Why is my 10 year old computer running Windows 7 so slowly?

March 22, 2014
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Hi guys. Ive got a really old computer (well, like 10 years old). Its OS is Windows 7, and when I try to boot it, it goes to the windows start screen for 2 hours. Then, when it turns on, it is extremely slow: I need to wait another 1 and a half hour for it to calm down, but even then its still slow.
For example, when I boot IE it takes 10 minutes to load. I’ve tried fragmenting my disk, but I cant. It goes to the weird blue screen of death when it starts (Dunno why it is on Windows 7 to be honest). I’ve opened up my thingy and I’ve dusted the fan, I’ve tried putting a new hard drive in (resulted in System32 being deleted). There is NO viruses on there. Even if there were, the computer hasn’t been used in 3 years. And I never used internet on that computer, or kept it on.

Here is some system stuff.
Hard Drive: 233gb/250gb
Memory: 2GB
RAM: 1.8ghz
I’ve posted this on my laptop, by the way.

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  1. Faravid
    March 30, 2014 at 8:00 am

    Oh and take a look here:
    http://metaforgegaming.com/?p=387

    Wrote up a bit about the subject and how to make things run smooth (or as smooth as possible).

  2. Faravid
    March 30, 2014 at 7:58 am

    I've installed Windows 7 (for fun) on a 14 years old Pentium III laptop and even that doesn't run so slow.
    I'm pretty sure your computer has a broken hard drive, or atleast I'd check on it first. Or then it's the RAM.

    Currently I've got one Toshiba laptop with Pentium M (Pentium 4 mobile) and 2GB of ram, it's 10 years old computer.
    It runs Windows 7 just fine, only thing that suffers from the slow computer is flash videos which stutter quite alot especially on full screen. I'll blame Adobe on that as it can run HD video just fine from other sources.

  3. Mike Merritt
    March 30, 2014 at 12:50 am

    My guess - defective RAM; causing constant access to the swap file. That could easily take 2 hours to boot and 1 1/2 hour to "settle down". Try "Start" --> "Control Panel" --> "System" and see what the system says for how much ram.

  4. Abilash A
    March 24, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    Can you please run "Speccy" and post the configuration again? because sometimes some of your hardware may not be utilized to the fullest

    Especially check the RAM size in speccy

    http://www.piriform.com/speccy

  5. Kelsey T
    March 22, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    Before I made any drastic decisions, I'd clean the thing out. I know you said you defragged the drive, but after 10 or so years there are probably so many software boat anchors in there dragging it down that it's ridiculous. I use the steps below to maintain my machines.
    ***BE SURE YOU EXAMINE EVERY STEP OF THIS AND T H I N K BEFORE YOU DELETE SOFTWARE***
    1. Boot the computer into safe mode. That will eliminate all the deadwood from trying to run.
    2. Use Revo Uninstaller to get rid of programs you don't need anymore. That may remove some of the startup delays too.
    3. In the Tools section, use the Junk Files Cleaner for the first pass at getting rid of garbage files. We're trying to get the big chunks now. Fine tuning comes later.
    4. Use the Autorun Manager to freeze all unnecessary programs that run at startup. Take the opportunity to examine the programs you freeze and see if there are any more programs to get rid of. Be sure none of the programs are necessary for your system to operate.
    5. Update Windows.
    6. Use Outdate Fighter to update your remaining programs.
    7. Use IObit Driver Booster to update all of your system drivers.
    8. Use Vit Registry Fix to get rid of all the garbage files on the computer and then to straighten out all of your registry problems. I've never in all the years I've used Vit had any issues with it harming my system. Just use it with its basic settings. Don't modify anything.
    9. I use IObit Malware Fighter and Avast! Free Antivirus to keep the bad guys out of my system. Use those or whatever you already use to scan and get rid of malware and viruses.
    10. Use IObit Smart Defrag to organize everything. There's a setting in there for Boot Time Defrag. Select all the check boxes for defragging the page file, the hibernation file, the Master File Table and the System Files, and then set it to do so Only Next Boot. Be sure that Automatic Defrag is OFF. Let that baby cook and when it's finished doing its thing, reboot it and let it defrag the startup files. It may take quite a while to do all of that.
    I actually have about 16 steps I go through, but this should get you functioning again.
    If you haven't thought about it, other things you might do is to bump the system up to at least 4GB of RAM, and preferably 8GB, if your motherboard will support it.
    Something I did was put a Solid State Drive in my computer for nothing but system files. My machines boots off of that in about 9 seconds. My second regular type hard drive has all of my other programs and games and such on it.
    People comment about how your processor is too slow...a little Googling will tell you if your motherboard can use a more powerful processor, but seriously, brand new laptops with Windows 7 are sold every day with lower specs than your computer. And they boot up and run fast.
    I think if you get a good strategy you can get your machine up and running. If you have any questions, post them here. I'll see them. Good luck!

  6. Dave P
    March 22, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    I personally think you're always going to struggle running Windows 7 on that hardware. If you're not using this machine as your daily computer I would install Linux on it and keep it as a backup or even turn it into a media center.

    http://www.makeuseof.com/pages/how-to-build-a-media-center-home

  7. Oron J
    March 22, 2014 at 9:16 am

    On such an old computer, the processor speed is going to be a major bottleneck, and that processor will be single-core, which will slow the boot up process further (Windows 7 runs quite a few threads in parallel, so booting up is faster on multicore processors). The chipset, hard drive interface and graphics card are also going to make a difference. Then, as others have said, there could be a problem wiht the drivers, perhaps with the Windows 7 installation itself, and on top of that, drive fragmentation...
    I don't like throwing out old kit, but a really old computer and Windows 7 is not a good combination. Perhaps install Linux on it?

  8. Hovsep A
    March 22, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Try Soluto
    http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/System-Info/Soluto.shtml

    it can be drivers problem, you have to update.

    the laptop must have factory recovery option use it to reinstall Windows (be sure that you have windows license)

  9. Dalsan M
    March 22, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Are you using 64 bit or 32 bit Windows? 64 bit would be painfully slow with only 2GB and a 1.8GHz processor. Most times blue screens of death are related to driver issues, so you would want to update the drivers whenever possible.

  10. Bruce E
    March 22, 2014 at 7:56 am

    Since the computer is 10 years old, the processor is what? A Pentium 4, maybe? That's going to be a big part of the problem. The hard disk interface is most likely UltraIDE/133 which is going to be an I/O bottleneck. Depending on how the swap file is set up, you may be increasing the I/O load on the system which would exacerbate the problem. And this is just for the OS.

    Depending on what other software is installed, it may be making even more demands regarding memory usage and the amount of additional crap it wants to load during the initial boot. If the system hasn't been used in some time and it is connected to the Internet (even indirectly), it may be trying to download and install all of the missing updates for the operating system, virus definitions, other installed software that has installed its own updater, etc.

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