Help with an old PC laptop

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by dta, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. dta macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2011
    Hi everyone! I have a 7/8 years old PC laptop . It runs Windows XP SP3 has 512 mb RAM with Pentium 4 3.06 Ghz processor and it is painfully slow. It has it harddisk running all the time a few minutes after I connect to the internet and it becomes unresponsive for 20, 30+ minutes. I think it might have some sorts of malware in it, but I scanned it with both Macaffee and Microsoft's virus scans and couldn't find anything.

    It is so old anfd I don't intend to use it much more but I have a couple of questions:

    1) If I back some of its disk to an external harddrive, do I have a risk of contaminating the external harddrive with malwares as well?

    2) Is there any practical thing that I can do to this machine to make it work as it was a few years ago?

  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    If there is malware on the Windows PC and you copy it to an external HDD and connect that external HDD to your Mac, the malware can do NOTHING, as it was written for Windows and CANNOT be executed in Mac OS X.

    Get a Windows CD or the OEM CD that came with that PC, erase the partition Windows is installed onto an reinstall Windows and then only the applications you need.
    A 7 to 8 year old Windows installation can get quite unresponsive if not properly cared for.
  3. dta thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2011
    Great! But I have a risk using that external drive for a PC to PC transfer right (office computer is PC and the external harddrive already has back up of the office computer)? Any shortcoming to this risk?
  4. roadbloc macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
  5. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    If it with PC (Personal Computer) you mean a Windows computer and you use the HDD to transfer between Windows computers and you have some kind of malware on the external HDD and the other Windows computer has no up to date AV software running, you run the risk of infecting that other Windows PC. AVG and Microsoft Security Essentials are often recommended when it comes to protecting Windows from malware. They are both free and relatively resource-friendly. I recommend using one of them on all your personal computers.
  6. eljanitor, Mar 2, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2011

    eljanitor macrumors 6502


    Feb 10, 2011
    1) If McAfee isn't up to date with the current virus definitions then it's just looking for what it has in its definitions database at the last update and it wont catch all the goodies that are out there today. Windows antivirus pretty much does a minimal job at best to protect against malware and viruses, so it's really not all that great or useful. You could download a program like Spybot Search and Destroy which is freeware with the option to donate. That works pretty good at catching all the little windows nasties out there.

    2) As it was stated earlier you can install an earlier version of windows like Windows 2000 or even 98 if you like as long as you have the disk. For Windows XP system requirements go here: Some of the sad sorry truths of the Windows operating system are that over time it just gets slow without constant maintenance. Every single version through Windows 7 does this.

    These are great answers to your questions too:
  7. 7on macrumors 601


    Nov 9, 2003
    Dress Rosa
    Reinstall Windows is a start.

    Alternatively I'd recommend a linux, Ubuntu is a good start for a beginner. It uses fewer resources than XP so generally on older hardware it is quite snappy. I'm running ubuntu on a P4 1.6Ghz with 384MB of RAM and it is quite snappy for it's age.
  8. linkedPIXEL macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2011
    I would recommend you scan your computer with Spybot Search & Destroy as well as AdAware. These free apps can detect and remove malware and spyware that many virus scanners tend to skip over.

    You can format and reinstall Windows to get your computer back to its original state, but make sure you backup anything of importance before formatting since that'll erase everything from the drive.
  9. Mousse macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2008
    Flea Bottom, King's Landing
    Is the HD nearly full? It sounds like you have a badly fragmented VM swap file.

    Copy all your docs off the drive, format and reinstall XP. Or take it to the Geek Squad and they'll do the same without backing up your data.

    Once that's done, set up a non-admin account. Use that for day to day computing. That's how I run my machine at work; no Norton, no anti-malware. Honestly, the cure is sometimes worst than the problem with Windows Anti-malware.:rolleyes:
  10. dta thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2011
    Thank you for your replies. I will try to scan the disk with AdAware, Spybot, and malwarebytes. I hope I can catch something, but the McAfee was using the latest definitions. Also I defragmented the disk a few months ago, so I suspect disk defragmentation is an issue. The HD has at least 7 GB free space (out of 40). Maybe the registry is corrupt.. One thing that keeps me worry about formatting the computer is I am scared to contaminate the backup storage, maybe I will just sacrify a small old external hd for this issue - will probably reinstall XP, although I understand linux is more efficient.

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