I am trying to help a friend resolve the issue of sluggish overall performance with his laptop which includes about a 5 minute delay in the loading of the Windows desktop environment, choppy audio output, very slow loading of Internet Explorer, and very slow loading of iTunes just to name a few. While I have tried a variety of troubleshooting strategies, these symptoms still remain. Of possible troubleshooting interest, I am wondering if this laptop might be infected with some sort of malware. The reason I inquire about this possibility is based upon the fact that software can possibly disguise itself as legitimate applications or tools but in fact be actual malware like a virus. For instance, I did notice my friend's laptop does have a few popups making reference to Ascentive. There is a window with the title of Ascentive Performance Center and Ascentive Finally Fast. It gives the appearance of a diagnoistic suite which scans and fixes registry errors, speeds of pc performance, speeds up internet performance, and so forth. There is a toll free number, 1-800-658-2813 which is given as well. While it certainly gives the appearance of a legitimate program, there is a certain part of me which is skeptical at the same time given the sluggish performance of this laptop.
In closing, if someone could provide some feedback about Ascentive Performance Center, it will be greatly appreciated. Even if it is a legitimate program, perhaps it needs to be uinstalled because of the excessive resources it takes up.
Thanks in advance for any attention given to this question.