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Ask not for whom the bell tolls

It tolls for this computer.

I think my desktop PC is four years old this month. (goes and checks) Nope, I think it's five years old this month. Happy birthday, PC! This means that, in PC years, it is officially older than the current age of the universe.

I've been able to live with its decrepitude for a while...at least a year, because that's about how long I've had the Alienware laptop, courtesy of my wondermous sweetie. It's getting worse, though, in a downward spiral. Recently, Internet Explorer stopped working. This was irritating, because some of my work functionality can only be accessed using IE, and we'd been having printer problems. The printer problems are resolved, partially due to the recent basement renvations allowing me to search through piles of junk to find various soft-and-hardware needed to bring it back to functionality. That's not all, though.

For the last couple of months, the system has stated that because of system limitations, it's had to increase the virtual memory on my hard drives. Now, I'll admit, I haven't upgraded the RAM in this thing in a long time (at least three years), but I don't know that it's worth the trouble to do so. Unfortunately, the frequency of this event is increasing.

I don't know what system hog is causing this problem. I know that when the computer comes back from being asleep or rebooted, it takes a long time for the memory to free up enough to allow me to click on things or type. That's pretty bad. I've tried some 'ware to search for freeloading cookies and programs, but my efforts have come to very little. If there's something hiding here and using my system for its own nefarious purposes, I can't find it to get rid of it.

Karen's Mac is also having problems. We can't go down to one computer, because (although spiffy) the Alienware does not have all the range of functionality we need. So, we're kind of between a rock and a hard place. If the Brain Trust has any ideas, I'm open to hearing about them.


( 36 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 14th, 2007 02:39 am (UTC)
What 'ware are you using to search with? Done any manual browsing through the registry?
Jan. 14th, 2007 04:49 am (UTC)
I most recently loaded CheckIt Diagnostics. It only found a few cookies and no spyware. I don't take manual browsing through the registry because I'm aware of how much damage I can do. Since I've never done that, I imagine it's a bloated useless thing.
Jan. 14th, 2007 10:37 am (UTC)
I'm a big fan of both AdAware and Spybot Search & Destroy. As for registry checking; yes, you can cause damage if you fiddle in the wrong places, but I usually only check a few standard locations (unless there's something I'm specifically scanning the whole thing for). We could try to schedule a house call if you'd like.
Jan. 14th, 2007 01:02 pm (UTC)
I have had each of those as well...I tried CheckIt because they weren't turning anything up. I'm not at work (officially) for today and tomorrow, so either of these days are good days to try to swing by. I'd been meaning to call you, to find out if you and Richard were interested in a playdate or a trip to the greater boy-corral of Columbia. Yesterday being what it was, there wasn't exactly time. Give me a call when you get this, or I'll give you one after I've hunted the wily breakfast.
Jan. 14th, 2007 03:38 pm (UTC)
If I do see you later today, or whenever, remind me to bring the "Order of the Stick" prequel.
(no subject) - sethcohen - Jan. 14th, 2007 06:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - allah_sulu - Jan. 14th, 2007 11:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sethcohen - Jan. 15th, 2007 01:54 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 14th, 2007 02:46 am (UTC)
Four years? Hell, this one was built for me in 2000. We're getting a laptop for me or a new desktop soon.
Jan. 14th, 2007 02:47 am (UTC)
Five, sorry. I can't brain today.
Jan. 14th, 2007 04:52 am (UTC)
It's been a long time since I had the skills to turn these things around. It's savable, I know...but not by me. This is why I asked for opinions. I want to know if there's something effective that can be done that's also cost-effective. Yeah, I can buy a newer machine for a few hundred bucks...but then I'll spend a lot of time transferring data around. I don't necessarily want to do that, yet. *shrugs* It may still, however, be the best choice.
Jan. 14th, 2007 01:04 pm (UTC)
Part of your problem was you transferred a lot of data files you absolutely don't need to have accessible. You transferred everything from your ailing computer to the new one five years ago, and almost immediately filled up the hard drive, leaving absolutely no disk space.

What percentage of your hard drive is still available?

You may want to consider going through with a fine tooth comb and determining whether you really still need most of the data sitting on your hard drives. If you don't need it to be immediately accessible, consider moving it to some removable media.
Jan. 14th, 2007 01:55 pm (UTC)
I don't think so
I have 65GB of drives, with almost 50GB free. I don't doubt that data needs to be rearranged, but I doubt this is the only cause of the problems I'm having.
Jan. 14th, 2007 03:20 pm (UTC)
Re: I don't think so
which would be why I said "part of your problem." I certainly made no claim that it was the only cause. At any rate, I thought you had less disk space than that available because several months after you got the computer, you told me you'd filled it all up. Perhaps you've already fixed that part of the problem and I didn't realize.
Re: I don't think so - sethcohen - Jan. 14th, 2007 06:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 14th, 2007 03:38 pm (UTC)
Re: I don't think so
It might be a good idea to backup some of that data to CD (or DVD) now, just in case - so you won't have to worry about saving/transferring it later if you do end up replacing or doing major upgrade work on your computer.
Re: I don't think so - sethcohen - Jan. 14th, 2007 06:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: I don't think so - allah_sulu - Jan. 14th, 2007 11:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: I don't think so - sethcohen - Jan. 15th, 2007 01:56 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: I don't think so - allah_sulu - Jan. 15th, 2007 07:54 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: I don't think so - sethcohen - Jan. 15th, 2007 12:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: I don't think so - allah_sulu - Jan. 15th, 2007 02:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: I don't think so - sethcohen - Jan. 15th, 2007 04:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: I don't think so - allah_sulu - Jan. 15th, 2007 04:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: I don't think so - sethcohen - Jan. 15th, 2007 05:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: I don't think so - allah_sulu - Jan. 15th, 2007 06:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: I don't think so - sethcohen - Jan. 15th, 2007 06:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: I don't think so - allah_sulu - Jan. 15th, 2007 07:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: I don't think so - sethcohen - Jan. 15th, 2007 09:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 14th, 2007 06:16 pm (UTC)
Re: I don't think so
If you can't remember the last time you defragged the disk, now would be a good time.

I use an external hard drive for my seldom-needed-but-don't-want-to-lose data, so I can keep it without impeding the primary operations of my disk. Dunno how much of a difference it makes, but it does make migrating machines a little easier. (That's still a PITA, of course.)

If you get to the point where you're going to just punt and buy a new machine, you wouldn't have much to lose by copying the disk and then wiping it clean and reinstalling the OS. That's the Howitzer-grade solution; I don't reinstall the OS lightly. But if you are ready to buy a new machine (which means reinstalling all your apps and migrating your data) anyway, it might be worth a shot. If your problem is corrupted drivers/registry, hard-to-find malware, etc, that'd certainly get rid of it.

On the other hand, you might reasonably decide that your time is worth more than the cost of the new machine. That's the way I might call it, but I don't have quite as many demands on my finances as you do.
Re: I don't think so - sethcohen - Jan. 14th, 2007 06:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: I don't think so - cellio - Jan. 14th, 2007 06:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: I don't think so - sethcohen - Jan. 15th, 2007 01:28 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: I don't think so - sethcohen - Jan. 15th, 2007 01:58 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Re: Monitor -- - sethcohen - Jan. 15th, 2007 01:58 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 15th, 2007 02:02 am (UTC)
Yeah...I used to be cool enough to replace RAM. Then I forgot how long it had been since I'd done so, and bought more for an upgrade. Me and my ham hands broke the memory slot. This is why I try to leave the expert work to the experts, much to my father's dismay. He always wanted me to be able to fix my own car and all that crap. Guess what: cars are expensive and breakable - I'll let my mechanic handle it, and I'll let folks who know things better than me help me fix broken things of mine.

The upward spiral of the machine more and more frequently claiming to need virtual memory is what makes me think Arthur is right - there's something cancerous in the registry. I'm not stupid enough to hack the registry myself - I can totally deactivate the machine that way. Arthur, who does this stuff regularly, knows what he's doing. Now, I just need to remember whether or not I've ticked him off recently...
( 36 comments — Leave a comment )