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I am trying to fix my brother's computer for him. The original symptoms were that the computer ran extremely slow (like it took an hour to boot up into Windows Vista...hold the jokes please).

After quizzing him a bit and finding that he was downloading a great deal of MP3s from rather suspicious sites, I assumed he had found himself one or more viruses. So I then formatted his computer and installed Windows 7. However, during the installation, I noticed the disk still seemed extremely slow. Once I finally got Windows installed, I tried to boot again but it just hung (or was very slow - I didnt wait to find out).

Anyway, I once again booted off the CD and ran CHKDSK. It returned no errors or any issues whatsoever. So, I am now stuck. I cant boot the machine (Windows starts to boot, but never finishes). I cant seem to find any apparent problems. Does anybody have any suggestions of where to start or what I may be missing? I am completely stumped at the moment.

Updates The CPU is a dual core AMD. The computer just got slow one day according to my brother. However, it seems to be a hard drive problem. The computer works great if I do not acces the hard drive (boot off a CD for example). I checked the SMART and everything came across good there as well. I am really stumped.

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It would help a lot to know what hardware we're talking about (what CPU would be the most helpful) and to get some history on the problem. (Did it suddenly get slow one day? Was it always slow? Did it gradually get slower and slower? Has any hardware been changed, and so on.) –  David Schwartz Jan 7 '12 at 4:36
    
You could download and run a linux livecd like Ubuntu and check the S.M.A.R.T. of the drive. –  kobaltz Jan 7 '12 at 4:36
    
@David - Sorry about that...trying to do this on a phone. The CPU is a dual core AMD. The computer just got slow one day according to my brother. However, it seems to be a hard drive problem. The computer works great if I do not acces the hard drive (boot off a CD for example). I checked the SMART and everything came across good there as well. I am really stumped. –  JasCav Jan 8 '12 at 20:22

2 Answers 2

CPU overheating would be my guess. It can cause the computer to get absurdly slow. Check to make sure the heat sink is properly attached and the fan is spinning. On some computers, this can also happen if the RAM overheats.

Open the case and check for the obvious issues. Make sure the heat sink didn't fall off. Make sure all fans are spinning. If you don't see anything obvious and you know how to do it, take the heat sink off and make sure it's mated properly to the CPU.

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I would also check the S.M.A.R.T. status of the hard drive in question. Much of the time, you'll find that it is failing on heat related issues. This should give you a good idea if there is an actual physical issue, head issue, or actual defect with the drive. –  zackrspv Jan 7 '12 at 7:15
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I dont think its the CPU. Problems only seem to happen when I actually access the hard drive. Unfortunately, I am limited to the tools I can use as I dont have them with me. –  JasCav Jan 8 '12 at 20:26

Run a memory test? Either the Windows one (if you can get to it) or an app like MemTest86

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I am running the memory tests now, but I am not seeing anything after three passes. –  JasCav Jan 8 '12 at 21:02

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