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Posted: 3/29/2006 8:00:10 PM EDT
You know how when you turn your computer on, you can hear the CPU fan start up and all the drives performing a self-check and all that other stuff that happens when you first turn it on?

Well, suddenly my computer is running very silently, and significantly more slowly at the same time. Although I can hear the fan running, it's distinctively more quiet. Same with all the other 'background' noises a computer typcially makes when you first start it up. It's acting as if it is running on... for lack of a better metaphor... fewer cylinders.

This started happening all of a sudden a few days ago and the problem has not improved. I have not knowingly done anything (such as installing any new software or change any settings) that would cause this to happen. I have rebooted the system a few times and nothing's changed. The computer was running fine just a few days ago.

What's really obvious is how quiet it's running and how slowly it's running. Usually, you hear the fan kicking in, the drives spinning, all that stuff. Now, it's just quiet and slow. Any ideas?
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 8:23:20 PM EDT
With it off, open the case up, clean it out with compressed air and/or a vacuum cleaner (carefully), check each fan by hand to see if any of the blades are stiff to rotate. Then turn it on and check for actual operation of each of the fans.

If I were diagnosing it, I would also verify the power supply output voltage to ensure that it's within specs on the +12 and +5 lines.

Jim
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 8:38:09 PM EDT
Virus or Spyware.
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 8:43:05 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/29/2006 8:44:20 PM EDT by hughjafj]
I hate when people ask us "geeks" for help along with insulting us as "geeks".

My answer is: if you're so fucking cool figure it out yourself or pay some "geek" who has to put up with your shit for money.
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 8:43:21 PM EDT
Take it out side, and wash it out with the hose. Make sure to open up all the cd and dvd drives and get them cleaned out as well.

Have you tried running an spyware program like adaware, or spy bot? How up to date is your anitvirus software, and the updates for your OS, hardware, and soft ware. What about a scan disk, or a defrag? All those kinds of things could lead to slow performance.

THat, and quit downloading all that porn!
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 8:46:32 PM EDT

Originally Posted By KS_Physicist:
With it off, open the case up, clean it out with compressed air and/or a vacuum cleaner (carefully), check each fan by hand to see if any of the blades are stiff to rotate. Then turn it on and check for actual operation of each of the fans.

If I were diagnosing it, I would also verify the power supply output voltage to ensure that it's within specs on the +12 and +5 lines.

Jim



The power supply was my initial hunch on the problem, but I am really hoping it's something not so complicated.

If I am to replace the power supply, what is the best way for me to make sure I get the right one and where do I get one?
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 8:49:13 PM EDT
Quit downloading porn? There is no reason to be drastic.

Two quickies.

1. What processes are running? You should know what ever one is. Google each one. It isn't hard. That should help a lot.
2. HiJack This! Download and run it.

If both those come back clean (which I doubt,) take the side panel off, spray it with dust spray (whatever it's called) and see if all the fans are spinning.

Then, get right back to the porn.

Link Posted: 3/29/2006 8:49:52 PM EDT
Originally Posted By BarnStormer:
Take it out side, and wash it out with the hose. Make sure to open up all the cd and dvd drives and get them cleaned out as well.


How long should I wait b/4 plugging it back in?

Roy
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 8:50:38 PM EDT

Originally Posted By niceguymr:

If I am to replace the power supply, what is the best way for me to make sure I get the right one and where do I get one?



Power supplies are universal. You can go to the geek store and buy one for about $50. You can install it yourself. It's kind of a PITA for non geek types because you have to unplug (and then plug back in) a lot of stuff. It's not hard just PITA.

Link Posted: 3/29/2006 8:52:08 PM EDT
a power supply shouldn't cause a slowdown. A bad power supply will usually cause things like unexplained reboots and crashes.

My hunch is, that if your computer is quieter something happened with a fan and the processor is throttling.
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 8:53:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/29/2006 8:53:35 PM EDT by LVMIKE]

Originally Posted By hughjafj:
I hate when people ask us "geeks" for help along with insulting us as "geeks".

My answer is: if you're so fucking cool figure it out yourself or pay some "geek" who has to put up with your shit for money.



No shit! Fix it yourself or pay for it. I don't walk into my mechanic and call him a dumb grease monkey....
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 8:54:22 PM EDT

Originally Posted By niceguymr:

Originally Posted By KS_Physicist:
With it off, open the case up, clean it out with compressed air and/or a vacuum cleaner (carefully), check each fan by hand to see if any of the blades are stiff to rotate. Then turn it on and check for actual operation of each of the fans.

If I were diagnosing it, I would also verify the power supply output voltage to ensure that it's within specs on the +12 and +5 lines.

Jim



The power supply was my initial hunch on the problem, but I am really hoping it's something not so complicated.

If I am to replace the power supply, what is the best way for me to make sure I get the right one and where do I get one?



Last time I replaced a power supply (when it caught on FIRE) I went to Staples, and they had an Antec 400 watt supply for a reasonable price. I needed the computer up and running NOW, so I bought it without shopping the online stores. I don't recall the price, but it was about as cheap as I could've found it online.

Unless your computer has some proprietary power cable configuration (does Dell/Gateway still do this?), you should be able to buy any modern power supply that is correct for your chassis (ATX is most common) and be good to go.

When in doubt, take your old one with you to the store. :)

Now, before you go dropping $50 or whatever on a new power supply, do test it. If it was FAR out of spec the computer probably wouldn't boot up. But the fans and the HDD motors are both powered by the 12v line, so if that's lagging, they'd both be slower to spin up and quieter. Still shouldn't boot...but maybe you're "lucky".

Jim
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 8:55:07 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Justa_TXguy:

Originally Posted By niceguymr:

If I am to replace the power supply, what is the best way for me to make sure I get the right one and where do I get one?



Power supplies are universal. You can go to the geek store and buy one for about $50. You can install it yourself. It's kind of a PITA for non geek types because you have to unplug (and then plug back in) a lot of stuff. It's not hard just PITA.




He could probably also talk the store into installing and testing it for him, possibly for free if he brings it in.

Jim
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 9:15:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By hughjafj:
I hate when people ask us "geeks" for help along with insulting us as "geeks".

My answer is: if you're so fucking cool figure it out yourself or pay some "geek" who has to put up with your shit for money.



lighten up fucktard.

i was using the term 'geek' as a euphemism for 'computer expert'

if it were such an offensive term, Best Buy wouldn't own the trademark for name "Geek Squad".

If I offended anyone else other than hughjafj (who is obviously a real life geek) in this forum by using the term 'Geek', I sincerely apologize. I was merely trying to get help. Sorry for any misunderstanding.
Link Posted: 3/31/2006 10:39:17 PM EDT
Yeah, bite me.

Yeah, sorry, I was a bit cranky that afternoon.
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 1:47:37 AM EDT
Hmmm, we have two sets of symptoms based on the description.

Less noise from the cooling fans and the system responce much slower than normal.

Spyware programs won't affect cooling fans, the fans are not software controlled. The power supply not putting out full voltage could explain the fans, but low voltage from the power supply won't make the processor chip run slowly. If the power supply is not giving full voltage to the motherboard for the processor and other items, the system is more likely to hang/freeze randomly. The processor chip does not increase/decrease it's speed based on changes in voltage from the power supply.

We still don't know what type of system it is (Intel, AMD) and how new it is. I know that newer processor chips from both Intel and AMD will deliberately drop their speed when the processor chip temperature goes over a certain level (it's controlled in the PC's BIOS for motherboards that support this feature).

If the PC has a reasonably recent processor chip, my guess is that the cooling fan for the processor chip is not running properly (less fan noise), causing the chip to heat up to the temperature limit set in the BIOS, which causes the processor chip to drop it's speed to reduce the amount of heat it produces (system now runs slower). This would seem to explain both less noise (fan not running properly) and slow system (CPU slows itself down because it's overheating).

With the PC turned off, open the case and with your fingers feel if the processor cooling fan turns easily or not. Then turn the PC on with the case open and see if the processor fan starts up properly (and all other fans as well. Careful of your fingers, it's not good to stick them into a moving fan). If the processor fan isn't running, turn the PC off and don't use it until you get a replacement fan. Overheating WILL literally kill a processor chip by cooking it to death.

It may actually be easier to get a complete replacement heatsink/fan combo for the processor chip and install it rather than just a fan, IF the processor fan is the problem. Any decent computer store should have replacement heatsink/fan combos for processor chips.

If the procesor fan is running normally, then the problem is something else. I'm not prepared to try to guess what else it might be based on the limited information you've given so far.
Link Posted: 4/1/2006 3:19:05 AM EDT
I had this happen to two laptops, even after I de-spywared them and virus-scanned them.

The solution? Open the CPU cover and blow out 3 years worth of dustbunnies.

Worked like a charm.
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