New member with a slow pc problem

By CRMark ยท 21 replies
Jan 12, 2007
  1. Hello everyone!

    I've never done a forum before so I'm not sure how everything works. But what I do know is that by spending a little time reading a few posts that this seems to be a good community for solving problems. I have been using computers for a few years and know enough to be dangerous, which probably covers alot of users. I recently started having problems with extremely slow startups on my 1.5 yr old dell. I'd say about 1-2 minutes before I can open a program when I'm used to about 15-20 seconds. Once things settle down the system seems to work fine and I'm not seeing any problems with shut down. I've also noticed that IE is slow also, but I also recently stepped up to IE7 and I've seen forums around that say its slow anyway.

    Using the forum I see alot of posting for HiJackThis log files. I have done one these for my computer but have no idea what is good and what needs to be looked at closely. I also have done the Ad-Aware scan and found a few critical items and deleted them. I've also done defrag of system. These 2 steps improved system some but not to where it was.

    I also have noticed in regedit that many of the programs I've delete still have keys scattered here and there, can these effect performance and if so can they be deleted? I have created a folder to export them into before deleting them but I am just a little nervous to pull the trigger.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. halo71

    halo71 TS Rookie Posts: 1,090

    Welcome to Techspot!!!

    Steps you can take or need to take or answer:

    1. Follow the steps about posting your HiJack log as an attachment on your reply.
    2. Disable unnecessary programs through Start>Run>MSCONFIG. Un check anything not needed to run on the start-up tab.
    3. When was the last time you de-fragged the HD?
    4. Are you running a firewall?
    5. Are you running any virus protection?
    6. Have you recently installed software then noticed the slow down?
  3. CRMark

    CRMark TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thank you,

    1. I have looked at MSCONFIG for unnecessary programs and do not see anything that worries me but I also see many things that I'm not sure what they do or if there needed.

    2. Last defrag was last evening

    3. I'm using the Windows Firewall

    4. I'm using BitDefender V10

    5. I did install and uninstalled CloudMark Spam test for Outlook. I also uninstalled a few other programs.

    6. Attached is my HJT file.
  4. halo71

    halo71 TS Rookie Posts: 1,090

    1. For MSCONFIG. I personally uncheck everything on this tab. Whatever is needed to run by Xp will start on its own upon reboot.
    2.Defrag shouldnt be an issue then.
    3.I would not use Windows firewall at all. I would recommend that you download Zonealarm and use it. Although its a system hog.
    4. Not sure about BitDefender. never used it before. I think it is popular though. Search around and see what other people here recommend. I would download AVG and run it also.
    5. Never heard of Cloudmark. Would advise against using Outlook for your email though.
    6. For your HiJack log...Howard or Rik among others, on this site are good at reading those files. They are the pro's at that! I have never used it before, never needed to really.
  5. CRMark

    CRMark TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I believe I'm doing exactly what is asked for attaching the HJT file. It's says that I don't have to rename it. I noticed that its attached as a link at the bottom of the reply. I've always seen the as part of the body.

    1. MSCONFIG. Really, just uncheck everything? I've read this in other places but have been afraid that some programs would not work correctly. I've also read that I should delete all items in Start/All Programs/Startup. Do you recommend this also?
    2. NA
    3. I will check into ZoneAlarm. I don't think I've ever had problems with the Windows Firewall, is it just not as good?
    4. I personnaly did not like AVG seemed to really slow system down while operating. I did some research on BitDefender and have been running it for about 6 months. Came off of Norton
    5. I use my PC for personal and business and have been using Outlook (latest version) for many years and have not had any problems. Is there something I should be aware of?
  6. halo71

    halo71 TS Rookie Posts: 1,090

    I would uncheck everything in start-up tab and then reboot. Not sure how removing the other stuff in the startup menus would help. I would leave that alone. You have not had problems with Windows firewall you may have and not realized it. I just have always read about other folks problems with it. I still would download Zonealarm and use it over Windows.

    Thats odd what you say about AVG slowing your PC down. I've never encountered that before. Been using AVG for a few years now. I think it tends to find stuff that others dont find though!

    I still recommend against Outlook. But if you have used it for years, go for it I guess. I think your next step here is getting a more qualified person than myself to read your HiJack log! Sorry I could not have been more help to you.
  7. CRMark

    CRMark TS Rookie Topic Starter

    You have been a help! I will give the ZoneAlarm a try and I will try unchecking the MSCONFIG items. What have you seen others using as a replacement for Outlook? FYI, I'm not using Outlook Express which is the basic email program.

    Also, how would I get Howard or Rik to take a look at the HJT log?

    I will do a follow-up on how the above works.

    I just got done unchecking all of the MSCONFIG Startups and rebooted. Seems to have sped things up a fair amount. Couple of things that I noticed;

    1. I went back into MSCONFIG and noticed that "ctfmon" re-checked itself...does this sound normal? Everything else is still unchecked.

    2. How can I confirm that my anti-virus is still running? This was one of the items that was unchecked in MSCONFIG. I used to have an icon in the lower right taskbar and now it's not there. I checked Start/Control Panel/Admin Tools/Services and the anti-virus shows here that it's started and running.
  8. agi_shi

    agi_shi TS Rookie Posts: 385

    What you unchecked was probably it's control panel. Most likely the it's still doing its job, you just don't have the control panel started.

    Ctfmon is either you're Office Suite file, or a Trojan. Download Ad-Aware and check for adware/spyware, then check for viruses using your AV program.
  9. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    Hello and welcome to Techspot.

    Thread moved to the security and the web forum. The introduce yourself forum is not meant to be used for posting computer problems, hence the sticky thread that says "Do Not Post Your Computer Problems In This Forum."

    Your HJT log is clean. It could just be that your computer is in need of a reformat and reinstall in order to get it back to the speed it used to run at.

    However, if you still suspect malware, do the following.

    Very Important: Before deciding whether you should clean or reformat your system, go and read this thread HERE and decide what it is you want to do.

    If after reading the above, you wish to clean your system, do the following.

    Go and read the Viruses/Spyware/Malware, preliminary removal instructions. Follow all the instructions exactly.

    Post fresh HJT and AVG Antispyware logs as attachments into this thread, only after doing the above.

    Regards Howard :wave: :wave:

    This thread is for the use of CRMark only. Please don`t post your own virus/spyware problems in this thread. Instead, open a new thread in our security and the web forum.
  10. CRMark

    CRMark TS Rookie Topic Starter


    Sorry for delay in getting back to forum. I spent a couple days doing my best to follow the advice given previously. Unfortunitly many of the items in my start menu are needed and I found several programs that no longer worked. So I turned most of them back on except for a couple dell features.

    Sorry for posting HJT log earlier, I was asked to and did. I hope this new post is in correct area.

    Once I did this and got back to where I was I started on your program for getting rid of spyware/malware (topic 17297) what an intense time eater, but very interesting. Nothing really showed up other than CWS Shredder picked up a CWS.msconfig (deleted) and Ad-Aware picked up 6 new items when run in Safe Mode. Otherwise everything else was clean. I did follow the instructions for what items to delete from HJT log based on topic 17297. Attached is the new HJT log. I see that you stated the old one was clean, this one has less information than the old one.

    I'm still booting about the same and had anouther question. I was looking around the Registry (regedit) and noticed that there are many, many entries for programs that I've removed. Could these be dragging the system down? Can they be deleted?
  11. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    Your HJT log is clean as a whistle.

    The registry grows over time and can slow a system down. However, unless you know what your doing, simply deleting registry keys, even if the programme has been uninstalled can be dangerous.

    I suggest you backup your important data and reformat and reinstall. This will almost certainly get your computer backup to speed.

    Regards Howard :)

    This thread is for the use of CRMark only. Please don`t post your own virus/spyware problems in this thread. Instead, open a new thread in our security and the web forum.
  12. CRMark

    CRMark TS Rookie Topic Starter


    Reformat and reinstall sounds ugly. I would like to ask a few other questions before this step.Here's the latest; I followed your "topic 58138" last night. By the way the Ccleaner program found alot of stuff that other programs did not find, I really like it. Here are results and new HJT log attached although as you stated its clean.

    Before I get into the results could having to many AV/Spyware programs running be causing some of the slow start up issues? I have my original programs running, Windows Firewall, Windows Defender, BitDefender AntiVirus 10, and the programs installed at your request, AVG Anti-Spyware 7.5, and Spybot S&D Imune. Could all this be causeing some issues?

    In the HJT log there are two items I would like to know what they are and if they're needed.

    R1 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Connection Wizard, ShellNext =

    011 - Options group: [INTERNATIONAL] International*

    1. Trend Micro House Call; Clean
    2. Ccleaner; ran several times (cleaned out many items)
    3. SmitFraud; Clean
    4. VirtumundoBeGone; Clean
    5. VundoFix; Clean
    6. Look2Me Destroyer; Clean
    Safe Mode
    1. BitDefender AntiVirus; Clean
    2. SS&D; Clean
    3. Ad-Aware; Clean
    4. AVG; Clean

    I believe we're close to getting this solved because after the above steps and doing a deframentation things are better.

    Thanks for your help!!
  13. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    Your HJT log is still clean.

    Yes, you can safely have HJT fix these 2 entries if you wish.

    R1 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Connection Wizard, ShellNext =

    011 - Options group: [INTERNATIONAL] International*

    Having many antivirus/antispyware programmes running, will slow your system down.

    Here`s what I recommend. AVG free antivirus/AVG Antispyware(but don`t have the backgound guard running)/SS&D/Ad-Aware se personal/Spyware Blaster/Zonealarm or Kerio firewall programmes.

    Go to add remove programmes in your control panel and uninstall anything you don`t want or need.

    Click start/run and type msconfig into the run box and press the enter key. When the window appears, click on the startup tab and uncheck(disable) anything you don`t want to start with windows. Click apply/ok and restart your computer. Once your computer has restarted, you will be presented with a window that says "you have used msconfig to make changes" etc. Tick the little box that says not to run msconfig the next time you start your system and click ok.

    Take a look at this thread HERE, it`ll show you how you can speed up your pc.

    If none of that helps, then backing up your important data and doing a complete reformat and reinstall probably will. I recently had pretty much the same problem with my system. It hadn`t been reformatted for a long time and became slower and slower, my startup time was about two minutes, rather than the 40 seconds I was used to. Deleting temp files/defragging etc did nothing to help. Finally, I`d had enough and decided to reformat and reinstall. Everything is back to running how it used to.

    I understand this is something you don`t really want to do, but if all else fails, it`s the only thing left to try.

    Regards Howard :)
  14. CRMark

    CRMark TS Rookie Topic Starter


    Thank you very much! I really appreciate the help on this issue. Is the best way to show appreciation by donating to the programs I've used?

    I will arrange programs as desribed and see what happens. If it's no better does techspot have a page on how to reformat the system? It sounds complicated but maybe it's not.

    Best Regards,
  15. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    There is absolutely no need to make a donation as Techspot is paid for through advertising.

    If you do decide to reformat and reinstall, I can give you detailed instructions, so just ask in this thread, should it prove necessary.

    Regards Howard :)

    This thread is for the use of CRMark only. Please don`t post your own virus/spyware problems in this thread. Instead, open a new thread in our security and the web forum.
  16. CRMark

    CRMark TS Rookie Topic Starter


    I think I'm going to have to reformat. I've been playing around and I still can't get this solved. One problem, when I bought this machine from Dell it did not come with a system disk. What can I do?

  17. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    Dells usually ship with a recovery partition that can restore your computer to like the day it arrived. Instuctions should be in the documentation you got with the system.

    Failing that, I suggest you contact dell for further information.

    Regards Howard :)

    This thread is for the use of CRMark only. Please don`t post your own virus/spyware problems in this thread. Instead, open a new thread in our security and the web forum.
  18. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    there should be a recovery program somewhere in the All Programs list or in the systems Control Panel. Check out the Dell help and support links on your system too
  19. CRMark

    CRMark TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks Guys!

    I finally touched base with Dell and the recovery system is in the machine. You have to do a reboot and at the Dell logo hit ctrl/f11.

    Everything is working great now!! Super fast!

    Unfortunitly I have the task of reloading all my software and getting rid of all the junk Dell sends with new machine.

    I think I'll go out and get an external hard drive to back everything up to once I have everthing I need done.

    Is this fairly simple to do?

    Thanks Again!
  20. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Good job CRMark,
    If you are running XP Pro there is a backup utility built into the Operating System. Just attach the USB external hard drive and point the backup utility to the external drive. If you are running XP Home, there are free backup utilities on the Net. Just do a Google search for them
  21. CRMark

    CRMark TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Tmajic650 and Howard,

    Thanks for the information! I have spent hours and hours removing the Dell installed garbage, doing all the operating system upgrades, software installations, software upgrades etc. I stopped by the local computer store this morning and the sales person is telling me a backup of the system will not work, I'm not sure how knowledgable this person really is, so I'm looking for a second or more opinion.

    In the perfect world I want to, should this happen again, come back to this point in the operating system. All garbage removed, all software installed, and all system and software updates done. Is this possible on an external hard drive? I'm told that it's mostly for data not the operating system itself. If something should get corrupted in the future I would still have to start from ground zero.

    Any light on this subject would be appreciated, thanks!

  22. CRMark

    CRMark TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Just checking in. Since doing the reformat/reinstall everything has been working absolutely great!

    I would like to know the best way to do a system backup to prevent this from happening again (see post #21), any suggestions?
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