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PC Suddenly Sluggish, But No Malware


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#1
scottportraits

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Nov 22, 2007

Hello Tech-ers & Teachers,

Firstly, let me say Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays.

Now, down to biz. I notice a few days ago my PC is suddenly very sluggish. When I multi-task it really slows down to a crawl.

So I run the copious gamut of updated malware scans in Safe-Mode (with System Restore 'off') inluding AVG A/V; AVG Anti-Spyware; Super Anti-Spyware Home Ed.; Spybot S&D; SpywareBlaster; Lavasoft Ad-Aware; and HijackThis. All came up goose-eggs (a.k.a. nothing). I don't see any questionable entries in the Task Manager's running processes, or anything alien in my startup run menu, so I think we can rule out malware.

Now to the diagnostics. I have the cafeteria. With my Norton SystemWorks I did all of these: One-Button Check-up, Disk-Doctor (runs a scan disk on reboot), and WinDoctor. All show no errors. I have and regularly use JKDefragmenter, so the disks are optimized most of the time. I used the AFT (or ATF?) temp files purger, and also blotted out all past system restore points - then created a new restore point with no taint from before. Checked the Device Manager to see if there was any yellow question-marks or red X's, but everything seems in order there. Same with the 'Services' list - nothing pops out at me.

I'd like to say here that I ran the MemTest86 v.3.2 on my two 512MB RAM sticks, and after 5 hours and 9 passes it came up with 0 (zero) errors. So the RAM sticks are good, I guess.

I have your HD Tune installed and ran it to find this little quirk: On one page it reports the physical temperature is in the normal range, but a taskbar icon keeps insisting that the HD temp is 131 degrees and 'critical'...obviously not right because I tested it first thing this morning, after being shut down all night and the room was cold. HD Tune says everything else all around is okay.
So does VundoFix. So does ComboFix. So Does Sandra, Lite, (At least what I understand from the logs Sandra's tests generate.) And so does Everest, as best I can understand from the logs. Nothing pops out at me.

In short, nothing yet is found as the culprit behind my sluggish, multi-task-worn E-machine W3502, which has been used extensively and for numerous things, often 24/7, for the last year and a half.

So I wonder, (and this is my question), have I worn out the motherboard with so many different apps, and loads of multi-tasking ???

Or could it be with the XP operating system....perhaps one of the files has corrupted or something. I did run ComboFix last week in response to advice from Geeks-To-Go when the symptom was an explorer.exe failure to open files without getting terminated with an error message. ComboFix did straighten that one out, last week. Anyway, I'd love some advice about what to do next, or where exactly I should be looking in those diagnostic logs ? Or if there is a good diagnostic app somewhere that will pinpoint if the mother-board is deteriorating or what....

Patiently yours,

scottportraits :)
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#2
wannabe1

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Hi scottportraits...

I don't think this is an application issue so I've moved this to the XP forum.

Right click on "My Computer" and choose "Properties". Click on the "Hardware" tab, then on the "Device Manager" button. In Device Manager, expand (click +) IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers. In the expanded list, right click on "Primary IDE channel" and choose "Properties". Click the "Advanced Settings" tab.

You should see two devices listed here...Device 0 and Device 1. What is listed for the "Transfer Mode" and "Current Transfer Mode" for each device.

Provide us with the same information for the Secondary IDE channel of there is one listed.

wannabe1
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#3
scottportraits

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Nov 22, 2007

Hello Wannabe and anyone else,

I have to go thru the Control Panel to get to the Device Manager on my machine....right clicking My Computer only brings up an abbreviated General & Shortcut window.

Okay. At Device Manager I find I have three (3) Primary IDE Channels, and three Secondary IDE Channels. Then there are two Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controllers under that. At the top above all these is an ATI IDE Controller; all under the main heading of IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers. It Looks like this:

+ IDE ATA/ATAPI CONTROLLERS
- ATI IDE Controller
- Primary IDE Channel
- Primary IDE Channel
- Primary IDE Channel
- Secondary IDE Channel
- Secondary IDE Channel
- Secondary IDE Channel
- Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller
- Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller

Sorry it is getting a little more complicated.....as for the 'Properties' of the three Primary Controllers, they are configured thus:

1st Primary IDE Channel - Device 0 - Type - greyed out
Transfer Mode : DMA if Available
Current Transfer Mode: Ultra DMA Mode 5

Device 1 - Exact same as Device 0 (above)

2nd Primary IDE Channel - Device 0 - Type - Auto-Detect
Transfer Mode - DMA if Available
Current mode - NOT Applicable

Device 1 - Exact same as 2nd Primary Device 0 (immediately above)

3rd Primary IDE Channel - Device 0 -
Device 1 - Both exact same as 2nd Primary IDE Channel Devices above.

Those are the settings.....since I never went there I have no idea what they mean....but I have two 80GB hard drives inside the CPU, named C:/ and D:/ Drives, respectively.

Hope this helps figure it out.

- scottportraits
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#4
scottportraits

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Nov 22, 2007

I'm still wondering if the motherboard is deteriorating... is there a diagnostic program that can check this ?
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#5
scottportraits

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Nov 22, 2007
19:11 pm est

Hello,

Two more bits of info here.

Tried to do Symantec's online security response scan and it was blocked. I normally use Mozilla but also have the latest updated Internet Explorer browser, for sites like Symantec, which require IE 6 or higher. After downloading the activeX controls and definitions I tried to start the virus scan and was stopped by a window proclaiming my browser is blocking the script......
......but I totally allowed script and other permissions by going to Tools > Internet Options > Security, etc and checking all the ones to allow downloading and running scripts. It was never a problem before, except when I had a virus. Well, I keep getting stopped when I try to run Symantec's online virus scan, and it isn't my browser that is blocking it, like their 'no deal, no scan' window proclaims.

So I run the latest updated AVG anti-virus scan, which I buy, and it shuts down at some point in the scan !

Then I go to the Panda site and run their free online scan, with IE 7 browser (which allows it to run script, unlike the Symantec scan) and it reports there is the following spyware and hacker rootkits:
MailBomber.F ; NirCmd.A ; and Gator.....in six places, one of which is an installed ComboFix file !

So I will go back to square one, make a new restore point after deleting all the previous ones, use the ATF utility to scrub all the temp files, and do the AVG and other scans in safe-mode again with system restore turned 'off'.

That's the latest and greatest.....hope your Turkey-day is going great.

Thanks again,

scottportraits
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#6
wannabe1

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You should let our malware experts help you clean that rig. These are some things that scans just can't get.

Please go to the Malware Forum and follow the instructions you'll find there.

That will give you several steps that will help you clean up 70 percent of all problems by yourself. If at the end of the process you are still having difficulty--and you may not be-- post a hijackthis log in THAT forum. Do Not reply to or "bump" your own topic...if it shows a reply, it may be overlooked as one that is being worked on.

If you are still having problems after getting a clean bill of health from the malware expert, please return to this thread.
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