XP slow? Another list of things to try

16 03 2010

When your XP or 2000 computer gets slow a rebuild may not be needed.

First as I have mentioned before it is a good idea to eliminate hardware as the reason for the computer slowness.

Is the hard drive full? A full or nearly full drive will affect performance. If you have less than about 20% free space on the hard drive you may need a new drive or to delete files to free up space.

Does the machine feel hot to the touch? Is it faster for a short period of time after it has been shut down for a time? Can you hear or feel the fans putting out air? If you open task manager and the CPU usage is low, but the machine is hot and running slowly, either the fan is not working or perhaps there is something clogging the vent. If this is the case, unless the machine is taken apart and cleaned you won’t be able to fix the problem.

Running the quick diagnostics and looking for errors is a good idea. On newer Dell systems, with the computer powered off hold the key while pressing the power button, let go of both buttons when the computer powers up. On older Dell systems, when you see that Dell BIOS splash screen hit Ctrl-Alt-D. Let it run the diagnostics, all we are looking for errors to see if any of them are related to the performance issue.

If none of the above applies, start looking at software problems.

Uninstall any unused programs, the less you have, the less problems you will have. Make sure you are only running one anti-virus/anti-spyware program, while you are at it switch to Microsoft Security Essentials.

Make sure all of your Microsoft Updates are applied, just in case there is an unresolved bug causing the problem. You could also look for driver updates for the hardware when you are running the Microsoft Updates.

Clean up the ‘crud’ that accumulates in your system. Use CCleaner to to clean out temporary internet files, disable startup items, and to clean up the registry. When you install it, make sure to pay attention and don’t install the tool bar.

Defragment the hard drive. You can start with the built-in defragmenter, and if that doesn’t help you can try Defraggler.

This should give you enough to try for now, of course you could buy a SSD drive…


Troubleshooting Outlook Performance Issues

13 03 2010

If you ever deal with complaints about Outlook speed, the first thing you need to do (apart from verifying all the latest patches are applied) is to make sure the user is following best practices when it comes to mailbox size (i.e. less than 2GB) . Of course as soon as you enforce or even suggest this you will receive complaints, once the user is shown the performance difference they may come around. This kb from Microsoft offers some additional suggestions. Hopefully this limitation will be fixed in Outlook 2010.