XP SP3 - Slow Indexing of Non-System Hard Drives/Partitions

Sys Specs:

XP Home SP3
Pentium D 2.8 Ghz
SATA2 multiple drives
Dual 19" LCD monitors.

I have been using XP since it was released. This symptom began only recently and it affects mostly when I have to go and look for images and files on other large drives (not the OS drive which I basically only use for programs, etc. -- I even moved "My Documents" to a different partition on OS hard drive).

I've tried with and without the Indexing Service, i.e. Disabled or Automatic -- it seems to make little difference:

--- When I try to open or even just CTR-C/copy a file to my desktop, Explorer either is really, really slow at executing or just freezes Explorer ("not responding"). Opening a file in a program is the same -- really slow.  If I wait quite a while after boot up to search for and open a file, it doesn't take as long, but it's still not like it use to be -- instant.

General boot-up seems a bit slower than it used to be too, but it's not that critical.  I've deactivated as many Services as is safe to do as well as trimmed out any fat in terms of applications on bootup/Startup.

My HijackThis file shows no problems in terms of malware, trojans, etc.  I ran SpyBot and it also found nothing -- though I had to nix SpyBot for it fixed something that ended up causing me to do a lot of System Restores, etc.

I have not used any anti-virus for years, and I've disabled Windows Defender (tried MS Security Essentials but it puts a drag on my system).  As far as I can tell, my system seems clean.  I've been on the Net since 1997 so I'm pretty careful about where I go and what I do.

Which doesn't mean my system isn't infected.
So it's not impossible, it just seems unlikely.

One suggestion that someone gave me is to only open and set all Folders to "Details" -- but that's not practical for me because the files I need are overwhelmingly images or video files -- I need the shells that let me view the icons, etc.

By the way, I also don't use Internet Explorer much at all (I use Firefox) so a potential IE<==>Explorer infestation/corruption due to is highly unlikely.

Any ideas/solutions?
Thanks.
sonicsoulAsked:
Who is Participating?
 
dbruntonConnect With a Mentor Commented:
For anti virus the ones below are generally recommended around here.  Run them one at a time and then uninstall and run the next.

MalwareBytes:
http://www.malwarebytes.org/mbam-download.php

HitmanPro:
http://www.surfright.nl/en/hitmanpro

TDSSKiller:
http://support.kaspersky.com/downloads/utils/tdsskiller.zip

ComboFix:
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/combofix/how-to-use-combofix

Curious as to how much memory in this system and how have you set your paging file up (fixed size or let it allocate space as it requires it).
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rkdivCommented:
I would run a virus scan just to make sure. I've been using this one, does not need to install, just download, run, update and scan...

http://www.escanav.com/english/content/products/downloadlink/downloadpro
duct.asp?pcode=MWAV

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sonicsoulAuthor Commented:
rkdiv,

I'm very skeptical about using such scans for there are so many sheep-in-wolves clothing versions of this and other supposed system utilities that "diagnose" one's system like that.  Essentially trojans and spyware in disguise.  Can you vouch for this being the real deal?
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rkdivCommented:
I have been using this one for over a year and have not have any issues with it. It did help me clean a lot of systems at my current place of employment where I took over quite a messy network....
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sonicsoulAuthor Commented:
I appreciate the suggestion, and it does seem legit.  

But some of the reviews I've just read show things about how it operates that I like (removes things without asking or not listing things in quarantine, etc.)  I may be wrong in this hesitancy, but I have to study this more before trying it.  I like to have full control and detailed descriptions of anything and everything that is found or removed, a la SpyBot and similar.

I also don't like having a website mess with my system.  If there is going to be a screw-up, I want to be the one doing it :o)
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rkdivCommented:
You can tell MWAV to just scan and not remove anything. If if finds anything you can always decide to remove it by hand or let MWAV run for a second time.

Cheers..
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sonicsoulAuthor Commented:
Thanks for replies so far and for any other ones that will occur after this posting:

It's getting late, I'm tired and have to log off but will be back tomorrow. Meaning: just because I won't be responding right away doesn't mean I've gone away.  

I just need to get some rest :o)
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rkdivCommented:
Sweet dreams :)
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johnb6767Commented:
Check 2reg keys for me plz....

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders
and
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

Are there any empty values? Incorrect values that cannotmbe resolved? If so, make sure the folders exist, and correct them....

Also, you need to check your system log, for any errors under the source "disk/ntfs/atop"' and make any corrections as needed....

You can do a read only chcksk as well...

Start..run...cmd.exe

Chkdsk

If it says it cannot run in read only mode after detecting errors, run it like the following....

Chkdsk /f /r

Then reboot.. Make sure critical data is of course backed up first.....
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johnb6767Commented:
Ummm.. Atop above should be atapi .. Stupid iPad.....
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Marc ZCommented:
How old are these vArious hard drives?  It may be possible that they are starting to fail.
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sonicsoulAuthor Commented:
To johnb6767:

"Check 2reg keys for me plz....

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders
and
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

Are there any empty values? Incorrect values that cannot be resolved? If so, make sure the folders exist, and correct them...."

----- Both folder exist, did not check all sub values but all seem to be there and as they should be.  Only the default is at "no value set" which is normal as far as I know.

"Also, you need to check your system log, for any errors under the source "disk/ntfs/atop"' and make any corrections as needed...."

----- System log (Events) showed mostly symptoms of bad boot, no causes that I could see. I did a "Find in Local System" search of Event source "disk", found nothing.  Even if I had, I don't know how to make corrections as you suggested.

"You can do a read only chcksk as well..."

Start..run...cmd.exe

Chkdsk

If it says it cannot run in read only mode after detecting errors, run it like the following....

Chkdsk /f /r"

Then reboot.. Make sure critical data is of course backed up first.....

-----  I ran small app called "Disk Scanner by Ariolic that shows if there are any read errors. Shows none.  I'll do a checkdisk but I did that during that time when it all happened and don't recall any errors.  But I'll try your /f/r variation.

-----------------------------------------

To: dbrunton:

I'll look into suggested anti-virus.  That said, HijackThis is pretty good at finding anomalies and as mentioned before, I see none.

-----------------------------------------

Bottom line:

This question is a preemptive one for the eventuality this happens again, not trying to fix a current problem (I wouldn't be able to be here if it was in that mode :o)  So far, I haven't found a culprit in this, so I can't allocate an answer at the solution.

But I don't want this to drag on for any of you so I'll eventually have to choose one answer.  All suggestions are good and so should be considered by future readers of this thread. I just seem to have a weird situation here.
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Marc ZCommented:
Faulty hardware can cause these issues as well.  make sure your data is backed up.
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sonicsoulAuthor Commented:
Update/Closing Statement

It's been a long time since I've been active here and don't recall what happens once one accepts answers (i.e. if one can't leave a closing statement).  So:

---- All responses were appreciated but it seems that dbrunton's suggestion of running Malware caught a few reg key issues and things seem faster, just about normal.

So thanks :o)
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sonicsoulAuthor Commented:
As stated in my closing note prior to accepting, things seem to have gotten somewhat better but I can't state it is a 100% solution.  Just a big improvement -- and that's good enough for me :o)
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johnb6767Commented:
Glad youre happy....  :)
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