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Slow Computer, erratic mouse, cannot install Microsoft Office Update


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#1 schroederdude

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 04:47 PM

I was directed here by Elise from the malware boards. The topic she closed out with me can be found here: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/266968/slow-computer-possibly-infected-with-memwatch-erratic-mouse-cannot-install-microsoft-office-2003-service-pack-3/
Elise had me run a number of programs, like combofix.exe and System Repair Engine.

I'm not sure exactly why, but first my mouse started behaving erratically, then my computer slowed down and the memory usage of the following increased quite a bit according to my Windows task manager: Mozilla Firefox, Avast anti-virus, AshWebSv.exe, svchost.exe, and explorer.exe. Actually, every process is using too much memory.
I also cannot install Microsoft Office 2003 service pack 3 even though it is downloaded to my computer ("installation failed" message appears).

I thank you for any help and advice you can give me.

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 05:13 PM

Have you tried uninstalling Office (it could be damaged)...and then reinstalling it and adding the SPs later?

Do any computer maintenance routinely? By that I mean run chkdsk /r command and (then) defrag?

Ever run a diagnostic on your hard drive?

I'm always curious about this...how do you determine that any process is "using too much memory"?

Anyway, let's start with trying to run chkdsk /r, please. Start/Run...type chkdsk /r (exactly as shown) and hit Enter or OK. Type Y in response to onscreen query and hit Enter or OK. Reboot the system.

The chkdsk /r will execute and the system will then boot into XP. When the dust settles...try defragging your XP partition.

The Importance of Disk Defragmentation - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/the-importance-of-disk-defragmentation/

Using Windows Defrag - http://www.geekgirls.com/windows_defrag.htm

You may already have seen this...if not, take a look: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/44690/slow-computer/.

Louis

#3 schroederdude

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 01:23 AM

Hi Louis, thank you for your time and assistance!
I did as you directed. What does running chkdsk /r do? I did that, and it took a while, but wasn't sure if it helped or not. It might have; I'm watching to see.
I defrag and maintain my computer all the time. I use Defraggler to defrag, although I have used other software too (like the Windows XP defragger). I also keep all my software up to date. I have ran many diagnostics on my hard drive, including Panda and Avast numerous times. Panda said I have memwatch, and it is my belief that that is what is wrong with my computer. That's why I went to the malware boards first. I think that I might have accidentally downloaded a toolbar (BHO) and that is the problem. The reason I think this is because it was around this time that I noticed my mouse behaving erratic (it will disappear for a split second and then reappear, usually at the top of the screen), and it is when I started having trouble getting online. Well, I would be technically online, but web pages would not -- and sometimes still will not -- load.
The reason I know my processes dramatically increased in memory usage is because I look at my Windows Task Manager a lot. It's a habit I picked up from when I had my previous computer, because pulling up the taskbar and going to the applications there allows me to see what software is running and the processes allows me to see everything running on my computer and how fast it is. When my computer started lagging I looked at the processes in the Windows Task Manager and noticed that almost all my programs, but especially firefox.exe, ashwebsv.exe, aawservice.exe, and svchost.exe were running at a lot higher memory usage. For example, Firefox.exe went frmo using around 60,000K to (right now, as I type this) running at 146,212K, although I've seen Firefox.exe up to 200,000K. That's just one example; I have more.
The computer I am now using was bought used at a store that specializes in refurbished computers. They loaded Microsoft Office on here for me, so I do not have the discs to reload it.

Edited by schroederdude, 06 November 2009 - 01:27 AM.


#4 hamluis

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 09:44 AM

<<Panda said I have memwatch, and it is my belief that that is what is wrong with my computer.>>

Memwatch...seems to be a utility, while memwatcher....seems to be adware, http://vil.nai.com/vil/content/v_100635.htm.

Since Elise gave you a clean bill of health, I see no reason to assume that malware is operative in your system.

<<I think that I might have accidentally downloaded a toolbar (BHO) and that is the problem.>>

In my limited experience...any BHO can be removed/managed either by Windows Defender or using the IE Tools/Manage Add-Ons function. All you have to is take a look and disable any unwanted items. Ditto for toolbars.

But...there are some BHOs that are a definite pain, see example at http://www.microsoft.com/security/portal/T...an:Win32/BHO.BT

FWIW: The more browser windows open at any one time...the more RAM being used by browsers, IME.

Ashwebsv seems to be strongly related to Avast AV.

AAWservice is Ad-Aware, http://www.iobit.com/exedll/aawservice-exe.html. FWIW, I suggest uninstalling Ad-Aware since it's not considered to be particularly effective today.

It's normal for svchost.exe to run several different processes at once. Any utility (such as AV, firewall, malware-defense program) or program with updating built in...can be running/connecting via svchost.exe. If you want to check out the individual processes, see How to determine what services are running under a SVCHOST.EXE process - http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/list-services-running-under-svchost.exe-process/ .

As for chkdsk, see http://www.hard-drive-help.com/chkdsk.html. Suffice it to say that chkdsk is probably the most important tool available to any XP-user, outside of the actual MS XP CD itself.

Louis

#5 schroederdude

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 04:28 PM

Thank you Louis!
I uninstalled Ad-Aware from my computer. I'm trying to get rid of any and all programs that I don't need or aren't really very beneficial to my computer's health, in hope that that will get my speed back up.
I'm not sure I understood your instructions for removing BHO's. I do not have Windows Defender or using the IE Tools/Manage Add-Ons function. I use Mozilla Firefox, not IE for my browser, and I usually keep windows/tabs to a minimum to keep speed up.
Do you have any suggestions on whether I should download one of these softwares to remove a potential BHO (which I am not sure if I even have)?
Any suggestions at all are helpful; I feel like I've hit a wall and there aren't any other solutions to my problem other than wiping my hard drive and reinstalling only the essentials, although I'm not sure what is essential anymore, LOL!

And what about the erratic mouse or me not being able to install Microsoft Office 2003 SP 3?

Thank you for your help!

Edited by schroederdude, 06 November 2009 - 07:11 PM.


#6 hamluis

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 01:49 PM

I would download Windows Defender...update it...and read the instructions for using.

Last time I used it (last year), there was a tab for BHOs on your system.

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/...er/default.mspx

I've never had a problem uninstalling MS Office. What's the exact message you get when you attempt to remove it via Add/Remove Programs?

On the versions that I've had, the CD is generally required to remove it or repair it.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&sou...mp;oq=&aqi=

Louis

#7 schroederdude

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 03:47 PM

Thank you!
As for Microsoft Office, I have not tried to uninstall it because I need it, or at least I need MS Word. The problem I'm having is that I have downloaded Microsoft Office 2003 Service Pack 3 update but I cannot install it. It just gives me an error message that says the installation was not completed.

On Windows Defender's Wikipedia page it says:

Supersession

On 1 September 2009, Microsoft released Microsoft Security Essentials, a freeware anti-malware product. A Microsoft official notice posted earlier on 23 June 2009 on Microsoft community forum indicates that Microsoft Security Essentials supersedes Windows Defender as it covers a broader range of malware. The same notice states that although users do not need to run Windows Defender anymore, both applications can remain installed side-by-side and later releases of Microsoft Security Essentials are expected to disable Windows Defender.


Given this info, should I download Microsoft Security Essentials instead of Windows Defender then?

#8 hamluis

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 04:31 PM

I don't have an opinion...I know Windows Defender, I know nothing about the alternative listed.

The most common way of dealing with problems installing, etc. MS Office...is to uninstall/reinstall. If you cannot do that, I suspect you are going to live with any problems accompanying your install.

Louis

#9 schroederdude

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 04:39 PM

Thank you!
Nothing else I can do that you can think of? I'm going to have to save a few dollars and take my computer into a shop, aren't I? Doh!
Well, thank you for your time Louis!

#10 hamluis

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 12:10 PM

Well...taking a system to a computer shop...that's a personal choice.

Me, I would just do a clean install of XP...which is (quite likely) what the computer shop will end up doing. The difference is that I can do it without cost and quicker, minimizing the time I don't have my system...and making it much easier to troubleshoot any future problems.

Damage may result from malware or the removal of same and the symptoms may not necessarily reveal the cause. A clean install takes care of that, as well as the possibility of damage to system files that lies undetected until things go wrong.

Louis

#11 schroederdude

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 05:30 PM

A clean install does sound like the best idea. Can I do that on a refurbished computer if I don't have the XP discs?

Thanks Louis!

#12 hamluis

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 08:03 PM

I suppose that depends on how XP was installed.

Some systems from entities like Dell, HP, etc...may use recovery partitions to install the O/S and provide the capability of wiping everything clean, returning the system to its original state.

Refurbished or new...it's wise to have a CD that allows reinstall of the O/S. The need for such occurs quite often.

Louis

#13 schroederdude

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 08:09 PM

So that is it, I suppose? I thank you for the help and info!




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