop is that the hard disk goes for ages on startup, possibly as if the Superfetch has gone mad and is trying to preload as much as possible.

    Extra memory is my first thought ... though it's hard to be sure. If anyone has upgraded a Vista computer from 1GB to 2GB, it would be interesting to know the results.
     
  11. illram

    illram Deity

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    That should not even be a question. 1GB is not enough RAM for Vista.

    If you don't have enough RAM, the HD is working overtime because when the PC runs out of memory it uses the HD, which is tremendously slower than RAM.
     
  12. Iranon

    Iranon Deity Whipping Boy

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    Yes, but it's good practice to turn off services that rely on RAM being plentiful when it isn't. Superfetch is the poster child for this.

    I find Vista a bit of a pig even on reasonable hardware (3GHz quadcore with 4GB of DDR3 RAM and a 10.000rpm hard drive).
    Even aggressive tweaking helped only so much.
     
  13. mdwh

    mdwh Deity

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    I know that. That doesn't answer what I asked.

    (In their case, the hard drive is working for a while on startup, when there is plenty of free RAM. This could be that Windows is keeping memory spare for some unknown reason, and therefore using paging where it wouldn't if there was extra memory available. OTOH if superfetch is still more aggressive in Vista than Windows 7, are there still going to be issues compared with 7 - e.g., as Iranon notes with even 4GB of RAM? I'm not sure why the mysteries to how Windows Vista works are not even questions - maybe for those who don't care about how computers work it isn't.)
     
  14. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    Superfetch prefetches data from from HDD into free RAM; it has no essentially no downside.
     
  15. Iranon

    Iranon Deity Whipping Boy

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    Hmm, that doesn't match my experience. Please correct me if I'm talking nonsense.

    Superfetch looks for new things to cache at startup, at any time you release RAM, and when it decides to prepare something different ("workday is over, drop the documents and break out the yaoi").
    Hard drive access is quite vigorous, and the process can mess with system responsiveness.

    Overall superfetch probably saves waiting time if you have regular habits, but I prefer a (predictable) delay when opening new applications to sudden activity and jarring slowdowns seemingly at random.
     
  16. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    This is correct, but Superfetch has lower priority to HDD access than any user-initiated actions, so it shouldn't impact system responsiveness.

    Also it was tweaked to be less aggressive with Windows 7 compared to Vista.
     

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