|"Oh, I thought the problem originally was just a slow cd drive. Mine is a PATA drive and not a SATA drive.But could that make things install THAT slowly?"|
NO. That's not the reason everything is slow.
There is no advantage of an optical drive being connected by a SATA connection rather than a PATA connection other than convenience (if you have spare SATA headers but not spare IDE connections) - the max data transfer rate of PATA and SATA optical drives is the same.
The max data transfer speed of an optical drive is determined by the max speed current disks can be spun at safely without flying apart, which is already near the max now, and by the max amount of data that can be stored on one circle of data on a track on current disks. If the ratings of X speed at which disks can be burned is the same for a PATA or a SATA drive, there is no difference in the max data transfer rate of the drive. Combo DVD burner drives (read and burn CDs and DVDs) have a max data transfer rate of 66mb/sec, = UDMA 66, = Ultra DMA mode 4 in Windows, whether they're PATA or SATA.
32 bit versions of XP (all of them except XP Pro 64 bit) cannot use more than 4gb of ram - there's no point in installing more than 4gb, and even then they can't use all of the 4gb for data.
The 4gb virtual memory address limit for 32 bit operating systems.
An example of 3gb working better than 4gb in a 32 bit operating system.
See Response 6:
If your initial problem was merely caused by Windows being corrupted, re-installing it would have taken less than an hour.
Something else is going on.
You must load drivers after you have run Setup in order for Windows and the drives to be able to run as fast as they are able to, but still, that doesn't account for the degree of slowness you're experiencing.
Whenever you load Windows from a regular Windows CD (or DVD) from scratch, after Setup is finished you must load the drivers for the mboard, particularly the main chipset drivers, in order for Windows to have the proper drivers for and information about your mboard hardware, including it's AGP or PCI-E, ACPI, USB 2.0 if it has it, and hard drive controller support. If you have a generic system and have the CD that came with the mboard, all the necessary drivers are on it. If you load drivers from the web, brand name system builders and mboard makers often DO NOT have the main chipset drivers listed in the downloads for your model - in that case you must go to the maker of the main chipset's web site, get the drivers, and load them.
See response 2 in this - try cleaning the contacts on the ram modules, and making sure the modules are properly seated:
Check the ram settings in the bios.
Some ram manufacturer's modules do not strictly adhere to the JEDEC standards that most mboards bioses use to determine ram settings.
In that case, the ram settings in the bios Setup that the bios has automatically chosen may not be correct.
Check the ram settings in your bios - the ram voltage, and the ram timing numbers - those should be the same as for the specs for the modules themselves. Often the ram voltage and timing numbers are printed on the label on the modules.
If the voltage setting or timings settings in the bios are different from the specs for the ram, change them in the bios. The timing numbers must be as close as you can get to the same, or slower timings (higher numbers = slower) - you won't notice the difference the slower settings make.
If you have a mix of different modules
- don't mix ram that different voltages are specified for - the bios will force the ram to use the lowest voltage, if "by spd" or similar is used (default settings) - ram that a higher voltage is specified for is more likely to not work properly in that situation.
- the bios settings must be those for the slowest timing settings of all the modules, or slower (higher numbers = slower).
Test the ram.
If you want to try a memory diagnostic utility that takes a lot less time to run a full pass than memtest86 does, this one is pretty good - Microsoft's
Windows Memory Diagnostic:
Windows Memory Diagnostic is limited to testing only the first 4 gigabytes (GB) of RAM.
It can be toggled (press T) to do a standard or a more comprehensive set of tests - use the default 6 test one first - if it passes one pass of that, use the latter one. A few of the tests in the latter set are intentionally slower.
If you don't have a floppy drive, see the Quick Start Information at that Microsoft link for how to make a bootable CD of the Windows Memory Diagnostic (you need Windiag.iso - you don't necessarily need to use the program they mention to add it to the CD).
If you want to test more than 4gb of ram, use memtest86 ver.3.4 or lower (it has bugs that cause false errors in two of the tests on some systems that have AMD cpus), or memtest86+ (made by a different guy - it has bugs that cause false errors on some systems unless you disable Legacy USB or similar in the bios BEFORE you run the test).
If the ram does NOT test fine, if the Timing settings in the bios are correct for it, it's a lot more likely it's incompatible with being installed in the mboard, or you have a mix of modules that use different ram voltages, than it's actually " bad".
Tell us all the ram module brand and part numbers you're using.
When the ram tests fine,
- Check the Data cables.
It is common to un-intentionally damage IDE data cables, especially while removing them - the 80 wire ones are more likely to be damaged. What usually happens is the cable is ripped at either edge and the wires there are either damaged or severed, often right at a connector or under it's cable clamp there, where it's hard to see - if a wire is severed but it's ends are touching, the connection is intermittent, rather than being reliable.
Another common thing is for the data cable to be separated from the connector contacts a bit after you have removed a cable - there should be no gap between the data cable and the connector - if there is press the cable against the connector to eliminate the gap.
80 wire data cables are also easily damaged at either edge if the cable is sharply creased at a fold in the cable.
Try another data cable if in doubt.
80 wire data cables must have the proper end connector connected to the mboard IDE header - usually that's blue, but in any case it's the one farther from the middle connector on a 3 connector data cable.
Check your SATA data cables. The connector on each end should "latch" into the socket on the drive and on the mboard, or on the drive controller card - it should not move when you merely brush your hand against it near the socket - if it does, mere vibration can cause a poor connection of it - use another SATA data cable that does "latch", or tape the connector in place.
(There is a slight projection or bump on one side of the outside of the connector that "latches" it into the socket - it's easily broken off or damaged)
The same thing applies for the SATA power connection.
- test the hard drive Windows was installed on.
Check your hard drive with the manufacturer's diagnostics.
See the latter part of response 1 in this:
If you don't have a floppy drive, you can get a CD image diagnostic utility from most hard drive manufacturer's web sites, but obviously you would need to make a burned CD, preferably a CD-R for best compatibility, on another computer if you need to.
Seagate's Seatools will test any brand of hard drive.
Do the long test.
The bootable Dos versions of SeaTools can be used even if Windows is not working properly.
If the hard drive itself tests okay, any data problems found can be fixed, one way or another.