What else can I do to make my 5 year old PC run faster??

By fcui21 ·
I have a 5 year old HP Pavillion desktop PC with windows 98 that I've been spending quite some time on. I got it from my brother as a 'hand me down'; truth to be told, I took it as a project to work on so my 7 year old daughter could practice on it. Basically, I am looking to pretty much restore it to its original state (as in new). For the most part, my daughter would be using it to surf the net to look up her Cartoon idols and use Microsoft Word to write notes but that's pretty much it. I think I've done a heck of a job cleaning up the PC by deleting unnecessary programs thus creating space, eleminating obsolete programs, ridding it of spyware/adware/malware, and fixing the registry keys. I did this using various techniques and various programs such as Spyware Doctor, Adware by lavasoft, Registry Mechanic, CCleaner and system tools such as deframenter and scandisk. While it helped a lot, the PC is still fairly slow. Often than not, a blue screen pops up saying we have to restart the computer because an error had occured (stating "A fatal error has occurred"). Or sometimes the PC would just freeze, or certain programs won't open up. Any ideas on what else I can do? I appreciate it everyone, I apologize it's long but I'm a detailed kind of guy and looking for the same in return so I could fix the problems :)

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All Answers

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Well as you are doing things the hard way

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to What else can I do to mak ...

And have run into problems it would be better to do a clean install of 98 and if you didn't get the Recovery Disc and Manual with the computer you can download the manual from HP and the drivers if you can find a copy of 98 to load so that the hardware specific drivers are available to you from here

Or for a reasonable small price you can buy a Copy if the Recovery Disc direct from HP.

That will cure all your current problems except maybe the slowness of opening things and you will know that you have the base install of software for the computer when new.

If you want to speed up the system the best option is to add extra RAM and try to keep it all the same type & Brand so that you don't run into timing issues with the RAM.


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Ram Max

by GhostBrowser In reply to Well as you are doing thi ...

Windows 98 has a limit of 512 M Bytes memory on most machines
But 128 is the most memory it seems to need
A lot of old hps only had 32 M Bytes of memory
Bit small for Windows 98 Second edition

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No that figure should read 768 MEG

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Ram Max

As anything above 768 MEG of RAM required a Registry Hack to make Windows 98 read the extra RAM but I regularly was sending out computers with a GIG of RAM installed back in those days.

They all had 4 X 256 MEG Modules fitted and worked a treat but depending on the M'Board that you have this may not be an option as quite a few of those older M'Boards only came with 2 or 3 RAM Sockets in the HP/Compaq range.


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2 GB I think

by GhostBrowser In reply to No that figure should rea ...

Is the max for windows 98
But 512 is the most on some hardware
I have a pc like that
It takes 512 * 3

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bottomless pit

by WGS In reply to Well as you are doing thi ...

Technically HAL9000 gave you the best answer you can get.
For the proposed use of this machine I think you are heading in the wrong way.
Espacially a teenager should be protected by anti spyware and anti virus and personal firewalling, all running in the most sensitive mode. That will be a resource hungry environment which will never run nice on an old machine.
I would sincerally considder to buy a new machine which does not have to be a high end rig.
This will give you most probably an OEM XP install wich is definatly more secure and saves you an enourmous amount of time an frustration.
As you will have a bigger harddisk as well you can make an image of the machine as well for future restores.

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I would suggest

by ozi Eagle In reply to What else can I do to mak ...


I assume that the cpu speed is about 1 -1.5GHz and that you have 64MB RAM.

I would suggest that first you check the HDD with the manufacturer's test program to determine if it is still OK. If it is use the low level format to erase the disk, then fdisk it, format it and load Win98 from scratch and then reinstall your programs.

Extra RAM also helps, though a compatible stick might be a bit hard to find (EDO?)

Finally download and install AVG -antivirus, Spybot Search & Destroy, Adaware - both anti spyware and also zone alarm - firewall (though come to think of it, the latest zone alarm won't work with 98, try for an earlier version).


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Last Zone Alarm for win98 and Me

by GhostBrowser In reply to I would suggest

I have found is
Thats the name of the setup file

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Thanks everyone

by fcui21 In reply to What else can I do to mak ...

for your input and advice!!

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Old PC

by julejan In reply to What else can I do to mak ...

Just guessing it's likely under a 1ghz cpu speed and a Pentium 3.
You could run Norton's Windoctor on it to try to fix windows problems which could be causing the crashes but sometimes it pays to just let it give up the ghost with old stuff.
Especially when dealing with PCs, they become just too old and too slow for rapidly evolving applications.
I built a P4 3.4 ghz for less than $150 bucks.
Shop ebay and Pricewatch, you may be able to use the old case most of them from 2000 on being ATX or mini-ATX form factor, you will need a new power supply, mainboard, CPU and the proper DDR2 memory for whatever mainboard you start with.
Why waste good money on obsolete equipment?
The Harddrive sounds as if it is trashed, the crashes could be caused by a worn out HD, so I guess you need to add a new HD to that list.
If you shop around between ebay and Pricewatch you should be able to find some real bargains, use Pricewatch 1st in order to get an idea what things cost, then you will know a bargain when you see it on Ebay.
Staples has some great specials on Hard drives at times.
There are so many stupid bidders on Ebay that bid prices above what the item is worth, do your homework!

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Putting her on Win98 is almost a punishment

by jdclyde In reply to What else can I do to mak ...

future computer security is an issue as most vendors do not support Win98 anymore.

Compatibility wise, the files she makes at school will not be compatible, as this old system will not be able to run the newer version off office.

I would not put any money into a system that old, because it is just half steps that will not give much payback. If you can find cheap ram, max it, but anything else is a waste of money.

The BEST bet is a referb computer for $200. tigerdirect has a lot of them, and I am working on one right now, with zero problems.

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