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windows explorer (as in not IE) sucks

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so, i've got this problem with windows. every time i start my computer, windows explorer (the GUI interface, not IE) jumps to 100% CPU usage. my computer isn't thinking or anything, it just doesn't DO anything. it acts like it's running some really huge processes, but the 'thinking' light doesn't even turn on, and the computer just lags really really bad. so i close 'explorer' with the task manager, and it runs fine. i've got more than a gig of ram in this computer, i've got a huge amount of space on my hard drive, i virus-scan my computer every week, and i know there's no spam on it.

i THINK this started after running what turned out to be a bad keygen which tried to install a bunch of viruses on my computer. virus checker caught them before they were installed, and i was fine. this started about 2 weeks after that.

what's causing my CPU problem? it's REALLY annoying not being able to access my icons in the desktop, and all that. does anyone have any idea?

please just don't tell me to buy a mac, or run linux. i want a solution, not a retarded answer.

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First, make sure you have your windows disk handy (that or a disk with the I386 folder on it), and go 'Start>>Run' and type in 'sfc /scannow'. This will check your system files and make sure that none of them have been altered, if any have it will ask for your windows disk and it will then replace the system file with a good version.

Update your virus scanner, and malware scanners, boot into safe mode and do a complete scan with the new defs (make sure to disable sys restore)

after that, you can always try a repair install

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the 'thinking' light

That's your IDE activity LED. Your computer cannot think, it can only calculate. And your system can be performing massive calculations without the IDE LED even blinking. It just indicates disk activity.

But yeah, full spyware/adware scan with various scanning programs, and try a different virus scanner. Which one are you running at the moment?

Also fun to try: Start > Run > msconfig

Check the Startup tab for anything unusual, if required you can always expand the Command section to see the folder it's loading from. Google is your friend here as well.

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i'm running windows xp home edition with service pack 2, and i'm running norton antivirus/internet security. i did a super-scan in safe mode, and it only detected one thing - an adware thing called zangosearch which i've found before. i took it off, and restarted my computer, only to have it jump up to 100% cpu usage with explorer again.

i'm currently locating some discs for the windows file protection utility now.

this is SO annoying. i think it's causing my extreme lag when i play my mmorpg, as well, because i'm having trouble getting anything going lately with that either, and it's roughly mirrored the worsening of my computer's condition.

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definitely don't have the discs i need for it. i'm running windows defender and the malicious software tool that windows puts out right now, so we'll see what they say.

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Do you happen to have another virusscanner installed along with Norton? Norton tends to not play nice with anything else that's a virusscanner, and it's a known issue. Only way to resolve it is by disabling one of the two(Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Services)

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http://www3.ca.com/securityadvisor/virusinfo/scan.aspx

That's an online virus scanner. Many IT professionals use it when cleaning up computers.

I guess that's why the first thing it tells me is that I must run IE4.0 or above on a Windows system.

Hey it's free ain't it? Besides if you don't have IE4 by now 8O E-Trust prob came about before firefox and some of the other browsers started to take over, hence it's only compatible with IE.

Another more user friendly solution is Trend PCilin. It's another anti-virus program you can use. It uses up a helluva lot less system resources than norton, and is about like $30. Try to find a demo of it somewhere so you can run a scan.

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after jamming my system twice into a freeze, it finally got through about half my system in 3 hours. didn't really help.

anyways, removing smitfraud seems to have fixed the cpu problem. now, i just need to figure out why it's opening all these pop ads (in both IE and firefox). adaware, spybot S&D, windows defender, and Norton don't find a thing.

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You got a firewall enabled either through windows or norton? Make sure you only have one firewall running. Norton has a better firewall than windows so if you can use norton's.

Also in any browser you should be able to set the limit on cookies and enable some type of pop-up blocker.

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http://www3.ca.com/securityadvisor/virusinfo/scan.aspx

That's an online virus scanner. Many IT professionals use it when cleaning up computers.

I guess that's why the first thing it tells me is that I must run IE4.0 or above on a Windows system.

Hey it's free ain't it? Besides if you don't have IE4 by now 8O E-Trust prob came about before firefox and some of the other browsers started to take over, hence it's only compatible with IE.

That's a crummy excuse not to get with the times. I'm kinda tired of all the sites that force you to use IE for whatever the hell reason they can think of.

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That's a crummy excuse not to get with the times. I'm kinda tired of all the sites that force you to use IE for whatever the hell reason they can think of.

ActiveX. That's the only reason anyone "requires" IE.

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the only other problem now is i can't get a good connection anywhere for online gaming. i constantly lag out of everything, and the WOW kids seem to have a fine connection wherever they go. know any way to optimize my connection? i'm on a college line that's fine for gaming on Xbox and other stuff, but for some reason it doesn't work well with Guild Wars.

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REFORMAT, MOTHERFUCKER! NOW!

In case you guys forgot, the same thing happened to me awhile ago. Remember? That one where I said I was pirating software and got a shady keygen? It was a Trojan; a nasty one called win_logon hook, or something. Nasty backdoor trojan. Had to reformat.

Disconnect from the internet and reformat.

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The above is why it's a good idea to have some sort of updated active virus scanner installed on a system, even if you generally don't get viruses (like me).

Ramp the heuristic up to max on both the scanner and the guard, if you're as paranoid as I am about that kinda crap. The only false positive that's gotten on my exclude list was moo.dll in my mIRC directory.

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REFORMAT, MOTHERFUCKER! NOW!

In case you guys forgot, the same thing happened to me awhile ago. Remember? That one where I said I was pirating software and got a shady keygen? It was a Trojan; a nasty one called win_logon hook, or something. Nasty backdoor trojan. Had to reformat.

Disconnect from the internet and reformat.

this isn't really an option. i have too much stuff on here that i'd not be able to back up without possibly just dumping the virus into my backed up stuff. i need to find some way to clean it straight up.

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this isn't really an option. i have too much stuff on here

And that is why, ideally, you don't rely on a single partition. Reformatting Windows becomes so routine that losing all of one's precious shit ceases to be a problem if you store it all on something other than C:\. You know, as long as the drive itself doesn't die. But that's why you then use a combination of optical media for backups and maybe even a second hard drive. Still though, multiple partitions FTW.

As to the original problem, the "thinking light" is the HD access light (it'd be awesome to have a front gauge for CPU usage tho) and heavy HD access on startup is unsurprising for most Windows systems, especially those that haven't been reformatted in a while. My suggestions there are to defrag the drive, and either remove some things from startup, or just remove some things altogether. Even with 1GB of RAM (which is pretty much standard these days) HD thrashing will still occur, especially if you're loading a lot of stuff, and killing explorer.exe won't help because Windows Explorer doubles as the Windows shell.

I also suggest replacing Task Manager with SysInternals Process Explorer (it's free), since Process Explorer is a much better tool for figuring out what could be causing a bottleneck in performance.

EDIT: Or just use this to figure out wtf is causing the HD thrashing on startup.

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this isn't really an option. i have too much stuff on here

And that is why, ideally, you don't rely on a single partition. Reformatting Windows becomes so routine that losing all of one's precious shit ceases to be a problem if you store it all on something other than C:\. You know, as long as the drive itself doesn't die. But that's why you then use a combination of optical media for backups and maybe even a second hard drive. Still though, multiple partitions FTW.

As to the original problem, the "thinking light" is the HD access light (it'd be awesome to have a front gauge for CPU usage tho) and heavy HD access on startup is unsurprising for most Windows systems, especially those that haven't been reformatted in a while. My suggestions there are to defrag the drive, and either remove some things from startup, or just remove some things altogether. Even with 1GB of RAM (which is pretty much standard these days) HD thrashing will still occur, especially if you're loading a lot of stuff, and killing explorer.exe won't help because Windows Explorer doubles as the Windows shell.

I also suggest replacing Task Manager with SysInternals Process Explorer (it's free), since Process Explorer is a much better tool for figuring out what could be causing a bottleneck in performance.

EDIT: Or just use this to figure out wtf is causing the HD thrashing on startup.

i said it DOESN'T do anything after it logs on - it just sits there, saying that windows is doing some really insanely powerful.

i actually use process explorer. it still just lists explorer as automatically going up to 100% CPU load within a minute of it loading. i thought for sure it's gotta be some sort of virus because it never really did that in the past, and i'm only loading some five small applications on startup. i never run more than 44 processes at a time, according to the sysinternal tool, and only six of them are non-essential files.

i ran that autoruns thing, and didn't notice anything strange in there. would you mind taking a look at it and telling me what you think of it?

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