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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger miladytn's Avatar
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    IE absorbing CPU usage (WinXP Pro, IE 6.0)

    I have WinXP Pro, straight out of the box, using IE 6.0. I am in a small office with 12 networked workstations. IE has been patched at least once but it was a while back so it is an old patch. Today I think I picked up a hijacker or spy or both. I could almost see it happen, things started popping up everywhere, much activity, so I shut it all down and started searching. Ran SpySweeper, SpyBot, Ad-aware and let them fix whatever they found. They found some usual trash but nothing alarming. Also did a virus scan and nothing there. No unusual processes running and nothing unusual in startup configuration. My problem is that whenever I open IE (well actually it won't open such that I can see it), my CPU usage spikes to 100% so I'm literally at a standstill. CPU performance normally runs at about 3-5%.

    Our offsite tech came in to address another problem and looked at mine. He too could find nothing unusual. He left scratching his head and telling me to install SP2, which I plan to try tomorrow. My question to you is: does anyone have any other ideas what could cause this? Or is it probably that I just ran into an exploit that I am unprotected against?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: IE absorbing CPU usage (WinXP Pro, IE 6.0)

    When IE is not running, does your computer still have Internet access? For example, can you check Internet e-mail? If so, it could be a "browser helper object" which is a kind of Internet Explorer plug-in. In addition to Spybot Search & Destroy, you could try a program called BHODemon and see if it picks up anything. You also might try System Restore and see if that uninstalls whatever has latched on to IE. Probably you should back up your data first.

  3. #3
    2 Star Lounger miladytn's Avatar
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    Re: IE absorbing CPU usage (WinXP Pro, IE 6.0)

    Yes, I have access. No problems unless I try to access the "exploder" hehe, couldn't resist that reference [img]/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif[/img] I thought about BHOs but nothing showed up on the spy sweepers so I forgot about that. Also had not thought about system restore. My restore point is a few months old but I can find what I need to keep. Good idea. Thank you. One thing I failed to do is check add/remove programs. Will try that also. Thanks again.

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: IE absorbing CPU usage (WinXP Pro, IE 6.0)

    One of our users in the office had a similar symptom. Off the network, her laptop was perfectly well behaved. The moment she logged in, the CPU utilization went through the roof, and the fan cranked up to deal with the heat inside the case. Everyone else on the network suffered a denial of service due to the tremendous traffic being generated. It was a bad thing.

    Turned out to be a program with a name similar to netclnc.exe that had very few mentions in Google at that time. We found by using StartupList or HijackThis to figure out what it could be that was starting up when no programs were running. Do you have a tool that shows you all the things that run at startup? Much of the output will be unfamiliar, so it's not always clear what's new and evil, but we might be able to help with that as questions come up.

    (My colleague subsequently installed a firewall on her laptop, and did about 6 months of Windows Update, which together we hope will prevent that from ever happening again!)

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    Re: IE absorbing CPU usage (WinXP Pro, IE 6.0)

    > but I can find what I need to keep

    Presumably, you mean what programs you have installed or changed in the last few months. "Restore points" are not the same as restoring an installation from a backup. Restore points do not affect your data. They only affect the Operating System itself.

    HTH
    Gre

  6. #6
    2 Star Lounger miladytn's Avatar
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    Re: IE absorbing CPU usage (WinXP Pro, IE 6.0)

    Well, as you can probably tell, I have little experience with using the restore function!

    This morning I installed SP-1A and things are back to normal. One of the thoughts our tech had was that I had run into an unprotected exploit and a service pack would "plug the hole" so to speak. Sounds like he knew what he was talking about! Still would like to know what it was but some things in life (and computers) are just a mystery.

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