Windows XP running slow
The most common cause for Windows running slowly or taking a long time to start up or shut down is that it has run out of memory. There are two kinds of memory in a computer, one kind the "Ram" is very fast but loses it's content when the computer is turned off the other kind is the "Hard disc" which is much slower but remembers it's contents when the machine is turned off. When XP runs out of Ram it uses the Hard disc instead and this will make it run slowly.
Check how much Ram you have
Click Start, right click My Computer and select Properties toward the bottom of the window will show a figure in MB or GB (1GB = 1000MB) if the figure is in GB then you have plenty for most purposes but if it shows a figure which is less than 300MB then this will certainly cause XP to run slowly because it has run out of "Ram" and is using the "Hard disc" instead. If you have more than 300MB but less than around 500 then it's a good idea to check how much is actually being used, hold down the Ctrl, Alt and Delete keys at the same time, Windows Task Manager should pop up, click the Processes tab, the 1st figure after "Commit Charge at the bottom shows how much Ram windows is using, if that figure is bigger than the MB figure obtained earlier then XP has run out of memory and needs some more. The solution is to install more "Ram" memory inside the computer, you will need to take it appart to install the new memory and you need to make sure you buy the right memory and it's a good idea to test it thoroughly before use. We can do all this for you, generally the total cost is around £50 or less.
When did you last do a Defrag ?
This should be done once a month and if you have never done it, it could take hours but might make a big difference. Click Start and go to All Programs / Accessories / System Tools and select Disk Defragmenter select C: and click Defragment and let it do it's work. Whilst this is being done it will work better and faster if you do not use the computer and if you can disconnect it from the internet.
Is the Hard disc running smoothly ?
The Hard disc is one of the few mechanical parts in a computer, being mechanical, like cars they can wear out. More on this subject soon.
Are there too many programs loaded ?
Again more info soon.
Now I've got more memory I want even more.
The phone rings, "That memory you installed is fantastic my computer is so much faster, can you pop round and install some more please" There is a great analogy... Imagine a swimming pool 4ft deep it could be better, make it 10ft deep and it would be a lot nicer, 60ft deep, no point, you wouldn't benefit from the extra depth, it's the same with PC's and Ram.