CPU easily maxes out in WinXp Pro, IE slow loading

I really hope there’s a fix to this without having to do a reinstall. My dad’s computer is running really slow. Internet Explorer and Firefox are both incredibly slow to open (firefox more so). Microsoft office applications appear to open fairly normally. Internet explorer is incredibly slow to load pages. Firefox isn’t too bad. Internet explorer maxes out the CPU at 100% for a good while when it loads a page like www.msn.com or www.dailynews.com. Firefox loads up the CPU quite a bit but doesn’t quite max it out. On my computer, those pages load very quickly without any problems. His computer is a 1.8HGz Pentium 4 with 1GB RAM. I’ve deleted temporary internet files and have run Spybot, Adaware, and Norton which didn’t really find anything. There have never been any obvious signs of malware on the computer. I’ve tried disabling all startup items and killing off other running processes. I’ve tried disabling 3rd party browser extensions. I’ve tried a new user account. Problem persists. In safe mode everything works a lot better, but we all know that safe mode is not a primary working environment. As far as I know, nothing new was installed recently. I really can’t figure out what is causing it. Any help is greatly appreciated. And no “get a mac” or “switch to ubuntu” are not options.

Have you tried system restore?

It really does sound like a virus. Norton in my opinion (and that of my tech classes) is one of the worst virus protection / virus scans available (I’ve seen it block it’s self from the Internet). I do believe that Kaspersky has a free trial that you can run (it’s been a while not sure if they still have it). Try running a defrag on the system too. The program files for IE and FF might have become fragmented thus slowing down access time to the program.

This would only work if he has a restore point from before the troubles happened, and isn’t guaranteed to work in fixing Internet application problems because if he does have a virus, this won’t help much in speeding up the loading of the applications and pages, it’ll just restore documents, but I can be wrong.

The virus protection software is actually Symantec Corporate and it scans every day.

Norton is complete garbage. Anyway, one quick thing to try to see if it is extra processes slowing down your computer is running a clean boot. Open Run, type msconfig, open it. Will look something like this. http://www.commonsensesecurity.info/images/msconfig.jpg
First go to services, hide all Microsoft services and click disable all, then go over to startup and disable all. Then click apply. Close. Reboot. This should stop all background processes and allow you to run the computer like normal and find out what is bogging your computer down.
(NOTE TO ALL THOSE WHO USE AUTODESK SOFTWARE! If you do a clean boot it doesn’t let the registration process run, so if you try to run their software it will give you an error and tell you to reinstall, do not panic go back to msconfig, search for something with registration or autodesk in its name, reactivate and reboot)

As for an AntiVirus. I use eTrust EZ Antivirus, I don’t really connect to the Internet much only connect to play online games, CD, or AIM, not a virus yet. Main reason why I use it is because it is completely free for one year, no credit card required. Just sign up and let the year full access trial begin. PM me if you want more details. From what I found on their webpage they lowered it from a year to 30 days yet if you go through something else you can still get 1 year. PM me for details.

If all else fails, bust out the Ubuntu live CD. :wink:

That’s just the company that makes Norton. A few years ago they bought out Norton. Before Norton was boughten out it was actually a fairly decent application.

This can cause allot more problems than can help. Some systems needs certain things to run at startup which effect other things and yeah, a long chain of non working programs. Not fun.


Microsoft AntiSpyware Beta has worked really well for me (http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/software/default.mspx ). When I had to clean an old computer, AdAware found the adware but Microsoft Antispyware was the best at deleting and cleaning everything. Good luck.


AVG rules. If and when you fix the problems, I’d suggest checking it out. If you suspect a virus and nothing else is working, this program may do the trick (plus, it’s free!).

I would strongly recommend a clean boot- because it’s completly reversable. The startup applications will remain visible in msconfig, and you can possibly diagnose the problem in this way, if it is simply too many startups.

But Michelle is right- if you run into any problems with applications, go back in and reenable stuff. Mozilla and IE are not affected by any of the user commanded startup programs, so they at least shouldn’t give you any trouble.

Exactly, everything I showed can be reversed quickly and easily, yet the only software I have had trouble with is AutoDesk software, which is why I gave the warning. Other than that nothing, and I have a lot of software. Perhaps it is because I never register anything I don’t need to. :shrugs:

In my original post, you’ll see I mentioned that I booted with all startup items disabled and it did not help.

First off, I’m surprised Ad-aware and Spybot S&D didn’t catch it.
The disclaimer: I’m not a professional or even a compsci major. I’m a first year mechanical engineering student. Treat my advice as such.

Assuming it’s malware/spyware, a program that I’ve used in the past to fix some of my friends computers is Hijack This. It’s not an anti-malware/anti-spyware program per se, but I’ve found it useful (it checks certain registry values for changes). If you run the program it will generate a tagged list with these tags:

Deleting some of the items can cause your computer to end up in worse shape than it sounds like it is in now though , and vice-versa (some items that look to be legit. may be the source of the problem). If you’ve never used HJT before, I’d suggest erring on the side of not deleting something or asking on a security forum, or seeing if someone (more knowledgeable than me) on CD would look at it.

Barring malware/spyware, Sysinternals.com has a process explorer that shows the hierarchy and application each process is running under. Again, I’ve used it, but I also have an old computer that I have just for experimenting with and can afford to be a little less delicate. (Mark Russinovich has written quite a few programs that may be useful if you’ve got the time to sift through the computer in an exhaustive search (filemon and regmon), but my opinion is that his programs were written for dissecting your computer to analyze something rather than for quick fixes. My opinion is that Sysinternals is useful, but you’ll probably want to use other methods first.
Hope this helps.

Since you have already tried disabling all startup items, and since the problem only arises when you try to access the Internet via a browser, then it is likely that there is a hidden virus on your computer. If virus scanning does not come up with anything, have you ever checked to see if hidden hard drive partitions exist? Once on my father’s old laptop a nasty virus created a seperate partition for itself, and it initially escaped detection from virus scanning software.

Otherwise, I would suggust using a program like Filemon to monitor what files/programs are accessed when you launch a browser. This program is freeware and it will track every single file that is opened in your computer, so that you can try to see if there is a virus leeching onto Internet Explorer and Firefox.

EDIT: I just found this post in another forum that might be of help: http://forums.devshed.com/showpost.php?p=597592&postcount=8

I’ve had the happen to several of my computers although your mileage may vary. There’s a program that XP starts named ciscv.exe which monitors the program that does disk indexing to keep it from going wild. The only problem is that ciscv.exe sometimes goes off its nut and takes over. Open MyComputer and right click on the hard disks to bring up their properties, if the check box at the bottom “Allow Disk Indexing…” isn’t checked, this isn’t your problem. If it is, you can try unchecking it and pressing apply. Do it for all directories and files. This may take a few minutes.

Another way is to open the task manager and kill cisvc.exe and see if your computer acts more normally. If it does, then do the above. No harm since Windows will restart it next boot if this isn’t your cause.

If you want to really verify this, use the filemon program from SysInternals.com mention in one of the other posts.

It’s interesting that Microsoft is using one program to make sure another doesn’t misbehave and that program them misbehaves.

I was recently the victim of a trojan. Apparently it was new, because I could not find any info about the symptoms that I was experiencing. The symptoms were:

  1. A program named sdaaaaaa.exe tried to access the internet, but ZoneAlarm alerted me. I found sdaaaaaa.exe and some other files newly added to my system32 folder and deleted them even though AVG antivirus did not consider them as a trojan (yet).

  2. After rebooting I noticed in task manager that cmd.exe was using a lot of resources and slowing down my computer. Since cmd.exe is a command prompt window, and I did not have a command prompt window open, I assumed that this was related to what ever sdaaaaaa.exe did.

I searched many differnent security related websites trying to figure out what was going on. I finally copied the hard drive and then did a clean install. After reinstalling everything, AVG offered an update that recognised this as a trojan.

The box was checked, but unchecking it and letting it do its thing didn’t help, and I there was no cisvc.exe running.

IB Mac Elitists

i agree with all the “Norton is bad and such” posts. Norton is nothing but trouble when it comes to system load (especially at boot). i’d say get rid of everything norton and symantec and install something such as AVG Free or the like.

Norton is… interesting. For getting a job done, it does its job. It just does it in a very slow, and not cool manner.

The nicest thing I can do for my computer is keep my processes list shorter than the default window size of the Task Manager (ctrl+alt+delete window). You know pretty quickly if you have some nasty viruses/programs installed on your computer.

First, I’ve seen many computers that slow down because they have norton running. Between the antivirus scanning every file that is modified on the comptuer and things like the firewall and spyware protection constantly running, it can quickly bog down a system. However, if you say you disabled all startup items, I assume that includes norton, so that’s probably not your problem.

One possability is that you have a virus or spywre which has installed itself as a rootkit. A Rootkit modifies the way your computer access teh hard drive and memory so that is is almost completely hidden. You can detect (although not remove) rootkits using Sysinternals’ free RootkitRevealer.