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  1. #1
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    No One Believes Me, But ... (Task Manager)

    I am running a mutt system to which is installed Win7 Ultimate 64. Built the system back in 2007 or so. It was as high end as it gets for that time. 8 Gig of RAM and more storage than I remember. ASUS MB with Intel quad 9650 as I recall. Scores a 5.9 in the overall performance only b/c of a mediocre video card.
    When MS was going gangbusters on their forced conversion to "free" Win10, I was naive enough to go with the flow. I lost everything. Multiple times. Went for more than a month w/o access to my own email or any of my docs. Crash after crash. Win10 IMHO = Worlds Biggest POS. Finally, on about the millionth patch and 4th rebuild, I reinstalled Win7 64 and have not looked back.
    Well, almost.
    I have had an ongoing issue that anyone consulted (forums and in person) insists cannot occur. I have posted about it in several forums. To a post I am told I am FOS and/or do not know/understand what I am saying. They are wrong but who cares. I just want an answer.
    Here is my issue.
    Since going back to Win7 64 my system has become perfectly unstable with a caveat. If I leave Task Manager running, open and on screen, the system is stable as a rock. If I close task manager, accidentally e.g., or restart the system w/o opening Task Manager it locks completely (catatonic with incessant disc access) within a few minutes (as in quickly).
    I've tried to get an accurate duration between Task Manager close and crash, but find that difficult. It only locks if no activity. For example, if Task Manager closes and I go to the kitchen to grab a soda things are locked tight before I return.
    The issue is 100% reproducible.
    With Task Manager open on screen the system remains stable literally for weeks or months. No crash. No lock up. Close Task Manager and it's completely catatonic in a matter of minutes. Every time. 100% reproducible.
    What I mean by catatonic. GUI is visible. System appears functional but ... No mouse. No keyboard. No response. On top of that, incessant disc access that simply keeps going for hours (trust me, I let it go two days once).
    Win7 64 solid as gold. Win10 update a complete pooch screw. Win7 64 reinstall now crappy. But Win10 had nothing to do with this? Hmmm ...
    The only two ways to access the system when it goes catatonic are 1) a hard restart (5-second power button) or reset (button).
    Stumbled across this forum when searching again for answers today. It now is Windowssecrets.com's turn to tell me I am FOS and/or crazy as bat whatever. LOL
    I did not post painful details as I would like to take this top down. Let's start with the "how on Earth could" of what is happening before we go further.
    All my best,
    Dave

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Welcome, Dave, as a new forum member.

    My guess? Badly written malware. Reasoning? What could be looking for the Task Manager process being active in order to temporarily stop whatever it's doing, only to re-engage full-throttle when it detects the Task Manager process is no longer active?

    You didn't mention what, if any, anti-malware products you use.

    Rather than trying to regurgitate info, do you have links to other forums you've posted to about the same subject?

    Hope this helps as a starting point....
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2016-05-24 at 20:23.

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to Rick Corbett For This Useful Post:

    TheDHndrsn (2016-05-24)

  4. #3
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    Hmm...I had the same thought early on but have been unable to validate. I am running Webroot. Have been running that for several years. Every few months I switch off between McAfee and Norton running their web based scans. Never turns anything up. Early in the process I downloaded multiple malware programs. Never anything to be found.
    I should note I have a dual OS boot with XP 32. Do not have the problem with XP. I run scans often from within XP in attempt to find something. So far ... nada.
    Do you have a recommendation other than the aforementioned above for the malware angle?
    Dave

  5. #4
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDHndrsn
    Do you have a recommendation other than the aforementioned...
    Yes and no...

    No... 'cos you're a new poster so forum members have no prior experience of you or the issues you are experiencing. Hopefully other forum members will start asking questions... so it's up to you to fill in the blanks.

    Yes... the more info you give freely, the better forum members will be able to respond appropriately.

    For example, I asked whether you have links to other forums you've posted to about the same subject. This helps you (less duplicated effort) and forum members (what's already been discussed?).

    As another example, "I downloaded multiple malware programs. Never anything to be found." What were these programs?

    Hope this helps...
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2016-05-24 at 21:09.

  6. #5
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    Sorry about that. Missed the question about links to other forums.
    Two of them were to different MS forums over a span of several weeks back in November, '15. Both unfortunately devolved into disparaging threads slamming Win10 and were removed. The first made it to 56 replies, the second only to 48. Neither provided anything substantive in the way of support other than claims by an MS engineer that what was being described was not probable. I fault myself for how I worded the original post. I was a bit peeved at having just lost 10 years of PC persona b/c of my Win10 upgrade.
    The second thread I thought was at Windows 7 Forums (I am MogulInc there) but for the life of me it is not coming up in a search. That was back sometime before the first of the year.
    There was a time when I built PCs for a hobby, knew about as much as there was to know about Windows, and could have gone toe-to-toe on a variety of technical issues. That was before I moved up to Corporate and married the company I worked for (figuratively). It has been so long since I had to think through or trouble shoot a Windows issue I would likely struggle to uninstall a driver (OK. Not quite that bad). Bottom line is I would prefer to solve this issue rather than wipe the HD and start over, but I am no longer a tech savvy guy to know in advance which details anyone here would need to assist.
    My basics are as follows ...
    OS: Win 7 Ultimate, 64 bit install
    Processor: Core Quad Q9650 @3 GHz
    Boad: ASUS Rampage Formula
    Memory: 8 Gig RAM
    Boot Drive: Hitachi SATA, 1.8 or 2 Terra (do not remember), running @7200 and set up as a dynamic drive, passes SMART, no apparent defects
    Network: Simple work group sitting behind a Netgear R7000
    Windows Firewall: On
    Virus Protection: Webroot Secure Anywhere, up-to-date, heuristic scanning and all possible bells and whistles enabled.
    System includes dual boot with Win XP SP2. I can pop over there to gather details if needed.
    I probably know more about Win7 than I am conveying, just no longer know what I need to know. I know how to get into an mod the Registry if needed, I know how to make use of MSCONFIG, the basic stuff. I have no idea how to figure this one out.
    I am an open book, at least until folks start asking for passwords. :-)
    Dave

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Corbett View Post
    Yes and no...

    ... As another example, "I downloaded multiple malware programs. Never anything to be found." What were these programs?

    Hope this helps...
    Forgot this part. Have no recollection. I downloaded them, installed, then uninstalled when they found nothing. If I saw the name of one of them I would likely remember. Off the top of my head I simply do not recall. I tried two or three freeware malware aps. Wish I could be clearer.
    Seriously, the problem is such that I have been living with it. I simply run with Task Manager always open on the desktop. I do a quick search on the issue monthly or so (if I think about it).
    Dave

  8. #7
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    Weird problem!

    There is something about this situation though. OK, this is a long shot. However when the Windows full indexing system first came out, it was supposed to only run when the system was quiet. It wouldn't reduce priority you understand, it would come to a complete halt.

    My first experience with it was with Windows 2000. It was an optional install then, but indeed it worked as advertised. You could actually watch it starting and stopping. It would update activity status information on the task bar.

    Could this be the cause? If a search indexer interpreted Task Manager as meaning Someone Is Using the Computer, it might behave this way. Of course this would still require a search engine to go pretty badly off the rails.

    Did you ever install any 3rd party search systems like Copernic or Google Search?

  9. #8
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    If I were in your shoes, and I still had the Windows 7 disks I used to install Windows 7 in the first place, plus the disks to reinstall any software I wanted to keep, I would first copy off everything I could find on the drive that I wanted to keep (photos, documents, etc) to an external hard drive; and I would then make sure I had all of the install keys for Windows and other software, so that I could reinstall them.

    I would then do a clean install of Windows 7, and then reinstall all of my software, including Webroot.

    I would then do a full virus scan on the external hard drive. I would then copy everything back to the computer.

    A better option would be to restore the most recent backup from right before you upgraded to Windows 10. But it sounds like you don't have a good backup.

  10. #9
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    Try a Clean Boot:
    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/929135

    If that doesn't solve the problem, try running Tweaking.com's Windows Repair:
    http://www.tweaking.com/content/page...ll_in_one.html

    Jerry

  11. #10
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    I don't know if you have already been advised or have done these, but have you checked Event Viewer for timed stamped errors for when this occurs ?

    Reliability history may also have recorded something - go Start - start to type reliability then press enter when View reliability history is highlighted.

    Click on any red crosses etc. for the days concerned and then view tech details if there are any.

    Also go into Task Scheduler - expand Task Scheduler Library/Microsoft and work your way through the sub menus to see if you get any corruption alerts.

    You can access Task Scheduler by typing that at Start then press enter when it is highlighted.

    This is where creating a system image before you upgraded would have pulled you out of the mire.

  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BHarder View Post
    Windows full indexing system

    Did you ever install any 3rd party search systems like Copernic or Google Search?
    Interesting thought. I too have had difficulties with Windows indexing, back in the day. I remember 2000 and with the indexing system installed it brought my Pentium to it's knees. Wother a look.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrjimphelps View Post
    ... sounds like you don't have a good backup.
    Interestingly, I do. The down side I was stupid enough to drop it onto a not-too-robust NAS box. Will not mention the brand, but notorious for failure. It went shortly after I upgraded to Win10. I do not believe it's the drive. If ever I come across a used board on I will attempt to revive it. (BTW ... Have a mirror box, identical. Unfortunately, the default settings were not mirroring the backup, only the new network storage for the household.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sudo15 View Post
    I don't know if you have already been advised or have done these, but have you checked Event Viewer for timed stamped errors for when this occurs ?
    .
    I'm laughing at this one. Not at the suggestion (brilliant) but at me! There once was a time when I looked to Event Viewer regularly. In the past 7 or so months have not even considered it. As it crashed this evening (somehow closed Task Manager by mistake w/o noticing, I should have something to report.

    [after review of Event Viewer]
    First look was to the System log. Here is what I am seeing from this evening's lock up. It appears things began going south around 6:34 PM with a Disk error. Here is what it looked like ...

    6:34 PM The device, \Device\Harddisk0\DR0, has a bad block.
    6:34 The device, \Device\Harddisk0\DR0, has a bad block.
    6:44 The device, \Device\Harddisk0\DR0, has a bad block.
    6:48 The device, \Device\Harddisk0\DR0, has a bad block.
    7:01 The WinHTTP Web Proxy Auto-Discovery Service service entered the stopped state.
    7:01 The WinHTTP Web Proxy Auto-Discovery Service service entered the running state.
    7:03 The start type of the Background Intelligent Transfer Service service was changed from auto start to demand start.
    7:57 The Google Update Service (gupdate) service entered the running state.
    7:57 The Google Update Service (gupdate) service entered the stopped state.
    8:40 The WinHTTP Web Proxy Auto-Discovery Service service entered the stopped state.
    8:40 The WinHTTP Web Proxy Auto-Discovery Service service entered the running state.

    When I discovered the system the disc was churning and everything dead. The log shows nothing until I reset the system at 10:17 PM.


    10:17 The operating system started at system time ‎2016‎-‎05‎-‎26T05:17:08.125599400Z.
    10:17 File System Filter 'FileInfo' (6.1, ‎2009‎-‎07‎-‎13T16:34:25.000000000Z) has successfully loaded and registered with Filter Manager.

    This was followed by the user start up events until less than a minute later logged were two CDROM bad block errors followed by yet another DR0 hard drive bad block error. Something is obviously going on with the HD or the controller. Unclear which at this point.

    Interestingly, there were a cluster of CDROM bad block errors around 12:34 AM and again at 12:55 AM. Otherwise, nothing unusual.

    Checking the Admin Events log, I essentially see a series of bad block events either on CDROM or my C: drive. About the only other repetitive errors are DNS errors and an application error which is ...

    Faulting application name: Explorer.EXE, version: 6.1.7600.16450, time stamp: 0x4aebab8d
    Faulting module name: ntdll.dll, version: 6.1.7600.16559, time stamp: 0x4ba9b802
    Exception code: 0xc000041d

    Find it odd the way the file is named, explorer.EXE versus explorer.exe. Problem is I am unsure what all of this means. Why would two drives be throwing block errors?

    Beginning to believe the best course of action may be to do as suggested above, copy existing files, wipe a drive, and do a fresh install. That said, I would like to understand root cause on this one.

    Thoughts on where to take it from here?
    Dave

  13. #12
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    I would start with a chkdsk /f to see if that reports it has fixed file corruption and/or reports any KBs in bad sectors.

    To see if any 3rd party programs are responsible for the crashes - other than the bad blocks, have you checked to see if it performs the same in Safe with Networking ?

  14. #13
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    And ditch the CD with the bad blocks.

  15. #14
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    Eureka!
    Spent the entire evening and all day today running chkdsk. Immediately thereafter had a hit from within Win7 on a known file I had dropped into a desktop folder (keygen copy, have used it safely before). I selected "monitor" rather than remove that file and and Webroot scanned again. Interestingly, it gave an almost immediate hit on the rescan. Guess what?
    Explorer.EXE
    Apparently I have multiple copies of Explorer in two different directories. Both copies modded versions of the authentic Explorer exec. I am now in the process of removing but that may prove more a challenge than I am up for at the moment. Will likely require a separate boot disc. Something I do not have.
    Any trusted suggestions for a solution to clean the impostor Explorer files ?
    We're getting somewhere!
    It may be more than just this, but have been suspicious about the oddly named Explorer exec since I saw it in Event Viewer.
    Dave

    [edit: This could be the issue ... https://www.symantec.com/security_re...080408-5614-99]
    Last edited by BruceR; 2016-05-27 at 07:49. Reason: fixed link

  16. #15
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    You could try one of the online scans. Panda have a bootable USB version - download on another machine, obviously.

    cheers, Paul

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