Dell Laptop Problems

Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop running WinXP SP3 with 512MB RAM became very slow and has numerous “The program is not responding” message problems. Chkdsk /R was run resulting in slight improvement, but problems persist. Memory passed tests with no errors found using memtest, and hard drive passed tests using Seagate Tools. SP2 was reverted to by uninstalling SP3 which didn’t help. Then the SP2 system was upgraded to SP3 using slipstreamed SP3 CD to do upgrade install which didn’t help, and repair install was done with same results. A fresh windows install was also done, but the same problems persist.

I noticed everything seems to work at normal speed without problems when memtest, Seagate Tools, Windows setup or other programs are running from CD, but many problems are encountered when booted to and run in Windows. Is it possible the memory or hard drive could still be bad even though they passed tests, or could there be some other hardware problem like cpu, motherboard or power supply?

Have you checked the device manager to see if your HDD is not in pio mode
(check primary ide controller) should be dma not pio

Before do anything else go to your control panel, then select "Administrative tools"
When that loads select "Computer Management"
then select “Disc management”

put your cursor on the boot drive (Drive C) RIGHT CLICK this and select “properties” from the popup menu.

Next to the pie chart of disc useage there is a button for disc cleanup, press it and say “yes” to all the questions

How much did it delete?

after it finishes close everything and Go to and download & install (choose “run” rather than “save” during the download) these three programs:

  1. Smart Defrag 1.50
  2. Defraggler
  3. CCleaner

While downloading/installing CCleaner and Defraggler uncheck the “Free Yahoo toolbar” option.

Run “CCleaner” first, but before you run it there are several items you want to uncheck from the default settings
"Cookies", “Last Download locations” (where you saved the last file you downloaded), “Autocomplete form History”" , “Search Autocomplete” before you run it… (unchecking these will save you an awful lot of retyping)

after it runs make a note of how much it deleted (it tells you) then close it

then run “Smart Defrag”.

when you first run Smart Defrag first go into “auto run” and uncheck "Enable auto defrag"
then into “Scheduel” and unselect “enable scheduel”.

The last version of Smart defrag had some “twitches” the current version 1.5 has eliminated those issues, there’s no point in detailing them, because they aren’t issues anymore.

THEN go back to the “Defrag Now” page, next to the start button there is a short drop down menu
select “Deep Optimise” and press “start” and just walk away… (this can easily ttake an hour or
more to run, but the countdown clock that you’ll see is a bit pessimistic, the time will diminish faster
than it says)

When it finishes open defraggler.

When it opens click “Settings” and when settings opens it’s drop down select the top item "Options"
when the item popup page opens select, there youwill find the top check item “Move large files to end of drive during whole drive defrag” check that box and in the now UN-greyed text below change the setting for minimum file size to 150Mb (preset is 250MB)

Go back to the main program page and press the defrag button (if you want to see how bad it is you
can analyse first)

after that reboot the computer and check performance…

Now Why do I recommend using two different third party defragging programs?
Because they each do their job a little differently and the effects of running both is superior to running only one of them.

the native drfragger is almost worthless, you tell it to defrag and it seems to
ague with you that you don’t NEED to defrag, then does a shitty job of it.

Removing and reinstalling SP3 probably didn’t do you any good at all in terms of file fragmentation and old (useless) registry files

Whenever I need to upgrade XP-SP2 to SP3 I invariably let Microsoft update do it.

However IF you use Windows media player do it from Cnet before you do any Microsoft upgrades
(save yourself from saving and installing incremental upgrades that are redundant with newer software)

Nothing like going directly to the source.

Reboot the computer and check if it still has the “slows” (which is what I call it when a computer does that…)

What Anti-Virus software are you running?

McAfee tends to clog up the works and I’ve never been a fan of Norton, both of which tend
(In My Humble Opinion) to be excessively alarmist to try to sell you the idea that they are working.


Given that it’s a Pentium M and GMA900 with 512Mb RAM in total I would imagine that it would start to crawl after a while. Get more memory since its most likely due memory starvation.

Upgrade the HDD and get a 2GB stick of ram to replace the old stick.

The chipset doesn’t do 2Gb sticks, 1Gb tops

Disk Cleanup and Defrag were run with little to no improvement, and the fact problems persist even after fresh install seems to indicate defrag isn’t the issue. The hard drive was upgraded about 2 years ago from the original 30GB drive to a 160GB Seagate drive. I’ve not checked pio mode, but I will check it.

You may also check the HDD - preferably with Seagate’s Seatools software.


Hard drive passed tests using Seagate Seatools, but I read in another forum that the hard drive could still be bad and still pass tests. Does anybody know whether that’s true, and also could the memory still be bad even though no errors were found by memtest?

Bad memory wont affect speed, just face it.
512Mb RAM aint going to cut it nowdays…

what Anti-Virus software are you running?


If the amount of memory were the issue, why would it run fine on 512MB for several years and suddenly develop problems that persist even after fresh install? F-Secure is the anti-virus running.

If the HDD is years old, then replacing it with a modern faster one will make a huge difference.

This HITACHI Travelstar 7K500 HD20500 IDK/7K 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache 2.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Notebook Hard Drive is fast.

Are there the same problems if you don’t have AV software installed?

Same problems persist even after fresh install before installing any programs. Device manager shows “DMA if available.” The drive at link in post #13 is a SATA drive, and this Dell uses a PATA drive that was installed just a couple of years ago. It’s a 160GB PATA Seagate which I believe was the largest PATA drive for laptops at that time. Today I noticed copy, paste, properties, etc. seem to function normally in Safe mode, but many things don’t run or aren’t available in safe mode.

[QUOTE=bevills1;2540332]Same problems persist even after fresh install before installing any programs. [/quote]Ok.

Device manager shows "DMA if available."
The usual question: What is the current transfer mode?

The drive at link in post #13 is a SATA drive, and this Dell uses a PATA drive that was installed just a couple of years ago. It’s a 160GB PATA Seagate which I believe was the largest PATA drive for laptops at that time.
Have you already checked the HDD with Seatools (for DOS)?


Problems were resolved by restoring Ghost image created April 2009, and everything’s back to normal. This seems to indicate there was no hardware problem and likely some program(s) were installed after the Ghost image was created that was hogging resources.