kkaland
1 Nickel

Windows 7 - Programs Stop Opening (Intermittent - reboot fixes for a few days)

Hey all,

This is my first post, so bear with me if I make some newbie mistakes. I usually solve my own problems, but this one's got me stumped, and honestly, don't we all just want to get back to work? πŸ™‚ So maybe you can help me out...

I see lots of people submitting HijackThis reports when they have similar problems, so I'm attaching one.

A bit of background info on this problem...

This started when I upgraded to Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit. Prior to this, I had Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit, which was clean-installed. I used the upgrade procedure from Windows 7 to upgrade, and it went pretty well. This problem did not begin occurring immediately; it's rather recent. I would say that it started approximately 30-60 days ago, so it may have been either from a Windows update or a program I installed within that time. One in particular that I can think of is CrashPlan, so if anyone knows if that causes such a problem, let me know. I also run a virtual machine on this laptop...strangely, the virtual machine keeps running without a problem even when I can't open other programs, or open them properly. However, closing it down doesn't resolve the issue.

There are several things that may happen when my computer gets into this state:

  1. Programs do not open. For example, if I try to open Process Explorer (with which I replaced my Task Manager), it simply does not open. The computer does not freeze, but the program does not open.
  2. Sometimes a Web browser will open and then immediately freeze.
  3. Today I had the QuickTime installer freeze about 75% through the installation. When I clicked Stop, it didn't stop, and I couldn't force-close it due to not being able to open Process Explorer...
  4. Other times, a Web Browser will open and be unable to load pages. NOTE: I do not receive a page not found error. The progress indicator simply cycles forever, and the page does not load. I can observe this in Internet Explorer 8, Google Chrome (latest), and I think Firefox 3.6 (latest or second-latest). Firefox was freezing the latest time, though.

As mentioned in the title, a reboot fixes this every time. I haven't measured specifically, but it tends to take 2-3 days before I need to reboot again. Oh, sometimes I have to reboot because the CPU starts pegging at 100% with no way to stop it. I think that these two issues are related.

What this seems to indicate to me is that these programs are waiting for a response from some system process, which isn't giving it. One time, when nosing around in Process Explorer, I noticed the WMI Provider Service consuming a lot of CPU and that it was waiting for...something. I didn't have time to debug it with kernel dumps and stuff, and don't really have much experience with it...but I just mention it since maybe it's a similar thing here.

So I'm wondering...what should I do to debug/troubleshoot this issue effectively? I don't really want to do a system restore, and I don't want to clean-install the OS. This upgrade to Windows 7 actually started out really nicely...and if I could solve this issue, it'd be fine. I've bought more RAM to max it out, but somehow I don't think that alone will do the trick.

Any ideas? See any red flags in my HijackThis report? Let me know! Or let me know where I could post this to the right audience if this is not it.

Thanks for any ideas you may have.

Kevin

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25 Replies
joe53
5 Tungsten

Re: Windows 7 - Programs Stop Opening (Intermittent - reboot fixes for a few days)

Hi Kevin, and welcome.

HJT logs are handled in the Malware Removal forum where the experts hang out, and you should re-post your problem there: http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/virus-spyware/f/3521.aspx

Read the instructions in this sticky first: http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/virus-spyware/f/3521/t/19251122.aspx

Good luck!

 

_________________________________________


Dell Forum Member since 2,000


 Use OpenDNS   MalwareBytes' Anti-Malware Free


Windows 7/sp1 (64- Bit): Malwarebytes 3.x Premium, Windows Firewall, WinPatrol PLUS, Emsisoft Emergency Kit Free and HitmanPro Free (on-demand scanners), OpenDNS, MVPS Hosts file, SpywareBlaster, Pale Moon web browser, Sandboxie, CCleaner Free.


Windows 10 Pro (64- Bit): Same protection plus Windows Defender AV.


"In the future, everyone will be anonymous for 15 minutes" - Banksy

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kkaland
1 Nickel

Re: Windows 7 - Programs Stop Opening (Intermittent - reboot fixes for a few days)

Hi Joe,

Thanks for taking the time to reply and for your welcome. I realize my problem description might have been flawed. The HJT log is only something I attached in passing, but I don't really think it'll provide much useful information relating to my problem - unless you are implying my problem sounds malware-related? Not sure where I would have picked that up - I've had real-time scanning (Avast!) in place for quite a while, I'm always behind  some kind of firewall (COMODO and my or someone else's router's NAT translation setup), avoid clicking on suspicious links, recently installed ThreatFire...etc. I know it's possible - it just doesn't seem like the most likely scenario given the security tools I've got in place.

If I don't get many other responses here, though, I'll take up your advice, read that link, and re-post this to the Malware Removal forum.

Take care,
Kevin

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joe53
5 Tungsten

Re: Windows 7 - Programs Stop Opening (Intermittent - reboot fixes for a few days)

Kevin:

I'm no Malware Removal expert, but your HJT log shows evidence of at least 3 anti-virus programs: avast, Comodo Internet Security, and Threatfire.

You should use only one anti-virus in real-time; more than one leads to "duelling AVs" that can actually compromise your security.

I can't say that your log shows evidence of malware infection, but there does seem to be a lot loading and running that might account for your problem. The experts can advise you on this, even if you are not infected.

_________________________________________


Dell Forum Member since 2,000


 Use OpenDNS   MalwareBytes' Anti-Malware Free


Windows 7/sp1 (64- Bit): Malwarebytes 3.x Premium, Windows Firewall, WinPatrol PLUS, Emsisoft Emergency Kit Free and HitmanPro Free (on-demand scanners), OpenDNS, MVPS Hosts file, SpywareBlaster, Pale Moon web browser, Sandboxie, CCleaner Free.


Windows 10 Pro (64- Bit): Same protection plus Windows Defender AV.


"In the future, everyone will be anonymous for 15 minutes" - Banksy

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kkaland
1 Nickel

Re: Windows 7 - Programs Stop Opening (Intermittent - reboot fixes for a few days)

Hi Joe,

Thanks. I have the A/V disabled (actually, not installed) for COMODO and ThreatFire www.threatfire.com is a tool designed to be used with an antivirus - it's like a stopgap for stuff the antivirus doesn't know about yet. I also use this configuration on my desktop computer, a Studio 540 Desktop and don't experience any issues. As you say, let's see what the experts have to say.

Thanks,
Kevin 

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Bugbatter
6 Gallium

Re: Windows 7 - Programs Stop Opening (Intermittent - reboot fixes for a few days)

let's see what the experts have to say.

Hi Kevin,

The trained analysts are over on the Malware Removal forum. Hijackthis rarely shows present day infections - especially on your version operating system. More advanced diagnostic tools will need to be run under the supervision of someone trained in their use.

 


Windows Insider MVP 2016 -

Microsoft MVP - Consumer Security 2006-2016

Social Media and Community Professional

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kkaland
1 Nickel

Re: Windows 7 - Programs Stop Opening (Intermittent - reboot fixes for a few days)

Thanks Bugbatter - my symptoms generally don't seem to match those mentioned in the forum readme, though...so I am still not sure if cross-posting is the best option. I have more information that may clarify this issue. I just upgraded my memory to 8 GB today on the laptop (it was previously 4) - now the slowdowns happen much quicker, almost immediately. The CPU is pegging at 100%, and while things are still rather responsive, I wonder if that symptom may make things clearer. What kind of phenomenon would become worse with MORE memory? It seems like it must be something that is connected to the amount of memory - perhaps a caching process like Superfetch or something else that would respond to a memory increase. The symptoms are the same (and unhelpful) predominant CPU usage is by the WMI Provider service and/or svchost.exe (with a mix of services on the Services tab in Process Explorer), and DPCs can use a fair bit too, but really everything is using more CPU than normal, almost as if something is blocking it and they need to work harder.

It's rather strange; I wonder if it's heat-related? I use a docking station...I would guess that Dell would build them with fan placement in mind...but I'm not sure. The graphics card temperature tends to hover in the 60 degree (Celsius) range. The CPUs are better off, in the 40s or low 50s. I say maybe it's heat too because my desktop got a blue screen (one that it's gotten in the past and that I discovered was due to heat - poor case placement really).

It's so hard to say with intermittent stuff like this, but I guess at least it's a bit less intermittent now? πŸ™‚

Help or advise, if you could. I'm just not sure the Malware Removal forum is my optimum next stop.

Thanks!
Kevin

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Re: Windows 7 - Programs Stop Opening (Intermittent - reboot fixes for a few days)

I would post the log in the other forum if it were me. At the very least you might be able to rule out a malware/virus problem. While malware/virus identification and removal is the main goal over there....... They might be able to point you in the right direction even if it isn't an infection. I think it's worth 3 minutes of your time to repost.

Up to you..............

Jeff emoticon.Beer.title

XPS 8100 i7-860(8MB Cache, 2.8GHz), 8GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM @ 1333MHz, 750GB SATA 3.0GB/s 16MB Cache, nVidia GeForce GTS2401GB GDDR3, Dell ST2310 Full HD Widescreen Monitor, AverMedia G2 Combo hybrid TV Tuner, dual 16x DVD+/- RW dbl layer, Microsoft LifeCam Cinema HD, Running Windows 7 Home Premium, 64 bit. 

If your question is answered here on the forums; PLEASE post back! It may help another user.              

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joe53
5 Tungsten

Re: Windows 7 - Programs Stop Opening (Intermittent - reboot fixes for a few days)

Kevin:

The 3 regulars who have responded to you so far all offer you the same advice, which you choose to ignore. Fair enough - it's your system, and your call. Personally, I'm signing off here.

Once again, I wish you good luck in your quest, but I sincerely doubt you will find any answers in this board.

_________________________________________


Dell Forum Member since 2,000


 Use OpenDNS   MalwareBytes' Anti-Malware Free


Windows 7/sp1 (64- Bit): Malwarebytes 3.x Premium, Windows Firewall, WinPatrol PLUS, Emsisoft Emergency Kit Free and HitmanPro Free (on-demand scanners), OpenDNS, MVPS Hosts file, SpywareBlaster, Pale Moon web browser, Sandboxie, CCleaner Free.


Windows 10 Pro (64- Bit): Same protection plus Windows Defender AV.


"In the future, everyone will be anonymous for 15 minutes" - Banksy

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kkaland
1 Nickel

Re: Windows 7 - Programs Stop Opening (Intermittent - reboot fixes for a few days)

Hey Joe,

Sorry, kind of a newbie on the board,...I guess I'm just a stuck-up programmer πŸ˜‰ I'm re-posting to that board though now. Just haven't had time...I've lost hours to this darn slowness today, but through sweat and tears seem to have worked out a bit more about it.

Anyhoo...just thought to reply back before I re-post.

Kevin

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