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What is SysFader and why is it constantly taking 5-10% CPU?

For the past 2-3 months I have had a thread called SysFader on my Explorer.exe (as shown by TaskInfo2000 from http://iarsn.com)

To see a screenshot of what I am talking about, look here:
http://www.tranceambient.com/images/sysfader.gif

I have no idea what this thread is, what is using it, or even if it is somehow harming my machine. All I know is that it never uses less than 5% CPU (on a 866mhz P3 w/ 512 megs RAM) ..

The thread starts as soon as I boot Windows, even before I start my applications .. And when it starts taking high CPU (10-15%) there is nothing I can do (that I know of) to fix it other than to reboot ..

I am at a complete loss on how to fix this, or even how to troubleshoot it .. I asked around and other people don't seem to have this thread running ..

Any ideas?
-Jonah
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JonahD
Asked:
JonahD
2 Solutions
 
darrenburkeCommented:
do yo have a creative labs sound card installed?
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JonahDAuthor Commented:
Indeed I do .. Soundblaster Live Value ..
I'm running it on Windows 2000 Server, if it matters ..
-EsKi
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jhanceCommented:
SysFader is a Windows 2000 system thread that causes the menus to fade in and out....
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JonahDAuthor Commented:
Indeed I do .. Soundblaster Live Value ..
I'm running it on Windows 2000 Server, if it matters ..
-EsKi
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JonahDAuthor Commented:
Sorry I hit Refresh and it re-posted my last comment ..

jhance, I figured as much .. That's why I disabled "Use transition effects for menus and tooltips" under Display Properties-->Effects ..

Is there something else I can do to turn this crap off? 5-15% CPU is just ridiculous for a visual effect ..

-Jonah
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GUEENCommented:
Are you able to disable SysFader from display properties?
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JonahDAuthor Commented:
shekerra, where exactly would I find that option?
-EsKi
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GUEENCommented:
Effects | Use transition effects
Also download Ad-Aware and check for spyware on your computer and remove all -http://www.lavasoft.de/aaw/aaware.html
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JonahDAuthor Commented:
Read my reply just previous to yours ..
"jhance, I figured as much .. That's why I disabled "Use transition effects for menus and tooltips" under
Display Properties-->Effects .. "

I have used Ad-aware, and I use Ad-watch 24x7 .. Neither complain about this SysFader ..
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GUEENCommented:
So JonahD -
You are stating that you already had  "transition effects"
unchecked?  
Try updating your video drivers -
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JonahDAuthor Commented:
yeah shekerra, I have disabled the 'transition effects' .. Tried that long ago ..

I have the latest version of my video drivers .. I'm using Creative Labs Annihilator Pro ..
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ValkyreCommented:
SysFader is just that menu fade effect, turn it off ;)
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JonahDAuthor Commented:
If you are talking about Use transition effects for menus and tooltips" under Display Properties-->Effects, I already did that ..
-Jonah
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jhanceCommented:
On W2K (and also the upcoming XP) this "feature" is built in.  Even if you disable the effect, the SYSFADER thread still runs and still seems to take about the same amount of process time.  If you kill the SYSFADER process thread, it will restart.  

Seriously, though, I don't believe this is a performance problem.  I think the only other process that SYSFADER is taking CPU time from is the System Idle Process....
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darrenburkeCommented:
Creative labs have a file called SYSFADER.EXE that installs with some soundcards.  Is there a file called SYSFADER.EXE on your PC?  If so is it a Creative Labs file?
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jhanceCommented:
>>SYSFADER.EXE on your PC?  If so is it a Creative Labs file?

That may be the case but that is NOT the source of this thread which is owned by EXPLORER.EXE.  This is a Microsoft created thread that gives the fade in/out look to Windows 2000 user interface.  I didn't say it was useful or even a proper use of system resources.  It's just what you get with Windows 2000.  

Get used to it.  Windows XP has even more garbage like this.
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JonahDAuthor Commented:
I have searched all my drives for the file SYSFADER.EXE and found absolutely nothing. :(
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jhanceCommented:
There is no SYSFADER.EXE.  It's a thread started by Windows 2000 and it's owned by Explorer.  A thread named SYSFADER does not have to come from an EXE named SYSFADER.EXE.
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JonahDAuthor Commented:
Ok, but why do other Windows 2000 users not have this thread going? That's the part that is making me think it's something that I don't NEED running on this PC?
Do you know what file SYSFADER actually is (whether it be a dll, ocx, exe .. ) ..
-Jonah
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darrenburkeCommented:
search for SYSFADER.* and look at the version info.  It should tell you who owns the file.  Do you have any of the creative utilies running in your task bar?
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gmichelsCommented:
just a thought...check the registry as well. You might be able to disable/remove references of it from there.
Just remember to back up your present registry settings in case it mucks things up.

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JonahDAuthor Commented:
I searched for 'sysfader.*' on all drives and found nothing .. Also searched registry for 'sysfader' and found nothing (other than irrelevant hits, like search history, etc) ..

I did a full process/thread dump using TaskInfo .. I grep'ed out the relevant info to a text file ..
View it here: http://www.tranceambient.com/downloads/prclist.txt

-Jonah
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GUEENCommented:
I agree with Jhance on this one.

>>SYSFADER.EXE on your PC?  If so is it a Creative Labs file?

"...but that is NOT the source of this thread which is owned by EXPLORER.EXE.  This is a Microsoft created thread that gives the fade in/out look to Windows 2000 user interface"

Truth spoken. . . it won't get any better than that.
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CrazyOneCommented:
Hmm quite interesting. I downloaded TaskInfo2000 and checked under the Explorer Process and I don't find the SysFader thread running on my system. I tried to get it to run by enabling the Use transition effects and it still doesn't show up in the Explore list.  Curious to say the least. Weird.

I doubt if this will help but you can try it and see.

Open Tweak to the General Tab

Make sure no check marks are by these items.

Combo box animation
List box animation
Menu animation
Menu Fading
Menu selection fading
Tool tip animation
Window animation


If you don't have Tweak you can get it here.

Tweak
http://www.microsoft.com/ntworkstation/downloads/PowerToys/Networking/NTTweakUI.asp


The Crazy One
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JonahDAuthor Commented:
Good idea CrazyOne, I didn't think of that .. I unchecked those options and restart .. We'll see if the SysFader thread comes back (it hasn't yet) .
-Jonah
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JonahDAuthor Commented:
SysFader is back taking ~6% CPU ..
I wish I could believe that this was something all Win2k users had to deal with, but I don't know anyone else with this thread running .. Something I installed must have caused it, but I still have no idea what, or how to get rid of it ..
-Jonah
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GUEENCommented:
I do not have a problem with sysfader (Crazy made me dl that product too :P~.)
Hmmm - now I am very intriqued with this question
Deja:http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&safe=off&th=a460fac80774d149,3&seekm=OPudAvqeAHA.1804%40tkmsftngp03#p and here:
http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&safe=off&th=7bf87a9a6c54c80a,4&seekm=ujnArrjr%24GA.263%40cppssbbsa02.microsoft.com#p
which would bring it back to DarrenBurke above -
I absolutely did believe that sysfader was for the menu - but we are here to learn too!





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GUEENCommented:
FYI: So I ate my words to my post above that
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JonahDAuthor Commented:
From that groups.google.com post: "SYSFADER is the volume control applet in the taskbar"
I thought that was sndvol32.exe (which creates it's own process) ..

I have heard of people complaining about the Creative Labs drivers for the SoundBlaster cards, but I already tried changing the drivers. I was reading on the message forum for http://r3mix.net about some alternative drivers for SB cards that fix a lot of the problems. I uninstalled my current drivers, reboot, then installed the alternative drivers .. That was 3 days ago .. Sysfader is still there .. :(
-Jonah
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GUEENCommented:
So you have already contacted Creative tech support?
What soundcard do you have?

http://asia.creative.com/support/win2k-driver.html
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GUEENCommented:
Soundblaster Live - right?
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GUEENCommented:
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JonahDAuthor Commented:
I have SoundBlaster Live Value PCI ..
I will contact their tech support .. Thanks for the URL ..
-Jonah
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GUEENCommented:
So it would be DarrenBurke who first hit upon this - I am simply adding to it.

Thank you,
Good Luck!
>Bev
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cempashaCommented:
Hi JonahD
This question is still open and needs to be closed. If any of the comments above helped you, please accept it as an answer. If not please send an update about your issue so that the question can be finalised. Thank you

*** PLEASE DO NOT ACCEPT THIS COMMENT AS AN ANSWER ***

Pasha

Cleanup Volunteer
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netwiz562Commented:
------CLEAN UP------

No comment has been added lately, so it's time to clean up this TA.
I will leave a recommendation in the Cleanup topic area that this question is:

RECOMMENDATION: Split between shekerra and DarrenBurke

Please leave any comments here within the next seven days.

PLEASE DO NOT ACCEPT THIS COMMENT AS AN ANSWER!

Rajiv Makhijani
EE Cleanup Volunteer

-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-
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jhanceCommented:
Sorry but their comments are not applicable to this situation.  SysFader is a WINDOWS component as I explained.  It's not a SoundBlaster application, nor is it AdWare or SpyWare.  I also explained how to shut it off.
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CrazyOneCommented:
>>>SysFader is a WINDOWS component as I explained

Umm sorry jhance but I disagree SysFader is not a windows component. I don't have it at all an the two Win2000 machines I own and all the other Win2000 machines I have serviced. It is a third party component not a windwos component.
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netwiz562Commented:
-----CLEAN UP NOTICE-----
I will leave this up to a moderator/administrator to decide, unless you are able to contact the JonahD.  Although if you notice, JonahD ends his comments after accepting to try contacting Creative support which implies that solution works.

Thanks,
Rajiv Makhijani
EE Cleanup Volunteer

~~DO NOT ACCEPT THIS COMMENT AS AN ANSWER~~
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SubZ82Commented:
Hi, i had this problem but i fixed it cos im god.

like the first user said jhance:
SysFader is a Windows 2000 system thread that causes the menus to fade in and out....

this is correct, it means youve changed your registry if its using high cpu or crashing. Often a manual tweak would of done this or a tweak program.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\ then select MenuShowDelay and check its on 400.  if its lower then raise it.

Regards

Rob
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kaller2Commented:
Ho hum
So Much for the experts.
Here. Look its a Trojan
http://www.trendmicro.com/vinfo/virusencyclo/default5.asp?Vname=TROJ_WINSHOW.A
Somebody gimme some points then
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kythriCommented:
Points for what?

That link you posted mentions absolutely nothing about SysFader.

SysFader *IS* a component of Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

It's used by the OS to effect fade-in/fade-out of menus, balloons, etc.
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GUEENCommented:
Sysfader is spawned as a process by browseui.dll when Internet Explorer uses *transition effects* Strange that Microsoft does not mention much about it...
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kaller2Commented:
It may well do but the problem message went away on a machine having exactly those symptoms when a variant of the winshow Trojan was removed.
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kythriCommented:
That's fabulous.  But, SysFader is not a Trojan, like you claimed.

The article/link you posted also does not mention SysFader at all.

Hence my response to your proposed "solution".
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kaller2Commented:
Take it as a trojan post ;)
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Toby_JCommented:
My new 3Gh P4 has been crashing at least once a day and when ever I've managed to get the task manager up before it locks completely it's always Sysfader that's stopped respoding.

 My anti virus and firewall software are tip top, I've run Ad Aware and Spybot and removed  everything found, I've unchecked the boxes in Display Settings and checked the registry setting for MenuShowDelay yet my PC still crashes.

If sysfader is a Windows 2000 system thread that causes the menus to fade in and out, why the hell is it crashing my PC?
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kaller2Commented:
OK what we have here is something Microsoft will never admit to, an inherent fragility in windows.
What we have is a CONSTELLATION of instability related problems.

1.  Loading drivers can cause corruptions, especially in how memory is managed.
2.  The sp2 upgrade can also introduce problems.
3.  Overclocking some machines can cause the same problem.
4. A trojan is also on the list, these can be implicated.  Try ALL the scanners, none are exhaustive. (I use AVG).

The sysfader driver is sensitive to driver problems, and it in turn can cause further corruptions, so you can view it as
the main side effect.  I wouldn't be surprised if Trojans target it as a weakness.
Some folks find that not using the sysfader utilities as a workaround stops the crashes.
This guy found the SP2 upgrade loaded his sysfader wrongly:

http://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?p=378919#post378919
Wilders Security Forums - What the hell is Sysfader.exe ?
HTH


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Toby_JCommented:
I tried everything mentioned and my PC still crashed at least once a day. I got so pissed off with it I stuck a new disk in and rebuilt it from scratch
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kaller2Commented:
With disks getting bigger and cheaper by the day thats a good option.  
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techieforhireCommented:
I am going to post a preliminary finding here.  I had a client's laptop that wouldn't apply XP SP2 because its CD key was invalid.  I reinstalled it from the clients' CD (using the repair into the /Windows directory) and all appeared to be fine.

I opened IE and applied the first batch of Windows updates to get me the BITS and HTTP update. Then I applied the next one that came after that (can't remember what the name is but it has an install button inside the IE browser window unlike subsequent "Express Install" 's would.)  That again appeared to apply just fine.

However upon the next reboot whenever I try to open IE not only does IE get closed almost immediately but it appears that explorer.exe is respawned (systray is rebuilt etc.)  When I open an explorer window to view the my computer contents (or any folder on the desktop) it too is immediately closed.

I launched taskmanager and watched what was going on and it appears that the only application being run in both of these instances is sysfader.  I will investigate further with process explorer but for now it does appear to be somewhat trojan like.

We shall see...
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auxumCommented:
WRT:
I am running Windows XP Pro.  You will be happy to know the SysFader process is still around and kicking.  Anyone still looking at this thread to fix thier own problems should find these comments useful.

Comment from kaller2
Date: 02/21/2005 04:44PM PST
I agree.  Simply put - with a product gets as vast and complex as the Windows platform, there are a myriad of problems from an error in any fundamental component.
WRT:
Comment from techieforhire
Date: 05/09/2005 05:00PM PDT
Interesting.. and perhaps related are several comments about system processes.  I found this process to be a present, and problem when I encountered temporary system instability due to a corrupt database that cascaded into a wide variety of errant processes including SysFader.  This necessitated a reboot and upon repair of the database, I was able to once again interact with the DBMS.  Prior to doing so, and subsequently, the SysFader process has been either 'invisible' or not present.  

In short, this was due to system instability from an installed program that interacted with drivers, sound, visual effects... undoubtedly the entire system.
This, to me, indicates that the above references to a system problem of some kind, specifically probably drivers and errant processes, are in the correct arena.  I would look to repair the system and determine what additional programs may have an impact.  Cheers!
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