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Software running in the background

penneck
Rising Star
Posts: 729
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Registered: 03-08-2007

Software running in the background

My pc runs Windows 7. Since about February, I have had 'problems' for about 10 or 15 minutes after starting up where everything seems to run very slowly, and I mean slowly. Then without warning, it starts running at normal speed. I am assuming that something is working out of sight for a while, probably checking the system (I hope), though the lights on my router seem to flash a lot during that time as if it is getting things from the web, or sending things to the web.
Any suggestions what I should be looking for, and where/how to find it?
I have Zone Alarm, Malwarebytes, Microsoft Security Essentials.
My thanks for any help
22 REPLIES
rongtw
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Re: Software running in the background

there are several things you could do  Wink
firstly Run MSCONFIG from windows search , under services make sure you tick hide MS services and check if something looks odd . also look at start up
or you can try " https://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/sysinternals/bb963902.aspx " which will show what is running or auto starts
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lemming
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Re: Software running in the background

Running  a utility program to tell you which processes are running and their CPU usage, might help.  Try procexp.exe, or the Windows Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt+Del to start).
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Re: Software running in the background

This is annoying as earlier this week I had what appeared to be a windows system pop-up listing applications which were slowing the startup...including my Kaspersky AV.
I didn't pursue it as I'm happy for the likes of Kaspersky to start early in the boot process.
I have a feeling it was generated by Event Viewer but can't replicate it.

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Re: Software running in the background

Microsoft Security Essentials has changed for the worse it runs scans without prompting, which can and will cause what you describe.  One way around it is to disable real time protection.  That I have found will stop it continuing when not wanted.
Easiest way to find out is with taskmgr, in performance click the resource monitor and look at what is using your hard drive, it will me MSMPeng.exe that is crunching on it the most
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penneck
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Posts: 729
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Registered: 03-08-2007

Re: Software running in the background

I've tried 'msconfig' as suggested by rongtw. In the Startup list was somthing called 'Web Companion' for which the Manufacturer was listed as Unknown. I have disabled that, and early tests are looking positive. However, please bear in mind that this is only testing over the last couple of hours, but that has included several reboots. However, it also included 20 Microsoft updates loaded during one of the shutdowns (I didn't ask for them - they just appeared during the shutdown).
I'll let you know how things stand after a couple of days
Thanks for all the suggestions
Community Veteran
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Software running in the background

It definitely sounds like something performing heavy cpu / hdd usage. Avast is known for doing this - on boot it decides to start a full system scan and then the entire system crawls while it also tries to perform an update  Crazy On multi CPU / core systems it's not much of a problem but on systems with just one cpu / core it's a pain in the butt.
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Re: Software running in the background

Web Companion may be Lavasoft
JayG
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Re: Software running in the background

If Windows Updater is configured to check for updates automatically (and it sounds as if yours is) it is very likely to be the main cause:
http://community.plus.net/forum/index.php/topic,137931.msg1212543.html#msg1212543
Using Resource Monitor also helped me to spot 'WildTangent' thrashing away the HDD at the same time as Windows Updater and its associated processes - don't know exactly what it was doing or how often it does it but I removed the program (which came pre-installed on my HP PC) anyway as I never use it.
penneck
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Re: Software running in the background

I'm not sure I'm making much progress at the moment - not helped by my router dying yesterday so I had to replace it. I used msconfig to stop things starting up that I think I didn't need, and the next few boots seem to be quicker, but then occasionally a boot is very slow for about 10 minutes.
I have used taskmgr to try to spot what is busy, but nothing stands out. However, I don't really understand what taskmgr resource monitor is telling me. What should I be looking for? I have looked at the disk activity, and the processes and their various data figures are changing all the time. Some processes seem to be listed more than once. Some processes seem to come and go. Do I look for the bigger PID figures, or what? Taskmgr Resource Monitor did show that my memory is being heavily used, so I am getting some more - that will take about a week to arrive.
I am going to run CCleaner, but I don't have a lot of confidence that will solve the problem.
Onwards and upwards
JayG
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Re: Software running in the background

It's a good idea to clean up and optimize your computer before trying to find a particular culprit for excessive disk, memory, or CPU activity.
CCleaner is a good place to start, but don't let it remove your cookies unless you want to do a lot of re-entering of personal details for your favourite websites.
Malwarebytes is a reliable program for ensuring you have removed malware, although you are apparently using that anyway.
'UltraDefrag' is a useful free utility for defragging your disk, and can be set to run from the boot sector, which saves a LOT of time.
Make sure your power management is set to 'recommended settings' (although you can tweak the screen and disk time-outs.)
Also check that your system memory settings have not been changed to favour appearance over performance.
I use the 'Overview' tab of Resource Monitor, and expand the CPU. DISK and MEMORY tables so I can see what's happening with all 3 at the same time.
If you click on column headers 'CPU', 'Total (B/s)' and 'Commit (KB)' respectively the processes and their usage will automatically sort in descending order, which makes it a lot easier to spot which are using the most resources even though they are constantly changing..
You can expect to see a lot of 'pagefile.sys' activity on the HDD, and if you have Windows Updater set to automatic you will see 'datastore.edb' madly reading and writing to the disk soon after boot up.
If you can see evidence of your antivirus programs taking up lots of resources it could be they are set to scan more frequently than is really necessary.
As in my previous post, look for programs running which you don't actually use but which are using resources.
Installing more RAM should help - Resource Monitor will no doubt give you a clue as to how much, and whether the swapping activity of the HDD also decreases.as a result.
penneck
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Re: Software running in the background

I have attached a screenshot of taskmgr resources monitor taken just as soon after bootup as I could get it. Hopefully you can read it.
I can see what activities are the busiest, but I am unable to identify what activities can be stopped. How I stop them is the next question. Any suggestions?
Thanks
Community Veteran
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Registered: 15-06-2007

Re: Software running in the background

I would start by disabling Spybot S&D and second you shouldn't have MSE running with ZoneAlarm unless ZoneAlarm is only the firewall
penneck
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Registered: 03-08-2007

Re: Software running in the background

I think my Zone Alarm is only set up as a firewall. The Anti-virus updates are greyed out so I presume this means that feature isn't working. If I'm wrong, how do I stop it?
I only run MSE or Spybot 1.6.2 as and when I remember to - usually weekly or so. Does either have a facility for running continuously? If so, how do I stop them?
Thanks
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,460
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Registered: 15-06-2007

Re: Software running in the background

Spybot was running in your screen shot