Windows XP – Desktop – Running Slow

Our local Netto closed down (I know this seems a strange way to start a post) and was replaced by a new, snazzy, Morrisons. Whilst shopping there for the first time I decided, on a whim, to advertise my business on the noticeboard. Seems it was worthwhile as this job comes courtesy of that very advertisement.

The problem? Slow running computer. Quite a common complaint. A quick review showed up that it was Windows XP, running with 512mb of RAM and 32mb of that was being used for onboard graphics. By and large XP SP1 could get away with using 512mb ram but as various updates are installed, and it increments to SP2 and SP3, 512mb really doesn’t cut it. That said it was running exceptionally slow, even given the memory shortfall.

Checking MSconfig revealed that services for both Avast! and AVG were running, as well as about 20 other start up items. Booting in to safe mode allowed me to remove the bulk of these (it was too unresponsive to attempt normally) and following this I uninstalled both Avast! and AVG and rebooted. The result was considerably better and the computer once again became usable.

I suggested a memory upgrade might be a wise move and opened up the side of the desktop. 2x256mb DDR dimms awaited beneath. DDR is getting on a little now and is harder to get hold of, so it wasn’t just a case of ordering some from PC World and picking it up the next day in store. I checked ebuyer and they had a couple 2x512mb DDR for £30, which seemed fairly reasonable. We went through the order there and then and they’re scheduled to arrive at the customer’s house Friday. I’ll go back over the weekend and slot them in for him.

Whilst the machine was running much faster, I didn’t want to leave it completely unprotected so set about re-installing AVG. It’ll have a bit of a performance impact but this will be sorted when the extra memory arrives.

Finally the customer mentioned that he used a headset for Skype, but the microphone being used was the one attached to the USB Camera, rather than the one in his headset. There’s an option within the Skype preferences to choose which microphone you wish to use, I just changed this around and saved it.

Sorted! I’ll be back over the weekend to fit the memory.

My Fee: £30
Parts: £30

Total: £60

As an aside I’d rather have charged less for this if I could, the job was reasonably simple. I believe in being honest with my prices so here’s a brief breakdown of what I’ll make from this one:

Two 20 mile trips eat in to petrol and I’m looking at roughly £7 for the whole journey, maybe more, maybe less. Roughly 30% of all my turnover goes towards Tax and NIC so that’s £9. So (without getting in to the nitty gritty of taxable expenses) I see £15.

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