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Problem with helpctr.exe overloading the cpu with hundreds of instances of running.

Posted on 2006-04-28
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Last Modified: 2012-08-14
I have a friend who has a Sony Vaio notebook that has been acting erratically.  It is only a year and a half old model
VGN-A140B.  I installed a new 40GB Seagate HDD and did a clean install of Windows XP Pro.
After booting up everything looks fine except when I check the task manager, there are hundreds of instances of helpctr.exe running and it goes on for twenty minutes or so.  After closing all of the applications, the computer runs normally.  
I re-formatted the drive and tried a new install with the same problem occurring.  I contacted Microsoft and paid $35.00 for a resolution.  They had me do a parallel install which I voiced doubt about but tried it anyway and I still have the same problem.  When I boot up, I get to the desk top and I can hear the HDD working away.  I go to task manager and there are hundreds of processes running of helpctr.exe.  I have also tried stopping helpcenter from running by going into msconfig but then when it boots up I get hundreds of error messages saying that the helpctr.exe can not be found.  
There is no virus or adware/spyware on the notebook.  I have run hijack this and been over the log with a fine toothed comb and there is no virus or spyware running.  I would really appreciate anyone who could help me to resolve this problem.

Dean Blair
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Question by:deanblair1
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by:Jonvee
ID: 16567603
Found a reference to your problem, but not yet found an answer >
Quote:   Actually, there are two applications that run the Help And Support Center: HelpCtr.exe and HelpSvc.exe (for the Microsoft Help Center Service). Some-times Helpctr.exe can run in more than one instance, which prevents you from opening the Help And Support Center window  ...

http://66.249.93.104/search?q=cache:-9XbSfuoRWIJ:www.smartcomputing.com/editorial/article.asp%3Farticle%3Darticles/archive/l0908/56l08/56l08.asp%26guid%3D+many+instances+of+helpctr.exe+xp&hl=en&gl=uk&ct=clnk&cd=7
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by:Jonvee
ID: 16567612
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by:Jonvee
ID: 16567635
Which links on to this MS KBA:
Quote:   This problem may occur if the Helpsvc.exe process exhausts your computer resources. The Helpsvc.exe process may use up to 100% of the CPU resources on your computer for several minutes. To view CPU usage for Helpsvc.exe, start the Task Manager, and then click the Processes tab ...           So how much RAM for example, are you running?
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=839017
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Jonvee earned 2000 total points
ID: 16567643
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by:Jonvee
ID: 16567696
An after thought .. you could try a different keyboard if either of you have one handy.
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by:Jonvee
ID: 16567700
Oops, ignore last statement, it's a notebook!
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by:Mohammed Hamada
ID: 16569148
This process helpctr.exe is assoisted with Microsoft Help and Support Center.
Goto Start --> run --> Type Services.msc and enter

Scroll down the right list until you see the Microsoft Help and Support Center and stop then restart service..
Restart your computer, if nothing happens then disable this service if you don't need it..

Good Luck
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by:deanblair1
ID: 16570081
To Jonvee

Your answer about the stuck or shorted out F1 key is the correct answer.  Somehow the key on this board is shorted out and creating the problem.  All I need to do now is disable the F1 on the notebook keyboard.  
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by:Jonvee
ID: 16570424
deanblair1,
That's great, i'm glad that you've traced the problem!   Good luck with the key repair, and thank you.
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