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The more programs and software you put onto a computer, the slower it can become. However, the first thing to do is defragment your hard drive. Start your computer, open 'My computer' and right click on the C drive icon. From the tabs choose TOOLS and then defragment .. The time taken to defragment depends on the size of your hard drive. Then go to the control panel and look for Install/Uninstall programs. If there's anything you can live without, uninstall it. Restart your computer. If things are still slow (and you are confident you have plenty of RAM - memory) installed, suspect a failing hard drive.
Well there is a lot of things you can do.
First you probably have a ton of programs in startup. You can do start>run> type msconfig
Then go to the startup tab this is all the programs that try to start and run while you start your pc. You can uncheck all the programs you no longer use or that you can manually start as you need them. You can also run a defrag start>all programs>accessories>system tools>defrag
I would also suggest running a check disk on your drive Start>Run> type cmd
Then do a chkdsk /r it will ask you if you want to schedule this to happen on your next restart just say yes. Then restart. Good luck hope this helps!
That sounds like a power supply problem. That would be the first thing I would check. If it was the processor, you would have heard a long beeping sound or if it was the memory you would hear about three 'annoying beeps'. The main reason you indicated there is no display on the screen and that the fan spins for a few seconds then shuts off, would hint that power is not going to the mother board long enough to spin the processor or cooling fan. Hope this helps :)
Shouldn't need any "tweaking". Not sure offhand on the c700, but manytimes the Compaq bios is limited (and I'm a Compaq user - servers, desktops & laptops). What is itexactly that you're trying to achieve? I replaced Vista on my F500 series first with XP and finally with Linux - no problems (other than initially finding drivers). Just make sure to download and build an XP driver disk beforehand and you won't have any problems.
Have you cleared the temporary internet files? Also, download ccleaner (its free) this will delete unneeded files from the registry. You should also run and antivirus and antispyware program followed by defragging the hard drive. That should improve your speed.