Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Vista Running Slow and Locking Up Computer

I'm a freelance computer support guy. So, today, I am going to bore the lucky readers who are entertained by my mindless meanderings and try to help some people out.

My brother recently built a new system that I recommended. He also installed Vista 64.

It ran for about 2 weeks and then after an automatic update and some various software installs it started to "lock up". He'd have the hour glass (which, in Vista, looks more like the glowing spiraling circle of doom) and windows that were "not responding". He'd spent a couple of days cruising online forums trying to figure out what was wrong, but to no avail.

I have a theory that Windows Vista is a pretty nice operating system, but it's geared towards pre-built systems (like the Dells, HP's, Gateways, etc.). When you build a system yourself, you have to take the extra step to enforce Vista compliance (like chipset drivers).

Your custom built machine might have an NVIDIA chipset or a VIA chipset or an AMD chipset, etc. In my brother's case, it was NVIDIA. I told him to go to NVIDIA's website and download all the latest drivers for his chipset. Then, you do Windows Update from within Vista, but you tell it to "Check for Updates" (link in the upper left corner I believe). Instead of doing the express update, you tell it you want to pick. Generally, driver updates are considered "optional". There might be a way to change this. I'm not sure. Long story short, make sure you periodically go through your "optional" updates to make sure you don't need them.

After my brother did all of this, his Vista 64 system has been running fine.

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