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slow pc or web browser
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dave p
(hipass) - F

Locale: Los Angeles
slow pc or web browser on 04/13/2013 02:53:05 MDT Print View

I am an all around luddite when it comes to pc's and phones.Im running an old dell with 512 ram and xp and firefox.A few yrs ago it started to slow down when opening web pages.This doesnt happen when using other programs just surfing.I do disk clean up and defrag and virus scans.I even downloaded older firefox versions. Can i fix this issue with my trusted old hammer or is there a less exhilirating way?Thank you

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: slow pc or web browser on 04/13/2013 04:57:15 MDT Print View

There's a very strong chance it has nothing to do with your PC, and everything to do with your internet connection.


Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: slow pc or web browser on 04/13/2013 08:38:18 MDT Print View

Here are some options for checking your download speeds.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: slow pc or web browser on 04/13/2013 08:51:47 MDT Print View

Clear temp files.
Run defrag.
Clean up startup items.
Increase swap file size.
Add more Ram.
Run virus scan in safe mode.

Ask a neighbours kids for help ;-)

Edited by stephenm on 04/13/2013 08:52:24 MDT.

Willie Evenstop
(redmonk) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
slow pc or web browser on 04/13/2013 10:09:58 MDT Print View

Adblock will speed things up, if you aren't using it already.

I understand advertisers support sites, but I pay the Internet bill, and I don't want to pay to wait for slow ad sites to load.

Daniel Fish

Locale: PDX
... on 04/13/2013 10:19:58 MDT Print View


Edited by on 06/09/2013 09:49:07 MDT.

Josh Potter

Locale: Central Coast, CA
linux mint on 04/13/2013 14:06:52 MDT Print View

As the techy professional I'm often stuck fixing computers for friends, relatives, and neighbors. For basic web browsing and light use you won't do better than installing Linux. Mint is the most windows like in my experience , is easy to use, and will be much quicker in all aspects on your current machine.

The best part? Its totally free, and makes it virtually impossible to end up with a virus. Do a Google search for "Linux mint" and follow the instructions to download it to a flash drive or burn a CD so you can install it.

Good luck!

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: slow pc or web browser on 04/13/2013 14:47:38 MDT Print View

More RAM will make the most dramatic difference. I agree with the Linux install for old PC's and have used Ubuntu quite a bit on older machines. Windows accumulates all kinds of odds and ends, the registry starts clog up, stray files, etc, etc. IF everything is running okay, a defrag may help, but it can be a disaster if your hard drive is wimpy. Do a backup before playing around!

Ultimately, you are well past the service life on that machine and should prepare for it's demise. It is old enough that the moving parts are risky-- fans, hard drive motor, etc. If the hard drive is noisy, it's time to take action.

If you're just surfing, an iPad is pretty cool. My wife had knee surgery last summer and I bought her an iPad for basic connectivity and entertainment. Now I think she had more than a titanium knee attached :) I use my iPhone for ~75% of what I do on a desktop.

Daniel Fish

Locale: PDX
... on 04/13/2013 15:14:55 MDT Print View


Edited by on 06/09/2013 10:00:49 MDT.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
What's your budget? on 04/13/2013 15:44:19 MDT Print View

While adding RAM can be helpful (and running such programs as CCLeaner), it is ultimately a band-aid in the end. If you are strapped for cash, it's a quick solution that is not expensive and is easy to do.

However, if your machine came with 512mb, it is probably an ~2007 vintage machine.

Much like maintaining an old car, there comes a time where sinking more money and time into something has diminishing returns.

The mechanical parts are going to start breaking down. Hard drive's fail, heat sinks and fans go kaput and on-board devices (WiFi for example) just stop.

Linux can be great. Basic functionality (web surfing, e-mail and Office-like products) for free! When family came over for our wedding, the guest laptops worked beautifully for web surfing. Boarding passes were printed! It worked.

But even Ubuntu and Mint fails what I call the Joanne test: Can my Mom (Joanne) use it without any extensive retraining from her son 2000 miles away? :)

Would our wedding guests have been able to set up the WiFi printer and download these things call "plug ins" so they can see the latest ESPN baseball results? (Forgive me, I don't follow sports..I may be getting the details wrong. But that's what I did so a buddy could see the sports).

The average user just wants to boot up the machine, use programs they are familiar with and not have to worry about the differences between an .ODT and a .DOC file and why their iPhone, iPod and camera is not automagically syncing up????

If you are professional IT geek, or just anyone who is comfortable with tinkering, no worries about the above. Easy-peasy, mac n' cheesy.

But, again, the Joanne-test fails for above. It also fails the Mrs Mags test, too. Adrianna is typical of a user who is familiar with modern computers but has no desire to type "sudo apt-get xxxx" to get a program just to she can emulate iTunes. ;)

So, that brings up the budget question.

A low end laptop has more oomph and bells and whistles from something made 3 yrs ago or so.

Here's something for $300:

Is it the "best" laptop? Probably not. Will it do the basics and then some? Heck yeah.

That's just one quickly google search. Obviously more can be bought for better deals if someone is ambitious and wants to shop around.

JMO anyway...

>>"As the techy professional I'm often stuck fixing computers for friends, >>relatives, and neighbors"

I used to do that. Then I became smart. :) Unless it is Mom or my wife (and maybe a few select friends), I've learned to NOT do that. You fix their e-mail issue and two months later, the video card going bad is somehow related. :D At least this IT geeks wants nothing do with actually working on computers when I am off the clock.

Kinda like a mechanic: A mechanic will drive the car to get to places when off-shift, she has no desire to change your car's oil for fun. ;)

Edited by PaulMags on 04/13/2013 15:54:55 MDT.

Daniel Fish

Locale: PDX
... on 04/13/2013 17:41:26 MDT Print View


Edited by on 06/09/2013 09:48:30 MDT.

Herbert Sitz

Locale: Pacific NW
Re: slow pc or web browser on 04/13/2013 18:30:20 MDT Print View

OP problem's could be various things, as others have said. Couldn't hurt to try Google's Chrome browser in place of Firefox. It's free and a bit lighter weight:
Google Chrome

Josh Potter

Locale: Central Coast, CA
Free Beer on 04/13/2013 19:53:23 MDT Print View

If I didn't help fix/ build/ etc. these PC's how in the world can I these folks to buy me a 12-pack? Indeed I have had some experiances probably similar to yours, where I just had to shake my head and walk away. I have pretty specific rules I follow when trying to DO SOMEONE A FAVOR (the part they seem to forget) so they're not paying $50/hour for some half-wit at Geek Squad to take a look. Never do data recovery, never order a replacement part with my own funds, and never promise a finish time. Always charge a good case of beer :)

If you're on a machine with 1/2 a GB of RAM, there's no way its worth it to buy more RAM. Old computer, equals old motherboard, equals expensive RAM. Spend the bucks on a new machine. I'd caution against the cheap laptop route however, because a cheap laptop is bound to end up captive to an outlet on a desk, and you could have had a faster, less expensive desktop to start with.

Hmmmm... maybe I can change my currency from Beer to SilNylon or Cuben for the BPL crew.... lol


Daniel Fish

Locale: PDX
... on 04/13/2013 20:26:59 MDT Print View


Edited by on 06/09/2013 09:47:58 MDT.

dave p
(hipass) - F

Locale: Los Angeles
c on 04/13/2013 23:24:14 MDT Print View

thanx all for the great info and links.
i use spybot.
the pc works fine aside from the internet.thats why i think its a browser issue.
my internet is fine since i ve used a laptop via wifi and no problemo.

im not in the market for a new system as long as this pc is alive.
i d get a tablet before that.Aside from photo storage i dont do any work on the pc.

im sort of done with tech and upgrading this that the other-been there done that...if i need to replace this pos i will buy a used refurb system and no more then 200bux since that is what a tab costs.U get what u pay for is true...ive had 3 crap laptops in the last 5yrs ...sort of done with the redundancy ...i d rather spend the money on my ticket to europe.

Josh Potter

Locale: Central Coast, CA
sounds like you know what's up on 04/13/2013 23:45:23 MDT Print View

A lot of smart people have weighed in, but imho your basic options for keeping the same PC come down to 3 choices:
In order of difficulty...

Try using Google chrome as suggested. This is quick and might help...

Wipe and reinstall windows, which will help.

Go Linux... again I think the Mint distribution is the easiest / most user friendly. Less system resource usage, no spyware/ adware to slow down browsing. In my experience the best way to make an older system more useable.

Feel free to pm me if you need help with installing it....


dave p
(hipass) - F

Locale: Los Angeles
thanx for the offer Josh on 04/13/2013 23:58:17 MDT Print View

im leary of google and their data mining...i figure in this regard u are basically lubing your own butt and bending over for their pleasure!

ya i probably should do a reinstall of xp ,,,im just not that great at backing up my stuff...not that much of it has any importance.

Josh Potter

Locale: Central Coast, CA
what do you need to back up? on 04/14/2013 00:15:16 MDT Print View

I'd make a folder on the desktop (right click then create new folder) and just click and drag everything you might want to keep into it. From that point you can pretty easily burn a couple CDs of your stuff. Not the most elegant way to do it, but probably the quickest and easiest...

Once you burn the cd, pop it back in and verify you can see the files by clicking on the CD drive from your "my computer" icon. You can then freely reinstall windows and then pop the CD or CDs back in to reload the pictures/ files/ whatever back on.


dave p
(hipass) - F

Locale: Los Angeles
ccc on 04/14/2013 02:43:18 MDT Print View

thanx josh,
what about copying bookmarks?