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First of all, I would say that the first thing to check if Vista is running slow is the memory amount. Desktop and laptop computers that were sold with Vista only had 1 GB or less of memory. From my personal experience, Vista can run on 1 GB of RAM, but only in the beginning. After more programs are installed on a computer running Vista, the computer will slow down dramatically.
When a computer running Vista slows down, it is when there are a lot of tabs opened up in the internet browser. For example, Mozilla Firefox takes at least 300 MB of RAM with only a few different tabs opened. As shown in the image below, when there is not enough RAM, Windows trys to use a pseudo memory that it locates on the hard disk, which heavy loads the CPU, and then slows down the system even more.
Another thing that can prevent a computer running Vista from a speedy start-up is a type of hardware fault. Many things can occur with electronics, and very often, it is the hard drive that goes wrong. Vista has the amazing ability to check the file system integrity on the hard drive, but unfortunately, it does not give out a complete report when it recovers bad sectors. If the hard drive has several bad sectors, then its best to just dispose of it by bringing it to a recycling company. Start by downloading HDTune and scan the surface, if there is only one red dot, then back up the data and get another hard drive.
At times, when a system is older than three years, there is a chance that even the RAM can have a bad cell. Usually, memory faults showcase a blue screen, or the system simply hangs and the mouse does not move. For instance, when a computer is old, it can cause slow system performance, especially if the bad cell is not in an area where it will damage the system's files, but instead, in an area where it will ruin the entire file copying process. A great tool that is able to check the memory is Memtest, and Vista also has a feature to check memory.
Sometimes, a slow start-up or slow system performance can be caused by memory module incompatibility. Even if the memory modules are the same speed and amount, but they are from different manufacturers, then they probably will have a different latency. This small difference in speed will prevent some systems from work optimally, and can even lead to faults.
In the photo above, the tracks on the memory modules are the same, and the microchips are the same as well. This is the perfect type of laptop memory to use.
After we are sure that everything in the hard drive is okay, including the memory, then it's helpful to check the system temperature. The best method to check the temperature is with the fingers. While this might be a surprise, it is very true. We can check the temperature with software, but there can be a few disadvantages, and these disadvantages could include the South Bridge not having a temperature sensor at all, or the MOSFET's being equipped with something a tool that monitors the temperature.
It is helpful to double check the heatsinks to ensure that they are not covered with dust.
The MSConfig software can also help by reducing the amount of programs loaded during the Vista start-up. Start by typing in the search, msconfig, and then press enter, in the next window, select the start-up tab, conclude by disabling the programs that you think are unnecessary.
There is also speculation that an antivirus can also slow a computer system down. Norton antivirus is not a bad program overall, but it has been shown that Norton antivirus does create an extremely heavy load on a computer system. Also, there are certain antivirus and firewalls which are not able to work together. And today, routers are equipped with integrated firewalls so there really is no reason to have these programs in a computer already.
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