Low Windows Resources

1:36:00 PM |

Problem: Slow video response may be caused by low Windows resources. Regardless of which os I install, and I've done a clean reinstall on Windows 98, Windows 98SE and Windows Millenium Edition Beta 3, I run into a strange performance hit. After 30 seconds to 3 minutes of heavy video usage (usually a game) the video suddenly becomes jerky and slow. Takes a reboot to fix.
Using Norton Utilities troubleshooting benchmarking, the system hits the PII 450 mark before the problem with a score of 205. After the problem is induced, the score drops to 73. A 233 Pentium benches at 57.
I've tried new drivers, program and os reinstalls, but nothing seems to fix it. The problem appeared while gaming with no changes to the system. One person suggested an IRQ controller may have failed. Another is sure it's my mother board. Any suggestions?
My system config is as follows: Epox EP-61BXA-M Mother board, Intel PII 450 CPU, 192 meg PC-100 ram, Western Digital 15.2 Gig 7200 RPM HD, Creative Labs 52x CD, Sony Superstation tape drive, floppy, Voodoo 3 3000 AGP Video, Creative Labs Awe-64 Sound Card, Intel Pro 2100 DSL Modem, Realtek 10/100 NIC, Current O/S Windows Millenium Edition Beta 3.
Answer. The fact that your computer locks up the same way every time, leads me to believe you have a problem caused by low Windows resources. Adequate Windows resources must be available for Windows to run efficiently. When you boot up, you should have at least 50% of free Windows resources. A quick way to check free resources is to go into the Windows Control Panel and click on Help/About and it will report your free resources. System Tools in Win98 also has a resource monitor which is also a good tool.
After your machine slows down, you should check your resources again. If you have less than 10% free resources, you are probably experiencing slow downs from your software.
Running programs can be identified by pressing and holding down the Ctrl + Alt + Del keys and then releasing them all at once. You should see a list of all running tasks on your computer. All the tasks are consuming some of your Windows resources. You can experiment with closing these programs one at a time and seeing what impact they have on your resources (avoid closing the Windows system programs Explorer and Systray).
Another thought I have is that your LAN software/hardware is causing the problem. LANs are big resource hogs. Disable your LAN card in the Control Panel System Settings (click on the LAN card and choose "disable in this hardware profile" and then reboot). Try your game again.
My last idea, is it is possible your friends are right. To test for hardware problems, run a virus checker and then follow the advice in our indexed articles on reloading Windows from scratch (I know you already tried this, but it is important to start with a clean machine).
Load Windows98. Disable in Windows or physically remove all unnecessary devices, LAN cards, modems, sound cards, SCSI cards etc. Load and run a game other than the one you were using when the problem first occurred.
If the problem reoccurs, then remove or disconnect from the motherboard all unnecessary devices other than the keyboard, drives, mouse, and monitor. Try a different game to make sure the problem is persistent. Remove and reinsert all remaining motherboard cards, DRAM, and motherboard power cables. Restart the computer and try the game again.
If the problem persists from this point, you have loaded corrupt drivers or you could have a hardware problem. If you can borrow a different video card and test your machine with it, you would know if your video card is the cause of the problem. This would then leave the motherboard as the root of the problem.
If the problem doesn't reoccur after trying the game, then enable or reinstall your cards one at a time. Test Windows after each new card and driver is added. You should be able to pinpoint the offending peripheral/driver if one still exists.
Problem: Low Windows Resources causing reboot. I am running 128 meg ram on PII 400 and frequently get low system resources- even when I empty the system tray and quick start. I only run Noton antivirus when I need it. Disabling my active desktop (which I like to use extensively as a menu system with linked html files) also does not solve the problem. Nor does using min. colours with icons. I just upgraded from 32 megs ram and everything is running much quicker but it has not solved the resources problem. What the heck are system resources anyway and how can one increase them? Only rebooting refreshes them for a while. As I type this they read at 35%. Do I need to reboot once every few hours of use in order to refresh them? (seems crazy) Any suggestions?
Answer. System resources are the memory management areas of Windows. All programs running in Windows use a certain amount of Windows resources. Running programs can be identified by pressing and holding down the Ctrl + Alt + Del keys and then releasing them all at once. You should see a list of all running tasks on your computer. All the tasks are consuming some of your Windows resources.
You can experiment with closing these programs one at a time and seeing what impact they have on your resources (avoid closing Windows system programs Explorer and Systray).
Another thought I have is that you need to update your Windows version and IE Explorer with Microsoft's latest patches. It is possible that you browser or Windows version is causing the problem.
While the Windows System Tools track free resources, there are also many shareware and commercial utilities programs that will monitor system resources. Use of these programs might also help you narrow the problem down.
Problem: Windows Resources do not increase when RAM is added. I have a amd-k6-2 450mz 64megs ram. When I first boot and go to system resources it shows 75%. I upgraded with another 64megs totaling 128megs. After booting I go directly to system resources and it still shows 75%. Shouldn't this number be higher now that I increased ram? memory check shows 128k which I assume means I installed the chip properly. I have no programs set to start when computer boots. What is using up 25% of memory?
Answer. Windows resources are used by the Windows operating system, and all hardware devices and software programs. Windows also reserves a chunk of memory for its cache. Provided you had enough RAM to run your computer efficiently to begin with, you will see a very small change in the percentage of resources available when you increase your computer's RAM.
However you should be able to run more software programs at once without experiencing hard drive spooling, and some of your programs will run faster if they can take advantage of the larger memory space.
To review Windows' resource usage do the following:
Open the System Properties dialog box by clicking Start, pointing to Settings, clicking Control Panel, and then double-clicking System. Click Computer, and then click Properties. To see which resource settings are in use, click the View Resources tab, and then click a resource type at the top of the dialog box.
Low Windows Me Resources causes excessive hard drive use. When I used Windows 98 SE, I never had a problem with my computer locking up. When I got Windows ME, one common problem started to happen. When my hard drive is running in ME, my computer will occasionally lock up, or so it seems. The HDD light stays lit, and in anywhere from 10 secs. to 5 minutes the computer gets going again, right where it left off. If there was sound playing at the time of lock up, the note (or the repeating few notes), will keep going until the HDD decides to get running again. After this happened for awhile, I decided to uninstall ME. Once again, 98SE had no problems. I reinstalled ME again...Same problem. HELP!!
Answer. It appears that you have some sort of background task running that is using most of your computer's resources.
Assuming you have adequate RAM and hard drive space to run all your programs (at least 64 MB of RAM and at least 400 MB free on your C: drive if you use System Restore as recommended by Microsoft) we can eliminate disk spooling.
So then the question becomes,"Which background task is running?"
After Windows starts, press the Ctrl, Alt, and Del keys at the same time to bring up a Window of all running tasks. Scan the list of programs for virus checkers, defrag and scandisk programs, or any other unknown app. You can close suspicious tasks and see if this corrects the problem (don't close Window's tasks).
Other things to check include your Power Management settings (in your BIOS and in Windows), if the hard drive is selected to power down after a period of idle time this could be causing your problem and also review managed programs in Task Scheduler (which runs background tasks).
Another thought is you might want to try turning off Window's System Restore. This is an excerpt from Microsoft's site reguarding System Restore:
"System Restore creates regular scheduled checkpoints even if you have not made any changes to the system. System Restore automatically creates these checkpoints:
"Every 10 hours that your computer is on
"Every 24 hours in real time
If your computer is off for more than 24 hours, System Restore will create a checkpoint the next time you turn it on. The computer must be idle for a few minutes before System Restore will create a scheduled checkpoint.
"Selecting a scheduled checkpoint will roll back Windows and programs to the state they were in at that time. Any files with well-known file extensions (such as .doc, .htm, .123, and so on) and all files in the My Documents folder will not be restored."