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  1. #1
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    SOLVED: Windows Explorer not functioning right (VERY Sluggish & Unresponsive)

    I have a rather bizarre issue. When I load into windows normally windows explorer is VERY slow, it takes several seconds, sometimes minutes just to open shell menus or folders, some programs will load but more resource intensive programs such as Firefox won't come up at all though the process for it will load. When I boot in safe mode everything works fine, I have no issues, but every time in normal boot I have this slow-down problem. My CPU usage is minimal, peaking at a maximum of 5% but usually staying around 1%, and my system RAM never goes above 15% used.

    System Specs:

    CPU: i3-2125 @ 3.30GHz
    OS: Windows 7 Ultimate Edition SP1
    RAM: 16GB DDR3
    GPU: GEForce GTX 550 Ti

    I have tried numerous options to try and pinpoint this issue including the following:

    Full virus scan (AVG)
    Full malware & adware scan (MalwareBytes & Spybot S&D)
    Clean Boot (Disable all non-windows startup items & services)
    System Recovery (I only had a restore point as far back as 12/23 for a DirectX install)
    Removing all new windows updates since the problem began (about 1 week ago)
    Memory Diagnostics (all RAM is functioning fine)
    System File Checker (comes back no problems)
    Ensured all drivers are up to date
    Disabled any extra shell menu extensions from programs
    Ran Windows Fix-It program (Discovered that SuperFetch wasn't working and restored it)
    Start-up Repair
    Defragged Main HDD


    Despite all this nothing has solved the problem, but I am fairly convinced it's an issue either with Windows Explorer itself or something causing a conflict with it. I can't recall doing anything out of the ordinary when it began. Originally the first few days it would only be really slow for the first few minutes then recover, but now it doesn't seem to recover at all even if left alone for hours. What makes me think Windows Explorer is the problem is that I have no issues in Safe Mode, if I can get a program open in normal mode it performs fine except for tasks that use explorer such as opening a file, I never lose control over my mouse cursor and windows task manager works normal though it can be slow to launch like any other program. The machine never locks up but it's very easy to make windows explorer stop responding and freeze up if I try to do multiple tasks with it.

    Programs I use:

    AVG Antivirus
    ZoneAlarm Firewall
    MalwareBytes
    Spybot Search & Destroy
    Advanced System Care (uninstalled this as I read it could cause issues but didn't change anything)

    Any ideas would be welcome.
    Last edited by Shaun Kennedy; 2014-12-29 at 07:37.

  2. #2
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    Welcome to the Lounge Shaun,

    ZoneAlarm Firewall has been known to cause problems but I would expect that to block rather than slow things up and SB S&D can also be problematic.

    In Safe Mode with Networking all 3rd party security programs are isolated and as everything is okay in that mode (but not in a clean boot), I would look to those first as the cause, including AVG.

  3. #3
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    I had problems with AVG in the past. It did not like SP2 for XP. If I ran the cursor over that file or the row containing it it would make the system unresponsive for a minute or more.
    Joe

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    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaun Kennedy View Post
    ...Any ideas would be welcome.
    Check your Event Logs at Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Administrative Tools\Event Viewer

    Look at Windows Logs System and Application.
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
    Most common computing error is EBKAC: Error Between Keyboard And Chairback
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sudo15 View Post
    Welcome to the Lounge Shaun,

    ZoneAlarm Firewall has been known to cause problems but I would expect that to block rather than slow things up and SB S&D can also be problematic.

    In Safe Mode with Networking all 3rd party security programs are isolated and as everything is okay in that mode (but not in a clean boot), I would look to those first as the cause, including AVG.
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe S View Post
    I had problems with AVG in the past. It did not like SP2 for XP. If I ran the cursor over that file or the row containing it it would make the system unresponsive for a minute or more.
    Joe
    I've had people in the past mention issues with ZoneAlarm and AVG. Before I go about removing them, I would like some recommendations for good alternative FREE Firewall and Antivirus programs that don't nag you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coochin View Post
    Check your Event Logs at Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Administrative Tools\Event Viewer

    Look at Windows Logs System and Application.
    I can do this fine but unsure how to read these logs to pinpoint problems. I have attached a text file of my log (In a zip because the text file exceeded file size limits), I filtered it only for the last 7 days as I know the problems began within that time frame. If you need me to refine it with other filters or save it in a different format and upload via zip let me know, hopefully someone can figure something out.

    LOG.zip

  6. #6
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Hi Shaun, log files are a real pain to work on, better to save as the default EVT(X) format as that can be easily imported to check quickly.

    Having said that, the problem here is obvious, lines full of this error report:- Error 12/26/2014 1:08:24 PM Disk 7 None The device, \Device\Harddisk0\DR0, has a bad block.

    You need a new drive, Windows is choking trying to find good blocks to use.

    Back up any vital data to a different drive ASAP, otherwise, use the computer as infrequently as possible until you have a new/replacement drive and are ready to install Windows afresh on it.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by satrow View Post
    Hi Shaun, log files are a real pain to work on, better to save as the default EVT(X) format as that can be easily imported to check quickly.

    Having said that, the problem here is obvious, lines full of this error report:- Error 12/26/2014 1:08:24 PM Disk 7 None The device, \Device\Harddisk0\DR0, has a bad block.

    You need a new drive, Windows is choking trying to find good blocks to use.

    Back up any vital data to a different drive ASAP, otherwise, use the computer as infrequently as possible until you have a new/replacement drive and are ready to install Windows afresh on it.
    euugh... ouch. So I'm guessing there's no recovery from that? Just replacement options at this point? I'm already backing everything up.

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    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaun Kennedy View Post
    ...hopefully someone can figure something out...
    There are more than 2,000 "The device, \Device\Harddisk1\DR1, has a bad block." critical errors listed on 12/26/2014 alone. I didn't go back further than that.

    Go to "Disk Management" (Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Administrative Tools double-click "Disk Management") to identify "Harddisk1". If Harddisk1 has your C:\ drive (AKA partition) on it then you need to replace that HDD ASAP.

    You might be able to copy the partition(s) to a new drive, but will probably have to at least run a chkdsk /r scan first.

    Edit 27 Dec. 14 9:12PM

    Have just noticed that there are also large numbers of "The device, \Device\Harddisk0\DR0, has a bad block." errors as well. Two HDDs failing at the same time? Something wrong there.
    Last edited by Coochin; 2014-12-27 at 06:14. Reason: more info
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
    Most common computing error is EBKAC: Error Between Keyboard And Chairback
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    Try running a SMART monitor to see what the disk thinks is going on. If the disk is not reporting errors it may be the controller on the motherboard, or even cabling.

    cheers, Paul

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coochin View Post
    There are more than 2,000 "The device, \Device\Harddisk1\DR1, has a bad block." critical errors listed on 12/26/2014 alone. I didn't go back further than that.

    Go to "Disk Management" (Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Administrative Tools double-click "Disk Management") to identify "Harddisk1". If Harddisk1 has your C:\ drive (AKA partition) on it then you need to replace that HDD ASAP.

    You might be able to copy the partition(s) to a new drive, but will probably have to at least run a chkdsk /r scan first.

    Edit 27 Dec. 14 9:12PM

    Have just noticed that there are also large numbers of "The device, \Device\Harddisk0\DR0, has a bad block." errors as well. Two HDDs failing at the same time? Something wrong there.
    Disk 0 is my secondary drive, I use it to install all my games to, and I've done A LOT of that lately due to holiday sales I've been downloading/installing to that drive like crazy lately (through Steam)

    I've ran disk error checking before and not had any issues but that was on my primary drive.

    Disk 1 is my primary system drive.

    Disk 2 through 6 are external HDD I have plugged in (USB)


    I also just noticed that indexing is turned on for most of these drives, I haven't thought to try and boot up without them plugged in for some inane reason, could indexing be causing slow downs perhaps?
    Last edited by Shaun Kennedy; 2014-12-27 at 06:27.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    High reports of errors on 2x drives might mean a common cause -> PSU? What make/model#/age is it?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaun Kennedy View Post
    ...I also just noticed that indexing is turned on for most of these drives, I haven't thought to try and boot up without them plugged in for some inane reason, could indexing be causing slow downs perhaps?
    Unlikely that indexing would cause significant slowdowns. In your case the slowdowns are obviously caused by the HDD "bad block" errors.

    If they are Seagate HDDs you could look up their serial numbers on Seagate's support website to see if there are firmware upgrades available. I have seen a number of customers' Seagate HDDs that were having problems that were fixed by upgrading the firmware.
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
    Most common computing error is EBKAC: Error Between Keyboard And Chairback
    AMD FX8120 (8-core @ 3.1GHz) CPU, Gigabyte GA-990FXA-D3 motherboard, 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1866MHz RAM, ATI-AMD Radeon HD6770 PCI-E VGA, 480GB Kingston SSD, 2TB Seagate SATA3.0 HDD, ASUS DVD/RW.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by satrow View Post
    High reports of errors on 2x drives might mean a common cause -> PSU? What make/model#/age is it?
    It's a ULT-LSP 750 (750 Watts) and is just under 2 years old

  14. #14
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    +1 for Seagate firmware problems.

    cheers, Paul

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coochin View Post
    Unlikely that indexing would cause significant slowdowns. In your case the slowdowns are obviously caused by the HDD "bad block" errors.

    If they are Seagate HDDs you could look up their serial numbers on Seagate's support website to see if there are firmware upgrades available. I have seen a number of customers' Seagate HDDs that were having problems that were fixed by upgrading the firmware.
    I will run several diagnostics on these drives, and on next restart I will check to make sure no cables have come loose in the case. I haven't booted to normal mode in about 15 hours so once I finish my file backups and run check disk on these drives I will try this. I also downloaded the disk checkup software and will see if it reports anything. On next boot-up I will unplug all my external HDDs from USB so only my Primary OS and Games drive will load (both are internal). I will also try booting to a new user account.

    Other changes I've made in safe mode are disabling non-windows context menu extensions, and removed my computer from my local shared network.

    I am also aware that my graphics driver is in need of an update but the update tool will not work in Safe Mode. I'm fairly certain that the last update I did for it was about 2-3 weeks ago and did not coincide with these issues.

    I'll report back on any results I find after my next normal boot-up which might be in a few hours as I want to make sure I back-up everything of critical importance first and finish the check disk runs.

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