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  1. #1
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    Puzzling advice from Dell: delete JPGs

    My wife has been plagued by poor performance on her Dell desktop. When she talked to Dell tech support about it they said she has too many JPG files on her hard disk (from her photography) and she needs to delete a lot of them. She has been in contact with at least one other person who told her that Dell gave him the same advice.

    I want to be able to think constructively about her computer's performance problem, but I don't know what to make of this. I can't imagine why storing a lot of JPGs on the disk would affect performance, or why deleting them would improve it. I've considered several obvious possibilities (e.g. the disk is almost full and this is a way to create free space), but none of them seem to apply.

    Does anyone understand what Dell is trying to accomplish here?

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    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    Do you have a photo organizing app running in the background? Run MSConfig and click on the start tab. Uncheck any apps you don't need. If unsure do a web search on the app. A good resource is Startup Database . If the PC has 512 megs of memory or less, adding more memory will help a lot.

    Jerry

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    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    I think the word I'd use for that advice is Rubbish. A JPEG will be no different from any other file occupying space. The only reason that the Dell techie might be correct is if there is insufficient free disk space available on the disk, as you have already said. Right click on the disk in Windows Explorer or in My Computer and choose Properties, and say how big the disk space is and how much free space there is on it.
    BATcher

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    I 100% agree with BATcher. Since this is a desktop, you might want to just add a large disk and move the files there. A general rule is that the OS disk (system disk) should have 20% free.
    Chuck

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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I've considered several obvious possibilities (e.g. the disk is almost full and this is a way to create free space), but none of them seem to apply.
    If one is running out of disk space, then absolutely yes, something does need to be deleted. Another internal HDD will solve the problem.

    Need more information;
    Total hard drive disk size
    Amount of data on disk in GBs


    SpaceSniffer 1.1.3.0
    A decent program that requires no installation, that will give you a graphical
    representation of what is taking up HDD space.

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    We talked about this and reached a better understanding of what it’s useful for me to try. She doesn’t want to mess with the start-up programs; she feels that the risk of creating problems is too great. So, I didn’t get a list of them. I can say that there seem to be a lot of them… I’d guess a couple of dozen.

    Free disk space is not the problem. The drive has about 400 GB of space, and about 120 GB is free.

    We discussed her AV program. She’s using a version of Norton provided by our ISP. It has been a constant source of problems for her, but she doesn’t want to switch because in her experience Norton is the only one that prevents her system from getting infected.

    I suggested starting over from scratch with a new hard disk and a retail version of Windows, keeping the original disk as a fallback and ultimately reserving it for data. She likes that idea, and we may well do it when we have time.

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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    We discussed her AV program. She’s using a version of Norton provided by our ISP. It has been a constant source of problems for her, but she doesn’t want to switch because in her experience Norton is the only one that prevents her system from getting infected.
    Perhaps you could talk her into purchasing the latest version of NIS for XP if the ISP's version is not. She may also tweak NIS for better performance as well, but she would be far better off with tweaking the latest version.

    I suggested starting over from scratch with a new hard disk and a retail version of Windows, keeping the original disk as a fallback and ultimately reserving it for data. She likes that idea, and we may well do it when we have time.
    That's not a bad idea, 280GB is a lot of data to reside within an operating system's primary partition.
    But rather a clean install, the new hard drive could be used as a secondary drive to transfer storable data to, like photos and documents. What you need in part, is a partition or separation of operating system data from storable user data.

    Also consider going through the "Add/Remove" programs section in control panel and uninstalling seldom used programs and junkware left over from an OEM installation, if applicable.

    In the end though, nothing is a better performance enhancement than a clean install from a fresh non OEM Windows installation disk. At least you could decide what to install, and configure those programs that are not mission critical to not have a system start up presence.

    Many if not most programs, absolutely do not need to have a start up presence within the boot cycle.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2011-02-18 at 20:04.

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    Insufficient RAM is a likely problem, but easily fixed. Run the Task Manager (Ctrl-Shift-Esc or click Start-Run-taskmgr). Tell us two figures: Physical Memory (K) Total, and Commit Charge (K) Total.
    Unless Physical exceeds Commit by a reasonable amount, say 50MB-100MB (50,000 - 100,000K), performance will suffer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jsachs177 View Post
    We discussed her AV program. She’s using a version of Norton provided by our ISP. It has been a constant source of problems for her, but she doesn’t want to switch because in her experience Norton is the only one that prevents her system from getting infected.
    Perhaps she only thinks she is not infected because she has chosen to ignore the possibility that some of her startup programs are malware.

    CCleaner has tools / Startup which lists things that can startup with Windows,
    and you can choose to either Enable or Disable each individually,
    and if you change your mind just run CCleaner again and reverse what you did.
    There is also a Delete option - but that cannot be reversed.

    AutoRuns from SysInternals is a more powerful tool, but probably not suitable for a beginner.

    Alan

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    Possibly not saving thumbnails

    One idea that comes to mind is the possibility that you have configured your system not to save thumbnails. This would cause XP to rebuild thumbnails every time a jpg folder is opened in an explorer window. If the folder contains a large number of jpgs then performance will suffer while the rebuild is in progress. If this is the case either enable thumbnail caching or make more folders with fewer files.

    Same thing applies if you are using a program to browse your photos. For example, if you are using FastStone, make sure you have configured "use thumbnail database".

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    Quote Originally Posted by rjdegraff View Post
    One idea that comes to mind is the possibility that you have configured your system not to save thumbnails. This would cause XP to rebuild thumbnails every time a jpg folder is opened in an explorer window. If the folder contains a large number of jpgs then performance will suffer while the rebuild is in progress. If this is the case either enable thumbnail caching or make more folders with fewer files.

    Same thing applies if you are using a program to browse your photos. For example, if you are using FastStone, make sure you have configured "use thumbnail database".
    My thoughts exactly. I have 29,000 .jpgs in 105 GB and my "Compupic" program kills my lap top if I open a .jpg in a folder that doesn't have thumbnails already.

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    Does the comment about configuring not to save thumbnails only apply if you are using a Photo Organizer of some type?

    If that is not the case; where in XP Setup is that setting controlled?

    Sounds like there might be a file of some type that is used to access the thumbnails. Where, and what is the name of that file?

    Thanks in advance!

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    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    Cool

    As a PC tech, I run into this problem a lot (well, I did before I retired). A person who really knows nothing about the way a home computer works wants to hang onto and run concurrently, all sort of resource hogs, like Norton AV. And, they want to do that with only 1/4 enough ram to actually do the job right. (like, 512 megs)
    Without at least two gig's of installed RAM, for XP, that PC can be a real Dog! That depends a lot on how much BS stuff is running in the background.

    If those people will not listen to me and change their M.O. to one that's more intelligent, I pack up my tools and leave. I won't beat myself up, trying to fix someone's computer if they refuse to co-operate with me.
    "You can't fix Stupid".

    But fortunately, most people realize that I'm the expert and they are not, and let me do what's required to get their PC running at top performance, with whatever hardware they currently have. My most valuable tool is the "Norton Removal Tool", my next most valuable tool is the "Mc Afee Removal Tool".

    I installed AVG FREE one day for a customer, after removing Norton AV and AVG found and removed 151 viruses that Norton had totally ignored.
    OH yes....Norton did report that it had found ONE virus, but could not remove it. AVG removed that one too. The customer was furious, because she had just paid for an update to Norton. Before I left there, she was on the phone to Symantec, demanding her money back.

    About those things in the Startup folder, found under MSCONFIG / Startup..... if it's not necessary to the operation of the computer, just de-select it, apply the change and reboot the computer to finalize the change. If necessary, things that were de-selected can be re-selected by just checking the little box next to the program name, applying the change and rebooting. Generally, all Schedulers, Updaters and reminders can be disabled (and should be).

    Ah, those .jpg files..... pictures coming right out of a digital camera will be HUGE! All the pictures that you want to share with friends, either via email or by a file sharing web site, should be sized down to under one meg. I try to get my own down to 500 to 600K, for emailing or uploading to "Photobucket".

    But, pictures that you don't need access to on a regular basis, should really be burned to DVD's for permanent storage, and then deleted off of the HD, to lighten the load on the Hard Drive.

    What do they harm, you may ask? Well, they greatly extend the length of searches, scans by your AV software and of course Defrag's. All that extra work can greatly shorten the life of your hard drive. (and when you've worked your HD to death, you loose all those pictures anyway.)

    For that reason, I try to keep my C: drive as free of unnecessary files as humanly possible. A second partition or even a second hard drive is a great place to store pictures, music, etc.

    I've been at this stuff so long, that everything I've said here just seems like normal and reasonable in the operation of a home computer, although it may sound strange to the untrained user.

    Good Luck,
    Last edited by DrWho; 2011-03-03 at 11:24.
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jsachs177 View Post
    My wife has been plagued by poor performance on her Dell desktop. When she talked to Dell tech support about it they said she has too many JPG files on her hard disk (from her photography) and she needs to delete a lot of them. She has been in contact with at least one other person who told her that Dell gave him the same advice.

    I want to be able to think constructively about her computer's performance problem, but I don't know what to make of this. I can't imagine why storing a lot of JPGs on the disk would affect performance, or why deleting them would improve it. I've considered several obvious possibilities (e.g. the disk is almost full and this is a way to create free space), but none of them seem to apply.

    Does anyone understand what Dell is trying to accomplish here?
    When a single folder has too many graphics files in it and there isn't much RAM onboard then a computer will tend to lock up when trying to open that folder. The cut-off point seems to be around 1,000 images, again, depending upon the amount of RAM in the computer. More than 1,000 might lock-up the computer. The thing to do is to create sub-folders with alternative topics. Example folder name; Photos. Example Sub-Folder names: Home, Office, Birthdays, Dog, Cat, Landscapes, Portraits, etc. Move files from the main folder to the sub-folders. That usually fixes the issue.

  17. #15
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    At the risk of being flamed (again), let me must say that Dell is infamous, world wide, for their really bad user help people.
    If you can understand them at all, the one word that they all seem to understand is "re-format".
    It really sickens me, when someone calls me and says something like, "my computer is messed up and I called Dell and they told me to reformat my hard drive and reinstall Windows.....what should I do?" (I went to her home and fixed her computer....end of problem, without a reformat)

    I was even sitting right next to a customer, one day, when she called Dell for advice and got that reply. It was really just for fun, because I was almost done repairing her 'Windows'. She had NO viable AV program so she had some viruses, loads of Spyware, a few Trojans and thousands and thousands of temp files and other junk. All her PC needed was some TLC from a knowledgeable technician. When I got done, her PC was running better than when it was new.

    Dell has already gotten a bad reputation for putting out some less-than-satisfactory hardware, but their customer service is just plain "lousy".

    When someone calls me and tells me that they want to buy a new computer and want to know what I suggest, I just tell them "about anything you want, and can afford, except for Dell!"

    Cheers Mates!
    The Doctor
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

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