I apologize ahead of time if this post is long winded. I just want to let you know what I've done so I don't take your time more than I have to posting back and forth. I appreciate all your help. (I hate asking for help!) One day I will realize I have to bite the bullet and go buy a new computer and, like it or not, I will have to use Vista. None of my software will work, and I'll have to live with it. Or win the lotto and replace it. I WILL be assimilated. I will stop trying to coddle this outdated thing I'm using here. Maybe.
I spent a few days reading your boards to see what you had to say to others with this same problem and following the advice already here.
My computer has been taken over by gremlins and I noticed the CPU running at 100% the last few months when I'm using the browser. Since the comp is mostly used by me paying bills that rain down from seemingly nowhere, and by my niece who plays on a kid's game site, I upgraded the memory to 1 GIG, finally broke down and installed the CD ROM for IE SP2 and did all the things I thought could be causing it.
The kid's game site uses endless downloads of Flash files, and not only did this start taking forever but the whole thing ran like sludge to the point where she can no longer play on it for more than 2 minutes before she locks up. I checked with my DSL company - it's not them. I wasn't having problems anywhere else but thought my browser/connection has been slow as [bleep] for awhile. I'd sit and sit and wait. Pages are white and don't pull up, I feel like I'm on dial-up again. I'd call the DSL company, I'd check things, they'd say it was ok, I'd find nothing here.
Then the Memory Usage on the task meter was racking up 500-1000 K a second if she sat on her site, which isn't exactly graphic intensive but seems to use layers and 'builds' things and fills in. She'd sit for 45 seconds, waiting for simple things to "let go" or fill in. Buttons wouldn't 'press" anymore. (I'd get similar results if I surfed but not this extreme; even using Firefox or MSN or condescended to use AOL.) This only happened on this site, so I didn't think much about it except they weren't being too helpful. So, I'm thinking video/graphic card maybe or maybe a virus/trojan, and I go bugnuts because I'm pathological about keeping the comp clean and checked.
When I'd exit my browser, the Task Manager would still show the IE running with this monster 300,000 k it had accumulated, locked solid. Something was still holding it 'open' though we no longer had it up. If I waited, after 2-3 minutes it would shut down on it's own. I just started ending the process myself and started trying to figure all this out when I saw it wasn't just the site she played on.
I wondered if the installation of SP2 was buggy? Maybe the browser is corrupt/buggy? I have no idea how to reinstall it. So, I've spent two weeks thinking here, which is dangerous.
That being said, I went to Best buy and bought a new graphic card. Long story short, I couldn't use it because they now have the pins on the end that click into your power supply. The Geek told me my power supply/comp (170W) is too old to use these types of cards, and they don't carry the kind I can use (I called the company for the model numbers.) If I got a splitter, I'd be splitting a crappy power supply. It'd be better to go upgrade my power supply, but I don't know if my comp, over all, is fast enough to bother with this stuff? Or if it's true "no one" sells just a simple graphic card anymore.
Whatever I've managed to do messing around for a week, the browser no longer hangs after it's closed or racks up a constant stream of k as badly as it did, as it's sitting on a site. It's just still using 100% CPU when she's on this site, so we gave up which is a shame. It's using 100% when I'm doing most things now.
It happens even if I boot up the comp and as the desktop pulls up. It takes 45 seconds to do this, because it's all hanging and locking up.
It happens if I just go into my Explorer and pull up any folder. It's 14 seconds until it "lets go." It happens when I scroll the side bar. The icons will move a bit, fracture, and the window will lock up again for 10 + seconds as whatever length I scrolled catches up with itself. The CPU is at 100% meanwhile. It will jump around wildly any time I click a thing - 100%-45%-89%-12%-93%-63%-92%-33%-74%-3%. Then I can continue with my next click or scroll. Ad nauseum.
My next thought then was I had malware, a virus, trojan...something grabbing my connection on me and not letting go. SO..here begins the fun. I haven't had one in 15 years, knock on wood. Knock on pressed particle board, make that.
What I've been running:
AdAware - Just to see if this was the issue, I installed it last week. No difference in anything
HijackThis - I've used this for eternity. It never showed a thing amiss. I uninstalled it last week just to see if that was causing problems ; no difference
Spybot - ditto
After reading your boards, I ran:
procexp.exe - it shows that iexplorer is the culprit using all the CPU. The only other thing that blinks in from time to time is "services and controller" (3.45) or "DPC" (1.54)
ATF Cleaner (great app!)
Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware - found nothing
StartUp monitor shows the same three things I've always run
I turned off everything in my msconfig>Start up (6 items) and enabled them one at a time to see if it was them. Nothing changed.
I ran a dxdiag (you guys know a lot of neat tricks!)
I don't know if this has a thing to do with a thing, but digging around in whatever some help file suggested I look in, the Component Services>console root>event viewer has thousands of events logged every 10 seconds that say "error ...service control manager" and yellow "!" triangles saying "Warning ..tcpip" or "W32time." There's a lot of the yellow "Warning !" under Event viewer>Application saying "Userenv"
Yet...last night I had about 14 web pages from 5 sites minimized down at the bottom, researching something, and was not only stunned by the fact that I cared so much about this stupid thing I was looking up but saw my CPU humming along at what used to be a normal 8 -23%. The pages were mostly all boring, legal text stuff, and AIM was up...but how is that "less" than some kid's site? Who have really lame Flash graphics? (I didn't say that out loud here...)
Thank you so much for any help. Again, I apologize for the length of this, I just wanted to cover all bases.
My brain is mashed potatoes. Please add your gravy.
Dell Dimension 8250 (I know, I know...)
Intel Pentium 4 2.40 Ghz
2.39 GHz 100 GB RAM
NVIDIA GeForce4 MX420