21 October, 2006

XP Memory Problems and Startup Applications

My wife and I bought the same model computer this past summer (HP Compaq Presario, Win XP Media Center), and while I have had no problems, she seemed to have many. The first problems was that her computer seemed to lock up when accessing the Internet. After several different tries, I ended up re-imaging her computer, and that seemed to do the trick.

Within a month though, she started having memory problems: "Insufficient system resources exist to complete the requested service." After doing a bit a research, I concluded that the problem stemmed from the new multi-function HP printer we bought. HP kindly [grrr...] installs a java-based server and application to monitor the device. And because it is so important, HP installed it in the system tray upon startup, so it is always available.

Come to find out, HP has know memory leak issues with this application. And worse, it is a very difficult application to uninstall. This led me to Bleeping Computers and Startup Inspector. Startup Inspector is an application written by a young man living in London working for a travel agency. Startup Inspector makes it easy to disable any of your startup items whether in the Registry or in the Startup folder.

Bleeping Computers is a good resource to help you troubleshoot problems. What I liked most was the database of startup programs. (It appears that Startup Inspector may have something similar on the website, but there were PHP errors when I went to view it.) Bleeping Computers also has a Firefox search plugin, so you can search their database directly from Firefox.

Here is what I have concluded from this experience:
  • It is not always Microsoft's fault for failure
  • Be very leery of HP -- they have a lot of unnecessary software, both on their computers and for their printers
  • Startup Inspector or a similar program (Windows Defender works too) is a much easier way to manage startup issues that msconfig
  • Bleeping Computers is a good research resource for startup programs
  • The flexibility, and therefore usefulness of Firefox (search plugin) is proven again

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