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XP very slow over time - lots of running processes


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#1 Tumbo

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 12:21 AM

Hello!

I have a Dell D420 on Windows XP that I have used for years with no major problems. Over time in the past it has slowed down some, but I have had success with the usual steps - running several scanners, defragmenting, deleting old files, disk cleanup, etc. The hard drive is getting fairly full at about 2.5GB left, but I've been here before and it hasn't run this bad.

This time, however, it has slowed down over time, but taking the above steps hasn't worked and it is really dirt slow now. Scanners like Malewarebytes, Symantec and Ad-Aware don't find anything, but? There are a lot of running startup processes though, which is clearly a big part of the problem, so I went through your startup list and turned a few off, but am really interested in doing this with someone who is experienced so that can actually learn something along the way, and can apply the proper "slow computer check methods" on my own to my other machines in an organized fashion too....many of the running startup processes could certainly be turned off, I just want to see what should get turned off, and why...

...so I look forward to going over this machine with someone whenever you get a chance...

Thanks!

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#2 KomputerSolutions

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 12:30 AM

Well, Seeing that you have fairly 2.5 GB left, I suggest you Un-install Programs you don't Use/Haven't Used, Because having extra Disk space is a chunk of what Speed, Besides the RAM.

To uninstall programs, Just Start>Control Panel>Add/Remove Programs.

I'm pretty sure your Dell has over atleast 80 GB, Right?

Then just uninstall some programs until about 50 GB left, and you should start seeing differences.

#3 Tumbo

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 12:48 AM

Thanks for the prompt reply.

Actually, I can maybe remove another program or two, and I could certainly cut/paste a bunch of files from my hard drive to a backup hard drive, but before doing that I need to point out that the computer is just sitting there right now, no programs running, but I'm watching Windows Task Manager/Performance and 100% of CPU is being used almost constantly, dropping down into the 90's every now and then. My feeling is that one or more of these processes shouldn't be running, for sure.

Let me know what you think...

Thanks

#4 Computer Pro

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 01:17 AM

Can you please tell us the processes that are using a lot of CPU?
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#5 Tumbo

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 01:29 AM

How can I copy process information from Windows task manager?

#6 Tumbo

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 01:53 AM

I attached 2 screen shots of 58 processes here since I couldn't get them into one screenshot. I notice svchost.exe listed many times, which can't be right. Also, I was looking through all of the active processes via Autoruns earlier and just got started and noticed a file wmiapsrvs.exe. I looked it up on your site and it looks like a worm, so maybe I have malware on this machine (that the scanners aren't picking up). I turned that one off via autoruns, but haven't restarted the computer.

The only program I had running during these screenshots was MS Word so that I could copy/paste to a .doc

Hope this helps...

#7 Computer Pro

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 11:39 AM

Svchost.exe is known to be listed that many times. At this current time, there are 8 running on my PC.

After lots of research, I think I may be able to pinpoint down the problem. Your Norton Internet Security is using a whopping 11 processes just by itself. My anti-virus is only using one, sometimes two. For that, I am going to suggest that you which over to Microsoft Security Essentials. It is known to use little system processes.

First, uninstall your Norton. Then go to this download site:

http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/.

Download the program and let it install and update. During the install, when it asks to scan for malcious items after updating, uncheck that box.

Once the program is done updating, please run a Full Scan with the program, and let me know if it finds anything.

-By doing this hopefully we can rule out malware as a cause for some of the processes, but if nothing is found, then we will move on from there.
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#8 Tumbo

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 02:09 PM

Okay - I will follow your instructions. I have to head out for a few hours here, but will do this when I get back. While waiting for your reply last night I did a google on the Svchost and ended up back on Bleepingcomputer's site and saw that it was normal for the many listings.

In the meantime, I wanted to let you know that I ran a full scan with Malewarebytes overnight and it came up with:
Registry Data Items Infected:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Security Center/FirewallDisableNotify (Disabled.SecurityCenter) -> Bad: (1) Good: (0) -> Quarantined and deleted successfully.

In looking at the mbam logs I see that this same finding has occurred before, and been quarantined deleted succesfully before (but apparently not).

I should also let you know that I tried to run Symantec Full Scan prior to Malewarebytes, but it wouldn't run (so maybe you are on to something there).

Anyways, I'll follow your instructions when I get back, unless this new information makes you change your mind for a new plan....

Thanks for your time...

#9 Computer Pro

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 02:16 PM

Please go ahead with my previous instructions.
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#10 Tumbo

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 08:35 PM

Thanks for your assistance...

I went ahead and uninstalled the Symantec components, rebooted and installed Microsoft Security Essentials as instructed. I rebooted again and watched Task Manager for a while. It was quicker on startup, but still took some time. After everything was started up CPU Usage dropped to anywhere between 0 to 20 percent. I took a couple of screenshots. After waiting longer, it seems to hover around 2-10%, then hover up around 85-95% for a while and not return to lower percentages (maybe down to 70% occasionally). Then after a while longer it seemed to sort itself out, hanging around in the low percentages 0 to 5%. I opened a number of programs, they are all much faster now - they used to be dirt slow.

The CPU usage is odd - I never really watched it often enough to know what it usually does, but it is back up to 80-90% now with no programs running, 61 processes. It seems to spike for quite a while, then go back down for a while....I notice that if I have the Windows Task Manager window open and the CPU usage is high and not coming down for a while, then I close the window, and quickly reopen it, the CPU usage is now very low, and seems to slowly work its way back up to high. I tried this several times, and the same thing happened each time.

I think things have improved. I have some more questions, but I'll wait for you to let me know what you think.

Thanks -

#11 Computer Pro

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 09:32 PM

Did Microsoft Security Essentials find anything on it's scan?
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#12 Tumbo

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 10:02 PM

Woops, forgot to do a scan as you suggested. Running full scan now - will reply with details when completed...

#13 Computer Pro

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 10:27 PM

Ok, I will be waiting
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#14 Tumbo

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 02:29 AM

Full scan completed with no threats detected

#15 Tumbo

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 01:01 PM

Startup today is much faster - 3 to 4 minutes. Programs startup much quicker. :thumbsup:

My other questions are:

1. Are there any other processes that startup that you think I should turn off via Autoruns?

2. Earlier I pointed out that I turned off wmiapsrvs.exe via Autoruns because your site says this startup is a worm. Was this correct for me to turn this off, and why didn't all of the scanners that I ran pick this file up and delete it?

3. My Documents opens up on startup. Which file do I turn uncheck via autoruns so this does not startup?

4. I have two other machines that also use Symantec. Do you recommend that I remove Symantec and switch them over to Microsoft Security Essentials?


Thanks for your advice in advance -




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