.EXE processes remain active after program is closed

By snowdragonusa
Aug 26, 2008
  1. Hello All,

    I am running a WIN XP 32 SP2. For about a month now I have been noticing that several of my commonly used programs such as Outlook, Word, IExplorer, and PixInsight - an astrophotography processing program - still have active processes in the Program Manager after I have successfully closed the program via the "X" GUI.
    After there are two to three process ghosts running I am no longer able to start the same program again until I manually end all of the processes in Program Manager or reboot.
    I have had it suggested that it is the cause of a Win32 virus but I do not seem to have the added 60 to 70 kb tacked on to the process - not that I would know if there were extra resources being used in the first place.
    I run Norton 360 on a daily basis and the best it has ever come up with are various low risk tracking cookies. It will "fix" the threats but I will see them reappear a few days later. I am thinking several of these are associated with ads and the like. There is one cookie that is not identified however.

    I, of course, would very much like to not have to reinstall Windows if at all possible.

    Thanks for taking a look!

  2. cyberbear

    cyberbear TS Rookie

    Try running Spybot Seach & Destroy (FREEWARE). YOu may find something tying up your CPU (trojan).

    Also try SSI (System Spyware Interogator).
    I have experienced lags in my shutdowns. One biggest lag is Spybot takes time to shut down.LOL How much memory do you have? Low memory, with many porgrams open causes lags in shutdowns. What is your Virtural Memory SET at.? Not having enough virtual memory can cause lagging in the system. Do you run a registry cleaner every other day? Try Eusing Free Registry Cleaner. Try Argente FREE Registry cleaner (BETTER). Try a Registry Defragger.. Perhaps your CPU is failing, cause it too hot? Perhaps your Memory is failing and losing values of stored data. Perhaps you have virus/trojan/spyware. Why do you use OUTLOOK. I only use it to send out, but never receive. People Hack it to easily, and it is a trojan/Virus bomb waiting to happen..

    Before I got on the web the first time, I found windows delaying shutdowns. Increasing my virtual mem two to three times as much has improved my computer response. Some of The programs you are running, put a burden on the cpu, and if you are running virus software, antispyware, etc all at the same time, you will see delays in processes shutting down. I personally go into TaskManager and END processes.. Regardless, there are many things that can cause your Windows to run badly.. Or respond slowly. And one is shutting your computer off, or losing power and not having a normal shutdown, with the WRite Behind Cache set Enabled on your harddrive. I found out, after installing 50 programs on my computer and having the power cut off about 5 or 6 times, my computer was extremely slow.
    After re-installing to a CLEAN setup, and changing my settings as mention, I now have over 50 programs installed, and run 10 windows open on the web with 128megs of ram, and find only a small lag, while running Sandboxie and ZA, with Spybot too, at times..
    I also noticed the computer runs better before adding the UPdates up to SP2, and everyone is saying sp3 really screws up your computer.
    I forgot to add one of the biggest things that may be the biggest problem with Windows XP, and the is, Windows itself...
  3. snowdragonusa

    snowdragonusa TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Sorry. I think I didn't relay my situation clearly. I am not really having issues with Windows shutting down. I am having issues with individual programs not ending their processes after I have closed the program. For example, I will be using iExplorer throughout the day openeing and closing the program as needed. After about every third or fourth time openning a new instance of the program (not a new tab) the program will not dtart and I will have to go into the Program Manager and manually end several iExplorer processes that are still running even though I do not have any active programs running.
  4. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

  5. Worthy

    Worthy TS Rookie Posts: 18

    Are those programs still taking up memory?
    Try playing some music and then close the player, does the music continue?
    Do you use azureus/vuze at the same time?
    are you using teatimer? (part of spybot search & destroy)
    get SP3 aswell.
  6. snowdragonusa

    snowdragonusa TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yes, the programs are still taking up memory. However, the programs are no longer running.

    So, in your example, I start Media Player and play a song. I close Media Player via the "X" button and close the program. Everything looks as it should... no music and no window. However, when I open the Task Manager the Processes tab shows Media Player still taking up memory (same amount as when running) and usually CPU resources as well. But looking at the Applications tab does not show the application running.
  7. Worthy

    Worthy TS Rookie Posts: 18

    wmp normally take alot of cpu aswell in idle.
    What about the other things i mentioned?
  8. snowdragonusa

    snowdragonusa TS Rookie Topic Starter

    WMP was just an example of the issue I have with many of the applications I use on a regular basis (as I mentioned in the original post).

    As for azureus/vuze and teatimer, I have no idea what those are so I will say no.

    I do plan on getting SP3 as soon as I get home this evening.
  9. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,335   +36

    IF your computer closes down with no problem, it means the programs aren't hanging. My question is why are you chasing down the executable in the first place?! Most of us wouldn't consider it a problem UNLESS it caused a problem at shutdown.

    Leave them alone- see if they close down normally. They must or you wouldn't be able to shut down.

    What another issue is that if the process is still running, why can't you just open the program from the Taskbar instead of launching the same program again?
  10. Worthy

    Worthy TS Rookie Posts: 18

    what about a game? does that do the same thing?
  11. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,156   +598

    it is common that if an application hangs on quit or [x] the window, a new copy will launch.
    The original has many resource accessed (far beyond just memory) and if exclusive control is placed on the resource (eg: opening a file), then the new instance will hang

    Very few applications tolerate multiple instances well .
    We've all seen complaints re IE or Explorer running with multiple images and lots of work
    is needed to correct the issue.

    Hanging at shutdown is only one variation of the issue.

    Start with this
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