SOLVED Help to improve speed of my PC


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I have a desktop pc which is a little over 4 years old and has always worked well in general. In recent months,however, it has really slowed down when i try to open a program and I am trying to figure out why and what i can do about it.
I have had Win 7 Home Premium 64bit as its OS for about a year and in all other respects it works well. My pc has capacity for 8gb of RAM, but I have only had 4GB installed in it up to this time. I regularly use it for general net surfing etc and usually play music that i have downloaded at the same time. I expect that will slow down the speed somewhat, but lately it doesnt seem to matter whether i am running multiple programs or not...the speed is just slower than it used to be. I wonder how much improvement i could expect if i added the additional 4GB of RAM , or whether my processor is just too old to expect much more than i am getting. I also have a laptop with an Intel I7 processor in it and it is much faster and runs with 4GB of RAM. I dont want to waste the money for the additonal memory if it wont help me much. If anyone could look at my System profile and tell me what you think about the idea of adding the additional memory, or any other suggestions i could follow to try to figure out what else might be slowing it down I would appreciate it. I spend a lot of time maintaining my PC so I dont think the speed issue is due to that,but I'm not a technician so maybe i am overlooking something someone can help me with.
Thanks for the help. I really appreciate it.
 
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yodap

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Do you perform routine maintenance at all. I would suggest running Ccleaner a couple times before you do anything. Also, you seem confident that your system is virus free but I'd run a few scans too.
Surfing the net and playing music should not lag your system at all. Having said that, adding 4 gig of ram is the least expensive thing you can really do right now. DDR2 is an older type of ram though.
The last thing you could try would be to reinstall windows. There is nothing like a clean install of windows. Of course back up your data first and be prepared to reinstall your drivers and programs.
 
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Reboot and wait for the Action Center flag to be displayed on the right side of the taskbar, then right click on the taskbar and start the Task Manager. How many processes are running? What are the percentages of CPU and physical memory usage?

How many icons are displayed in the notification area on the right side of the taskbar? Also click the little triangle and count the number of hidden icons.

Your dual core CPU is not very fast and you could have background processes running (from apps you have installed over time) that you don't need to have running all the time. You could also have some Windows services and tasks running that you don't really need.

What is the percentage of free space on your hard drive?

If your hard drive is over half full, you are moving into the slower part of it. The published transfer speed of a hard drive is the average over the whole platter. The actual transfer speed on the outer part of the platter is much faster and gets slower as you move toward the inner part of the platter.

UltimateDefrag is a hard drive file placement optimizer that enables you to defrag and place your files in the areas on your hard drive where you achieve maximum performance. 80% of the time you only use 20% of the files on your hard drive. UltimateDefrag places your rarely used files out of the way and onto the slower performing areas of your hard drive making your drive perform like a new, almost-empty drive.

http://www.disktrix.com/

Stopping processes that you don't need to be running and optimizing the location of apps and data on your hard drive will probably improve your performance more than adding more memory to your system. As stated above, DDR2 is older technology and more expensive than DDR3.
 
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thanks for a very helpful reply to my message. I have a 300gb HD with 218GB unused.
I clean up my start menu once a week to keep unnecessary programs from opening on startup and running in the background. I run numerous utilities ...both Microsoft and non MS on a weekly basis to prevent system problems from developing. I have a meter on my desktop which shows boty CPU and RAM usage at any given time, but the numbers in each change so rapidly they dont mean much to me.
The only icons i have on my takbar are the volume, network, action flag, email indicator and Avast antivirus program. are the only programs i have running on the taskbar all the time.
I hear you about the age of my technology. I thought i had heard that Win7 requires a lot more memory to run than did XP when i had it.I can buy 2 4gb sticks of RAM for $38 so not much to invest if it will help . Sounds like my desktop , even though it runs well albeit not fast, is ready for the scrap pile . I should probably just hook up my laptop to my 22 inch monitor and keyboard and start using it as my primary pc.. I guess i oould invest in a docking station but i dont take my laptop out except on rare occasions. I just hate to give up on this pc because it has worked very well for 4 years.

I will try the Ultimate Defrag to see if that helps.
The base score on my pc is showing to be 3.2 with the following subscores
processor..6.2
memory..5.9
graphics..3.6
gaming graphics..3.2..i dont do any real "gaming"
primary hard disk...5.9

I dont know if those numbers are good or bad etc.

thanks again for your help.
 
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Could using multiple browsers have any impact on this problem? I use Google Chrome as my default browser but occasionally use IE. I prefer Chrome but have recently noticed that iE9 seems much faster than previous versions used to be.
 

Digerati

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I wonder how much improvement i could expect if i added the additional 4GB of RAM
Another 4Gb of RAM will surely help performance. But adding RAM does not "fix" your slow down problem. I agree with making sure your hard drive is cleaned of clutter. And it is essential the OS has lots of free disk space to operate in. And if the drive is badly fragmented, running a defragger is a good idea too. But I don't recommend downloading a 3rd party defragger. The one built into Windows is just fine and already there.

I don't buy the argument about file placement on the disk improving performance. Years ago when 100Mb FAT-32 hard drives and 64Mb of RAM was common, yes. But not today. Not with Windows prefetch and Superfetch, monster and fast drives with large buffers, and computers having several Gb of RAM, the location of the files on the disk is just not important anymore. So you save a second during boot - is that really important? No.

Also understand the "marketing fluff" 3rd party defragger maker is just that, "marketing fluff". So what if defragger A is more efficient than Windows Defragger. The second, and I mean that literally, you begin to use the computer after defragging, fragmentation starts all over again and the playing field is quickly leveled. So don't waste your time, disk space (and especially money) on a 3rd party defragger.

And for the record, I am against any defragger that runs in the background or via a schedule (including Windows own). This is because it is counterproductive to defrag your hard drive with potentially 1000s of tiny temporary Internet files scattered about the disk. Therefore, to ensure an efficient defrag, you need to clean out the clutter first and real-time or scheduled defraggers don't do that.

I like CCleaner but it makes no sense to me to download another cleaner (or defragger) if free disk space is an issue. Windows own Disk Cleanup and native defragger are already on your disk and fully capable.

I prefer Chrome but have recently noticed that iE9 seems much faster than previous versions used to be
IE9 is much better and faster than previous versions. And it continues to prove itself to be the most secure browser out there. Though that is not relevant here, I recommend everyone subscribe to the Department of Homeland Security's US-CERT Cyber Security Bulletin Vulnerability Summaries.

That said, using multiple browsers would not do this.

What security programs are you running? I use and recommend MSE and Windows Firewall and I note many users have seen performance gains after switching to these as neither is bloated with resource hogging junk you don't need - as many paid and free alternatives are.

The last thing you could try would be to reinstall windows.
The key word here is "last". Reinstalling Windows is a "last" resort issue for it can put your system back months, or even years in critical security updates. Plus nothing is learned. And finally, it often does not fix the problem, especially if caused by a hardware or hw driver problem.

I dont know if those numbers are good or bad etc.
The Windows Experience Index scores are not really a good indication of how your computer performs. It is not really a benchmarking program useful for comparing different computers. It is best used to compare your own computer before and after hardware changes - like if you upgrade your graphics card, or swap out your HDs for SSDs.
 
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yodap

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Have you taken Aminifu's excellent advice and checked to see how many tasks are running shortly after bootup and before you open any applications? You can also click the top of the memory column and see exactly what applications are using the most memory.

Your on board graphics are scoring poorly but that's a random MS score.

I can't tell if you have the inclination to throw a few bucks at this thing or not but you could, for about $75-$85 try the ram you mentioned and a new graphics card like

this
http://http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130788

or this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150568

As far as the browsers go, there really is no need to have more than 1 running at a time with the multiple tabs that they all use now and having 2 open will cut into your internet bandwidth.
 

Digerati

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As far as the browsers go, there really is no need to have more than 1 running at a time with the multiple tabs that they all use now and having 2 open will cut into your internet bandwidth.
I assumed BEARCATJER was not running more than 1 "at a time" when I said it does not matter. If that was in error, then I agree. Running more than 1 at once will cut into your bandwidth and it will also eat up more RAM and CPU resources.

But there's no harm in having more than one browser "installed" on your computer. I use IE9 as my default but have Chrome and FF installed too. If I have problems with a website with IE, I call up one of the alternative to see if the problem is with the site, or IE.
 
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thanks for all the great replies. I am getting an education even though i may not have yet discovered any solution to my problem.
I never run two browsers simultaneously,but i do have Chrome and IE9 installed. Used tro also use FF but uninstalled it.
As i indicated in an earlier post I ALWAYS make a special effort to minimize the number of programs which boot up at start up. Other than the volume, network etc Windows icons the only other program i start automatically is my anti virus program which is Avast so i dont think that is a major contirbuting factor to my problem.

I started to download the 4rd party defragger , and then decided to abort it when i saw it was a program you have to pay for after 30 days. I think Bill makes an excellent point that using the various tools which are part of Win 7 as primary utilities is a good approach.
i usually use CCleaner, Advance System Care...free version...some of the Iobit freeware and one of the Malware tools whose name i cant recall as i type this.
I never run any of those utilities in the background because i know how much they will usually slow down my overall pc speed, and i also dont run them on a pre scheduled basis.
i am going to look at the pricing of the graphics card suggested by Yodap and think about investing the money in these items even though my pc isnt worth much due to its age.
Thanks again to all for the help.:):):) .
 
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I am trying to uninstall IE8 from my laptop so i can install IE9 but i receive a message saying "you need permission from Trusted Installer to make changes to this folder". Since i am the Administrator and only registered user of this computer i dont know what i can do to get past this rejection. I never heard of "Trusted Installer" and until i can figure out how to get past this I cant install the new version of IE.

Does anyone know how to get past this?
Thanks very much.
 

Digerati

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i am going to look at the pricing of the graphics card suggested
Just remember that GPUs are often the biggest power consumer in our computers - even more than CPUs. So before buying a new graphics card, you need to ensure your current PSU can handle the additional requirements, and has the necessary connections as many card require extra, direct connected power.
 
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Hi BEARCATJER,

With less than a third of your hard drive space being used, "UltimateDefrag" will not help improve performance.

Your memory score seems low for what you have. Are you running your memory in dual channel mode? Your hard drive score is the max for mechanical drives. Must use a SSD to get higher scores. Your graphics scores are also low, but your mobo probably will not fully support the latest generation GPUs. A model a few generations newer than what you have would be good, if you can find one. It will let you use hardware acceleration in your browser when viewing videos and provide 3D support for the occasional gaming. If you do change your GPU, be sure to follow Digerati's advice about adequate power and power connectors. Never skimp on your power supply (good voltage regulation and sufficient 12 volt current are very important).

You should not need to uninstall IE8 in order to install IE9. The Trusted Installer is a Windows 7 service. Nothing to worry about. It is used by the OS when installing software and shuts itself down after everything is in place. Simply use Windows Update to install IE9 and you should not have any problems.

You are an administrator, but not The Administrator. The true Administrator account is hidden by default, but there are ways to turn it on if you really need it. Just be sure to turn it back off when you are done. You can use Google to look up info on this distinction and how to turn on the true account.

Are you sure the RAM you mentioned is DDR2? DDR3 will not work on your mobo.
 
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Gadgets Not good

I have a meter on my desktop which shows boty CPU and RAM usage at any given time, but the numbers in each change so rapidly they dont mean much to me.
I would get rid of the meter, MS said sometime ago to disable these as they are a security risk. I use Process Explorer from Sysinternals as a substitute for Task Manager. But Task Manager will do for now, right click on the Taskbar and start Task manager. If CPU and RAM still fluctuate greatly you may have an uninvited program running and those will slow you down more than anything else.
Is your AVAST updated and working correctly? Run a full scan followed by a Malwarebytes fully updated Full scan in Safe Mode.
 

Digerati

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I would get rid of the meter, MS said sometime ago to disable these as they are a security risk.
Nah! Got a link?

We don't even know what meter (hardware monitor) he's talking about. I use and recommend CoreTemp for newer Intel and AMD64 CPUs, or RealTemp for Intels. SpeedFan is a great and popular alternative, or you can try Motherboard Monitor. Open Hardware Monitor is also becoming very popular.

And none pose security risks.
 

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I would get rid of the meter, MS said sometime ago to disable these as they are a security risk.
I assume you are referring to using desktop gadgets as a resource meter. There are applications that meter resources as well as desktop gadgets.
 
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After reading the last three replies i can see that i am way out of my element here. The meter i am using is one i found on Desktop Gadgets. I never heard of any of the other ones you folks mentioned in your posts.
My Avast is up to date and running fully. I did run a full scan with Malwarebytes the other day and found 2 problems which i deleted .
I will try some of the others you recommend and see what happens. If i can get IE9 installed I think i will shut down Chrome and see how IE runs.. It seems that lately Chrome is crashing several times a day on me..have no idea why.
 
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Digerati

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I assume you are referring to using desktop gadgets as a resource meter.
I was thinking that too and MS has stopped supporting gadgets with Windows 8, but not because of security. It is because of the new UI in Windows 8, as Microsoft notes here.

But for the record, the excellent CoreTemp HW monitor has a CoreTemp Gadget too, which I use on my W7 systems and really like.

After reading the last three replies i can see that i am way out of my element here.
This forum is here so folks can ask questions, share what they know, and learn new things. In other words, you cannot be more in your element.

Note Avast is a very capable anti-malware solution. However, there have been many users with performance problems who have found switching to a different solution improved performance. When AVG started using too many resources and started bogging down my system, I tried Avast. It protected my system but performance did not improve so I tried Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) because (1) it has a relatively small footprint (did not eat a lot disk space, RAM, or CPU cycles), (2) it was free to install, free to use and free (and easy) to keep updated, and most importantly, it works.
 
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Well i found a website called Help Desk Geek which outlined in great detail how to overcome the problem of needing permission from Trusted Installer to install IE9 and i followed it to the letter...only it didnt work. It just transferred the message to saying i needed permission from the Administrator...that's me...to accomplish the same thing so I am back to square one and still cant download IE9...even using Windows Live Update .

When i bought my laptop i used Windows Easy Transfer to transfer my files from my desktop to the laptop which worked fine, but part of what was transferred was a separate set of files which show up on my C drive as "x86" files which is where the IE8 i need to get rid of exists. I guess i need to find out how to delete these X86 files because i assume i dont really need them for my Win 7 OS to function properly....or is that an incorrect assumption? Until i can find a way to delete the IE8 file from my laptop i wont be able to downlaod IE9 and with the problem of needing permission which i havent been able to solve yet that wont be happening anytimie soon. For what it is worth there were a number of comments added to the Trusted Installer deletion instructions where people like me said they followed the instructions and it didnt work.
I'll figure it out somehow.
 

yodap

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Well i found a website called Help Desk Geek which outlined in great detail how to overcome the problem of needing permission from Trusted Installer to install IE9 and i followed it to the letter...only it didnt work. It just transferred the message to saying i needed permission from the Administrator...that's me...to accomplish the same thing so I am back to square one and still cant download IE9...even using Windows Live Update .

When i bought my laptop i used Windows Easy Transfer to transfer my files from my desktop to the laptop which worked fine, but part of what was transferred was a separate set of files which show up on my C drive as "x86" files which is where the IE8 i need to get rid of exists. I guess i need to find out how to delete these X86 files because i assume i dont really need them for my Win 7 OS to function properly....or is that an incorrect assumption? Until i can find a way to delete the IE8 file from my laptop i wont be able to downlaod IE9 and with the problem of needing permission which i havent been able to solve yet that wont be happening anytimie soon. For what it is worth there were a number of comments added to the Trusted Installer deletion instructions where people like me said they followed the instructions and it didnt work.
I'll figure it out somehow.
If those files are in 'C:/Program Files (x86)" then do not delete them. Many programs installed on W7 64bit machines are actually 32bit programs (x86).

You can uninstall any of those programs in the conventional way.
 
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I cant uninstall IE8 via the Control Panel Program and Features vehicle because IE isnt listed there for some reason.That is why i was trying to delete it va Win Ex and ran into the permission problem.
 
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