Well, sort of in-laws.
Anyway, they've got a relatively feeble yoke, with a 1.8GHz Celeron processor, running XP. It is slow. Very, very, very slow. The sort of slow where the boot up time is measured in minutes. It also has a fondness for randomly disconnecting from the internet, requiring a reboot.
Basically, its cruftiness level is high. Never had a fresh reinstall.
I've always suspected it had a virus. Now I'm pretty sure. They have the full paid version of AVG Internet installed, so they've thought that they're pretty well secured. I'm not so sure.
The big tip was when I asked whether or not I could use the home internet for work. They told me their bandwidth allowance had been exceeded, again.
I checked the messages they've received on this, their bandwidth allowance is 10GB, they've topped it every month for a while, apparently. They received a message last Friday that it was 12GB already.
Yet, they only use it for checking emails (using Outlook Express), reading the news, a bit of online shopping and online banking.
Now the father-in-law doesn't like to turn it off, so tends to leave it running 24/7, so that he can log on quicker.
Could Outlook Express be sucking up that level of data? I would think not.
Or if they left the BBC site running, could it?
They never, ever watch video on it though.
I don't think so, but I just want a bit of a sanity check, before I insist I reinstall XP. Would I have to format the harddrive?
Most likely this is caused by some form of malware that is on their machine. Malware typically tends to send back information or access the internet without the users consent or knowledge and report various data levels back to the author of the software piece. I’d first of all download a program called Malwarebytes. I’ve used this myself and it’s quite good at catching infections.
Secondly, monitor the data usage. You know that icon down the bottom right of the screen that lights up when data is being sent to and fro? Double click on it, close down all other programs and see if data is being hoarded through still. There’ll be some sort of data transfer as your machine talks to the local hub/router etc but it should be very little. Also, check the task manager at this stage and check if there’s any processes running that are taking up a lot of processing time.
I wouldn’t reinstall XP without exhausting every other avenue open to me first. There is no guarantee that a reinstall will work and people seem to jump the gun on this a lot, automatically opting for the reinstall option and can find the same symptoms are present straight after or represent themselves again few days later.
In answer to your question, there is no way outlook express is using that much data. On the other hand, I’d look into the possibility that someone else is using their machine and they are unaware of it. Regrds the BBC site on it, I can't see it using anywhere near that much data. Usually data intensive media sites are around 1-2MB in size to download all banners etc Sky News is typically the worst of them. Again, they'd have to be on it a lot for that to go over 10GB a month.
Finally, it’s a Celeron processor. They are generally shite so I wouldn’t be expecting optimal performance from one.
The Black Knight always triumphs!
Look you stupid bastard, you've got no arms left!
if they just have a website open on auto refresh even they are not going to go through +10GB's of data in a month not unless it's a 500mb video on auto refresh..
If ye want to know where the data is going install a network scanner but I'd say myself the machine has been zombified ...
With xp, even if you have reasonable protection it's always best to do a re-install every 6mnth or so. personally I have an image that I just basically reset the hd with. This has everything that I use basically. XP-SP3, AntiVirus, plus all the usual progs, FF, VLC, irfanview, office etc etc
I have a seperate partition where all data is stored and a small work folder on the primary 'Live' partition. copy the small work folder of to data/format C: / copy the image I have back and quick updates if needed (Updating the image at the same time) copy work folder back to main drive and away ye go again...
What ye could do is give it a scan with say malwarebytes or spybot. AVG is good but like all AV products it will miss stuff. None are 100% effective. Anyway scan it with malwarebytes and see what ye pick up.
If it hasn't had an install since purchase then it doesn't harm to do a back up of every thing, my docs, favorites, bookmarks etc etc and re-install remember ye will need the drivers as well!
Also check the ram - a lot of those celeron jobbies only have 512mb max (Usually 256mb) XP runs a lot better on 1GB....
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Still no luck and it downloaded 900MBs that I can't account for yesterday.
I've made a Puppy Linux live CD, gave them a bit of training ("That icon, called Internet is for the internet, that one called Email is for email."), told them not to start up Windows and thunderbirds are go.
I'll probably have to reinstall at some stage, but the speed of Puppy Linux is about a thousand times faster. My girlfriend's mother thought it wasn't really connected to the internet as it was too fast.