It's much worse with Chrome - getting worse over the last two days listening to iplayer. I switched to Firefox and it was much much better, though not perfect. Uninstall and re-install Chrome?
Last edited by pilamenon; 03-08-12 at 13:32.
Originally Posted by pilamenon
Has this ever worked well? You mention that the machine is around 9 years old, so arguably at end of useful life.
One other possibility is, as John has suggested, that there's not enough memory. It could be that you've added new software and upgrades so that now you need more memory to run. Depending on the model it may be easy to fit new memory, though if it's really old it's perhaps not worth it. Sometimes it's viable to look for used memory on eBay. You can check out memory upgrades at the Crucial web site - http://www.crucial.com/uk/
Thanks, Dave. I think you're probably right and I need more memory. I have been getting the "virtual memory low" message occasionally that another poster mentioned, so it looks like my old machine needs a boost!
Originally Posted by Dave2002
If you use the Crucial scanner, look out for the message as to a 32bit system only seeing a max of 3.5 Gb RAM. I have 3 GB RAM, it outlines I could upgrade by replacing 2x512Mb RAM by 2 x ! Gb RAM sticks. Howevr my 32 bit systen will only see the extra 0.5GB of ram (or may only see a max of my present 3 GB - per the message).
I have a much more powerful & recent PC (ivy Intel i5) in the family - my wife uses the web, You tube, Sibelius, Word, PDF iPlayer or iTunes - potentially all at the same time. The iPlayer stream is good, uninterrupted on that machine.
My own machine is about 6-7 years old, uses a Pentium processor and in the last 2-3 months the iPlayer stream is constanty interrupted, particularly if I open new Internet browser windows. It might just be tolerable if I do nothing except stream iPlayer. I can't see any way of adding to the buffer for iPlayer (not even sure there is a buffer).
Added to general slowness on the Internet - so many pages lump in advertising and video graphics, I've given in to the inevitable and am going for a replacement system based on the latest Intel i5 Ivybridge with 8GB RAM (64 bit). This should keep me ahead of the game and enable iPlayer listening as well as everything else I might be using on the PC.
If you have aged peripherals though, and yu end up considering replacement, you may wish to check they will work on a (Windows 7 64 bit?) new PC. Running Windows7 upgrade advisor on your present machine , I think I recall, will tell you which of them might not work on a 64 bit system. (At the least you might want to check that out to avoid a nasty surprise). All this is in the context of a Windows 7 OS - I upgraded the older 32bit machine from XP, so there is no going back for me!
Is upgrading the operating system on an aged PC from XP to Windows 7 a good idea?
IMO the answer is categorically no - unless there is a specific reason to do so (and that is unlikely to be the case).
Windows XP is a good OS. It's stable, runs fine within the maximum RAM limit and it does what it says on the tin. It's not for nothing that earlier this year it was reported that 40% of business PCs were still using XP.
If someone upgrades to Windows 7 they face all the hassle of doing so (drivers, etc, etc) with very little to show for the effort apart from (probably) some decrease in performance. Much more beneficial would be to do a factory restore!
One of the issues with Windows OSs is that they very quickly accumulate all kinds of junk that takes up a massive amount of HDD space and which generally slow the systems down. This is especially true if people liberally install all kinds of software.
The accepted 'wisdom' is to periodically do a factory restore in order to get back to a clean machine. (My 1 year old HP PC came with advice to do this annually!) See one of my earlier posts for the solution I use to take much of the 'pain' out of this process.
Replacing an old XP machine with a modern, powerful PC running Windows 7 will, of course, bring multiple benefits.
However, if a PC has started playing up recently the cause is almost certainly some change to the software or the PC's configuration.
I've just been doing a test on my second, older, PC (a 7 year old ThinkPad laptop with a Pentium M 1.6 GHz with 2GB RAM) and iPlayer works perfectly as I browse, run Excel, Autoroute, etc. (But this is relatively 'clean' system - I did a factory restore about 18 months ago.)
By the way, did I mention backups?
Last edited by johnb; 05-08-12 at 11:29.
Before you rush out and buy additional RAM we need to establish some facts!
Originally Posted by pilamenon
What RAM do you have?
You can get that from: Start/Right Click on 'My Computer'/Properties
What is the Virtual Memory set to?
Start/Right Click on 'My Computer'/Properties/Advanced/Performance Settings/Advanced
... and look towards the bottom of the panel.
How much free space is there on your C:\ drive (in case it is necessary to change the VM setting)?
In case I have encouraged someone to plunge in with a factory restore I had better expand on the process!
This is just off the top of my head and isn't guaranteed to be exhaustive - user beware!
You need to gather all the necessary information first and the allow, say, two days to do the factory restore, updates and install all the software. It might take less time - it might take more. (It's doing the repeated Windows and Antivirus updates that takes much of the time.)
Before you embark on a factory restore think through how you will do every step, including the backups and restores. This list is a starting point.
- Check that your PC supports doing a factory restore. This is usually from a hidden partition on your hard drive and might be accessed from a boot-time option, (though there might be an option using CDs/DVDs that you have created).
- Do a backup of all your own data files, including email files from Outlook, etc, to an external hard drive.
- If your browser supports it - export your bookmarks/favourites and passwords to a file on an external hard drive.
- Go through all the software that you use and make a list of all the information to reinstall (User Names, Keys, etc). You can do it using Notepad - save it to the external hard drive and print it off. Make sure you have all the installation disks at hand and make sure that all the downloaded installation files are copied to the external hard drive.
- Make sure you have antivirus/firewall software to reinstall easily, either from a downloaded file copied to your external hard drive or from actual disks.
- Make sure you have your internet setup details and your e-mail setup details on paper. Make sure you can easily reinstall your router software.
- When doing a factory restore I disconnect the internet.
- After the factory restore - install the antivirus/firewall software
- Setup the internet/e-mail.
- Run the antivirus/firewall updates repeatedly until the software reports there are no updates (this takes a while).
- Run the Windows update repeatedly until it reports there are no updates available (this takes an eternity).
- Do updates from your PC Manufacturer
- Install your other software
- Import your browser backups/favourites, etc from the Export file on your hard drive
- Run Windows updates again, repeatedly, to do any updates on the Microsoft applications you have installed.
- Update your other software applications as needed.
- TAKE A BACKUP using something like Acronis True Image so you can easily get back to this configuration without all the hassle! Don't bother with the fancy options - go to the main screen and just do a single, one-off backup.
- Copy over your data from the hard drive (you might choose to do the backup after this, instead of before).
PS Backing up Outlook 2003 (say) files is easy - there is just one file and (possibly) one archive file - outlook.pst and archive.pst.
Backing up Outlook Express is a bit of a pain (which is why I have never used Outlook Express). The details are here.
Last edited by johnb; 05-08-12 at 15:42.
It may really not be worth while upgrading/renovating a machine which is more than 5 years old, unless perhaps it can be done for under £50. Applying Moore's law with a factor 2x speedup every 18 months (some people have it faster, some slower), then a 5 year old machine would be around 8 times slower/less capable than a new one. An 8 year old machine would be around 32 times slower/less capable.
For replacements - don't go for netbooks, they don't have enough power. However satisfactory laptops and even towers/desktops can be had for around £400, while good ones might cost £600 or more. The cheapest Mac Mini can be bought for less than £600, though needs a display ( a TV might do) and keyboard and mouse. It's really neat, and can drive a TV or a sound system directly.
Do bear in mind re. XP that Microsoft have declared an end to their support for it within a year or so. When I re-installed a couple of days ago the Microsoft Update site was unavailable due to an update (no notice to that effect appeared, of course, just the usual unhelpful and uninformative error message. I therefore downloaded the 'professional' version of SP3 and installed that. One the Update site was online again it took 115 updates to get, well, up to date. Phew! Actually one, a Flash update, failed. Presumably because my version of Flash superseded it.
Last edited by Bryn; 06-08-12 at 00:19.
I thought I'd just comment on some points made earlier in the thread. Using tools such as Task Manager to check on running tasks for processor utilisation and memory can/may be useful. However it is possible that a task can have high processor utilisation, yet have little effect on overall performance. If the code in that task uses polling to monitor a state, and the task has low priority, then it may have high processor use, yet will defer to other tasks when they need to run. If code is written using interrupt driven IO or events the measurement of processor use should not be distorted by this effect.
Generally a high processor utilisation does indicate a possible problem, but I have come across situations and programs where this was not the case, perhaps because the code was written differently, as I have indicated. In other words high CPU usage is a necessary but not sufficient indicator for CPU related problems with any task.
Regarding memory, there may also be issues regarding the working set of pages switched in and out of memory. A progeam or task may use a lot of memory, yet have a small working set and this would be likely to have less impact than a program or task which took up less memory, but had a much larger working set.
Some tasks/programs do not work well together, and may cause page thrashing. This inevitably grinds the speed of operation down to something which is just about unbearable. Having more programs running at the same time is more likely to cause this than keeping the number of active programs to a minimum.