very slow and unstable system


Old 12-17-01, 01:33 AM
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very slow and unstable system

can someone give me some advice on this? i have a Pentium 200 MHz, running MS Windows 95 (I know out of date by todays standards). It has been adequate for my needs until now. I recently downloaded MS Outlook Express form the MS site. Got it installed and working. Now, even without Outlook open, my system is noticeably slower than before, seems unstable. By unstable I mean that it locks up frequently, I'm constantly getting knocked offline (my ISP has been relaible before this and I suspect they are not the problem). Even the icons on my desktop jump around. Have I downloaded a virus, is my system just operating on the edge and Outlook pushed it over, or do I need RAM upgrade or somethieng else. Any ideas are greatly appreciated
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Old 12-17-01, 02:54 AM
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well, by downloading a program from, Im pretty sure you didnt download a virus. You may have a virus though. Those sound like systems of a virus. I would run a virus checker on your whole system.

If you have noticed the slowing immediatly after your downloaded and installed Outlook, you may want to go to add/remove programs and uninstall it. Then see how it runs. You may also be out of hard drive space. Check that, and run a thorough scandisk. How much memory do you have? I would recommend on that system at least 32mb. But would be much better of course with 64mb. Ram is so cheap now, may not hurt to upgrade anyway.
Old 12-17-01, 09:07 AM
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It may just be coincedence, but open your case, and power up, and check to see if the fan on your cpu is still running. Watch it when you first power up, if it seems to start out fast and then slow down, replace it. Have seen many failing cpu fans cause many of the problems you are describing.

Old 12-18-01, 01:24 PM
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okay, i went out and made sure i have the latest and greatest virus checker - my sytem was clean
added an extra 32 MB bring me up to 64. I am now fighting my computer to get it to recognize the memory upgrade. Any ideas - it is a Gateway system. All their documentation says it will be recognized up re-starting the system, but no luck. Tried running setup, but it will not let me change any of the meory settings..
Old 12-18-01, 01:46 PM
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With most Gateways you have to open up the bios when you add new memory. You don't actually have to do anything there except press F10 to save and exit. Usually works for me.

By the way is it a P1 or a P2? Just recently found out (One of my students was experimenting) that the P2 motherboards of that venue were made by Intel and that they will support up to a 333Mhz.
Old 12-19-01, 02:09 AM
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from my past experience, you dont have to do anything to get the system to reconize new memory upgrades. SHould pop it in and boot up, should come up and say something like, press f10 to accept new memory config, or something like that. You do not have to run any software to make it work. YOu may have a dead memory slot, or memory that is not compatible with that system.
Old 12-28-01, 03:42 AM
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i'm just now getting back to my ongoing problem with my system. my last problem associated with the memory upgrade seems to have been caused by incompatible memory. I returned the memory and now have a card on order from Gateway (of course much more expensive, but should be here today)
this will upgrade my system from 32 MB to 64. the Gateway salesperson was not very encouraging that I would see "significant" improvement. I know this is a little premature, but if I see only slight improvement in speed, is there anything else someone can suggest? Can downloading and installing Outlook Express cause this many problems? My system seems very slow even if Outlook is not opened.
Old 01-08-02, 01:00 PM
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Just cruising by and noticed thi post in regards to memory and related problems. Many people are not aware that if you install additional memory into a computer, that all the memory sticks must be of the same speed, ie; 33,66,100,133, etc. This will allow the computer to recognize the additional memory right away on startup. If the speeds are different then the computer will only recognize the original setup.
Ascertain your memory speed from the documentation of your computer and purchase memory of the same speed. If not ALL new memory will have to be of that speed purchased. You cannot mix and match speeds.
I learned this from a past experience in which three different persons form a reputable (?) natiowide store gave advice that turned out to be wrong. You are lucky that Gateway took the sticks back as all sorts of inuendo and allegations were leveled at me for the failure of the memory to be initialized.
Good luck and hope this helps.
Old 01-08-02, 02:46 PM
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I don't know if all bios and motherboards work the same way with memory, but my P2 - 266 motherboard manual says that I should use PC-100 memory. A big box retailer had a sale on PC-133 ram. Thirty dollars for a 128 meg stick (and that's Canadian dollars which is about twenty bucks US). The salesman said that it would work and just deliver 100 MHZ performance. He was right. I now have 1 - 128 meg @ 133mhz, 1 - 128meg @ 100mhz and 1 - 64 meg @ 100mhz without any problems. My memory test shows 320meg of ram so I assume it is working OK. The new ram seems to make some things a bit faster.
Also, all I had to do was shut down, plug in memory and restart. The memory test at start up shows what is plugged in.
Old 01-09-02, 06:15 AM
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Most motherboards will work with different speeds RAM (66, 100, 133). However, Gateway is one of those that doesn't like that. A possible solution would be to make sure the slowest RAM sits in the number 1 RAM slot. Most MB's check all slots for RAM speed, but some only check the first, and assume the rest are the same. Bad idea if you're running different speeds of RAM, and you put the fastest one in the first slot. Regarding your computer being slower, a virus is not likely. Most likely the upgrade you performed is the cause. Microsoft makes IE and Outlook Express run best on new computers ( ie fast, lots of RAM). Upgrading to a newer version simply made the already strained machine work even harder, which is where the delay is comming. 32Mb is also way to low, even 64 is low. If you only run Outlook, and not IE at the same time 64 will be fine. But if you run both, be prepared for freeze ups...
Old 01-09-02, 12:47 PM
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Cool Memory

I find it difficult to grasp that you could not find memory to use in that computer. There are several rules that need to be followed of course. I guess they could have some proprietary memory thing going on. Most memory is "Backwards" compatible 133 will work in a 100 MHz buss slot.
I can almost Gar-ron-tee you that Outlook is causing 90% of your problem! Microjunk software is designed to be hungry, to have memory leaks, to just cause you to pull hair out, I almost shot a computer years ago running MS software fighting me tooth and nail over a modem. Live in the country, hillbilly type of thing
Anyway get Outlook off there, Scan Disk Often, Through Scan Disk once every month or two, De-frag daily if you want but at least once a week and upgrade.
If you can find out what motherboard (This will also help us in finding you affordable memory.) is in there one of us can find out how far this thing can be pushed, a computer this old should take a little over clocking. I have a 266 running at 300 for 6 months now with a big fan and lots of memory (Asus board).
I doubt your board will take much more than a 350 MHz chip set at best. 200 to 300 is not an upgrade it's a stand by machine. So rev it up with as much memory as it will hold and maybe a little jumper work and get another few months out of it. BUT overclocking can and has ended the life of many a good board. Trinitro you is da Bomb!
Old 01-09-02, 03:15 PM
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Some Gateways use some sort of propietary RAM. The easiest way to find out if it does is to go to Crucial's website, and look up the type of RAM by the model number. Then you can see by the part number whether it's the same as a standard DIMM. But in my 5 years of doing computer work I've only ran across one such machine. I dont' remember the model number though... I really recommend against upgrading this machine. The RAM you could probably transfer over to a new system, but don't get a processor, unless you get for basically nothing. If you feel "confident" enough you can build one from scratch, you could reuse some of the components. If not, prices are low enough, you can buy one. Regarding RAM, always try to buy a brand name (Crucial, Kingston, etc). I got burned myself one I bought a 128 Mb of K-Byte. It ran fine on one motherboard, and I could not plug it into my new one. The module is a bit bigger then normal, and it would not click. I was getting ready to bring my Dremel and .. file it a bit.
Regarding your problem, before I scrap the old computer, reinstall Windows if possible. That will make it a bit faster. Also, go into the start up folder and delete everything you don't need. MS loads that Office start-up crap I still don't know what it does, and there a whole bunch of other things. That will free up some resources. If you have RealPlayer, or WinAmp, remove those from the Startup. You can also install TweakUI to control a bit more. Also, remove the desktop picture, just leave a blank one. That will also speed it up a bit. Each of these only does very little, but combined it may make it fast enough to be usable.

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