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Explorer.exe problems


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#1
Angel of Light

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An interesting problem occurred a while ago, and it has just now escalated into the unbearable stages. Whenever my computer boots, what used to be a 1-2 minute startup time after logging into my account has turned into nothing less than half an hour to 45 minutes before the last item finishes loading.

The only things that load are the Gmail notifier, network connections, and Zone Alarm in that order.

Attempting to execute anything from process to program is met with the explorer.exe process freezing for anywhere from ten minutes to two hours. I can still move the mouse and interact with my desktop, but launching anything (including the task manager) has turned into an occasion for watching a movie and hoping it's launched by the time I get back. Even more interesting is in the fact that after the initial launch, everything else opens in seconds, like usual. Firefox's first launch will take half an hour, then after it's launched, the system is back to normal like nothing happened.

There have been no hardware changes whatsoever; it just one day started acting up. Uninstalling the program I believed to be the root cause (a program which was malware-free by all four scans I used) caused no change and I do not remember the exact date for a system restore to work effectively. If System Restore even launches, that is.

OS info is attached.

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  • Computer_Info.PNG

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#2
wannabe1

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Hello Angel of Light...

Let's check your transfer modes.

Right click on My Computer and choose "Properties". Click the "Hardware" tab and then the "Device Manager" button. Expand (click +) IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers.

Right click on the Primary IDE channel, choose "Properties", then click the "Advanced Settings" tab. List the Current Transfer Mode for each device shown for this channel.

Right click on the Secondary IDE channel, choose "Properties", then click the "Advanced Settings" tab. List the Current Transfer Mode for each device shown for this channel.

wannabe1
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#3
Angel of Light

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Primary

Device 0
Device type: Auto Detect
Transfer Mode: DMA if available
Current Transfer Mode: Ultra DMA Mode 5

Device 1
Device Type: Auto Detection
Transfer Mode: DMA if available
Current Transfer Mode: Ultra DMA Mode 5

Secondary

Device 0
Device type: Auto Detect
Transfer Mode: DMA if available
Current Transfer Mode: Ultra DMA Mode 4

Device 1
Device Type: Auto Detection
Transfer Mode: DMA if available
Current Transfer Mode: Ultra DMA Mode 2
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#4
wannabe1

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Nope...transfer modes are ok.

In Device Manager, expand "Disk Drives". Locate the HDD and post the number here for me.

It will look similar to ST316081 or perhaps it will start with a WD. The number will help me find the correct diagnostics for your HDD.
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#5
Angel of Light

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Disk Drives - (there are two)
WDC WD800JB-00JJC0
WDC WD800JB-00JJC0
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#6
wannabe1

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Download and run Data Lifeguard on your machine.

This will give your HDD a thorough check. One of many things that can cause the kind of lag you describe is a dying HDD. Malware is another, but we'll look the hardware over first.
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#7
Angel of Light

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I would be surprised if it was a dying HDD seeing how this one is fairly new (within one year old). Also, it seems that ZoneAlarm's Security Suite doesn't like my computer. I uninstalled it on a whim and the wait time is down somewhat, but still there.

I've got the data lifeguard up. What should I do next?



EDIT to note: all the data on the C: partition of the drive is a data-lifeguard transfer from a dying/corrupted HDD.

Edited by Angel of Light, 03 July 2008 - 10:27 PM.

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#8
wannabe1

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Can you list for me what malware protection you have on the machine? Sometimes they don't play together well.

I'm particularly interested in any that have real time protection like Anti Virus applications.
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#9
Angel of Light

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The only protection I have is the Zone Alarm SS (firewall, virus, and spyware). It's the only thing that's been running on this machine for two years and the problem is recent. I know I have the Process Scanner enabled which hits the performance overall, but not to this extent. I occasionally run online scans like the PandaScanner and I use Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware.


Along that line, I am strangely unable to do anything about windows automatic updates. It is set to permanently (and unchangeably) download and install updates without my consent. I wouldn't mind so much except there are some updates that are for programs I do not have installed on this machine. And I don't like having no say in things.


Attached is the AutoUpdate window... and yes, all those options are shaded grey and unchangeable.

EDIT to note: all the data on the C: partition of the drive is a data-lifeguard transfer from a dying/corrupted HDD.

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  • AutoUpdate.PNG

Edited by Angel of Light, 03 July 2008 - 10:42 PM.

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