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Author Topic: Help! (computer help)
Crimson
Geek
Member # 5163

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5
Icon 2 posted May 23, 2006 14:40      Profile for Crimson   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Slowly this little thing of mine is dying (found out today, if the notification area is messing up your computer is on the way out!) And now I have to decide if I should buy a new computer or try and fix this one (mind you I am a jobless, as of today until my work needs me again, college student. I need things cheap and easy!).

I run windows xp. You need more than 256 ram (what I have) to have it run in tip-top shape! I would have to buy some ram (I think you can do that) and I need to buy some more memory. I need to know how much I should buy. I would bring it into a computer repair guy, but hes mean and overprices like crazy and I couldn't talk him down to a price I could afford.

So my question is, would it be better to buy a new computer or try and repair this one? Also, how much of RAM and memory should I purchase?

Thank you. [Applause]

Posts: 106 | From: Michigan | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged
GrumpySteen

Solid Nitrozanium SuperFan
Member # 170

Icon 1 posted May 23, 2006 14:57      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Whether you should keep what you have or get a new one depends on the age and condition of the hardware, really. The older it is, the less likely it is to be worth repairing for anything other than sentimental/historical value.

What sort of computer do you have and/or what sort of memory does it require? If it's a bit older, you may be able to find memory for it for little more than the cost of shipping.

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Worst. Celibate. Ever.

Posts: 6364 | From: Tennessee | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
uilleann
Discontinued


Icon 1 posted May 23, 2006 15:06            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
How are you differentiating "RAM" and "memory"? RAM stands for Random Access Memory and is your computer's memory used for running programs -- RAM is like human short-term memory only it's far more extensive and can hold far more than a person can [Smile]

You may be referring to hard drive space, which people slightly mistakenly call "memory" (although it is analogous to human long term memory).

I don't understand why problems with the taskbar notification area indicate hardware failure. What exactly is it doing that suggests problems? Do you have specific messages that are appearing that you could relate to us? If anything, it would be full of junk from programs you've installed or from adware and other annoying software. The presence of a lot junk in the tray would also suggest that the machine is choking on you having too many programs running at once -- most tray icons are put there by a program and you may have all sorts of nasty stuff running in the background (that is, invisible programs) like spyware and worms that are slowing the machine down.

Sounds like your machine needs a clean out to me.

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Crimson
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Icon 1 posted May 23, 2006 15:39      Profile for Crimson   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
@ Steen: You see I couldnt tell you much. Im not a computer person. I know it is a dell optiplexgx110. it says it on the casing so I will go with that.

@ uilleann: that was explained to my professor. He actually works with computers alot so hes just not a teacher. [Razz] he said if there is less items there etc (sorry I can't remember exact wording) then its on the way out. I have cleaned as much as I can clean only programs on my computer is the programs that I need to use for things and I can't get rid of.

Defrag does nothing sadly.

Posts: 106 | From: Michigan | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged
uilleann
Discontinued


Icon 1 posted May 23, 2006 16:01            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If tray icons just disappear, your machine is physically dying? wtf. Do you know what icons are missing, exactly?

If this is Windows XP, it will hide icons when they're not being used any more, so that may be the cause, although I'd not expect them to randomly vanish, and there's a bit fat button to show the hidden ones.

But, pssh.... We had an IT company come around to replace the motherboard in our server at work. (The old one had corroded away(!)) So... while they were at it, they upgraded us from NT 4 Server to 2000 Server (not sure why), failed to preserve our domain and user SIDs, so everyone lost access to their local Windows profiles and all their e-mail and settings, changed the name of our network domain and thus broke our database, and changed our IP range from 192.168 to 10., killing our Internet access and putting our stand-alone copier/printer off the LAN.

Although they did send in another bloke to rectify the mess, we never paid them for their time and went with someone else.

That's how much credibility IT folk can have at times :) (I think some of the folk here, such as the dragon, have far, far more sense) There's always The Daily WTF and Computer Stupidities if you don't believe me. Professors, I'd trust amongst the least of all!

And no, defrag is a waste of time in my experience. It has its uses, now and then, but not many.

As for the specifications, hold down the windows key on the keyboard and press break (the key labelled "pause|break", three keys over from F12) -- this will bring up useful system info. The amount of RAM will be listed there along with your processor. Mine is an "x86 Family 6 Model 5 Stepping 0" (PII 333) but I hope that your machine will be more forthcoming!

(If you made it this far, clearly I didn't ramble enough ;) Need to try harder next time)

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GrumpySteen

Solid Nitrozanium SuperFan
Member # 170

Icon 1 posted May 23, 2006 16:43      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This link may prove helpful to you as you can download manuals for your system.

According to the manuals, your system has slots for two PC100 DIMMs which can be up to 256MB each. That type of memory is pretty cheap even if you buy it, but I'd try looking around on a local freecyle site and see if someone isn't just giving it away. You would want 1 or 2, depending on whether your computer has a single 256MB DIMM currently installed or 2 128MB DIMMs.

As far as the disappearing icons and such, what uilleann said about Windows hiding the unused items in the system tray could be the issue. If, not, your computer may still be okay as long as everything appears to be working. In this case, this article may help (although it does involve editing the registry, which you have to be careful about).

Finally, if the computer isn't behaving properly, do you have someone who can (and will) help you back up your files so that you can reformat the drive and reinstall Windows? From the symptoms you've described so far, it sounds more like a software issue and the hardware is probably okay. Reinstalling Windows would help with that, although it's a huge pain in the rear to go through that process if you haven't done it a few times before.

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Worst. Celibate. Ever.

Posts: 6364 | From: Tennessee | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
dragon34
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Member # 997

Member Rated:
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Icon 1 posted May 23, 2006 17:17      Profile for dragon34     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well, since my employer is donating GX110s to local schools by the dozen at this point, they fall into the 6 years old category. The ones we have are 667MHz P3s. Some of ours are still fairly reliable, but old and slow. They only have 2 RAM slots, which means the RAM you do have in there would probably have to be removed in order to upgrade your computer at all. Hard drives are pretty standard, but you're still probably looking at 150 - 200 dollars to increase your RAM to 512 MB and up your hard drive to 60-80 GB.
I'm inclined to say you would be better off either buying a newer used computer, as for 200 bucks on eBay you could probably get a computer that is at least twice as fast as what you've got, checking freecycle as Steen suggested, or trying to reinstall windows. Above all make a backup of anything you care about! An external hard drive is probably one of the best purchases you can make, especially if you have a computer that may be on the way out. Also, keep an ear out for tech-savvy friends with a new toy itch who wouldn't mind handing over their older toys for some cash to put toward the new one [Wink]

//has had to break the news that data is gone to *far* too many people

Posts: 146 | From: Central PA | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Crimson
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Member # 5163

Member Rated:
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Icon 1 posted May 23, 2006 17:59      Profile for Crimson   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ah I think I might go and buy a new one. Thanks for all the help you guys! [Big Grin]
Posts: 106 | From: Michigan | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged
merr
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Member # 2193

Member Rated:
3
Icon 1 posted May 23, 2006 18:07      Profile for merr   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
As you can see here I've got a computer to sell. Ebay failed and I don't feel like paying to relist it. If you wouldn't mind buying used instead of new, I'm willing to sell this to you for $300. I really just want to get rid of it. 1.3 GHz Celeron M, 512 MB RAM (DDR2), 20 gig HD, wifi, dvd-rom/cd-rw.

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"I wish they made a vending machine that sold vending machines... it would have to be real f*cking big!" -Mitch Hedberg

Posts: 179 | From: Ann Arbor, MI | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Crimson
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Member # 5163

Member Rated:
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Icon 1 posted May 24, 2006 03:47      Profile for Crimson   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
300$? Shipping included? Because Im not running out to Ann Arbor to get it. 300$ is a little steep for a used computer.
Posts: 106 | From: Michigan | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged
YaYawoman

Solid Nitrozanium SuperFan!
Member # 4505

Member Rated:
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Icon 1 posted May 24, 2006 08:37      Profile for YaYawoman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I just want to thank uillean for the link to computer stupidities. I was rolling around last night on GC to catch up and post a bit when I clicked to see what it was.

I was giggling so hard my incisions were sore and I got so sidetracked I forgot all about GC.

So thanks again I needed some giggles.

Posts: 765 | From: virginia | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
uilleann
Discontinued


Icon 12 posted May 24, 2006 08:51            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Don't forget to fax back all the pages you were reading when you're done with them [Smile]
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YaYawoman

Solid Nitrozanium SuperFan!
Member # 4505

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted May 24, 2006 09:26      Profile for YaYawoman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Dont worry I will. Just as soon as I get the darned foot pedal working.
Posts: 765 | From: virginia | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged


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