First, let me declare that I am not a Windows user and know only the bare minimum about it. I have, however, been asked by a seriously untechie XP user to look at his machine because it isn't working properly in that it would be quicker to walk to websites he visits and bring back the data from the required page after it had ben transcribed by monks with quill pens than it would to access via IE!.
He uses Outlook Express for email and had two accounts, one a gmail account and the other an aol account and he also wants to remove the gmail account which he used as an officer of a club from which he has now resigned.
His machine hasn't been turned off for a long time, although he didn't tell me this until well after I'd started trying to see what was going on, so remains connected via broadband.
He has Norton Security installed, although he doesn't know how current it is and things were taking so long this morning that I gave up trying to open it to see what it said.
It would not allow me to open Task Manager so I could not see if any strange or orphan process was hogging the kit.
Right, here is what happened:
1) The last email which Outlook Express appears to have picked up was dated about a week ago, which accords with his view that the slow response effect started around a week ago. That may be coincidence, but I incline to the view that it may not.
2) I closed and reopened Outlook Express, which took forever (10 minutes plus).
3) I opened IE (the only browser he had) to confirm that we were in fact connected to the outside world. It opened around 5 completely blank windows, then eventually (after 5 minutes?) loaded a window with his home page, so we are connected.
4) I rebooted. The close down procedure presented a series of around a dozen "process not responding" messages, each of which said that clicking Quit (or whatever) would lose unsaved changes. With the exception of Outlook Express, I did not recognise any process name as they all seemed to be a series of random alphanumerics.
5) I opened Outlook Express after the restart, went to Accounts, deleted the gmail account, closed Outlook Express and again restarted. Again, there were many "stuck" processes i didn't recognise and there was the Outlook Express "not responding message again - yet I had just closed it! I had to click the Quit (or whatever) button and it said that I would lose all changes. Fine, all I'd done is delete gmail so i could do that again if the deletion hadn't been "saved".
5) The actual restart took a fair amount of time (long enough for me to make a coffee!) but, when we relaunched Outlook Express, there were no emails in any folder and OE looked as I presume it would "straight out of the box" - it appeared to have been initialised. The Recycle Bin contained a mass of .bak files with names like "inbox.bak" so I closed OE and restored these by right clicking and selecting Restore. They disappeared from Recycle, but a system search cannot now find them anywhere on the HD! I then restarted Outlook Express and it was still in pristine condition with nothing but the "Welcome to OE" email which, I guess, is actually built in to it.
6) I shut down (again, a series of odd stuck processes), came home and am posting this on my smoothly running (touch wood) iMac!
So, apologies for the rambling post, but what do I do to:
a) speed up the machine to a speed which is acceptable? It is many years old, so excrement off a digging implement speed is not achievable, but a system response wittin an hour to each and every mouse click would be an improvement
!b) stop the "stuck processes" procession of close down panels unless, of course, they should be there? As I said, I'm not a Windows user so have no idea of what is normal although I'm guessing that these aren't!
c) restore the aol email account and, if necessary for the recovery, the gmail one as well although that was what we need to remove;
d) make the machine "idiot proof" as I spend an inordinate amount of time each visit untangling things he was unwittingly and unknowingly done! This is but the latest of a series of problems.
Thanks in advance for your patience and, I hope, responses!
The sooner I can get this resolved the sooner I can stop pretending to be out whenever he calls!