Repairing an Intel Pentium 4 PC

Some time last month I took  on the task to repair a computer that belonged to a friend of the family. The specifications are as follows:

Intel Pentium 4 @ 2.8 Ghz
1.0 GB DDR
160 GB 7200 RPM
DVD Writer
Onboard Intel graphics
Onboard Sound
Windows XP Home Edition

I haven’t regularly used a Pentium 4 powered computer for a few years now, so I kind of wondered how it handled today’s websites and other tasks.

The user already started repairing the computer, software-wise at least, reinstalling MS Windows XP  with Service Pack 1 and a few of their favorite applications. I  continued from that point bringing Windows up to Service Pack 3, downloading  98 additional  (post-sp3) updates. One of the key updates was the Installer for Internet Explorer 8. version 9 is not supported for Windows systems running anything earlier than Windows Vista. XP SP2 also adds the Windows firewall to a little more security. For free anti-virus software, I decided to go with Avast! free 6, but Microsoft Security Essentials would have been fine as well.

The temperature  and fan speed readings looked fine for a system of this kind. Ran diagnostic utilities and they didn’t report any  errors either.

I took some to to test IE 8 and Mozilla Firefox on this system and while it’s still usable on the Internet for web surfing, streaming audio and Youtube. The low amount of memory  and old processor doesn’t leave you much computing power for anything else. Having more than one user logged on at one time would be a terrible idea. The user only does web browsing, music listening, image viewing and office productivity tasks.

There were a few other pieces of software I installed for them…

Microsoft Office 2007  (they provided their disc and product key)
Windows Live Photo Gallery (Far better than what’s included with Windows XP)
Upgraded Windows Media Player to 11
Upgrading IE  to 8 from the included 6
VLC Media Player

After a few final checks, I decided to hand in back to the user to take home. This experience just shows me how great even lower clocked (more power efficient)  dual core processor  can provide a better computing experience. Versus this system.




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