January 5, 2012
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Ugh – feeling intelligence challenged again today. Another “slow” laptop came my way again today. It is kind of like that illusion where the moon looks larger at the horizon. An older computer often seems slower. Sometimes there are definite issues, but other times not so much.
Anyhow, this laptop WAS incre d ib l y, s l o w. So I was off and running to chase down the cause of this semi comatose PC. After patiently starting it up (while running 120+ Windows updates on two other laptops, going through the morning email, and updating some inventory lists), I was able to check to make sure the HDD was running in Ultra DMA Mode (and it was). N e x t I (had coffee, and moved several surplus iMacs to the hallway whilst I) defragged the HDD and ran a chkdsk. Both of these went well enough. The Task Manager showed the CPU usage bottoming out at about 30%. The bottoming out was quite pronounced, with never a dip below. FINALLY, when checking the system properties yet again, I noticed that the CPU speed was abysmally slow (something like 384 MHz). A reboot followed by a visit to the BIOS setup revealed the ugly truth that, for whatever reason, this laptop was running a wee bit slow.
I tracked down this post which mentioned resetting the BIOS. After a quick check into the BIOS I found an option to reload the default settings. Following a much quicker reboot, the BIOS reported a more welcome clock speed. It remains to be seen if there is an issue which will again put the brakes on this unit. But for now, we are off and running again.
Update January 19, 2012: Well, it didn’t take long for it to revert to it’s old ways. A motherboard problem, I’m guessing. We will let it slowly fade into the past, and send it off for replacement.