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PC Freezes Periodically - any ideas, please?

Discussion in 'All Other Software' started by Cockle, Apr 15, 2010.

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  1. Cockle

    Cockle Thread Starter

    Apr 15, 2010
    My PC keeps freezing, typically once per minute and this lasts for about 5-10 seconds, before behaving itself again. This can happen anytime, in any program. E.g. when typing an email, when filling a spreadsheet, when surfing (scrolling, entering data, anything). ALT-Tab doesn't work, either, the whole PC is locked.

    I have seen
    nothing in Process Explorer's process tree that suggests hogging. I then opened Process Explorer’s "System Info" graph and saw 100% CPU spikes which tally perfectly with the freezing in applications. In all cases OUTLOOK.EXE:3180 seems to be to blame when I hover my mouse over the spikes.

    Following advice elsewhere in the forum I installed Hijack This and got the following log file. Can anyone help identify the cause of this freezing, please?


    Logfile of Trend Micro HijackThis v2.0.2
    Scan saved at 19:41:32, on 15/04/2010
    Platform: Windows XP SP2 (WinNT 5.01.2600)
    MSIE: Internet Explorer v6.00 SP2 (6.00.2900.2180)
    Boot mode: Normal

    Running processes:
    C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\AppleMobileDeviceService.exe
    C:\Program Files\Bonjour\mDNSResponder.exe
    C:\Program Files\Sierra Wireless Inc\3G Watcher\WaHelper.exe
    C:\Program Files\ATI Technologies\ATI Control Panel\atiptaxx.exe
    C:\Program Files\Common Files\Real\Update_OB\realsched.exe
    C:\Program Files\Google\GoogleToolbarNotifier\GoogleToolbarNotifier.exe
    C:\Program Files\HP\Digital Imaging\bin\hpqtra08.exe
    C:\Program Files\Squeezebox\SqueezeTray.exe
    C:\Program Files\HP\Digital Imaging\bin\hpqSTE08.exe
    C:\Program Files\HP\Digital Imaging\bin\hpqbam08.exe
    C:\Program Files\HP\Digital Imaging\bin\hpqgpc01.exe
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE11\OUTLOOK.EXE
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE11\WINWORD.EXE
    C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe
    C:\Program Files\PC Connectivity Solution\ServiceLayer.exe
    C:\Program Files\PC Connectivity Solution\Transports\NclUSBSrv.exe
    C:\Program Files\PC Connectivity Solution\Transports\NclRSSrv.exe
    C:\Documents and Settings\Cockle\My Documents\Z Tools\Microsoft\Process Explorer v11,33\procexp.exe
    C:\Program Files\Trend Micro\HijackThis\HijackThis.exe

    R0 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Start Page = http://www.mytalktalk.co.uk/
    R0 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Local Page =
    R0 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Local Page =
    R1 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings,ProxyOverride = *.local
    R3 - URLSearchHook: (no name) - {db35fda8-77e3-4784-92c2-ee7345e91af4} - (no file)
    O2 - BHO: HP Print Enhancer - {0347C33E-8762-4905-BF09-768834316C61} - C:\Program Files\HP\Digital Imaging\Smart Web

    O2 - BHO: Adobe PDF Reader Link Helper - {06849E9F-C8D7-4D59-B87D-784B7D6BE0B3} - C:\Program Files\Common

    O2 - BHO: (no name) - {1624F640-49AC-11D3-8ABD-00C04FA95EE0} - (no file)
    O2 - BHO: AcroIEHelperStub - {18DF081C-E8AD-4283-A596-FA578C2EBDC3} - C:\Program Files\Common

    O2 - BHO: RealPlayer Download and Record Plugin for Internet Explorer - {3049C3E9-B461-4BC5-8870-4C09146192CA} - C:\Program

    O2 - BHO: Spybot-S&D IE Protection - {53707962-6F74-2D53-2644-206D7942484F} - C:\PROGRA~1\SPYBOT~1\SDHelper.dll
    O2 - BHO: SSVHelper Class - {761497BB-D6F0-462C-B6EB-D4DAF1D92D43} - C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.6.0_07\bin\ssv.dll
    O2 - BHO: Google Toolbar Notifier BHO - {AF69DE43-7D58-4638-B6FA-CE66B5AD205D} - C:\Program

    O2 - BHO: (no name) - {D4027C7F-154A-4066-A1AD-4243D8127440} - (no file)
    O2 - BHO: (no name) - {db35fda8-77e3-4784-92c2-ee7345e91af4} - (no file)
    O2 - BHO: HP Smart BHO Class - {FFFFFFFF-CF4E-4F2B-BDC2-0E72E116A856} - C:\Program Files\HP\Digital Imaging\Smart Web

    O3 - Toolbar: Copernic Desktop Search 2 - {968631B6-4729-440D-9BF4-251F5593EC9A} - C:\Program Files\Copernic Desktop Search

    O3 - Toolbar: (no name) - {db35fda8-77e3-4784-92c2-ee7345e91af4} - (no file)
    O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [BluetoothAuthenticationAgent] rundll32.exe bthprops.cpl,,BluetoothAuthenticationAgent
    O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [WatcherHelper] "C:\Program Files\Sierra Wireless Inc\3G Watcher\WaHelper.exe"
    O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [CoolSwitch] C:\WINDOWS\system32\taskswitch.exe
    O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [KBDriver] C:\Program Files\Keyboard Driver\OEMDriver.exe
    O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [AppleSyncNotifier] C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\AppleSyncNotifier.exe
    O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [ATIPTA] "C:\Program Files\ATI Technologies\ATI Control Panel\atiptaxx.exe"
    O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [Adobe Reader Speed Launcher] "C:\Program Files\Adobe\Reader 9.0\Reader\Reader_sl.exe"
    O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [Adobe ARM] "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\ARM\1.0\AdobeARM.exe"
    O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [TkBellExe] "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Real\Update_OB\realsched.exe" -osboot
    O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [swg] "C:\Program Files\Google\GoogleToolbarNotifier\GoogleToolbarNotifier.exe"
    O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [ctfmon.exe] C:\WINDOWS\system32\ctfmon.exe
    O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [SpybotSD TeaTimer] C:\Program Files\Spybot - Search & Destroy\TeaTimer.exe
    O4 - HKCU\..\RunOnce: [FFTI] C:\Documents and Settings\Cockle\Application

    Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\wqftsm3c.default\extensions\{B13721C7-F507-4982-B2E5-502A71474FED}\ffti.exe /VERYSILENT /SUPPRESSMSGBOXES

    /NORESTART /DestPath="C:\Documents and Settings\Cockle\Application

    O4 - HKUS\S-1-5-19\..\Run: [CTFMON.EXE] C:\WINDOWS\system32\CTFMON.EXE (User 'LOCAL SERVICE')
    O4 - HKUS\S-1-5-20\..\Run: [CTFMON.EXE] C:\WINDOWS\system32\CTFMON.EXE (User 'NETWORK SERVICE')
    O4 - HKUS\S-1-5-18\..\Run: [CTFMON.EXE] C:\WINDOWS\system32\CTFMON.EXE (User 'SYSTEM')
    O4 - HKUS\.DEFAULT\..\Run: [CTFMON.EXE] C:\WINDOWS\system32\CTFMON.EXE (User 'Default user')
    O4 - Global Startup: HP Digital Imaging Monitor.lnk = C:\Program Files\HP\Digital Imaging\bin\hpqtra08.exe
    O4 - Global Startup: Squeezebox Server Tray Tool.lnk = C:\Program Files\Squeezebox\SqueezeTray.exe
    O8 - Extra context menu item: Add to Google Photos Screensa&ver - res://C:\WINDOWS\system32\GPhotos.scr/200
    O8 - Extra context menu item: E&xport to Microsoft Excel - res://C:\PROGRA~1\MICROS~2\OFFICE11\EXCEL.EXE/3000
    O9 - Extra button: (no name) - Software - (no file)
    O9 - Extra button: (no name) - {08B0E5C0-4FCB-11CF-AAA5-00401C608501} - C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.6.0_07\bin\ssv.dll
    O9 - Extra 'Tools' menuitem: Sun Java Console - {08B0E5C0-4FCB-11CF-AAA5-00401C608501} - C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.6.0_07\bin\ssv.dll
    O9 - Extra button: Research - {92780B25-18CC-41C8-B9BE-3C9C571A8263} - C:\PROGRA~1\MICROS~2\OFFICE11\REFIEBAR.DLL
    O9 - Extra button: HP Smart Select - {DDE87865-83C5-48c4-8357-2F5B1AA84522} - C:\Program Files\HP\Digital Imaging\Smart Web

    O9 - Extra button: (no name) - {DFB852A3-47F8-48C4-A200-58CAB36FD2A2} - C:\PROGRA~1\SPYBOT~1\SDHelper.dll
    O9 - Extra 'Tools' menuitem: Spybot - Search & Destroy Configuration - {DFB852A3-47F8-48C4-A200-58CAB36FD2A2} -

    O9 - Extra button: Messenger - {FB5F1910-F110-11d2-BB9E-00C04F795683} - C:\Program Files\Messenger\msmsgs.exe
    O9 - Extra 'Tools' menuitem: Windows Messenger - {FB5F1910-F110-11d2-BB9E-00C04F795683} - C:\Program Files\Messenger\msmsgs.exe
    O16 - DPF: {D27CDB6E-AE6D-11CF-96B8-444553540000} (Shockwave Flash Object) -
    O18 - Protocol: schmap-help - (no CLSID) - (no file)
    O20 - AppInit_DLLs: C:\PROGRA~1\Google\GOOGLE~2\GOEC62~1.DLL
    O23 - Service: Apple Mobile Device - Apple Inc. - C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\AppleMobileDeviceService.exe
    O23 - Service: Ati HotKey Poller - ATI Technologies Inc. - C:\WINDOWS\system32\Ati2evxx.exe
    O23 - Service: Bonjour Service - Apple Inc. - C:\Program Files\Bonjour\mDNSResponder.exe
    O23 - Service: Google Update Service (gupdate) (gupdate) - Google Inc. - C:\Program Files\Google\Update\GoogleUpdate.exe
    O23 - Service: Google Software Updater (gusvc) - Google - C:\Program Files\Google\Common\Google Updater\GoogleUpdaterService.exe
    O23 - Service: InstallDriver Table Manager (IDriverT) - Macrovision Corporation - C:\Program Files\Common

    Files\InstallShield\Driver\1050\Intel 32\IDriverT.exe
    O23 - Service: Iomega App Services - Iomega Corporation - C:\PROGRA~1\Iomega\System32\AppServices.exe
    O23 - Service: iPod Service - Apple Inc. - C:\Program Files\iPod\bin\iPodService.exe
    O23 - Service: Lavasoft Ad-Aware Service - Lavasoft - C:\Program Files\Lavasoft\Ad-Aware\AAWService.exe
    O23 - Service: PC Tools Auxiliary Service (sdAuxService) - PC Tools - C:\Program Files\Spyware Doctor\pctsAuxs.exe
    O23 - Service: PC Tools Security Service (sdCoreService) - PC Tools - C:\Program Files\Spyware Doctor\pctsSvc.exe
    O23 - Service: ServiceLayer - Nokia - C:\Program Files\PC Connectivity Solution\ServiceLayer.exe
    O23 - Service: SqueezeMySQL - Unknown owner - C:\PROGRA~1\Squeezebox\server\Bin\MSWin32-x86-multi-thread\mysqld.exe
    O23 - Service: WLTRYSVC - Unknown owner - C:\WINDOWS\System32\wltrysvc.exe

    End of file - 9426 bytes

    Side note: HP Digital Imaging Monitor.lnk = C:\Program Files\HP\Digital Imaging\bin\hpqtra08.exe - this hogs huge chunks of CPU and so I kill it as soon as the PC has started. Whilst I use the HP print/scan driver this exe is of no use so I would like to stop it starting, for ever.

  2. Phantom010

    Phantom010 Trusted Advisor

    Mar 9, 2009
    You have too many Startup applications loading with Windows. This can significantly increase your Startup time and affect overall performance.

    Please download and run Autoruns.

    Click on Options.

    Put a check mark on Hide Microsoft and Windows Entries.

    Hit the F5 key to refresh your page.

    Only non-Microsoft applications will be showing.

    Select the Logon tab and uncheck the following items:




    Adobe Reader Speed Launcher

    Adobe ARM




    HP Digital Imaging Monitor.lnk

    Squeezebox Server Tray Tool.lnk

    Other than your antivirus, firewall and Internet connectivity service, the Startup Type on most of your non-Microsoft Services (from programs YOU have installed), can be changed from Automatic to Manual. This will reduce the amount of processes running in the background and speed up your computer.

    Run Autoruns again.

    Select the Services tab.

    Only non-Microsoft services will be showing.

    Right-click on any service.

    Click on Jump to...

    You will now be at the exact registry key for that service.

    In the right-hand pane, look at the DWORD Start.

    The last number at the end of the entry will be either:

    (0) for Boot.

    (1) for System.

    (2) for Automatic.

    (3) for Manual.

    (4) for Disabled.

    If you want to change the value, double-click on Start and change the number accordingly.

    Reboot the computer.

    Don't forget to install an antivirus. Spybot and Ad-Aware are not antivirus programs.
  3. Cockle

    Cockle Thread Starter

    Apr 15, 2010
    Thank you, Phantom, for the comprehensive reply. I have done as suggested and have set the bulk of services to manual. A few questions remain, if you are able to respond:

    1) The freezing problem remains, though it may be slightly less frequent. It manifests itself most obviously when typing (the screen stops showing fresh text and then everything that was typed jumps into place, or the cursor freezes when doing CTRL-R arrow) or when scrolling in Firefox (if using the mouse the arrow moves but the sidebar remains static until it eventually jumps to where the arrow is, or when pressing the up/down scroll arrow the screen won't scroll for several seconds). Perhaps I need to check the behaviour for a few days before commenting further – in the meantime Process Explorer’s “system information” showed one CPU spike (when the delay occurred) to be OUTLOOK.EXE, the other was SERVICES.EXE 908.

    2) Process Explorer’s “Physical Memory History” shows use to be virtually flat at just over 80% (it is approximately 440Mb out of a total of 523Mb). It is like this when there is no activity on the PC. Is this behaviour correct?

    3) Process Explorer’s “Commit History” shows use to be virtually flat at around 35% (it is 470Mb, the limit is 1.278Gb with a peak of 556Mb). Again, is this behaviour correct?
  4. Phantom010

    Phantom010 Trusted Advisor

    Mar 9, 2009
    No, the behavior is not correct. Other than System Idle Process, all processes should be near 0% after having been started.

    Perhaps you could try a Clean Boot to isolate a possible culprit.
  5. flavallee

    flavallee Trusted Advisor

    May 12, 2002
    First Name:

    Do the following in the order listed.

    Start HijackThis, then click "Do a system scan only".

    When the scan completes, put a checkmark in these log entries:

    R3 - URLSearchHook: (no name) - {db35fda8-77e3-4784-92c2-ee7345e91af4} - (no file)

    O2 - BHO: (no name) - {D4027C7F-154A-4066-A1AD-4243D8127440} - (no file)

    O2 - BHO: (no name) - {db35fda8-77e3-4784-92c2-ee7345e91af4} - (no file)

    O3 - Toolbar: (no name) - {db35fda8-77e3-4784-92c2-ee7345e91af4} - (no file)

    O9 - Extra button: (no name) - {08B0E5C0-4FCB-11CF-AAA5-00401C608501} - C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.6.0_07\bin\ssv.dll

    O9 - Extra 'Tools' menuitem: Sun Java Console - {08B0E5C0-4FCB-11CF-AAA5-00401C608501} - C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.6.0_07\bin\ssv.dll

    then click "Fix Checked - Yes".

    Close HijackThis.

    Go here and click the green icon to download and save Sun Java Runtime Environment

    Close all open windows first, then install it. It'll overwrite and replace version that you currently have installed.

    Decline to install the Bing toolbar and whatever other crap it offers.

    Restart your computer.


    I recommend that you uninstall these programs:

    Lavasoft Ad-Aware

    Spybot - Search & Destroy

    PC Tools Spyware Doctor

    and replace them with

    Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 1.45


    They're more user-friendly and do a better job and are lighter on system resources.


    How much RAM do you have in that computer?

  6. Cockle

    Cockle Thread Starter

    Apr 15, 2010
    I ran Clean Boot and it seems that the problem is somewhere in a Microsoft product. The problem persisted even after booting with Microsoft Services hidden and all non-Microsoft Services disabled.

    Rebooting the PC afterwards, with System Configuration Utility set to Normal Startup, the PC (a) ran like a dog with Outlook hanging for about 5 minutes and other freezes kicking in intermittently and (b) HP Image software starting itself (this was disabled when I ran Autoruns previously).

    I ran Autoruns again. The first time it took about 30 seconds to boot, to scan and for Options to become black. This time it took about 5 minutes. Likewise hitting F5 it took over 5 mins to rescan. I re-disabled the items that I disabled previously that had reset to auto after the Clean Boot (i.e. Adobe ARM, Adobe Reader Speed Launcher, HP Image Zone Fast Start.lnk,). HP Digital Imaging.lnk appeared twice, one checked, the other not. I couldn’t disable the checked one as Autoruns gave the error message: “Error changing item state: cannot create a file when that file already exists”.

    I then rebooted and Windows presented the “Start in safe Mode” screen saying it couldn’t start. I tried to get it to start in Normal mode but it returned to the “Start in safe Mode” screen. I then opened it in “Last Settings that Worked” and the PC booted quickly. I started Autoruns and it started and scanned in seconds. However, under the Services and Drivers tabs there were no entries. Disabling “Hide Microsoft & Windows Entries” and Refreshing, both Services and Drivers remained empty.

    I then ran Hijack This and took the actions recommended, then deleted Adaware, Spybot & PC Tools plus Spyware Doctor. I installed Malwarebytes and Super Anti-Spyware. Then rebooted and ran full scans under both Malwarebytes and Super Anti-Spyware. There were no nasties in either scan.

    I have since rebooted and used the PC several times. When the PC works its performance is fine. However, it still has the problem that I came to this forum with, that it just hangs/freezrs for a few seconds every minute or so. This is best exemplified in YouTube where the video stops for about 5 secs every 1-2 minutes. This is not limited to network-related activity (i.e. Firefox), it happens in Outlook, Word, Excel, etc.

    Any tips before I consider backing up all my data and reinstalling everything?

    Per the earlier question, I have 512Mb of RAM, 251 MHz. The processor is Pentium M, 1400 MHz.

  7. flavallee

    flavallee Trusted Advisor

    May 12, 2002
    First Name:
    Concerning your comments about Clean Boot and Auto Runs, address them to Phantom010 and not to me.


    If your computer supports more RAM, you should add another 512 MB.

  8. Phantom010

    Phantom010 Trusted Advisor

    Mar 9, 2009
    When you boot into Safe Mode, the operating system only loads the bare minimum of software and drivers that are required for the operating system to work.

    512 MB of RAM for XP is a minimum. You should consider adding more RAM.
  9. terrawarra


    Mar 6, 2010
    What is your CPU temperature ?.. is it abnormally high ?... if so, then try this:

    Open the PC case, carefully blow out any dust or crap from the CPU heat-sink fins using canned air,.. or if you have an air compressor with blow nozzle attachment, GENTLY use this to blow away any dust.
    As always, when working on the internals of your PC, take care by wearing a wrist earth strap or simply touch any part of the casing to discharge any static electricity from your body. This will reduce the risk of you "frying" any sensitive parts such as your CPU, memory sticks and so on.
    I know that this is just a long shot but it worked for me a few years back when my PC was experiencing similar problems to yours.
  10. Cockle

    Cockle Thread Starter

    Apr 15, 2010
    Thanks for the suggestion. I discovered Speedfan and installed this to check temperatures. It gave:

    HD0 as 38C
    Temp1 as 41.5C (ACPI)

    In Speedfan's Config there were no items displayed in Fans, Voltages or Speeds.

    I seldom hear the fan (maybe once a week,and then only for a few minutes) so with the above temperatures I presume that all is well here.

    This seems to be pointing more and more to a reninstallation of XP.
  11. terrawarra


    Mar 6, 2010
    Those temps seem to be within the OK range,.. sorry I can't offer any further suggestions at this stage.
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