Strange issues

#1
All of a sudden my Dell laptop (just over a year old, go figure) has started acting funny. Here's some of the issues that started happening all of a sudden

-It runs super slow at times and freezing up, svchost.exe seems to be taking a lot of resources up when that's happening
-The memory card reader doesn't work. It makes the noise that a new device has been recognized when I put one it, but it never shows up in My Computer.
-Both firefox and IE aren't loading some sites. I'm connected to the internet and some sites load just fine and others never seem to load- and it's not that the site is down. My google customized homepage will load, but I can't do any searches (either from the page or from the search toolbar in both IE and firefox), weather.com won't load- and the list seems to grow.

My first thought was I have some type of spyware even though I'm very good about not downloading stuff so I ran a ad-aware scan and it came up with nothing. I also ran a hijackthis scan and everything was normal there too.

Any thoughts on what's causing any of these issues or how I can fix them?
 

Mak 2.0

Mod...WAFFLES!?!?
Staff member
#2
Have you run some system performance things. Like Defrag, CCleaner and such things to see what happens?
 
#3
Will try

I've run defrag, even though windows said it didn't need to be done when I ran the analyzer. I cleared cookies/cache in firefox but haven't run ccleaner or anything else such as that yet. I'll do that when I get home.

Any other recommended utilities/programs to try?
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#4
Grab a copy of Process Explorer and run it when svchost is taking up a lot of CPU to find out which subprocess is causing it. It's pretty straight forward: it looks like task manager but has more details and will show you what application svchost is attempting to run when your system is slowing down.
 
#5
will do

Awesome thanks, I'll be sure to download that when I get home this evening just to have a look when the computer is running normally as a point of comparison for when it's acting up.

Addendum:

[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]Something I noticed when I got home this evening, when I look in task manager Explorer.exe is running around 99,000 - 120,000 kb- on my other computer it only runs around 14,000, that big of a difference between the two machines (both running xp- the problem one pro, the other home) is not normal.
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[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica]
I ran ccleaner and fixed a whole ton of things found. It doesn't seem to have fixed the issue of the progresses running on more memory than usual or the internet issue. The list of sites I can't access I'm starting to discover is big, and which sites can be access and which ones can't doesn't seem to follow any pattern- I can access google & gmail, but it won't perform a search. I can access and log into my banking sites, ebay, and other random sites (some secure, some not). But I can't access weather.com, the Neosmart forums, the Dell community forums, dell.com, and others. I can access facebook.com, but I can't log on.


I ran Process Explorer and can save and send a log file if need be. There's a lot of stuff highlighted in pink- all under services.exe and lsas.exe. Under services, the svchost.exe process (dcom server process launcher) has a couple of McAffee processes highlighted in blue and wmiprvse.exe is in dark orange/brown.
Explorer.exe and all processes under it are highlighted in blue- under it would be the programs I have running (firefox, google talk, dell utilities, and two rundll32.exe "Run DLL as an App" processes.
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JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#6
For some of the issues you're having, you may need to install Java and a flash player (such as macromedia) add-on for the browser (if they are not already installed or are not up to date) to access some sites/get full functuality out of them. For example, I got errors and issues myself accessing the forums in XP on my laptop. Updating to the latest version of Java fixed those issues. As for system performance, check msconfig and Services to disable uneeded services or remove start up items.
 
#7
I'll check Java and Flash, but I'm pretty sure they're up to date. Also, many of the sites not loading are unrelated to Java/Flash.

I've already gone through msconfig and most of the start-up utilities are needed, I don't have that much starting at a time. It seems to be explorer and one svchost (dcom service process launcher?) that are two of the biggest resource hogs when problems occur (even when things are running those two processes I feel like are taking up way too many resources)

I didn't change anything from when it was working great a couple of weeks ago so I really shouldn't have to disable stuff (though I have anyway). Also, when I run into problems it's not at start up, or when I have a lot of programs running either, the other day I had McAffee, GoogleTalk, and IE and it totally froze up- it took me 10 mins just to shut it down.

Addendum:

Also this morning I was checking out some of the processes on my laptop and comparing them to my desktop. Svchost was going way up (made it up to like 120,000 kb) and then the computer started freezing. I had to leave for work and didn't have time to open up Process explorer or anything to get a more detailed report. At the time I was running McAffee (it was scanning for viruses), Windows Defender, Word, and I'd just launched Firefox, but it hadn't loaded yet. Like I said, I couldn't get to see what specific service svchost was using, but I'm guessing it was probably dcom service process launcher since that was the one highlighted in Process Explorer yesterday. When I get home today I guess I'll find out what happens I leave the computer be for a bit, if it finishes whatever it was doing and fixes itself, or if it's still frozen/acting super slow.
 
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JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#8
Yeah. McAfee can take up a lot of resources when scanning/updating itself.

Because of the heavy usage of resources for svchost and explorer, we know that it has to be some service or application that starts thats causing the problem. Perhaps you can do a diagnostic startup and re-enable non system critical services one at a time to figure out which service is acting up.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#9
I'll check Java and Flash, but I'm pretty sure they're up to date. Also, many of the sites not loading are unrelated to Java/Flash.

I've already gone through msconfig and most of the start-up utilities are needed, I don't have that much starting at a time. It seems to be explorer and one svchost (dcom service process launcher?) that are two of the biggest resource hogs when problems occur (even when things are running those two processes I feel like are taking up way too many resources)

I didn't change anything from when it was working great a couple of weeks ago so I really shouldn't have to disable stuff (though I have anyway). Also, when I run into problems it's not at start up, or when I have a lot of programs running either, the other day I had McAffee, GoogleTalk, and IE and it totally froze up- it took me 10 mins just to shut it down.

Addendum:

Also this morning I was checking out some of the processes on my laptop and comparing them to my desktop. Svchost was going way up (made it up to like 120,000 kb) and then the computer started freezing. I had to leave for work and didn't have time to open up Process explorer or anything to get a more detailed report. At the time I was running McAffee (it was scanning for viruses), Windows Defender, Word, and I'd just launched Firefox, but it hadn't loaded yet. Like I said, I couldn't get to see what specific service svchost was using, but I'm guessing it was probably dcom service process launcher since that was the one highlighted in Process Explorer yesterday. When I get home today I guess I'll find out what happens I leave the computer be for a bit, if it finishes whatever it was doing and fixes itself, or if it's still frozen/acting super slow.
Highlighted, colors, bold, light, italic... they don't have a thing to do with performance. Yellow means .NET framework, purple means the application doesn't have a window showing, etc.

The only thing that matters is the CPU usage.
 
#10
Ah ok, thanks for clearing the colors up.

Turns out I think I have some type of virus/worm. I went to open My Computer and explorer crashed and Windows Defender said it had to restart the computer for security reasons. Later gave me a message about a win32 trojan. I cleaned it and then removed McAffee and installed AVG, which found some dangerous dll files and cleaned them. If McAffee missed them it sure sucks!

The web issue seems to be fixed now, still having performance issues, I need to run a full scan but the computer had to be shut down and it's bedtime so I'll do that tomorrow.