Subscriber Frank Layton wrote me recently to say "XP computer is sluggish, even stalls due to low RAM." He went on to elaborate:
My XP computer is sluggish, even stalls due to low RAM
I have 512MB RAM. Computer is 4-5 years old.
How do I clean out the old junk to get it running faster again? I have WinPatrol Plus. (That’s a neat program, but doesn’t address cleaning out temp files, and other stuff people have alluded to.) Is there a “clean out” list available that one could follow?
This is a Gateway computer. I purchased the extended warranty & 15″ LCD monitor on a separate invoice, within 30 days or the computer purchase. What a hastle to explain I had the 3-year warranty before getting help. But after 3 years, they couldn’t find (look up) the invoice numbers anymore, so my lifetime email support ended. I guess they want my next pc to be a DELL or APPLE — anything but a GATEWAY.
Frank has a couple of problems here. First, I think that he’s fallen victim to the increased need to run security programs (firewall, antivirus, antispyware and antispam). Second, many of these programs just keep getting larger and larger, more bloated and more bloated, requiring more memory and more CPU power in order to keep Windows protected.
Well, let’s back up a minute — one of the most significant impacts (significant in terms of your ability to notice it, that is) of viruses, trojans, worms, spyware and adware is that your computer will get slower and slower.
So, first, I think Frank needs to run an online antivirus and antispyware scan, such as Trend Micro’s HouseCall — or download and try the 30-day fully-functional free trial of the security program I use VIPRE Antivirus Premium. Be sure to test with something other than the program that you normally use for antivirus, antispyware and antiadware purposes.
Assuming that Frank does not have a infection issue, he’ll see the best benefit by adding additional memory to his computer. In the early days of Windows XP, major manufacturers sold computers with only 256MB of RAM. Unfortunately, this wasn’t nearly enough for Windows XP, which promptly made routine use of the much slower virtual memory (hard drive space treated as pseudo-RAM). I normally buy memory for my computers from Crucial Technologies, who have a great web wizard that is loaded with information about many different computer and motherboard models.
Frank’s stalls are probably the long delays that sometimes occur when Windows effectively gets into a loop swapping memory to the swap file on the hard drive. I’ve seen those take 10-15 minutes to resolve themselves — adding more RAM prevents the issue.
A way to speed up virtual memory, which I DO NOT RECOMMEND for Frank because he’s having memory-related stalls , is to delete the Windows swap file (the virtual memory file), defragment, and then creae the swap file again. Frank’s stalls are probably the long delays that sometimes occur when Windows
Frank also asked how to clean out all the temporary files and other old stuff on his hard drive.
Some readers use a program called CCleaner to delete temporary files, cookies and such.
I use Optimize 3.0, which is designed to delete temporary files and many other history traces on your computer, as well as doing registry cleaning and optimization, optimizing your Internet access speed, and additional features. Optimize 3.0 is licensed on a per-computer basis, but the basic license covers 5 computers.
Optimize 3.0 will scan your computer for free and identify the things that it has found. At that point, you can manually clean up the items, or you can purchase a license for the program to have it do the cleanup for you.