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Computer very slow, random lock-ups, Help?

This is a discussion on Computer very slow, random lock-ups, Help? within the Windows XP Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. I have a 3.5 year old eMachine T6524. I know they are low-end machines but it has worked pretty well


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Old 09-13-2008, 11:13 AM   #1
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I have a 3.5 year old eMachine T6524. I know they are low-end machines but it has worked pretty well up until now.
It has an AMD Athlon 64 3500+ processor with 1GB of RAM, running Windows XP Media Center Edition. It came with an on-board ATI graphics chip but I upgraded it to an nVidia GeForce 7300 GT (PCIe). I'm not much of a gamer but I do enjoy playing Portal occasionally.

Mostly I use the computer to download video podcasts and then, using TiVo Desktop, transfer them to my TiVo.

A few months ago I started having problems with the computer slowing down drastically and I found that the IDE controller was switching to PIO mode. I would have to remove it from Device Manager and reboot to get it to go back to Ultra DMA mode (which it always did). I thought my HD was going out but I ran the Seagate diagnostics and it found no problems. I also used a program called Hard Disk Sentinel to monitor the drive and it found no problems.

So I decided to to a complete system restore. It seemed to work fine at first but a few weeks later now I'm having frequent random hard lockups (usually when I'm not even using the machine) and it seems to be VERY slow at times. When I try to launch Half Life 2 it can take 10-15 minutes to finally start but once it loads up it runs fine.

Oh, I am currently running Avast antivirus, Windows Defender and have also scanned with Spy-Bot.

I'm at my wits end here and don't know what to do. I have been thinking it might be the power supply or maybe I just need to clean out the dust or something.

I'm looking for any suggestions you guys can offer. Is there any good system scanning software that I can try to narrow down the problem?
What should I do?

Just so you know my notebook is my main machine but the desktop is used for casual gaming and the TiVo transfers.

Thanks so much.
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Old 09-13-2008, 11:36 AM   #2
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Welcome to TSF....

Let's find out if it is heat related:

SpeedFan is a freeware program that monitors voltages, fan speeds and temperatures

https://www.almico.com/speedfan432.exe
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Old 09-13-2008, 02:54 PM   #3
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Great, I have downloaded and istalled it. Right away I see that my GPU is running at 57 deg. and the program has a little flame next to it. There is also a flame next to the second Core, which appears to be the nVidia card as well. It's at 54 deg. The CPU is at 47.
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Old 09-13-2008, 05:52 PM   #4
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I would suggest getting a can of compressed air and using it with the computer turned off to evacuate the CPU heatsink, and fan (Do not take the heatsink off the processor)
and also on the graphics card fan and anyother fan in the computer, do not use the compressed air to spin the fans put your finger on them or an object to block them from moving, nothing like a spun or broken fan.
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Old 09-13-2008, 08:16 PM   #5
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47 is a tad high for that processor. You can run Prime95 (freeware) to run the CPU to 100%. See what the temp is then.
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Old 09-14-2008, 07:46 AM   #6
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After cleaning the dust out the temps look better:T

GPU: 48
CPU core: 43
The other core: 45 (I'm not sure what this is but in the confguration it says nVidia)

I haven't had any lockups but I did try to load Portal last night and it loaded faster but still kind of slow in my eyes. I'm wondering if there is a problem with Steam because it does stay on the "Preparing to launch Portal" window for a long time.

There is something in the SpeedFan window I don't understand. There is something labeled Remote 1 and Remote 2.
Remote 1 is showing 44 deg. C but Remote 2 is showing 121 deg. C. It's the only thing with a flame symbol now. I don't know what those are.
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Old 09-14-2008, 09:27 AM   #7
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To keep focused, the switch from UDMA to PIO mode is your primary symptom. There may be other symptoms & causes, but this is the main one, as I understand it. Please keep us updated as to whether this continues to occur or not.

The speed issue may be secondary. Along that line, it is generally thought to be unnecessary & a waste of computer resources to run more than one adware program. If you are not a hard-core computer geek, I'd get rid of Spybot and keep Windows Defender. Otherwise, get rid of Win Defender.

Check Device Manager. Check "show hidden devices". Any yellow-flagged devices ? If so, uninstall all of them & reboot. Report any remaining here for further efforts.
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Old 09-14-2008, 09:34 AM   #8
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The PIO mode problem has only happened one time since I did a complete system restore about six weeks ago. Before that it was happening a few times a week.
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Old 09-21-2008, 12:17 PM   #9
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Ok, so an update: Ever since cleaning out the dust and removing a firewire card that was right next to my video card my computer has been doing ok. No shut downs or lockups.
However, this afternoon I discovered that my Primary IDE had switched to PIO mode again. I'd like to figure out what is causing this.
As I said in my original post I performed a complete system restore about 7 weeks ago.
Every hard drive diagnostic I have run shows no problems.
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Old 09-22-2008, 05:41 AM   #10
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Yesterday at around 5:00 PM I started a Windows disk check and set it to find and repair disk errors. So far, at 7:30 the next morning it's only 57% done and it has found around 10 bad file clusters and replaced them.
So I'm thinking the problem may actually be the disk.
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