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Two drwatson.exe processes running in Task Manager

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First of all, I'm new, so I hope I'm posting this thread in the correct spot. I've read a lot on this site (and others) in the last several weeks, and I have yet to find anything that seems to coincide with what my PC is experiencing. I run a Compaq 5000 Series with Windows XP Professional, SP2, on a DSL connection. I regularly use Norton Antivirus (and the rest of Systemworks), Spybot Search and Destroy, Adaware, and I've done a lot of comparisons of my HiJack This logs to those I've seen on this and other boards. I've also done two online system checks at two different sites. Before posting my own log I thought I'd see here first if my problem isn't one that simply requires a CD-based repair to the operating system, because I'm not convinced I've got malware (although I'm prepared to learn that I probably do -- I suspect if I do that it is one that can hide one or two versions of itself and survive).

This has been a recurring problem for a couple months now. Every few days I will get two drwatson.exe processes running in the Task Manager, and Explorer will be disabled until I end one of the two drwatsons. Then Explorer fires back up automatically, but any kind of use of Explorer (right-clicking, directory browsing, etc.) initiates both drwatson processes again.

The two drwatsons are different by a large amount in their memory usage. One is always around 2,300 K and the other is always around 5,500 to 7,500 K. The one using less memory is the only one which can be ended, and it always takes the other away drwatson with it. Then they both show up again simultaneously upon the next attempt to use Explorer. Trying to kill the larger-memory drwatson is completely ineffective, every time, and multiple attempts with Ctrl-Alt-Del must be performed just to bring the Task Manager back into focus.

There is also no rhyme or reason to what makes it go away for a few days, and no rhyme or reason to what causes it to come back into play. I have found nothing out of order on several occasions (after running through all my usual malware, etc., stuff) and just gave up and let the computer stay shut down for a day or two... then on the next boot -- and for many boots thereafter -- everything runs completely normally. Then on other times I will find malware or whatever, fix all that I find, see that everything's ostensibly "clean"... and the system will boot for days and days with the two drwatson problem still in effect. Totally weird. Especially since the "I just give up, I'll try again in a couple days" tactic of leaving the computer off for over 24 hours seems to be the only method that does any good. But I've never heard of malware that's merciful like that -- like it could expire after a certain number of ticks on the system clock.

Anyway. I know that's all very verbose, but perhaps someone could help shed some light? I am not a thread-leaver, btw; I will be checking back and replying within 24 hours of this posting. I also use an iMac at home and at work, and that's what I'm posting from now, so there's not a chance of me going MIA on this thread. Thanks again!


Edited by scaper150, 22 May 2005 - 07:20 PM.

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