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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can some one help me with a PC problem?

My XP start menu has shortcuts on the left side for frequently used programs and some "pinned" shortcuts for permanent frequently used programs. The trouble is that the start menu stays visable until the program has opened which obscures a quarter of the screen until it sorts itself out.

The machine is generally slow but I keep it in tip top shape generally with regards to spyware/virus etc.

Anybody got any ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It's a Dell Dimension 4600
P4 3.06 processor
Only 256 MB Ram

I realise 256MB ram is very low by todays standards but it usually gets some pretty heavy web/graphics work without any trouble.

OS Name Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Version 5.1.2600 Service Pack 2 Build 2600
System Manufacturer Dell Computer Corporation
System Model Dimension 4600i
System Type X86-based PC
Processor x86 Family 15 Model 2 Stepping 9 GenuineIntel ~3058 Mhz
BIOS Version/Date Dell Computer Corporation A10, 17/05/2004
SMBIOS Version 2.3
Total Physical Memory 256.00 MB
Available Physical Memory 26.06 MB
Total Virtual Memory 2.00 GB
Available Virtual Memory 1.96 GB
Page File Space 713.02 MB
 

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Sounds like its your RAM.

When you start your PC go to Start/...Run/...and type in perfmon. Keep it open and have a look at your available memory when the problem occurs. I think that will confirm your need more memory. I would say get 512mb minimum but if you can go for 1 gig.

HTH
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok. Where exactly will find available memory, do I have to set up a new counter. If so which exactly?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If you follow my instructions here, it will sort you out:
http://uk-mkivs.net/forums/thread/648855.aspx

Then get yourself some extra ram!
Pulled this trick long ago mate. Whatever machine I'm working on ( I use a lot of machines) I always turn all this crap off.

I'm sure it is a RAM problem that slows the machine down, I just want to know how to monitor usage to confirm it. But the bigger problem is the way the start menu stays open while the app starts.
 

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The Memory\Pages/sec counter indicates the number of paging operations to disk during the measuring interval, and this is the main counter which will inidate if your PC is low on RAM. You . Another counter to watch here is Memory\Available Bytes, and if this counter is greater than 10% of the actual RAM in your machine then you probably have more than enough RAM and don't need to worry though I doubt it will.

You should do two things with the Memory\Available Bytes counter: create a performance log for this counter and monitor it regularly to see if any downward trend develops, and set an alert to trigger if it drops below 2% of the installed RAM. If a downward trend does develop, you can monitor Process(instance)\Working Set for each process instance to determine which process is consuming larger and larger amounts of RAM. Process(instance)\Working Set measures the size of the working set for each process, which indicates the number of allocated pages the process can address without generating a page fault.

A related counter is Memory\Cache Bytes, which measures the working set for the system i.e. the number of allocated pages kernel threads can address without generating a page fault.

Finally, another corroborating indicator of insufficient RAM is Memory\Transition Faults/sec, which measures how often recently trimmed page on the standby list are re-referenced. If this counter slowly starts to rise over time then it indicate you're reaching a point where you no longer have enough RAM for your PC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Been playing with Perfmon and although I don't understand it fully it seems most of the counters are maxing out when I ask the machine to do something. So I've ordered 1GB of nice new RAM from Crucial. Still got some questions though.......

Should I Bin the old RAM, does it wear out?

If not, should the new RAM go in the 1st slot and the old ram in the last slot or doesn't it matter?

Whilst this will hopefully speed up the machine generally, do you think this will solve the problem of the start menu shortcuts being slower than every thing else?
 

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Just bin the old RAM. You should really pair them up if you have two sticks, i.e. 512mb in one slot and 512mb in the other, or 256mb/256mb. You shouldn't mix them up by having 1gb/256mb.

Also, when you put the memory in you will have to adjust the page file size:
Right click on My Computer,
Select properties,
Select the advanced tab,
Select perfomance settings,
Select the advanced tab,
Select change,
In the initial size box enter 1.5 times your RAM, i.e. 1536
In the Maximum size box enter 2 times your RAM, i.e. 2056
click Set
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Paul,

I've just looked at the current page file size and it's set to "System managed Size". Should I leave it or change it according to your above instructions?
 

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Oh well, if its sytem managed I'm pretty sure you can just leave it like that and it will adjust its own page file size. If you do have problems you can then try doing it manually as above.

System managed means that the system uses it dynamically, it constantly monitors and adjusts itself so it will maybe be quicker to set it manually.

Paul.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
All done now, I now have a nice quick machine so thankyou very much. It's amazing what you'll put up with when your used to it.

It's weird though, the start menu shortcuts are still slower than the program menu shortcuts. Perhaps I should delete and re-create them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
on my xp machines I user the classic start menu, it is much quicker.

try this little reg hack to speed up the start menu.

http://www.mvps.org/ecvogel/kb/XP_speed_up_start_menu.htm

HTH
Already changed that Carl, thanks anyway. It's not the whole menu that's slow, it's only the frequently used programs shortcuts on the left. But I'm splitting hairs now cos it's way quicker than it was with the new RAM.
 

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LOL good old MenuShowDelay=0

My colleagues in my last job used to joke that they could tell I'd been on a PC 'cos the menus opened quickly [:D]
 

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on my xp machines I user the classic start menu, it is much quicker.

try this little reg hack to speed up the start menu.

http://www.mvps.org/ecvogel/kb/XP_speed_up_start_menu.htm

HTH
Already changed that Carl, thanks anyway. It's not the whole menu that's slow, it's only the frequently used programs shortcuts on the left. But I'm splitting hairs now cos it's way quicker than it was with the new RAM.
It's also worth benchmarking your hard disk if a machine is responding really slowly.

HD Speed (45KB) from http://www.benchmarkhq.ru/english.html?/be_hdd.html is a simple freebie that'll monitor your read performance (DON'T enable write benchmarking on a partition unless you don't want the data on it...). Modern IDE and SATA hard disks from about 3 years ago to now should clock 45-70 MB/s peak. If a hard disk is knackered, you may see well under 2 MB/s to about 10 MB/s. Basically way out.
 

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A very simple cure may be to defrag your hard drive - you'd be surprised how much quicker it can make things. My start menu was lagging recently so I downloaded diskeeper 10 and defragged using that - it's made a noticable improvement.
 
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