GoogleDesktop.exe 91,000,000 page faults. Is this the cause of my intermittent slowdowns?

Posted on 2007-10-01
Last Modified: 2012-06-27
My computer tends to bog down with - I think - either or both Google Desktop and Google's Picasa. In the task manager, I added "page faults", "i/o reads" and "i/o writes" to the "processes' tab window. I understand that a 'page fault' in itself is not bad and not an 'error' per se. It just means that data was looked for in memory and not found, so it had to be read from the hard drive and put into RAM. But GoogleDesktop.exe is WAY out in front of the rest with page faults at 91,747,967. THe next closest is svchost.exe at 5,547,886. The rest are  from 1,600,000 down to 590. GoogleDesktop.exe's i/o reads and writes are 20,110,988 and 8,098,106 respectively. I read that excessive page faults can be linked to 'thrashing'. And that does seem to happen, when my pc slows down, the hdd light is ALWAYS nearly solid from blinking so much. What the heck is up? How can I get a better handle on what's happening to my PC?
Question by:RickNCN
    LVL 32

    Assisted Solution

    How much memory (RAM) does your computer have? If it is less than 512 MB that could be a reason for excessive page faults. You should either uninstall GoogleDesktop or see if updating to the newest version helps. That many page faults is definitely going to make your system very slow.

    Author Comment

    I have 1 gig of ram. It also seems to slow down a lot when Picasa is running and I try to do a couple of things at once, Picasa will stop responding for a minute or two and then come back and be fine. I wonder if the index files are corrupted or something.

    Assisted Solution

    It sounds to me like a memory upgrade is in order here.  Page faults only occur when there is a large paging file, it is getting updated, and data that no longer exists, is being referenced.  Either up the RAM, up the page file size, or run fewer applications / reboot frequently to clear this 'problem' up.
    LVL 63

    Accepted Solution

    It could be lots of things, bt too many background programs or malware tend to cause this.

    Check Task mananger - performance and see if the commit change or peak is greater than physical RAM, this causes a huge slow down since paging then goes to disk.

    Also see what is running in your startups via MSconfig and finally

    malware - Leetutor list
    Have you tried running virus scans and spyware scans  This could be a problem with viruses/trojans/spyware or other malware. Some free online virus scanners:

    Also try these free programs to rid your system of spyware, trojans, and other malware:
    Spybot - Search & Destroy
    LavaSoft Ad-aware  

    I use BOTH of the above programs on my 3 Windows systems; what one program misses, the other catches.  Also make sure to download the most up-to-date data before you run the programs.

    Another very good freeware program for ridding yourself of spyware is this:

    You might also try this free program (HijackThis) -- install it in its own folder, don't download to your Desktop:

    HijackThis is a tool that is for advanced users, because it lists all the installed browser add-on and startup items, allowing you to inspect them and then optionally remove any ones you select.  You must be careful in choosing what to remove, although the program can create a backup of your original settings.  But put a check mark to fix any home page or search page setting that HijackThis detects which you have not entered yourself.  The program has an option to download online updates of the hijack data.

    You should first post the log at this site:

    and it will be automatically analyzed for you (after you click on the button labeled "Analyze" near the bottom of the page), telling you which entries (called "Nasty") should be fixed.  You will also be told if you have any items that are "Possibly Nasty", or "Unnecessary", or "Unknown". If you don't know what to do about these, you might find something on the module name by doing a Google search of the internet.

    If you have any questions about what it is asking you to fix that you would like the E-E experts to comment on, then do this:  right above the Analyze button you will see this message: "The following analyses has been stored temporarily", and there will be a link where the analysis file will be saved (for a period of three days). Click on it and then copy the link of that page from the address bar of your browser and paste it here, and experts can check it for you.  (Please DON'T post the entire log itself in your question.)

    In case you would like to learn more yourself how to use HijackThis, here are a couple of urls:
    HijackThis Quick Start
    HijackThis log tutorial

    I hope this helps !

    Author Comment

    Thanks, that was a great post. I think in my case it may be too many background programs. I'm a pc tech and do a lot of malware removal so I am familiar with the rest of your post. I am very confident my system is clean. I've done everthing you mention and have gone through running processes and checked out all that I didnt recognize. I've recently cut out a lot of startup progs. I get so pissed at these companies that load half a dozen executables you don't need at startup just because you load a printer or IM prog or whatever. There ought to be much more stringent controls on disclosing everything a setup prog installs on your system and the hit your performance will take - but I digress.

    I think the commit charge, or peak, is going down the right path here, however I haven't seen it larger than physical RAM that I remember. Although - one thing I did change a long time ago is I set my own cache size manually. I had read that it's better than letting Windows manage the cache. I set it for (I think) from 75% - 150% of my RAM, so in this case, ~750 - ~1500 MB. I'm going to change that and let Windows manage it right now. I'll reboot, load Picasa and watch what happens.

    Author Comment

    Well, I turned off manual cache file mamangement and let windows do it. no seeming difference. I opened Picasa and a minute or so into using it, the page file usage history spiked up and everything bogged. the commit charge went from a flat-line at around 490000K straight up to 1600000K +/-. The "limit" is 2520280K and the "peak" is 1651768K. My total physical mem is 1047000K. Then, a minute later, it dropped. I did play some videos in picasa which initially opened and played fast, just before the cache commit charge went up, then everything took the proverbial dump.

    I may have found a culprit as I'm writing this: moviethumb.exe, which is part of Picasa's movie-playing component went to the top of the lists in CPU, and page faults in a matter of seconds. As it did, the page file usage spiked again and the pc was slow, almost unusable. I'm going to do some research on that. moviethumb.exe had over 200000 page faults in just the few seconds it was open.

    Author Comment

    I found info here: that picasa doesn't play nice with some divx players or something. Apparently divx tries to handle avi video thumbnails as does picasa's moviethumb.exe and the two battle each other. The fix is supposedly to uncheck avi in picasa's  file types, bu that also turns off detection and display of other movie types that my camera uses. So, that won't work for me.

    Also, watching my processes here, I now have 3 instances of GoogleDesktop.exe running. Is that right?
    LVL 63

    Expert Comment

    Not sure, as I do not run it at work.

    I'll have to try and check at home.

    LVL 20

    Assisted Solution

    have you looked at the event log?
    have you tried running chkdsk /f /r

    Author Comment

    the problem seems to come down to moviethumb.exe but I haven't found a resolution. There may be some underlying motherboard or hard drive error that I'm just not going to spend time on right now. I'm doing a new PC in a month or two, so I'm going to leave it and not use Picasa much on this PC. Thanks for all the help.

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