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XP freezes intermittently when accessing internet via IE or Firefox

I have a couple Dell Optiplex Computers running Windows XP SP3. These two computers have the odd problem of freezing intermittently when the user is accessing web pages via Internet Explorer (IE8) or Mozilla Firefox.

I installed the latest Dell NIC drivers and system firmware; no change in the problem.
I replaced the old office router with a new one; no change in the problem.
I installed the latest Symantec Endpoint Protection; no change in the problem.

Short of completing a complete system reload of the OS and all software, what else can I do to search for the root cause?
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itplatoon
Asked:
itplatoon
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2 Solutions
 
m4nd4li4Commented:
Try temporarily disabling the Symantec Endpoint Protection software. Does it still freeze?
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RinilCommented:
hi,

There could be a chance of virus or trojan processes running in background causing these problems. Please have full system virus scan with a fully updated good anti - virus software
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rumytauluCommented:
Could be a trojan infecting the IE8 which run whenever you connect to internet, try this :

1. Close all browser and application and open DOS Command Prompt and type :

netstat -a

check if there is any suspicious outbound connection

2. Fireup IE8, don't open any site yet, type in DOS Command Prompt

netstat -a

if there's a trojan/malware infection there will a bunch of outbound connection there, even when you don't open any site.

3. If there's the case uninstall IE8, scan your computer with a good trojan/malware remover (NOT antivirus!)

4. If IE8 is a must have, install it again after scanning, if not download Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.

--
rumy
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Darr247Commented:
Do Ctrl+Alt+Del to open Task Manager, go to the Processes tab, click on the CPU column header twice to bring the highest CPU usage to the top. Resize the window so the processes are visible, then open the browser and resize it so it's not under the Task Manager window.

Surf and watch what process comes to the top.
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ridgadorCommented:
Your root cause is within your question. You are attempting to run IE8 on WinXP systems. While IE8 (and IE9) run exceptionally well on Vista and Win7, IE8 does not get along well with WinXP. You need to step back to IE7 and use Firefox as your primary browser.

1. Turn off Automatic Updates (choose "Notify me but don't automatically download or install them") BEFORE you initiate any steps.
Immediately after removing IE8, the system will attempt to reinstall the problematic version of IE. When / if it does, you need to choose "custom" (NOT the recommended option) to display the updates. DESELECT IE8 and hit <Enter>, then check the box before "Do Not Show Me This Again".
2. Go to Add/Remove Programs, look for Windows Internet Explorer 8 and choose "remove" to uninstall it.
If "remove" is not available, you've installed IE8 BEFORE Service Pack 3 was installed. In that instance, you need to uninstall SP3, uninstall IE8, and reinstall SP3.
3. Once you've completed Step 2, your IE browser will have reverted either to IE7 or IE6 (whichever version you had running prior to the installation of IE8).
You WANT to be running IE7. If you are not, you can search for IE7 for WinXP and install it.

You should run fine from that point - if you do not, please feel free to either continue with this thread or re-post (be sure to let us know you followed this advice). There are other items which may contribute to your issue. Removal of IE8, however, from a WinXP system is the ROOT cause of your issue.
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Darr247Commented:
One other note about finding what's intermittently grabbing all the CPU cycles, as outlined in http:#a38358332, when you get to the Processes tab, ensure the box next to Show processes from all users is checked.

For what it's worth, I run IE8 on numerous XP systems without the 'freeze' symptoms described.
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itplatoonAuthor Commented:
I remoted into this pc via RDP and here is an output of netstat -a:

Active Connections

  Proto  Local Address          Foreign Address        State
  TCP    PC03W:epmap            PC03W..local:0       LISTENING
  TCP    PC03W:microsoftds     PC03W..local:0       LISTENING
  TCP    PC03W:664              PC03W..local:0       LISTENING
  TCP    PC03W:1045             PC03W..local:0       LISTENING
  TCP    PC03W:3389             PC03W..local:0       LISTENING
  TCP    PC03W:16993            PC03W..local:0       LISTENING
  TCP    PC03W:1039             localhost:5354         ESTABLISHED
  TCP    PC03W:1040             localhost:1041         ESTABLISHED
  TCP    PC03W:1041             localhost:1040         ESTABLISHED
  TCP    PC03W:1046             PC03W..local:0       LISTENING
  TCP    PC03W:1065             PC03W..local:0       LISTENING
  TCP    PC03W:2399             localhost:microsoftds  TIME_WAIT
  TCP    PC03W:2410             localhost:27015        ESTABLISHED
  TCP    PC03W:5152             PC03W..local:0       LISTENING
  TCP    PC03W:5354             PC03W..local:0       LISTENING
  TCP    PC03W:5354             localhost:1039         ESTABLISHED
  TCP    PC03W:27015            PC03W..local:0       LISTENING
  TCP    PC03W:27015            localhost:2410         ESTABLISHED
  TCP    PC03W:netbiosssn      PC03W..local:0       LISTENING
  TCP    PC03W:2369             server1..local:netbiosssn  TIME_WAIT
  TCP    PC03W:2370             server1..local:netbiosssn  TIME_WAIT
  TCP    PC03W:2371             server1..local:epmap  TIME_WAIT
  TCP    PC03W:2372             server1..local:1025  TIME_WAIT
  TCP    PC03W:2377             server1..local:netbiosssn  TIME_WAIT
  TCP    PC03W:2383             server1..local:netbiosssn  TIME_WAIT
  TCP    PC03W:2386             server1..local:microsoftds  ESTABLISHED
  TCP    PC03W:2388             server1..local:1025  ESTABLISHED
  TCP    PC03W:2390             server1..local:ldap  TIME_WAIT
  TCP    PC03W:2392             server1..local:ldap  TIME_WAIT
  TCP    PC03W:2393             server1..local:microsoftds  TIME_WAIT
  TCP    PC03W:2396             server1..local:ldap  TIME_WAIT
  TCP    PC03W:2397             server1..local:ldap  TIME_WAIT
  TCP    PC03W:2398             server1..local:ldap  TIME_WAIT
  TCP    PC03W:2401             sz0120a.emeryville.ca.mail.comcast.net:http  EST
ABLISHED
  TCP    PC03W:2403             2084423107.dia.static.qwest.net:http  ESTABLI
SHED
  TCP    PC03W:2404             2084423128.dia.static.qwest.net:http  ESTABLI
SHED
  TCP    PC03W:2405             server1..local:epmap  ESTABLISHED
  TCP    PC03W:2406             server1..local:1025  ESTABLISHED
  TCP    PC03W:2408             server1..local:ldap  TIME_WAIT
  TCP    PC03W:2409             server1..local:ldap  TIME_WAIT
  TCP    PC03W:2414             a2362195235.deploy.akamaitechnologies.com:htt
ps  ESTABLISHED
  TCP    PC03W:3389             server1..local:52764  ESTABLISHED
  UDP    PC03W:microsoftds     *:*
  UDP    PC03W:isakmp           *:*
  UDP    PC03W:1038             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:1043             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:mssqlm         *:*
  UDP    PC03W:4500             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:ntp              *:*
  UDP    PC03W:1025             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:1032             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:1033             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:1050             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:1056             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:1900             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:2400             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:2407             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:2411             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:2412             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:2413             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:ntp              *:*
  UDP    PC03W:netbiosns       *:*
  UDP    PC03W:netbiosdgm      *:*
  UDP    PC03W:1900             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:5353             *:*
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Darr247Commented:
I suggest deploy.akamaitechnologies.com has something to do with it.

See if not loading the Apple Updater and disabling the Bonjour service helps.

The apple updater should be in either
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run or
HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

The Bonjour service would be in the services.msc management console snap-in.
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itplatoonAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the advice so far. Since only one of the two systems has iTunes & Bonjour, I opted to revert to IE7 on the pc running iTunes.

Completed so far:
1. Automatic Updates are off
2. "removed IE8 & rebooted
3. The IE browser reverted IE6; then ran manually ran windows update; deselected IE8 but installed the other updates, including a patch for IE6
4. I upgraded to IE7 & rebooted

With this all done, we'll see how the user experience is over the next couple days.
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rumytauluCommented:
I guess the one to blame is dia.static.qwest.net, this site has been reported as phising/malware site, this kind of malware will suck all your bandwidth when you connect to the internet.

http://www.siteadvisor.pl/sites/67-135-159-35.dia.static.qwest.net/msgpage

Scan your system with a good trojan/malware remover and you should be good.

--
rumy
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itplatoonAuthor Commented:
Since reverting from iE8 to IE7, the output of netstat -a looks a lot cleaner; here it is:

Proto  Local Address          Foreign Address        State
  TCP    PC03W:epmap            PC03W.hm.local:0       LISTENING
  TCP    PC03W:microsoft-ds     PC03W.hm.local:0       LISTENING
  TCP    PC03W:664              PC03W.hm.local:0       LISTENING
  TCP    PC03W:1048             PC03W.hm.local:0       LISTENING
  TCP    PC03W:3389             PC03W.hm.local:0       LISTENING
  TCP    PC03W:16993            PC03W.hm.local:0       LISTENING
  TCP    PC03W:1038             localhost:5354         ESTABLISHED
  TCP    PC03W:1040             localhost:1041         ESTABLISHED
  TCP    PC03W:1041             localhost:1040         ESTABLISHED
  TCP    PC03W:1043             PC03W.hm.local:0       LISTENING
  TCP    PC03W:1063             PC03W.hm.local:0       LISTENING
  TCP    PC03W:1107             localhost:27015        ESTABLISHED
  TCP    PC03W:5152             PC03W.hm.local:0       LISTENING
  TCP    PC03W:5354             PC03W.hm.local:0       LISTENING
  TCP    PC03W:5354             localhost:1038         ESTABLISHED
  TCP    PC03W:27015            PC03W.hm.local:0       LISTENING
  TCP    PC03W:27015            localhost:1107         ESTABLISHED
  TCP    PC03W:netbios-ssn      PC03W.hm.local:0       LISTENING
  TCP    PC03W:3389             hm-server1.hm.local:41217  ESTABLISHED
  UDP    PC03W:microsoft-ds     *:*
  UDP    PC03W:isakmp           *:*
  UDP    PC03W:1039             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:1044             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:ms-sql-m         *:*
  UDP    PC03W:4500             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:ntp              *:*
  UDP    PC03W:1025             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:1035             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:1036             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:1050             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:1056             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:1099             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:1102             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:1108             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:1109             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:1900             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:ntp              *:*
  UDP    PC03W:netbios-ns       *:*
  UDP    PC03W:netbios-dgm      *:*
  UDP    PC03W:1900             *:*
  UDP    PC03W:5353             *:*
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ridgadorCommented:
In addition to the fix that is currently in progress, be sure to keep what I call "the Triple Cocktail" updated.
Adobe Flash Player (needs to be downloaded and installed within both browsers

Adobe Shockwave Player
Java

These three items will improve not only your performance on the Internet, but your computer's overall performance.

The versions change frequently so check them periodically. The quickest and easiest way to check them, since you're already running Firefox, is to:
1. Go to Firefox's menu bar and select "Tools" and then "Add-Ons"
2. Choose "Plugins" from the menu bar on the left
3. Click on "Check to see if your plugins are up to date"

The resulting report will tell you what needs to be updated. You can perform the updates either within this screen or by going to Adobe.com/downloads or Java.com/verify to get what is needed.
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ridgadorCommented:
Final note: when installing any of the Triple Cocktail, there is usually an additional program it attempts to load. Be sure to read the contents of each page and remove the check mark for these packages before continuing with the <Next> button.

You do not need, nor would I ever use:
McAfee Security Scan
The Ask Toolbar
an additional browser - unless I ask for it
or a Registry anything (cleaner, optimizer, etc.)

Should you accidentally install them, first check in "Start" / "All Programs"  for an uninstaller. If one was not provided by the program, then go to "Add/Remove Programs" to delete it.
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itplatoonAuthor Commented:
Re: triple Cocktail

Good advice summary. Thanks.
Throught this process, I have already removed the McAfee Security Scan & Ask toolbar which were previously loaded. I had not noted that but it was also done as well. "Less is better."
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itplatoonAuthor Commented:
The XP systems are running much better now.
I uninstalled IE8 which reverted then straight to IE6. Then upgraded to IE7.
Removed all toolbars
Ran Malwarebytes and cleaned/removed all infected files.
Ran Panda ActiveScan and cleaned/removed all infected files.
Using netstat -a proved very helpful to check for rogue activity.
Thanks
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