You're in luck, Mblah. This is my area of expertise.
First and foremost, that computer has nowhere near enough memory to run Windows XP and do anything else on the computer at the same time.
What's causing your lockups and Firefox/IE or any other program to say "Not Responding" is since you don't have enough memory, the computer has to use
the virtual memory on the hard drive constantly. Basically what's going on is called hard drive "thrashing" where programs have to keep being moved
from memory to the hard drive, then the hard drive back to memory. This back-and-forth swapping of programs from memory to the hard drive and back to
memory is what is mainly causing your lockups, thus causing programs to "Not Respond".
It takes a long time for programs to be written to the hard drive from memory and vice versa and that's what all of your computer resources are
constantly waiting on.
Furthermore, your computer has an on-board video card, and that is taking up even more of the amount of memory that computer has.
At a minimum, these are the things you will need to speed up that computer:
1.) More memory.
If you were to put 2 GB (gigabytes) of memory into that computer, that would solve half of your problems. For that computer, it only has 2 memory
slots, so I would get two 1 GB memory sticks (to equal 2 GB).
For the sake of having a source (and price), I'd get two of these
2.) New harddrive.
The hard drive in that computer is a 4200 RPM hard drive and is a very slow hard drive. I'm not sure if that hard drive is an IDE Ultra ATA100 / ATA-6
or an IDE Ultra ATA133 / ATA 7. Best Buy's Geek Squad or any other computer store should be able to tell you what kind of hard drive interface is used
in that laptop. Since I can't see the laptop, I can't tell.
If your hard drive is:
IDE Ultra ATA100 / ATA-6
- I'd get this hard drive
IDE Ultra ATA133 / ATA 7
- I'd get this hard drive
Either hard drive above will be faster than what you have now.
Also, if your laptop didn't come with a Windows XP CD, then you'll need to buy one (if you get a new hard drive). You can
get it from
Best Buy or another computer store might be able to get the Windows XP recovery files off of your hard drive and put them onto another hard drive so
that you can reinstall Windows without having to buy a CD.
If you do buy a Windows XP CD, then you'll need to also download the drivers for your laptop. You can get those
Don't worry about downloading the "BIOS" or "Firmware" drivers. Everything else you will need if you purchase a new hard drive and a Windows XP CD to
install a fresh copy of WIndows XP. Also, install them in the order they are listed on the downloads page.
I think that's about it. New memory and slightly faster hard drive will make that laptop go as fast as it's going to go. The CPU is a single-core and
pretty slow, so don't expect miracles. But your lockups and "Not Responding" problems will go away. And the laptop will be a little more manageable.
I hope I explained it in a way that is understandable. Any questions, feel free to shoot.
** Edit to add: You don't need a new hard drive to speed up that computer. The additional memory alone will help a great deal and stop most of your
lockups. However, a little bit faster hard drive and fresh install of Windows will also add a little more speediness to that computer as well.
**Edit to add Part 2: The reason why the diagnostic tests came back fine is because there is actually nothing "wrong" with the laptop. It just has
insufficient memory, a slow processor, and a slow hard drive. Windows XP requires 512 MB just to function and that's all your computer has installed.
Your on-board video is taking up some of that memory, so that's even less memory for Windows XP to even function properly, let alone trying to run any
other program like a browser or chat application.
edit on 23-7-2011 by _BoneZ_ because: (no reason given)