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Slow Pc... Anti-spyware Scanner Runs Slow And Stalls


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#1 Cypod

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 07:26 PM

I'm trying to solve a "slow computer" problem for a friend...

The stand-alone version of AVG Anti-Spyware runs slowly on his machine and does not not scan smoothly, stalling a bit every 5 to 15 seconds. This happens even when running in safe mode. Occasionally the scanner will freeze right after I begin scanning, forcing me to do a cold reboot (ctrl-alt-dlt doesn't work).

I have run other virus checkers and the system - 1.4 GHZ Gateway desktop, XP Pro SP2 - looks clean, but seems like it should run a bit faster than it is. Nothing unusual is running on startup or via processes, at least nothing I can see in msconfig. A recent "HijackThis" logfile doesn't appear to show anything malevolent.

Another weird symtptom is that the Windows "chimes" sound is sometimes cut off when the PC boots up.

What could be causing this?

Thanks...

Moderator Edit: Moved topic to more appropriate forum. ~ Animal

Edited by Animal, 17 March 2007 - 07:31 PM.


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#2 fozzie

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 08:12 AM

If you are sure no malware issues Please follow these steps :

• Defrag your system. Disk fragmentation slows the overall performance of your system. When files are fragmented, the computer must search the hard disk when a file is opened. Disk Defragmenter consolidates fragmented files and folders on the hard disk so that each occupies a single space on the disk. This speeds up reading and writing to the disk. Read "The Importance of Disk Defragmentation" for instructions.

• Check for disk errors by running CHKDSK. CHKDSK can be run from the Recovery Console, the command prompt or through the Windows GUI.
To run chkdsk from the Win XP GUI see these instructions.
To run chkdsk from the command prompt see these instructions.
To run chkdsk from the Recovery Console see these instructions.
The problem with running CHKDSK from Win XP is that it will not check files that are being used by Windows. Using chkdsk in the Recovery Console with the /r switch is a way to resolve this.

• Check for damaged, altered or missing critical system files by running the System File Checker. If SFC discovers that a protected file has been damaged, altered or missing, it restores the correct version of the file from the cache folder. You must be logged on as an administrator or as a member of the Administrators group to run sfc and it may ask you to insert your XP Installation CD so have it available.

• Clean up your hard drive by removing unused programs and transferring old data, pictures, music files to a CD or an external hard drive. When you have moved/saved the files you want to keep, run Disk Cleanup and let it scan your system for files to remove. "Don’t clean out the Prefetch folder" - This is a common myth that will not improve performance.

• Check for any unnecessary running services. If you have a typical installation, many services are configured as "automatic"; that is, they start automatically when the system starts or when the service is called for the first time. Use "Black Viper's Services Configuration" to help fine tune this area.

• Check for any unnecessary applications loading at startup when Windows boots with MSConfig. Some startup programs are necessary so be careful what you disable. If you are unsure what any of the startup entries are or if they are safe to disable, then search one of the following Startup Databases:
Startup Programs Database
StartupList Index

Note: MSConfig.exe is a troubleshooting utility used to diagnose system configuration issues. Although it works as a basic startup manager which allows you to enable/disable auto-start programs, msconfig should not be used routinely to disable startup programs.

A better alternative is to use a startup manager. If you have have Spybot S&D 1.4 installed, launch it, go to Mode and select Advanced. Then go to Tools, select System Startups. You will be provided with a list of programs that load when Windows starts. If you untick an entry it will no longer run at startup. This will allow you to experiment and see how your system performs with any of them disabled. Other startup managers you can download and use for free are Startup Control Panel, Autoruns and Starter by CodeStuff.

• Remove any third party "Memory Manager" or "Optimizer". Windows XP memory management was designed to make the best use of Ram and these memory management utilities defeat that purpose. They push applications out of RAM into the pagefile, creating holes in the RAM and by doing so, slow down your computer.

• Disable some visual effects. While visual embellishments that may be attractive, they don’t do anything else for you. Disabling some of them frees up system resources and makes the operating system perform better. Right click My Computer, choose > Properties > Advanced, click on "Settings" under performance...UNcheck all the visual effects, except for the last three. Click "Apply", then "OK", then "OK" again. Then right click your desktop and choose > Properties > Appearance > "Effects...Uncheck the first two boxes and hit "OK".

#3 Cypod

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 12:23 AM

Wow... GREAT suggestions - thank you!

Although I did go through virtually everything on your list, most of the problems were apparently being caused primarily by the following:

(1) Although it wasn't obvious at first, the pc was running more than one anti-virus program at the same time - Norton 2004 Professional (which I uninstalled because it was slowing the machine down severely), and at&t Yahoo! OnLine Anti-virus/Anti-spy Protection.

I stopped the Yahoo protection temporarily with Start > Run > services.msc (apparently Yahoo's Anti-virus can't be completely disabled via the program itself). After that I was able to run AVG Anti-Spyware without any crashes or scanning freezes. Once it was finished, I removed it (AVG Anti-Spyware's "free" version seems to insist on running in the background sometimes, even when you tell it not to). I finished by turning all the Yahoo Online Protection options back on.

(2) Since the computer was a "hand me down" that apparently had been running previously on an office LAN as a workstation, I needed to go into the BIOS settings at bootup (F8), and disable "PXE Boot to LAN" to keep it from trying to boot to the now non-existent network. I also changed the BIOS boot disk priority settings:

Old Boot Device Priority:

1st Boot Device - [SM-LITEON LTR-24102B] (CD-RW)
2nd Boot Device - [1st FLOPPY DRIVE]
3rd Boot Device - [IBA FE SLOT 0140 v4109] (for PXE boot through Ethernet port)
4th Boot Device - [PM-Maxtor 2B020H1] (HD)


New Boot Device Priority:

1st Boot Device - [1st FLOPPY DRIVE]
2nd Boot Device - [PM-Maxtor 2B020H1]
3rd Boot Device - [SM-LITEON LTR-24102B]
4th Boot Device - [Disabled]


These changes sped up the computer's boot up and operating speed by a vast amount.

Edited by Cypod, 22 March 2007 - 12:34 AM.


#4 fozzie

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 01:06 AM

Thanks for the feedback :thumbsup:

#5 quietman7

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 10:00 PM

Also try doing your scans in "SAFE MODE". The Windows operating system protects files when they are being accessed by an application or a program. Malware writers create programs that can insert itself and hide in these protected areas when the files are being used. Using Safe Mode reduces the number of modules requesting files to only the essentials to make your computer functional. This in turn reduces the number of hiding places for malware, making it easier to find and delete the offending files. Using anti-malware tools in Safe Mode also speeds up the scanning process.
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