General Question

valdasta's avatar

Is there an easy way to find out if it is my operating system or my hard drive that is causing my computer to run slowly?

Asked by valdasta (2139points) April 20th, 2010

I pay for a Geek Squad plan at Best Buy, but they want to charge me 139 to fix my pc if it is a problem with my OS. If it is my hard drive they will replace it at no charge.

Is there a way for me to do a diagnostic test without using the Geeks? Is there a way for me to tell if it is the OS or the hard drive? Otherwise, I have to pay my money up front.

This is what I am really getting at: Is there an easier way to fix the problem if it is the OS, or should I shell out the bucks and call it a day?

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15 Answers

MrGV's avatar

What is wrong exactly?

LeotCol's avatar

Well if you have your OS installation disk then I’d boot up from that and there will be options to repair system and scan system etc. Its worth a shot even if it is the hard drive.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

A failing hard drive will give you more problems than poor performance. It is less likely to be your OS than your resident programs. Take a quick look at the lower right-hand corner of your screen, where your clock is. The more junk you have to the left of the clock, the slower your system is going to be. You need to shut down as many of those programs as you can. Instant messengers and antivirus programs are the worst offenders, since they’re running all the time.

You can get a quick look at all of the junk that runs when your system starts up by using the msconfig utility. Start, Run, msconfig (XP) or Start, Search, msconfig (Vista and 7). Look at all of your startup programs. Uncheck the boxes for everything you don’t absolutely need, and see if it speeds your system up.

And don’t use Geek $quad for anything. If your computer is busted, find some little guy who works out of a storefront or his basement.

MrGV's avatar

Before I pay anyone, I would go ahead and reformat and restore the computer using the manufacture’s restoration disk.

Tobotron's avatar

Sounds like the Windows OS generally…assuming you didn’t want to switch to Ubuntu Linux then there are a few reputable tools you can use to sort the problem. Of course a fresh re-install would have everything running quick but that’s not an ideal solution…

you’ll need this http://www.filehippo.com/download_ccleaner/

and the top from this page http://www.windowsstartup.com/download.php

run the cleaner on the first link and the registry cleaner…the second program finds all start-up programs and lets you disable them (loads of junk will be auto starting its hogging all the power!) disable most of these but the essential it will tell you if something is ‘essential’

you’ll need to restart for these changes to take effect…

if your hard-drive was failing more than likely your OS wouldn’t even boot I can say pretty confidently it’s not that delt with that problem in the past,

don’t pay that sort of money for someone to do what i’ve given you instructions for its money for nothing and 5 mouse clicks!

check out http://www.ubuntu.com/ if your not interested in playing games, everythings free and you can test run it just from the dvd and its free I switched 5 years ago and not bothered with Windows since, this is sooo easy and never had a problem ever!

valdasta's avatar

@Tobotron Can you run Microsoft programs on Uuntu? Don’t laugh at me if this is a stupid question. I am new to the 21st century

Tobotron's avatar

@valdasta yes you can although it does depend on the program, Ubuntu has an option to install something called Wine its essentially a whole bunch or windows bits that does its best to provide as much much functionality to any windows programs you might want to install and it totally legal.

it doesn’t run everything however Office 2003 though works fine this website tell you what works and what doesn’t http://appdb.winehq.org/

one very nice thing is by using a program called virtualbox you can run windows and ubuntu at the same time, I only ever did this when I was using Office 2007 you can see from this picture here http://cid-f4ab3bd462619566.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Public/Screenshot1Ubunutu-XP.png.jpg its not normally a cube its just an effect like when you alt-tab pretty though…

Open Office is Ubuntu’s own alternative to Office its not bad does the basics and you can try it on windows too!

If your not sure about it you can try this http://wubi-installer.org/ it installs Ubuntu just like a windows program on restart you have windows and ubuntu and if you don’t like it you just uninstall it from windows in a few clicks…

I am pretty pro Ubuntu but its only because I’ve found it to work, and generally it doesn’t really ever crash, stall, slow down etc upgrades are always free and the software too. If you try it let me know always happy to help…

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@Tobotron , utilities like CCleaner do no more than what an experienced user can do with Windows tools, and can be dangerous if blindly trusted. I’ve heard more than one horror story of how users have ended up screwing up their systems royally by letting programs like this mess with the registry. You just can’t go in there and start deleting things based on blind heuristics. I know there’s a backup and recovery option with CCleaner, but a casual user might not know how to use it.

If the problem is startup programs, and I suspect it is, then tinkering with the registry won’t do squat anyway. Part of the problem is computer makers, who load up new systems with crapware and don’t give you a good way to get rid of it when the trial periods expire. Then you have software and accessories vendors loading up their installer packages with more crapware. Who reads EULAs? A typical user ends up with 15 or 20 tray icons that they are clueless about clogging up their system and using up half their Internet bandwidth when all they want to do is boot up and check their email.

You can’t trust a third party utility to go in there and intelligently shut those things down, either. It has to be done surgically, and that’s going to involve some learning on the user’s part. No avoiding it.

Tobotron's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex true there is going to be some learning involved, I would trust ccleaner however its not too aggressive and alot of the other registry cleaners are and I would never use them.

The startup inspector I recommended is pretty easy to use or the user can get a member of the family to help them use it if there unsure it essentially removes the automatic startup privileges of the crapware you mentioned.

There is always http://www.crossloop.com/ which allows another user to remotely control the others computer. Its very easy to use if the user has a family member or friend somewhere that doesn’t mind taking a few minutes to fix their OS with the information I’ve provided thus far.

I’m really just surprised BestBuy or what ever in the US is able to charge this sort of money! I remember doing a project on them at university and their upper management almost destroyed the business a few years ago maybe this is their way of re-cooping funds ha :S

Axemusica's avatar

not mine @Tobotron I have quite a few back doors closed. Everytime I do a wipe or start with a new OS I always tweak to my liking. This involves turning off many services I wouldn’t use. Remote access, being one of them.

valdasta's avatar

@Tobotron Would you recomend buying the full version of the registry tools you posted? Doesn’t Microsoft “disc defragmentor” and “clean-up” do the same job or are they pretty superficial?

valdasta's avatar

@Tobotron If I were to install ubuntu, would I be able to use my backup disk to restore some of my files?

If I decided to give Ubuntu a try, would it be a waste of my time and money to use the tools you posted?

Axemusica's avatar

@valdasta “disc Defragmentor” & a registry repair tool are two completely different things. I wouldn’t suggest you using a registry tool without proper guidance. Ubuntu doesn’t have a registry I believe, I dunno, I’m not Linux savvy, so I do believe registry tools would be useless if you did go with Ubuntu.

Tobotron's avatar

@valdasta I don’t know the details of your backup disk if you burnt it yourself then yes you could restore ‘my documents’ for example…

Ubuntu uses packages so there is no registry its the same with Mac’s so you wouldn’t need those tools, Ubuntu doesn’t slow down as you use it over periods of time partly for this reason…

I think if you decided to try Ubuntu then do, see if you like it and if you do there’s not a great need to get the windows dimension speeded up…if you don’t like it either try the advice I posted, all else fails see the price difference between getting it looked at by your retailer geek squad and just buying a new one!

Just a note you can access the windows system from Ubuntu (Computer double click ‘filesystem’ navigate just like in Windows) and from there you can copy your documents across.

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