Computer has slowed down



I have been having difficulties with my laptop computer. It is a Dell
Latitude C640 with a Pentium 4 chip, 2.0 GHz, 512 MB RAM, a 20 GB harddrive,
running Windows XP Professional.

I have the MS Office 2003 suite along with some technical software. I am
connected daily to our home office server via a VPN connection. The troubles
occur when I start the computer and then try to open various programs. The
system now takes much longer to boot up, and programs take much longer to
open than they originally took to open. When I click to take an action, the
computer basically says, “You talking to me??â€, and the reaction time is very

1. I am running the following virus protection:
McAfee VirusScan Enterprise V.8.0i and McAfee Anti-Spyware Module 8.0.0, set
to automatically scan. Virus definitions are up to date. Often when I start
the computer McAfee runs for 20 minutes checking for viruses and I presume
downloading updates. McAfee often will be using 80% of my processor until I
guess, it is up to date.

2. My processor often runs continuously for 30 minutes or so after starting
up the system.

3. Checking the Task Manager, there are over 50 processes starting and
running on my system.

4. Often there are four or five svchost.exe applications running, and some
of them use 20 – 40% of my processor for 10 to 15 minutes at a time.

5. I empty the Recycle Bin weekly.

6. I delete Temporary Internet files and Cookies weekly.

7. I check and defragment the harddrive at least montly.

8. I will have on average six programs open at any one time (MS Windows
Explorer, MS Outlook, MS Internet Explorer, MS Word, MS Excel, Act Contact

In general the system has slowed down over the three years that I’ve owned
it. What can be done to eliminate unused or unnecessary programs that simply
take up time and space? What can be done to speed this computer up?


Travis Smith

Well, i dont have a lot of technical programs installed, but after i reboot
i have at least 32 processes running. So 50 processes on yours may be
normal. What percent of memory do you have available after your computer
boots? It may be time to upgrade to 1gig. I really dont think an update
from McAfee should utilize that much of your processor. If you want, type
MSCONFIG in run under the started menu to disable certain processes from


Well, you can do a couple of things to help speed up your computer.
You can see what is loading at startup via msconfig. I only have five things
at startup, mostly relating to virus protection and firewall. And, speaking
of virus protection, McAfee can be a HUGE resource hog..I like the free
version of AVG..but that's a personal choice.

Once your system has booted to Windows, click on the Start button>run and
type in
Then, click on the Startup Tab and see what's listed there.

Now, as far as processes, etc in Task Manager..50 is not too bad, but still,
look for any that seem out of place.

Here is an article that helps explain svchost.exe better than I can.

It resides in C:\Windows\System32 folder..if you find it elsewhere it's a
virus which can cause your symptoms.

First, as far as your question about unneeded programs..go to Add/Remove
Programs in you control panel and see if there are programs that you don't
want/use, and remove them. I like to check in the program for uninstall
files before using Add/Remove to actually remove a programs.

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