Problems with configuration, BIOS and services.exe

By Alex_D
Sep 12, 2003
  1. Hello to everybody,

    I have a Laptop Dell, 512Mb RAM, with Windows 2000 SP4, last updated BIOS, but purchased almost 2 years ago, which was running fine for several weeks so far since the last software installation.

    What happened last monday was: I removed the battery from the laptop while it was offline(done that several times). Few minutes later it put the battery back, plug power ac, mouse, as usual. But, instead of having the standard booting screen (Dell Logo and stuff), I got a message saying something about the BIOS information was not correct, and the message gave me the options of enter the BIOS (F2) and continue. I entered and saw all the configuration restored to some sort of default. The BIOS time stamp was 03/03/03. I set everything back as far as I could recall, and let it continue its reboot. A bit weird but I though was manageable.

    The windows log-in screen prompted almost as usual, but after entering my settings for log-in, I noticed an abnormal very slow speed on every stage of the normal loading (about 20 min): Task bar appearance, icons, system tray icons, etc. Since that was not normal, I launched the task manager and saw SERVICES.EXE using almost all of the CPU time, being system second. I checked Event Viewer and saw nothing inusual. I checked Services and read every application started, especially those that load with Services.exe.

    I rebooted and logged in as administrator, again slowly. I checked again everything, being their responses to my actions very slow. Services.exe was above 90% of CPU. When I clicked the Device Manager buttom, nothing happened, even after I waited for over half an hour. Then I clicked on the hardware wizard and it told me that it cannot install to devices at the same time. That was rare because I was not installing any new hardware. I noticed, as well, that the network icon was missing, even that I was able to log-in and transfer files, albeit slowly.

    For round three, I booted and logged as administrator in safe mode. The same slow speed and results previously mentioned. It seems to me that something related with the Plug&Play service is the cause of my problem, but I'm not sure, and even less I don't now how to fix it.

    In addition, I also ran the Dell diagnostic CD from boot and all the hardware seems to be ok, with exception of the ESS maestro, which doesn't sound, even that I did heard the typical sounds in windows.

    After running a process viewer program (Process Explorer from, I could see that services.exe was using handles, furiosly, related to the key \controlset003\. I don't know if that should be ok or not. Is something in windows registry that has to be changed to tell P&P to do its job properly?

    Everything was running fine. No new software installed, and with all the windows updates and norton antivirus signatures up-to-that-date.

    Please help me with some tips to fix my problem. Maybe editing the windows registry or some services. I really don't want to reinstall the OS or even less format the hard drive (and install everything from scratch). Also, I'm afraid that if there is an issue with the new hardware protocol and my hardware, an OS reinstall might be worse.


  2. alphnumeric

    alphnumeric TS Rookie Posts: 173

    Do you lose your BIOS settings every time you remove the battery? If you do your CMOS battery is dead. It's a small battery on your motherboard that maintains the clock and keeps power to the chip that stores your BOIS settings. Not sure why your PC is running slow though. Maybe check the date and time, it does mess up windows update.
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