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Simple programs like notepad and calculator usually take 1 minute or more to open.

Posted on 2009-05-19
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
I have a Dell Dimension 9150 with Pentium D 3GHz and 4 Gb RAM.  Platform is XP Pro SP3
ZoneAlarm is my Firewall and AV

Opening most programs seems to DRAG.....but more surprising is Windows' simple Notepad and Calculator has taken up to and over 1 minute to load (it's ridiculous).  Some other programs slow load doesn't alarm me like the simple programs.  Even calendar has taken 1 minute.  And this seems to happen fairly consistently....though, once it finally opens I can be working for 30 minutes or so and come back to open it and it opens fine.

Also, and possibly related...when the monitor/system goes into power saving mode (not hibernate) and I jiggle the mouse to come out of it, the desktop displays but no programs response for a good 15-45 seconds.  It's like a mini-hang.

Where's a good place to start with what's making these programs drag and load so slow?

Thank you.
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Question by:dlavelle3
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Expert Comment

by:climbgunks
ID: 24425955

Are you ever powering down your hard drives?    control panel -> power options

Once you open an app, if you open another immediately afterwards does the 2nd open quickly?   That would point to a sleep/suspension/idle issue.    

Other things it could be would be if you were running short of memory and having to page out to disk.   What's the memory usage like in Task Manager?
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Expert Comment

by:Cameron_S
ID: 24425963
Sounds like a system that has an overzealous Anti-Virus, or Malware/Virus. I would run a good anti-malware (MalwareBytes is a good one) or HijackThis! to see if there is something running in the background that shouldn't.
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Author Comment

by:dlavelle3
ID: 24426080
climb, after watching it for a little while the Task Manager shows I consistently hover in the 2.6Gb range of available memory.

I'll get back to you on the multiple applications opening one after another....

I am not powering down my drive just suspending my monitor.

Cameron, if you had to pick, which Malware solution would give me the best results if I had an issue?  MalwareBytes or HijackThis?

Thanks
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by:Cameron_S
ID: 24426100
dlavelle3,

Both of them have their merits. HijackThis! is more of a reporting tool that can spit out a log for EE members to examine, whereas, MalwareBytes will just "fix" it for you. I would start with MalwareBytes as it does a pretty decent job. If you still have issues after running it, run HJT and post the log results in a code snippet.
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Author Comment

by:dlavelle3
ID: 24427600
MalwareBytes did remove Rogue.ErrorKiller and it appeared that it helped after the reboot but I just tried my calendar and it took 30 seconds to open.  Initially after the rebooth the Notepad and Calculator opened up quickly and barely a delay between them.

After rebooting to finish the MalwareBytes removal suggestions the app Pcdrengine.exe had a memory error and I had to kill the process.  Pcdrengine.com is part of Dell's Support Center app that sits in the Taskbar and runs.  I think that might be the culprit, go figure.

Any other ideas?  I wanted to avoid wiping the machine clean.

D
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Author Comment

by:dlavelle3
ID: 24427602
I'm going to try HijackThis

D
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Author Comment

by:dlavelle3
ID: 24428045
MalwareBytes and HijackThis both had a few things to clean-up but the small programs like Notepad and Calendar still crawl into their load.
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Cameron_S earned 250 total points
ID: 24432169
The next step I would try would be to get another AV product and see if you have a virus on your system. I would suggest Kaspersky or AntiVir. Update the definitions, and run the scan in Safe Mode with Networking. Let it crank away overnight on a complete scan and then see what it reports back.

ZA is a decent home firewall, but I can't speak to its AV engine - this may be a good test.
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Author Comment

by:dlavelle3
ID: 24432473
So you would choose Kaspersky over Norton or McAfee?

D
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Expert Comment

by:Cameron_S
ID: 24434388
For detection rates, absolutely. Kaspersky has a great engine and the detection rates are exceptional. I have had issues with in in a corporate environment when it comes to VPN - so if you utilize VPN, that may be something to consider. In which case, I would recommend AntiVir or AVG next. Norton/McAfee have really fallen behind the past few years, so I can't solidly suggest them as far as detection rates go.
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Author Comment

by:dlavelle3
ID: 24697523
Sorry for the late reply....it was definitely ZoneAlarm.  I uninstalled it completely and bought and installed Norton 360 and it's a WORLD different for my PC and for my girl's laptop.  Thanks.
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Author Closing Comment

by:dlavelle3
ID: 31583195
Good call...ZA was being way overzealous.
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