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Okay i have this old latop, an Inspiron 8200. About 2.0 ghz processor (mobile pentium 4), geforce 440 graphics card, 40gig HD, and about 256 mb of ram.

A few minutes after startup, a fan goes on in the back and slows the comp down so much that i cannot do much at all. I tried installing a new version of BIOS (A11 i think) and it didnt really work. Slightly faster though, but still very slow. Also, the fan doesnt go off like it should, just continuously keeps on, bogging everything down.

Thanks for the help!
 

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If it is truly the fan bogging things down, replace it.
 

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Do you have any idea as to how hot things are getting inside?

Check out a free temperature sensing utility such as SpeedFan and let us know those numbers.

Electronics don't like heat, and laptops don't have the best cooling around due to their compact size. Maybe your 'top just needs a good cleaning and dusting to get things back to where they should be.
 
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