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Norton makes laptop crawl

maranello
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Registered: 11-01-2008

Norton makes laptop crawl

I am looking for some advice to help out my mother-in-law (MIL).
She uses a low spec Advent laptop (1.4GHz, 40GB HDD, 256MB mem), mostly for keeping track of her banking, and emails to/from her friends. Norton is installed, not sure what the package details are but it provides anti-spyware, anti-virus and a firewall. I don't want to change this as it appears to be the most suitable 'install, subscribe, let it update, scan, do its job' package for her level of knowledge and experience. However, the laptop runs very slowly once XP desktop is loaded, due mostly to the disk activity associated with the automatic scan that Norton does at this point.
Is this usual for Norton? The scan can take 10-15 minutes, and although it is possible to use other applications during this time the response is slow and my MIL wil often try multiple mouse clicks when nothing appears to be happening. This then leads to some confusion on her part as applications pop up on top of what she is trying to use.
Ok, the easy suggestion is to tell her to wait until Norton has finished its scan, however I'm looking to give her an improvement in her experience and help develop her confidence with her laptop usage. Switching her over to broadband with Plusnet was one such improvement, she's getting download speeds of 5Mbps.
Is there any way of backgrounding the Norton scans so that other desktop applications take priority. Is it really necessary for Norton to do the scan every time the laptop is powered up, and can the scan frequency be changed?
Any advice would be appreciated, although preferably in terms a 'one spanner or below' user would be able to follow.
My other car isn't a Ferrari
50 REPLIES
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Registered: 02-02-2008

Re: Norton makes laptop crawl

Hi there. 256MB really isn't enough memory for XP these days. I would get that upgraded to 512MB before doing anything else; should be pretty cheap.
Personally I like the online scanning tools at Crucial www.crucial.com/uk as they tell you what you need and lead you to order it. And they're a perfectly good memory supplier.
Once you've done that see if it's still slow. Norton can do that if it "goes wrong" and not having enough memory will compound the problem hugely.
paulby
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Re: Norton makes laptop crawl

I'd just like to second what HPsauce has said.
256MB of memory is woefully inadequate for Xp.  It needs 256MB just to run the OS - every program that runs need additional memory and, if it's not there, things are swapped back and forward to the disc, slowing everything down.  Add that to the fact that Norton is a notorious memory hog, and your computer will slow to a standstill. e.g If a program says that it needs 128MB of memory then that's *in addition* to the 256MB that Xp needs. (Actually Xp will run on 128MB of RAM but with reduced functionality.)
Ideally you should add an extra 256MB of memry for each user on an Xp machine but the best advice is to put in as much as you can afford (a total of 512MB should be the minimum that you consider - i.e. adding another 256MB).
As HPsauce said - use Crucial as they'll tell you exactly what you need and guarantee that it it'll work.
If you don't want to change Norton, I'd definitely give the memory a go first as it'll also make everything else speed up (loading programs etc. will be quicker).
maranello
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Re: Norton makes laptop crawl

@HPsauce and Paul03
Thanks for the advice. I take the point about increasing memory, as I understand this could alleviate the use of virtual memory and avoid the bottleneck on hard drive access when the Norton scan is running. Having said that, I should have been more specific, the laptop is running XP home edition, same as I have on my own desktop which seems to run reasonably well with only 256MB (but without Norton).
Incidentally, is laptop memory any harder to install than desktop?
What may be adding to the problem is a residual disk scanner that came with AOL. I may try uninstalling the AOL software, and a bit of disk housekeeping first, and look into any scheduling options for Norton, before applyng screwdriver to laptop casing.
My other car isn't a Ferrari
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Re: Norton makes laptop crawl

Laptop memory is usually much easier. Read the laptop user manual to check, but normally there's removeable panel (1 or 2 small screws) on the base that gives direct access to the memory slots.
Please take this the way it's intended, i.e. to be helpful. Just upgrade the memory first then see how it performs and come back here if you have questions then. It really is that fundamental.
paulby
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Re: Norton makes laptop crawl

Laptop memory is reasonably easy to install - it's usually under one of the small covers on the back or under the keyboard (which should be easy to pop out).  If you have a look at the laptop manufacturer's website there should be something on there about haow to do it (or a downloadable manual).
Even after taking all the AOL stuff off I'd still go for adding at least another 256MB of RAM - especially if you're running Norton!  It shouldn't cost much for a 256MB stick.
It may be worth doing the same for your desktop - I can alsmost guarantee that you'll be surprised at the difference it makes (even if you think it's running fine just now!).
Edit - just checked the prices (for my laptop so yours may vary a bit) 256MB £17.61   512MB £18.79  For the difference in price I'd add 512MB.
Edit2 -Was typing this as HPsauce was posting - I agree with what he's saying!
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Re: Norton makes laptop crawl

Good advice from HPSauce...... one job at a time...... then if anything goes wrong, you should know what did it !... that way, you can say (on the forum)    I did this..... I did this.... I did this.... and then it exploded.... !  Cheesy well probably not that bad, but you get the drift ! ! Roll eyes
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Re: Norton makes laptop crawl

Quote

Laptop memory is reasonably easy to install

Except on my Dell Inspiron 2200...... for some reason they soldered it in, and I have to take it to a computer shop to get them to de-solder it, and put in the larger (memory) module  Cry  Cry  Cry
paulby
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Re: Norton makes laptop crawl

@shutter
One of our laptops is a Sony Vaio.  I had a moment of panic after I'd bought the 512MB module that Crucial recommended only to see the memory that was installed soldered to the board.  Luckily I noticed a socket for the second module (it was quite hard to spot though) and managed to get the memory installed!
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Re: Norton makes laptop crawl

My HP Business notebook has 512 soldered on, it also has a seperate slot which houses a 2GB stick.
maranello
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Re: Norton makes laptop crawl

Thanks again.
Quote from: HPsauce
Please take this the way it's intended, i.e. to be helpful. Just upgrade the memory first then see how it performs and come back here if you have questions then. It really is that fundamental.

I apologise if I implied that I would disregard your advice. My post reply was primarily to thank you both for taking the time to help out. I'm at work at the moment and won't be able to use the link to Crucial's memory tool until I can get on to the laptop this weekend. At the same time I can do the AOL de-install and disk tidying whilst waiting for the new memory to arrive. Will the Crucial site tell me how many slots there are and in use, so that I know whether to buy an additional 256 MB or a replacement 512MB?
Just previewed post and noticed the additional replies. Looks like the best bet is the find the cover and have a careful look inside.
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Re: Norton makes laptop crawl

Paul & James,  thanks for raising my hopes ! ! !  Roll eyes  here is a copy of the reply to an email I sent to crucial asking if it was easy to do ! ! Embarrassed
quote
Thanks for the email. You could upgrade to up to 1GB in the slot, however you would have to use a professional to access the slot and unsolder the module. If you are willing to do this then you can upgrade the memory.
unquote
So I am not too hopeful when I get around to upside downing my laptop ! ! Cry Cry
Any offers (near Portsmouth)
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Re: Norton makes laptop crawl

http://www.memory-express.co.uk/index.aspx?pageid=27&by=man&man=Dell&range=Inspiron&model=2200&utm_c...
The page above does read as if its a similar setup to mine and Pauls - ie a module thats there permanently, and another space for you to add upgrades.
I'd definately whip the cover off the bottom if I were you to take a look - should be a small screw (usually crossheaded) on a small inspection cover (around 1.5" x 3") usually with an crude image of a memory chip on it.
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Re: Norton makes laptop crawl

Stand by..... If I`m not back within 24 hours, you know what happened ! ! Cool Roll eyes Cool
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Re: Norton makes laptop crawl

maranello; absolutely no apology needed, I was in a hurry so no time to explain in more detail.  Cheesy
Basically the memory shortage overrides, confuses and compounds almost everything else so you and anyone else would really be totally wasting their time doing anything at all until that is sorted.
(that's the voice of bitter experience speaking  Cool )