windows shows wrong CPU speed

January 29, 2010 at 18:33:31
Specs: Windows XP
when I right click on My Computer and go to properties, many times the processor speed will be screwed up. it is 1.8 GHz, but most of the time it'll say 792 MHz, ever once in a while it'll say 1.5 Ghz...and sometimes it is correct and says 1.8 GHz. Any ideas as to why this may be, and if it is slowing the machine down by only running at the 792 MHz, or is windows just yet again screwing with me?

Windows XP Home SP3

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January 29, 2010 at 18:46:56
You have something like Speed Step or AMD's Cool and Quiet running. That is for power saving and battery saving, if laptop.

If a laptop, when on battery, the CPU speed is lowered for longer battery life.

If a desktop, it is to keep them cooler and when more processing power is needed, the speed will increase.

Depending on what you have, they can be turned off so you have maximum CPU speed all the time.

Hope this helps.

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January 29, 2010 at 20:30:40
its a laptop, but it hardly sees the battery and it does this a lot when plugged in. But it is an AMD sempron cpu. How would I turn off that limiter and have max CPU all times?

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January 29, 2010 at 21:51:35
There's is no need to turn it off, if u try to run heavy tasks like games or converting the cpu will run at max speed.

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Related Solutions

January 29, 2010 at 22:54:18
You could force it to run full speed all the time, but you would not be able to run the computer anywhere near as long on the battery alone.
- settings in the bios? "Speed Step or AMD's Cool and Quiet running" ? (disable them)
- Control Panel - Power Options.
Set the Power scheme to Always on.

What brand and model is your laptop? Some, e.g. some HP and Compaq models, have optional batteries available that have twice as much capacity. The trade off is, the back of the laptop base sits up raised on the battery, which projects a bit (e.g. 5/8") , it tilts the base so the front still rests flat on a flat surface.
OR - I haven't seen this for recent laptops - some have two battery compartments. The laptop comes with one - you can optionally install two.

By the way, you don't need to buy the brand name's battery. Any compatible battery yiou find on the web will do that fits your model, as long as it has a 1 year warranty - that's the same warranty the brand name batteries have anyway.

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January 30, 2010 at 07:32:48
As the others have said, there's nothing wrong, Cool 'n' Quiet is enabled. It's a power saving feature that automatically varies the CPU speed based on load. If you were to disable it, your battery life between charges would take a nosedive. But if your laptop spends the majority of it's time connected to the power supply, simply disable it & the CPU will run at full speed at all times.

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January 30, 2010 at 09:58:40
In addition to the above comments I would mention that there is a good chance the Laptop will overheat if you run the processor at full speed 100% of the time. The throttling is there to allow more powerful processors to be installed in the laptop environment without encountering short battery life AND overheating. This is a problem when laptops are use mostly for gaming as the processor will be running at higher frequencies for longer periods of time and they do overheat.

As others have recommended, leave things as they are.

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January 31, 2010 at 11:27:04
It's just that the computer seems like a real dog and I have 768 MB RAM and a 4 GB page file. And the page file is on it's own partition of a hard drive...not sure if that matters, but I like to keep things seperated so on my C drive I only have OS and programs. All other files are on another partition. I just ordered 2 GB of RAM and that will obviously help, but it just seems it should do better than it is, when I only use it to surf the net and whatnot. It takes what seems forever to open IE and I have the home page set to blank.

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January 31, 2010 at 15:06:18
Download and run Ccleaner Slim to clean out temp files, etc. Get it at the link below.

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January 31, 2010 at 15:21:00
What brand and model is your laptop?

The specific model of a brand name system is shown on a label on the outside of the case somewhere, or it can often be determined by going to the brand name's web site.

The model is often also displayed on a logo (graphical) screen early in the boot, but it's often not as specific as the specific model number.

For Dell computers, they have a Service Tag number - the specific model can be determined by using that on their site, or can often be determined there automatically by you downloading some software. The Service Tag number should be on a label on the outside of the case, probably on the bottom on a laptop, on the back on a desktop, and is often also shown in the bios Setup.

As jam said previously:

"As the others have said, there's nothing wrong, Cool 'n' Quiet is enabled. It's a power saving feature that automatically varies the CPU speed based on load. "

Your perceived slowness problems have nothing to do with that.

768 mb is a decent amount of ram for XP. Adding more ram doesn't make a lot of difference, unless you have a relatively expensive or rare program that performs a lot better with more ram, with the exception that recent or fairly recent games may run perform a lot better with more ram.
Your major hardware bottlenecks are your (max) cpu speed, and probably your onboard video, regarding recent or fairly games especially. Your laptop is not a good gamer machine by a long shot.

If your computer seemed to run noticably better in the past with the same hardware, then it's very likely you have things going on in Windows that are slowing it down - that's probably the real cause of the perceived slowness .

If your C partition on your hard drive is too full, Windows will definately run slower. What's the capacity of the C partition, and how much free space is left?

"And the page file is on it's own partition of a hard drive"

In ME and below you could specify that your swap file be on a partition other than C, referably by itself, in order to slow down fragmentation on C, and to make sure you always have abig enough swap file. I do that in 98SE myself, and it works well.
However, from what I've read that doesn't work the same way for 2000 and above.

If you place it on another physical hard drive, e.g. on a desktop computer, you will see a tiny improvement in Windows performance, but you won't see much difference when it's on the same hard drive - the only advantage is C will get fragmented slower. (De-fragging in Windows 2000 and up is not as effective a tool as it was in ME and below - it gets fragmented again faster.)

This guy seems to know what he's talking about - see " Should the file be left on drive C? "

He says you should still have at least a small virtual file on C as well.

There are lots of software things that can slow down Windows.
Your situation is probably because you have accumlated a lot of those things over time, whether you were aware of that or not.

- Autoupdate's default settings periodically check for updates at any time when the time the computer is running, and when one or more updates is/are available it downloads it or them in the background immediately - that can big down your computer when you're doing something else as well, especially on a slower computer. I recommendsetting that to merely notify you when updates areavailable - download them when you choose to download them (nd choose to use the cpu time required.)

- many people get and load the Windows Search (Windows Desktop Search) add-on. It can be a cpu hog. It's supposed to make indexes of the files on your drive so searches are faster. If you take the time to deliberatey have it do that for everything you have - that takes quite a while - then it's not so bad, but if you don't do that, by default it automatically starts to make indexes in the background when the computer is supposedly idle, but it does NOT stop using cpu time once that has started when you resume doing something on the computer, for quite a while. I recommend you take the time to have it make it's indrxes, or un-install it, or disable it in Services in Windows.

- most people have a lot of programs that have been added by software installations that load when Windows first loads as Startup programs that they DO NOT need to have running in order to use the program - sometimes they load then unload, which isn't a problem, but many of them load and stay running all the time. Most of them merely make accessing some program feature a little faster, and can be accessed otherwise anyway, though you may have to wait a secnd or two longer for it to load.
Start - Run - type: msconfig , Press Enter.
Click on the Startup tab.
All the programs listed there that have checkmarks load as Windows loads. In most cases you can disable all or nearly all of them from running - click on a box with a checkmark to remove that.
When you make a change in msconfig (System Configuration), the next time you boot you see two System Configuration windows pop up.
- If you don't want to make further changes, click on the small square boxon the first window, then the secondwindowwill not pop up, and neither windowwill pop up the next time you boot and thereafter , until the next time you make a change in msconfig/ System Configuration.
- if you're not sure whether you still need to make changes, click on the large X top right in each window to close them. They will pop up again the next time you boot.

- some entries will re-appear automatically because they are actually loaded elsewhere - some entries will appear automatically when you use certain programs - e.g. Quicktime, Realplayer, Microsoft Messenger - there's no point in disabling those if you use them regularly.

- a annoying glitch is - entries that are disabled are NOT removed from the Startup list when you un-install the program they are associated with. Try to remember to enable them when you un-install the software associated with them.

- If you end up with identical disabled entries in the list, or identical entries, one enabled, the rest disabled, (everything on the line is identical, not just the program name), if you enable all of them, reboot, only one enabled entry will be in the list.

- there are other things but I have to do something else for a while.

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January 31, 2010 at 17:03:07
I regularly run C Cleaner. I also try to keep installed programs to a minimum. I was running McAfee and figured that was a problem...but I have completely uninstalled it and it still runs pretty slow. C drive is around 50% free...I try to keep it pretty clean. I have noticed that the windows defrag program isn't all that great, anyone know of a third party program? I guess it could be something to do with some start up programs, I will def try all of these recommendations...thank you

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January 31, 2010 at 19:56:46
What de-fragging program you use doesn't matter much - the result is the same more or less when it's finished. The problem is in 2000 and up C just gets fragmented again in a short time anyway. Your having the swap file on another partition slows that fragmenting on C down though. For modern computers, defragging doesn't help any more than a tiny bit in any case - it used to help more, when computers, hard drives, the front side bus speed, and the ram speed were much slower. If your Windows is still slow after de-fragging, you've obviously got other problems.

"I also try to keep installed programs to a minimum."

Think about it.
Software that is not running, data that is taking up space but not running, has no effect on the speed of Windows, other than when you're running searches, or running full scans with things such as anti-malware, takes longer, as long as you still have enough free space. You don't need to get rid of data to free up 50% free space - 10% or so is more than enough for a minimum .

Things that might have more of an effect?

If you have a regular XP CD, or the equivalent Recovery disk for your model (some are merely slightly modified XP CDs - you would have CDs for Drivers etc. as well in that case) running a Repair installation (Repair Setup) of Windows may improve things, without you losing your data you have added to the C partition, and it take less time than Setup does from scratch - less than an hour. However, there are things you need to be aware ofto be more assured it's unlikely to go wrong, and you may need to re-install some things such as some of your Windows updates after Setup is finished.

Things that WOULD have more of an effect?

If you install Windows from scratch, your Windows will be restored to working as well as it is capable of.
If you have a regular XP CD, or the equivalent Recovery disk for your model (some are merely slightly modified XP CDs - you would have CDs for Drivers etc. as well in that case - e.g. some Dell, HP, Compaq models that have XP) , you could re-install Windows from scratch, AFTER having copied the data you don't want to lose to somewhere. You don't need to be concerned about software you have the installation disk(s) for / have the keys for if applicable, or software you can easly download from the web.
If your CD does not have SP3 updates built in, it's advisable to make yourself a slipstreamed CD that has the contents of your Windows disk with SP3 updates integrated into it, and use that to re-install Windows from scrach.
SP3 updates don't cause problems if you do it that way. If you install SP3 updates after you have added a lot of software to the Windows partition, it's a lot more likely you'll have problems.

If you don't have a regular XP CD, or the equivalent Recovery disk for your model, if you have the Recovery disk(s) for your model, you could install that disk or set, and if it doesn't have SP3 updates, install them before you install anything else.

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January 31, 2010 at 20:54:54
I think I found one of the more major culprits for the slowness. My partitions are FAT32. Which I thought NTFS was much faster and he reason they don't really use FAT32 anymore. It's quite odd, because when I got the computer, I KNOW they were NTFS, but something happened and windows needed reinstalled, but manufacturors want to charge for a recovery disk now, and I I installed my bootleg version of XP Pro. Then motherboard failed and sent in for warranty service. It came back with the Acer version of XP Home and FAT32 instead of NTFS. Why would they do that when it was NTFS out of the box?

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January 31, 2010 at 21:07:45
I also found something else and wanted opinions on it. In the BIOS I can select 32, 64, or 128 MB of the system RAM to be dedicated to video. Wondering which would be best for speed of computer. I do not game hardly at all. Farmville is about it, and the VERY occasional emulator games that aren't graphics hogs. I understand that 32 MB will leave the most free RAM for the OS and other programs...and for what I do is plenty for video. But will it positively affect the speed of the computer by giving it that extra memory...or will it seem to be faster by having more memory dediated to video by the screen showing things faster?

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January 31, 2010 at 21:08:42
SOrry, to answer a previous question. The computer is an Acer Aspire 3000

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January 31, 2010 at 21:20:55
is there a way to setup up defrag to run automatically, like in the middle of the night when the computer is not in use?

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January 31, 2010 at 21:45:22
"Acer Aspire 3000"


" is there a way to setup up defrag to run automatically, like in the middle of the night when the computer is not in use?"

Not that I'm aware of, at least not for the one built into Windows.
It will take a lot less time to finish if you run it in Safe mode - otherwise lots of programs can cause it to re-start many times, making it take a lot longer to complete than it should

As I said above, "For modern computers, defragging doesn't help any more than a tiny bit in any case....." If your Windows is still slow after de-fragging, you've obviously got other problems."

By the way....

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.

E.g. If you have not installed the main chipset drivers, your USB 2.0 support will not be present if your mboard has that capability, and it's probable your hard and optical drives will be running a lot slower than they are capable of. For a laptop, you will probably have some devices built into the mboard that are unknown or don't have drivers in Device Manager.

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February 1, 2010 at 07:02:19
I know I have been rambling a bit, so it may have been hard to catch...but I did say that Acer reinstalled their version of windows when the computer was in for warranty work; so it should have all of those drivers. I went to device manager and it says Mobile AMD Sempron 3000+...So I would assume that the chipset drivers and what not are installed...and USB 2.0 works, etc.

These few things I have been trying seem to have helped some. But one question was unanswered. Don't want to write all the details again, but which setting for dedicated video memory would be best for system speed, or at least appear the screen showing things faster. Which would be best for now with 768 MB total..and for 2 GB total, cuz I just ordered some and should be shipped shortly.

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February 1, 2010 at 07:56:46
On many systems the amount you can dedicate is dependent on how much RAM is installed. On others there is a maximum amount you can set.

IMO, you should set it as high as possible without short changing the OS.

So, look at what is possible now and what is possible after you install more RAM. Try different settings to see. At some point you may see no difference. At that point back up one setting.

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February 1, 2010 at 11:18:33
The settings OtheHill is talking of are the settings in the bios Setup regarding how much ram is shared with the onboard video.
I agree with all of what he said.

I looked up the specs for your model. It was a "Value" system in the first place, mediocre performance for a cheaper price.
40gb IDE hard drive, SyS main chipset (boo!) .
1.5 hr expected run time on the battery alone (most laptop will run up to 3 hours, or up to double that with an optional battery - ).

The User manual for your model has minimal info. It doesn't even tell you how to change the hard drive or how to install and remove ram. No bios Setup info, but lots of laptop User or Owner manuals have no info about that, or they do have info but it's not complete.

A side note
- the User manual is for 3000/5000 - they use the same case. You MIGHT be able to install a 5000's mboard in this and get a lot better performance if the mboard has a faster cpu. Your cpu may be soldered into the mboard.

"..I did say that Acer reinstalled their version of windows when the computer was in for warranty work..."

The performance it had when you got it back is as good as it will ever be, other than tweaking the amount of ram and the ram shared with the onboard video.

768mb is a decent amount of ram for XP. I don't think the 2gb of ram is going to help much if at all.
The amount of ram shared with the onboard video is subtracted from the total ram installed to determine how much is available to Windows.

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