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  1. #1
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    A friend gave me a Dell D610 laptop that her company was replacing. It has 1 GB of memory and 80 GB hard drive, with XP SP3. When I look at My Computer, it shows 74.5 GB Total Size for Drive C, with 26.5 GB free. I am using Microsoft Security Essentials. Everything has worked really well for about 6 months until last Saturday.

    I put a DVD into the player, it was one that I had made myself, so I knew where it came from. I normally use Windows Media Player but it said that it couldn't run it, rather than go through finding and downloading new codecs, I decided to just download VLC media player. I use that on 2 other computers that I have and it works fine. I downloaded it and tried to run the DVD and it was real choppy. I took it out and figured that it was something with the DVD but then noticed that everything on the computer was running real slow. I wasn't sure what had happened but I un-installed VLC media player and everything was still slow. So I tried to do a system restore, picked the previous days date and it just wouldn't run. After waiting a long time, I cancelled and started over and found that I did not have any set points to roll back to, they were all gone.

    Now, I'm thinking it was a virus, so I ran a virus scan and it came up clean. I was able to back up all of my data, so I do have that but it is still slow. I then ran a full scan and again it came out OK. I ran chkdsk and that seemed kind of odd. I started it at about 1:15 on Sunday afternoon and when I went to bed at midnight, it was about 83% done. When I got up the next morning, all I had was just the sign on screen, no message or anything. I have de-fragged the hard drive. I have been keeping Task Manager open and it will seems to really jump around with the CPU usage percentage. Even as I type this it is jumping up to 77 and 85% and then back down. When it is real high, the biggest user of the CPU, I have it sorted so that the biggest user is at the top, is System Idle Process, which if I understand it correctly, is basically the portion of the CPU that isn't doing anything. How can it be using 85% of the CPU with 96% of it being idle?

    Besides running Microsoft Security Essentials, I also have in my startup folder Dropbox, Windows Desktop Search, Logitech Setpoint, for the mouse, and Microsoft Office Startup. I have run Process Explorer and don't see anything unusual, I also have full access to Add/Remove Programs, I know some viruses will disable that, and System Restore seems to be saving Set Points again, although I haven't tried running it, because the only restore I can at this point would be back to after the problem started.

    I thought I had gotten a virus but I can't find anything, then I thought maybe the hard drive was going but it continues to work, so I don't know what else to look for. The laptop is 4 1/2 years old and has been wonderful for my wife, who is sick with a chronic illness. She has been in bed a lot, so she is able to stay in touch with people. I haven't worked full time for 2 years, so buying a new computer is not an option at this time.

    If you have been patient enough to read this far, do you have any suggestions for something else I should be looking for? I really appreciate any help anyone can provide. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    When I look at My Computer, it shows 74.5 GB Total Size for Drive C, with 26.5 GB free
    There sure is alot of data on that drive for an XP installation; What's the rest of that 45-50 something GB's occupying the drive, besides the os? Consider a Partition.

    Look through the forum here, there should be a wealth if info on how to tweak an XP installation.

    A quick run through...

    1 Go through your "Add or Remove Programs" in the control panel to see what can be removed.
    2 Get CCleaner and run it. Post back the amount of clutter it found & removed.
    3 Find a great XP tweaking site and see if you can't tweak some more performance out of that old installation.
    4 Disable uneeded processes. BV is still the best site around.
    5 Use other malware tools as well, like Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. MSE is good on resources, but it could use a second opine when it comes to malware, in short, use more than one tool.

    Right from the start, it looks to me like you have way too many memory resource problems and far too much stuff on your drive.

    Programs that are allowed to startup with the os will ultimately slow it down. Try systematically going through your programs, removing that which you have no use for and fine tuning those you do need, will help speed things along.
    [Dump the Office startup]

    Something has changed recently, things don't change unless you change them, go back in your mind and see if you can figure out what that may be.

    If all else fails you can always do a clean instal provided you have a os disc and you gather together all the needed drivers for your specific setup.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

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  3. #3
    4 Star Lounger
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    Hi Clint,

    First off, thanks for reading all the way through.
    The major items taking up space on my hard drive are my pictures, videos and music, about 23 GB, followed by Documents and Settings 14 GB, Windows at 5GB and Program Files at 2.7 GB.

    I do try and periodically go through my programs to make sure I don't have programs hanging around that I don't use and while I do have a few now I could do without if I had to, there aren't that many.

    I ran CC Cleaner and it removed about 2 MB of Temporary Internet files, cookies and so forth.

    I don't think it really has anything to do with tweaking the system. Something happened last Saturday, when I downloaded VLC Media Player. Like I said, I have used it before on other computers and never had any problem, I just think whatever happened, happened then.

    I did download Process Explorer and many time when the system is maxing out, the item at the top of the list is Hardware Interupts, whereas Task Manager shows System Idle Process, I just don't know what hardware is getting interupted.

    I did look at the Event logs and starting on that day there were a lot of errors, the source is System Error, Atapi and Disk. Not sure what any of that is telling me though. The problem with starting over is that since it was a company computer, I didn't get anything with it, so I don't have an operating system.

    I am going to be gone for about a week but when I get back I will get back into it more and check out the info you gave me for BV. Thanks again for all of the help.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I don't think it really has anything to do with tweaking the system. Something happened last Saturday, when I downloaded VLC Media Player. Like I said, I have used it before on other computers and never had any problem, I just think whatever happened, happened then.
    Software issues can be tricky and hard to pin down in many instances. Although it may seem that a single event has caused your most recent problems, and probably has, who knows. It can also be likely that cumulative minor, or barely perceptible software interaction issues over a period of time resulted in the same outcome.
    I did download Process Explorer and many time when the system is maxing out, the item at the top of the list is Hardware Interupts, whereas Task Manager shows System Idle Process, I just don't know what hardware is getting interupted.
    Looks like a Hardware Interrupt related to your CD/DVD player and HDD.
    Low memory and or lack of updated drivers may be among the culprits.

    Since you don't have an os disc I think it would be prudent to make an image of your system, and test it for real world restore, should it become needed. Even if that image will carry over the problems you are facing now.
    Consider hunting down an XP os disc before they disappear into oblivion and do a clean install.
    If you plan on keeping the laptop you will eventually need a clean install.(for many reasons)

    Check with the manufacturer for updated drivers and compare version numbers and dates.
    Quite often "companies" will neglect driver updates in favor of os patches.

    Remember also that simple operating system decay of Windows XP can be a significant factor depending on how old the current installation is.
    XP is also an os that requires lots of booting; memory management is inferior compared to newer os's like W7 and Vista and
    require frequent refreshing by clearing the RAM. So boot often, only having 1 GB of system RAM is probably a significant contributer.

    Also consider a partition for your photos and other data. The main thing would be to minimize the amount
    of bulk in your primary os as possible an minimize fragmentation and maximize pagefile access.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
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  5. #5
    Uranium Lounger
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    One other thing to add to this. You said you defragged the drive. I assume you used Windows native defrag utility for this. If so, that may be part of the issue. It does not defrag the page file and that can cause a significant performance hit over time, especially with a corporate computer.

    I use PerfectDisk v6 to do my defrag chores on my XP system and every week or so run a boot time defrag to take care of the Page and System files.
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  6. #6
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    OK, I'm back from out of town and still having problems. I'm not on the laptop right now, so some of this I am trying to remember as best as I can.

    I downloaded perfect disk (I think it was version 11) and ran that. I downloaded MalwareBytes AntiMalware and ran the quick scan and it found eight items, all classified as minor, (I think that was the terminology it used) which I had it remove. Still had problems, so I ran the full scan, which took about 3 hours, and it didn't find anything.

    I had DropBox installed but I took that off, since it does update periodically, thinking it might be slowing down the system, even though it wasn't showing up high on the list. After using DropBox for a while, I think I prefer using my USB memory stick anyway.

    But now, when I look at Task Manager, or Process Explorer, the CPU is tached at 100% almost all the time. Generally, the #1 user of resources is explorer.exe, which I thought was the file management system, (My Documents, My Computer, etc.) which I didn't think I had running, so I used End Process which is when I found out that Explorer is the Start menu, Desktop, etc, because everything just went away. Bad decision but when I rebooted it all came back. (Why does Microsoft use the same name for so many things? I guess that would be the subject of a different thread.)

    The other item that was using CPU cycles was msseces.exe, which is Microsoft Security Essentials, which I could not see running. It did not show up in the system tray and when I tried to start it by clicking on the icon, nothing would come up. If anyone is hanging in with me, if you have some further guidance to offer, I am all ears, or eyes, since I can't actually hear you. Thanks for all of the help so far.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I did look at the Event logs and starting on that day there were a lot of errors, the source is System Error, Atapi and Disk. Not sure what any of that is telling me though.
    Let's get back to your CD/DVD drive for a moment. Try uninstalling it from inside Device Manager, boot then
    have it detect and automatically reinstall itself.

    Try running through Dell's site for updated drivers by the make and model number on your machine.
    Use caution if your bios is out of date & your contemplating an update, make sure you read through the documentation carefully.
    It's particularly worrisome since you have nothing to fall back on, like a genuine os disk or image.
    Save the updated drivers to a USB or external Hard drive for future needs.

    Consider hunting down an XP os disc before they disappear into oblivion and do a clean install.
    If you plan on keeping the laptop you will eventually need a clean install, for many reasons, not least of all
    the recovery and repair options.
    See if you can't find a deal on an XP os disk.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
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  8. #8
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I ran chkdsk and that seemed kind of odd. I started it at about 1:15 on Sunday afternoon and when I went to bed at midnight, it was about 83% done. When I got up the next morning, all I had was just the sign on screen, no message or anything.
    Since you were not able to finish this I would suggest doing a disk check while booting from a floppy or bootable usb drive
    with the "Chkdsk /r" switch. You may also find info on how to build a bootable CD.

    The main thing here is running checkdisk in the boot environment from a command prompt, not from safemode or
    while the os is running. Bootdisks.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
    Latest Build:
    ASUS X99 Deluxe, Core i7-5960X, Corsair Hydro H100i, Plextor M6e 256GB M.2 SSD, Corsair DOMINATOR Platinum 32GB DDR4@2666, W8.1 64 bit,
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  9. #9
    2 Star Lounger Katz's Avatar
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    It's normal for System Idle Process to run from 90-98% of CPU.

    After you're done with the Clint's list, I'd like to see the log from Hijack This.
    There's still something going on there, and I want to look under the hood.
    2 desktops: Win XP Pro SP3 / 3 GHZ/3 GB RAM/ Firefox, Thunderbird /
    Open Office

  10. #10
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    First, when you look into the Windows Task Manager for CPU usage, you need to be in the Performance Tab. This will show a graphic of the total amount of CPU capacity which is being used. The Processes Tab shows the percentage of this amount of use which is being taken up by each process. System Idle will normally be the largest Process, at about 90 percent of the total CPU usage. But there's nothing showing up here which indicates any processes taking up inordinate amounts or percentages of CPU capacity. So this is not the problem area.

    Shutting down unnecessary processes seems not to have helped very much, so now we go on to drivers and hardware. Refreshing the CD/DVD driver in the Device Manager was suggested by Clint in Reply # 7. If that didn't do the trick, we might look into your Registry for one of the common causes of CD/DVD related Windows XP problems . Please refer to my post in another thread about the "CDGone" articles. (This post) Especially important is the Microsoft "Fix It" link, as they will have you run a full diagnostic tool, which can catch a lot of different problems with the device, its drivers, or the Registry, all in one or two runs.

    If anything in that series of fix-its works, what happened was that either VLC Player or some previous media burning program, has left behind in the Registry some bad values. There are also some Windows services which need to be turned on in order to burn media, but your problem happens when playing a DVD, so let's not go there just yet. The correct Registry values will be restored by using one of the methods in my post. Post back if any of this helps.
    -- Bob Primak --

  11. #11
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    Sorry I have taken so long to get back on this. I have been using another computer so this wasn't as important but now I'm back on this one, so it is.

    To clarify, the CD drive works fine. I discovered that I cannot play a DVD with Windows Media Player because I don't have a DVD decoder installed. No big deal, I don't really need to play DVD but that is when the problem started. I did uninstall and re-install the CD driver and have updated the Dell drivers but still have the same problem.

    After I started the computer, it would run at 100% on the CPU and then settle down, to where it was at a much lower level. When I launched a new window, IE, or an Office program for example, it would jump back to 100% and then settling down. Now, it just stays at 100% and things are very slow all the time.

    I tried figuring out how to read the HiJack This log file but I can't figure that out, so I am going to try and see if I can still take advantage of RochelleP's offer to look at the log. I have uploaded a copy of the log.

    I just have a feeling that something is trying to run and for some reason it can't but it keeps trying. Hopefully you will see something there. Again, thanks for any help that you can provide.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  12. #12
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    One thing seems to stand out here. The problem began when you installed VLC Player. On some computers, VLC Player's installation makes changes in the area of the Windows Registry which has to do with the CD/DVD drive. This issue can lead to weird performance issues, or even more general Windows problems.

    First, I would reinstall VLC Player on your computer. Now let's REALLY get it off the PC. Download and install Revo Uninstaller, and run it at Level 4. Let Revo remove EVERYTHING it finds. Then reboot and see what happens.

    If problems persist, try reinstalling the CD/DVD drive's driver. Someone in the Lounge with more knowledge about this than I have can walk you through this process.

    Also, there is a Microsoft Fixit for this type of problem, if the VLC Player installer is indeed at the root of it all (as I suspect it is). Try this Support Article, and run the Fixit at the right-hand side of the page:
    http://support.micro..._drive_problems

    This is a good diagnostic and repair tool for common CD/DVD drive issues which are a result of Windows, Registry, driver, or software problems.

    In your Hijack This Log, I see two entries:

    O4 - HKUS\S-1-5-18\..\Run: [DWQueuedReporting] "c:\PROGRA~1\COMMON~1\MICROS~1\DW\dwtrig20.exe " -t (User 'SYSTEM')
    O4 - HKUS\.DEFAULT\..\Run: [DWQueuedReporting] "c:\PROGRA~1\COMMON~1\MICROS~1\DW\dwtrig20.exe " -t (User 'Default user')


    This appears to be the DrWatson crash reporting system. Something is crashing and Windows is preparing (or trying to prepare) crash reports to upload to Microsoft when Windows shuts down and restarts. This can use tremendous amounts of CPU Cycles, and can even prevent Windows from starting up properly. Someone here may be able to walk you through temporarily disabling Microsoft Error Reporting and MiniDumps for now, so that we may isolate the CD/DVD problem without all this excessive CPU usage.

    I also notice in the HJT Log two troublesome items which start with Windows: Google Toolbar and Adobe Photoshop Elements 6. Photoshop Elements has a Photo Uploader which is by default always active and launches with Windows. Both the Photo Uploader and the Google Toolbar are tremendous CPU hogs, and should be unchecked from Startups.

    If you have CCleaner installed, go to its Optional features, and find the Startups tab. Uncheck the Adobe Photo Uploader, and if it is listed, the Google Toolbar, and reboot. These programs then would not launch with Windows. They can be rechecked to restore them to Startups after solving the CPU usage mystery.

    See if any of this helps and post back for us.


    And one other thing to watch out for: I see in the HJT Log that you have Apple Bonjour Networking Service installed. This is part of iTunes/QuickTime. It is possible that the VLC Player installation may have corrupted something in iTunes (this is a known issue with VLC Player vs. iTunes). If this has happened, iTunes may need the same Revo Uninstaller Level 4 removal which I recommend for VLC Player above. Then reinstall iTunes/QuickTime/Bonjour Service from the Apple download page. You will lose all of your iTunes settings, but the new iTunes installation would no longer cause any problems during Windows Startup. Just remember to make a backup of any iTunes Libraries onto external media before doing the Revo Uninstaller removal of iTunes!

    More from the HJT Log:

    Google Update (part of Google Toolbar) is crashing on Windows launch. CPU Usage would go to 100% and then drop off when this happens, causing a significant delay in Windows startup. The solution is to uncheck the Google Toolbar from Windows Startups using CCleaner's tools.

    Windows Task Manager is coming up at Windows Startup. This is abnormal. Why is this happening?

    MS Windows Search Protocol is launching with Windows. This is due to Microsoft Live Mesh being installed. Another tremendous resource hog. This is also launching Internet Explorer with Windows startup. Not wise.

    Google Gears is also starting up with Windows, as is Java Updater. Both are unnecessary and will slow or even crash Windows at startup. Both programs have available checkboxes to not start with Windows. If you uncheck Java Updater, make sure to manually check Java for updates periodically, or else download and run Secunia PSI on a monthly basis.

    Your Logitech Bluetooth driver may need a driver update. Check for this.

    Maybe some of these suggestions will help stabilize your Windows startup and the operation of your CD/DVD Drive.

    I see no evidence whatsoever of any malware infection. Run Malwarebytes in Full Scan Mode just to make sure, but I think all you have experienced looks like misconfiguration issues originating from installing VLC Player alongside of iTunes, which should not be done. The HJT Log suggestions will only help stabilize and streamline your Windows startup -- these suggestions will in no way solve the CD/DVD drive issues.
    -- Bob Primak --

  13. #13
    4 Star Lounger
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    Bob,

    I can't tell you how amazed I am at the amount of help and detail you have given me. I think, (fingers crossed and tongue twisted firmly between my teeth) it's fixed. At least it has been running much better now.

    I'm not sure what exactly fixed it. I followed your guidelines step by step and it was still giving me problems, so I resorted to a scorched earth policy. I couldn't figure out how to turn off Adobe uploader, so I deleted the program, using Revo Uninstaller, as you suggested. I don't really use Adobe Photoshop on this computer, I have it on my work computer, so it wasn't a big loss. I also deleted Google Gears, I don't even know what it does, so I figured I could get by without it. It was still kind of slow, so I deleted Live Mesh, I only use that for remote access to my work computer and that seemed to do the trick.

    A couple other notes, as I was looking through the computer, I found remnants of other programs that I have installed and deleted, so I re-installed those and then used Revo to do a complete un-install. You had also brought up Dr. Watson running, so I ran HJT and just told it to fix those items. Not sure what that did but it did seem to improve performance after that.

    You also pointed out that I had Bonjour and Apple Update on the computer. I only had these on there because I had downloaded Quik Time at one point to view a movie and I-Tunes came with it. I had un-installed it but apparantly not completely. I-Tunes is like a virus so I am glad to be rid of it.

    I think the only reason Task Manager was showing up is because I have been starting it right at the beginning, so I could see how things were running. It wasn't in the Startup, as best as I can tell.

    Thank you so much, from me and my wife, since we both share this laptop. We really appreciate all your time and effort.

  14. #14
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Lets not forget about doing a complete drive image backup now that everything is working.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
    Latest Build:
    ASUS X99 Deluxe, Core i7-5960X, Corsair Hydro H100i, Plextor M6e 256GB M.2 SSD, Corsair DOMINATOR Platinum 32GB DDR4@2666, W8.1 64 bit,
    EVGA GTX980, Seasonic PLATINUM-1000W PSU, MountainMods U2-UFO Case, and 7 other internal drives.

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