Video slows almost to a halt

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Old 01-02-13, 07:54 PM
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Video slows almost to a halt

Windows XP, Celeron 420 @1.60GHz, 2GB RAM.
Lately, videos will start out fine then slow to stop, to the point where 60 seconds
of buffering will only produce a few seconds of play. I know this old Dell Vostro
is a minimal machine (I added the second Gig of RAM 6 mo. ago), but it has run fine for years. I do the usual stuff like de-frag, delete internet cookies & history often.

This may be a clue: During times of extreme slow-down, I notice that the flashing
LAN light on the DSL (which is hardwired, not wireless, to this 'puter), is going full speed ahead, whereas the hard drive light becomes less & less active, making a quick flash only now & then, seemingly indicating a lack of RAM. A reboot restores normal download speed for a while, until things load up again.


Ideas?
 
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Old 01-02-13, 11:12 PM
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It could possibly be bad memory but I seriously doubt it. I personally think it is a combination of things DSL is really too slow except maybe for very short videos. Now you either need fiber from the telephone company or cable both of which will give you a router to use.
Next thing you really should be seriously thinking about is replacing your computer because those videos take up space on your hard drive even if you are only streaming the contents and not downloading anything. If you watch only a few things a month then get a computer with a 500gb hard drive and if you watch more videos and decide you want to download the videos then at least a computer with a 1tb hard drive. If you are replacing a desktop then I suggest you build it yourself as that way you control how the computer case is made which is really important if you want to add a hard drive in the future. If you have a laptop then I suggest Dell,Toshiba,HP or Sony all of which make decent looking laptops and all of the above I think have decent reputations and treat their customers fairly and honestly. It is only then that you truly will get good and decent video off of a computer. If you decide to build I have built two computers so far and there are other builders here too so we are willing to give advice.
 
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Old 01-03-13, 04:24 AM
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I hate to say it, but your computer is probably the culprit.
My home desktop running winXP, 8GB ram (4GB is used for a ram drive to hold the swap file).
It use to be fast and very capable. With MS and other company's updates, they have successfully rendered my old girl pretty useless.
I use to be able to do very heavy photo and video editing with this machine. Now it struggles to do basic tasks.
 
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Old 01-03-13, 05:29 AM
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.


It just may be exactly as Mike is describing....as I too cannot play videos on my trusty old Dell laptop. I've searched for months and tried every "trick" and solution out there. Clean, defrag, every Microsoft "fix it", malware scans, flash updated to the latest, revert to old flash, back to new flash etc. etc. etc.

You can go to Speedtest.net to see if your internet connection is up to par.....though it might not be the issue.

What you can do to isolate the problem is to download a video and save it to your desktop for local playback. This will tell you if the issue is with your internet or if the problem is with your computer. Once downloaded, if the video file plays perfectly all the way through then it's your internet. If the file still plays slow and choppy then it's your computer.

I bought a new laptop and despite only having a less than ideal 3g internet stick as my connection......it streams videos perfectly.


.
 
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Old 01-03-13, 05:48 AM
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If you have the time and abilities, a fresh install of Windows XP would remove much of the performance issues. That being said, the windows updates will slow it down a lot.

Not to put on the tinfoil hat, but I think the slow down is by design. Hard to sell new hardware (and software as a result) if everyone stuck with their trusty Windows XP machines that did what most of us want.
 
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Old 01-03-13, 06:39 AM
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Usually you can see where the bottleneck is in the task manager - I have an old XP laptop on my desk here and I see the CPU max out at 100% fairly often but I usually have RAM available. Both the Performance and Processes tabs are helpful for this.
 
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Old 01-03-13, 07:34 AM
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Not to put on the tinfoil hat, but I think the slow down is by design. Hard to sell new hardware (and software as a result) if everyone stuck with their trusty Windows XP machines that did what most of us want.
Iv'e been having issues with machines that previously ran flawlessly too and it is NOT my connection speed. Unfortunately, the "update" issue is probably too convoluted and incomprehensible to ever result in a multizillion dollar class action suit. What would happen to an auto manufacturer if they decided to "update" your car so that it couldn't exceed 40MPH for "your protection"?
 
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Old 01-03-13, 07:47 AM
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I've had similar problems with a few of my older computers and the only thing that fixed them was reinstalling XP or running Linux.
 
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Old 01-03-13, 05:01 PM
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Thank you all....Yeah, I'm aware there's need for equipment improvement all around. I will check out Task Mgr, as I've found before that the anti-virus I've got was constantly using 30-60% resources while on internet for it's scanning engine.

I've got the lowest tier AT&T DSL , but despite that, as long as I see the LAN
light constantly flashing, the download speed is acceptable as long as the 'puter
can process it quickly. That's where the slowdown is tho, as the hard drive activity light (and sound) slows to a crawl, as I've said, giving, say, a quick flash, then 5-10 sec. inactive, then another quick flash, etc. All this time the LAN lite is blinking uninterrupted.

I will try some of y'alls suggestions.
 
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Old 01-04-13, 05:37 AM
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Oh, uninstall the newer Windows Desktop search (was included in one of the updates a while back). You can find it in the Control pannel.
I noticed on my workstation at work (a very beefy machine) that as soon as that thing was installed, it's performance dropped. The software is always trying to index your files which eats memory and slows down the Harddrive access time.
 
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Old 01-04-13, 07:56 PM
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Update: Speedtest.net showed:
Ping: 26ms
Download: 0.64Mbps
Upload: 0.31Mbps

Watching "Task Mgr Processes" during video slowdown reflected the very low hard drive activity: "explorer.exe" and "iexplore.exe" both operated from 0-10% CPU, with occasional spikes to 20%. ppped.exe (?) gave a quick spike to 50% but only rarely, "vsserv.exe" (anti-virus engine) a fairly constant 10-20%. Bottom line here, the processor is idle 70% of the time on average.

Can't find "Windows Desktop" in Control Panel or Windows Explorer.

So another question comes up: On your typical DSL/router, where a flashing LAN light indicates download activity, the flash rate on mine never varies; it either flashes at a constant rate or not at all. I always thought the rate of flashing was in direct proportion to the download speed, but is it possible that AT&T slows the download rate during busy times, even tho the flashing rate remains constant?
 
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Old 01-05-13, 02:23 AM
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It definitely will slow down during high demand times. There also could be another possibility for the slow down and that is because they want to sell you a better service like fiber optic for instance. At least that was what a friend thought before she moved away as at first she had dial up and then went to DSL and finally to fiber as she was getting tired of the slow loading time. In an ad for another company other than what you have they admit that DSL is much slower and say you need to upgrade for better service. So I wouldn't doubt even on slow days that Isps that have Dsl slow it to a crawl on purpose. Even with fiber though there are different levels of service and to get it much faster you pay for the privilege. They keep on phoning my house wanting to know if I want to upgrade.
 
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