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Windows Thread, Slow PC in Technical; Hi. I'm having trouble with just one of our primary school ICT suite of PCs which are out of Jurassic ...
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    Slow PC

    Hi. I'm having trouble with just one of our primary school ICT suite of PCs which are out of Jurassic Park. One troublemaker (Win 98, Classmate 5 and usual gumph) is suddenly crawling. It doesn't crash or stop, and eventually all the keystrokes and mouse clicks and print jobs catch up if you have enough patience.

    It's been virus-checked to within an inch of its life, the disk is less than half full and I've un-installed all the unused and seldom-used software. The windows task manager is an old (maybe RM) one which is just a list of running applications.

    Any ideas, or can someone suggest an old utility that I could use to see what processes are running?

    Thanks.

    Michele

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    Re: Slow PC

    98 its been so long, try sysinternals not sure if that will work on 98 if not try getting hold of the WIn98 Resource Kit from Microsoft.

    Other than that unplug it put it on the heads desk with a picture of a grave stone and a note to say the new pc you want to replace it with.

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    Re: Slow PC

    Quote Originally Posted by MrsGrinch
    Hi. I'm having trouble with just one of our primary school ICT suite of PCs which are out of Jurassic Park. One troublemaker (Win 98, Classmate 5 and usual gumph) is suddenly crawling. It doesn't crash or stop, and eventually all the keystrokes and mouse clicks and print jobs catch up if you have enough patience.

    It's been virus-checked to within an inch of its life, the disk is less than half full and I've un-installed all the unused and seldom-used software. The windows task manager is an old (maybe RM) one which is just a list of running applications.

    Any ideas, or can someone suggest an old utility that I could use to see what processes are running?

    Thanks.

    Michele
    Not sure if you're gonna like this advice, but I'd do a fresh install. By the time you figure out what's causing the poor performance you could have completed a reimage or reinstallation of the OS and apps.

    For a medium-term solution look to upgrade the hardware and OS. In my opinion other than for very old apps that you still desperately need to use you shouldn't be running anything older than Windows XP. Win98 is a definite no-no. Some of the hardware in your school may not be up to running XP, but for desktop PC's you surely haven't got anything slower than a Pentium3 or Celeron 700mhz for running Win2K ? cos that's a 7 or 8 year old PC, people don't keep new cars for that long these days... if you have chuck 'em away and buy something new. Yourself or your IT manager should set a minimum benchmark for PC requirements and make your head aware of them. If you've got computers below that then they're too old for day to day use and the head *should* approve replacement purchases. And WinXP licences cost next to nothing.

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    Re: Slow PC

    Hi. The Head the board and the coordinator have a pile of quotes, and the whole room (tables and all) will eventually be hauled away to the dump. (I'll be turning cartwheels in the playground as it goes.) Until then - a year at least - I have to keep the show on the road with what we have. We have a really good local tech firm who helps out with bits and pieces to keep us going. But I'm unlikely to get tuppence out of anybody. BUt I do have time to spend, if there are work arounds.

    So - PC gerontology, anyone?

    Michele

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    Re: Slow PC

    Quote Originally Posted by torledo
    ... surely haven't got anything slower than a Pentium3 or Celeron 700mhz for running Win2K ? cos that's a 7 or 8 year old PC, people don't keep new cars for that long these days...
    ... Oh you'd think wouldn't you. I've got a school with over two thirds of their machines in this state... but I digress.

    I have to say I'd go with the tombstone idea. Any time wasted on a machine with Win98 is just that, wasted... It's not supported by MS any more and you can get replacement machines for very little money indeed.

    ... but assuming that's not viable, I'd check the startup settings to see if there's a load of Adobe reader pre-loaders or anything like that clogging up the memory on the thing.

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    Re: Slow PC

    Quote Originally Posted by MrsGrinch
    BUt I do have time to spend, if there are work arounds.

    So - PC gerontology, anyone?
    Ok... if it's that bad take a look to see what kind of RAM this thing is using.. if it's PC100 or PC133 I can donate you a couple of sticks of RAM which should help at least with any memory issues.

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    Re: Slow PC

    We still have 8-9 yr old PCs running Win98. I wanted to throw them away last summer but was told by a teacher that she wanted to keep them. There is no money to replace the kit, so once its gone thats it. They will have nothing. They are mainly used to browse the internet and access our VLE. I have stated that due to the age and spec of these machines I will not support them. We do have some spares that I kept and these are swapped if there are any problems. It saves time for me as it means I do not diagnose problems I just swap the machine. If you have no spares to swap for it I would just rebuild the machine.

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    Re: Slow PC

    If you want to try to fix the existing installation the usual steps that I went though to speed up a Windows 98 PC were:

    1) Full Defragment

    2) run a built in fix on the registry (boot to command prompt and run scanreg /fix ) this will recreate the registry and get rid of a lot of the junk that builds up like null keys

    3) Delete swap file (boot to command prompt and delete the win386.swp file from the windows directory) this speeds up boot times as windows 98 loaded at least a part of this file on startup like a privative prefetch. This means that fragments of programs that are not even installed anymore could end up in memory.

    Oh and checking the hardware side of it I would run Memtest to throughly test the RAM http://www.memtest.org/ and Prime95 http://www.playtool.com/pages/prime95/prime95.html to torture the CPU into telling you whether it is fried or not. You could also try the tools from the hard drive manufacturer to see if their are faults in the hard drive controller or platters.

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    Re: Slow PC

    Wow! You guys are great. I've done defrags on them all, and knew about some of the swap file stuff but wasn't sure how to do it. When Win98 was out, I was still working on DEC equipment (anybody remember them? I'm a VAX system manager in disguise) so missed out on learning some of the old windows DIY. It was my chums at DEC used to call old equipment "boat anchors".

    I'll try all of the above, and I might take you up on the RAM. The head gets nervous when she sees me with a screwdriver or a ladder, though!

    Thanks lots.

    Michele

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