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PC Freezing Up


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#1 cmcvey

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 11:44 PM

I recently installed Spyware Doctor. When trying to run the scan, my PC froze up. I have tried several times and it keeps freezing up on me before completing the scan. I tried running CCleaner and defragging the computer. I have the free evaluation version of Registry Mechanic as well. It detected 568 registry problems. My computer is running very slow. I'm using Windows XP Professional service pack 3. With an AMD Athlon XP3000, 2.16 GHz, and 448 mb of RAM. I don't know very much about computers so I am lost when it comes to trying to fix the problem. What can I do to get my computer running good again?

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#2 quietman7

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 09:48 AM

The speed and ability to complete an anti-virus or anti-malware scan depends on a variety of factors.
  • The program itself and how its scanning engine is designed to scan: using a signature database vs heuristic scanning or a combination of both.
  • Options to scan for spyware, adware, riskware and potentially unwanted programs (PUPS).
  • Options to scan memory, boot sectors, registry and alternate data streams (ADS).
  • Type of scan performed: Deep, Quick or Custom scanning.
  • What action has to be performed when malware is detected.
  • A computer's hard drive size.
  • Disk used capacity (number of files to include temporary files) that have to be scanned.
  • Types of files (.exe, .dll, .sys, .cab, archived, compressed, packed, email, etc) that are scanned.
  • Whether external drives are included in the scan.
  • Competition for and utilization of system resources by the scanner.
  • Other running processes and programs in the background.
  • Interference from malware.
  • Interference from the user.
-- Note: Using two security scanning engines at the same time can cause each to interfere with the other, cause systems hangs, false detections, unreliable results and other unpredictable behavior.

To speed up your scans, uninstall unnecessary programs, clean out the temporary files or use ATF Cleaner first, temporarily disable any other real-time protection tools, close all open programs and do not use the computer during the scan. If the scan still seems slow or hangs, then try performing the scan in "safe mode".

Note: It is not unusual for an anti-virus or anti-malware scanner to be suspicious of some compressed, archived, .cab and packed files because they have difficulty reading what is inside them. These kind of files often trigger alerts by security software using heuristic detection because they are resistant to scanning (difficult to read). This resistance may also result in some scanners to stall (hang) on these particular types of files or just ignore (skip) them. Certain files in the System Volume Information Folder like the Tracking.log (created by the Distributed Link Tracking Service to store maintenance information) have also been reported as a source causing some scanners to hang.

I have the free evaluation version of Registry Mechanic as well. It detected 568 registry problems.

Bleeping Computer DOES NOT recommend the use of registry cleaners/optimizers for several reasons:

:inlove: Registry cleaners are extremely powerful applications that can damage the registry by using aggressive cleaning routines and cause your computer to become unbootable.

The Windows registry is a central repository (database) for storing configuration data, user settings and machine-dependent settings, and options for the operating system. It contains information and settings for all hardware, software, users, and preferences. Whenever a user makes changes to settings, file associations, system policies, or installed software, the changes are reflected and stored in this repository. The registry is a crucial component because it is where Windows "remembers" all this information, how it works together, how Windows boots the system and what files it uses when it does. The registry is also a vulnerable subsystem, in that relatively small changes done incorrectly can render the system inoperable. For a more detailed explanation, read Understanding The Registry.

:flowers: Not all registry cleaners are created equal. There are a number of them available but they do not all work entirely the same way. Each vendor uses different criteria as to what constitutes a "bad entry". One cleaner may find entries on your system that will not cause problems when removed, another may not find the same entries, and still another may want to remove entries required for a program to work.

:thumbsup: Not all registry cleaners create a backup of the registry before making changes. If the changes prevent the system from booting up, then there is no backup available to restore it in order to regain functionality. A backup of the registry is essential BEFORE making any changes to the registry.

:trumpet: Improperly removing registry entries can hamper malware disinfection and make the removal process more difficult if your computer becomes infected. For example, removing malware related registry entries before the infection is properly identified can contribute to system instability and even make the malware undetectable to removal tools.

:huh: The usefulness of cleaning the registry is highly overrated and can be dangerous. In most cases, using a cleaner to remove obsolete, invalid, and erroneous entries does not affect system performance but it can result in "unpredictable results".

Unless you have a particular problem that requires a registry edit to correct it, I would suggest you leave the registry alone. Using registry cleaning tools unnecessarily or incorrectly could lead to disastrous effects on your operating system such as preventing it from ever starting again. For routine use, the benefits to your computer are negligible while the potential risks are great.
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