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MentalAvenger
2007-Oct-22, 02:06 AM
Over the years I have accumulated several computer anomalies that I need advice on. If anyone knows the answer, or a solution, or how to find the solution, please let me know.

1. Computer accessing the Hard Drive for no apparent reason. I donít mean just occasional access, but constant access, almost the same as doing a virus scan or a search. But none of these programs appear to be running. The Task Manager often says that the majority of system resources is being used by System Idle Process. Apparently this ďis a process which runs on each CPU in your PC/Server and whose sole purpose is to total up the amount of time when the processor is not doing anything. In Task Manager (Task List) this process usually accounts for the majority of processor time.Ē Three questions:

a. This does not seem to me to be a vital process. Why would it take up so much processor time?

b. Why does in need to access the hard drive?

c. Is there any program that can monitor the system and tell you exactly what is going on at any one time, regardless of whether it is a normal process or a virus, adware, spyware, malware or whatever?

d. Could this be the result of data miners or similar unwanted programs?

2. Shortcuts created to quickly access specific sites stop working properly after a while. At first, a double click will take me to that site. After a while, it takes more and more rapid clicks to activate the shortcut. Eventually, I have to restart the computer to get the shortcuts to work. What is happening and what can be done about it?

3. I have Creative Systems Audigy 2, including the front panel module. At first it worked great. But now, it does not work, and when I remove all the program elements, and reload the program, it locks up the system as soon as I try to use it. Perhaps the only changes in the system are the recommended upgrades on Windows XP Home Edition, including 5.1.26000 SP2 build 2600.

BTW, I have Norton Antivirus, and I keep it updated. I also run Adaware, but not too often.

Bearded One
2007-Oct-22, 02:44 AM
You can't stop the "System Idle Process", if you did the processor would have nothing to do when it has nothing to do :lol:

It's just a "do nothing" type function that gets called when no other process is making requests. It should have no disk access associated with it.

How much memory does this computer have?

phaishazamkhan
2007-Oct-22, 02:52 AM
Have you tried HijackThis! and googled various odd processes that may be running on your computer? Sometimes it can spot stuff that isn't seen by task manager.

Neverfly
2007-Oct-22, 02:59 AM
I also replaced Task Manager with Dimio's Task Manager.
You can get it at Major Geeks .com

I've replaced my defreg and various other items...

I also scrub my registry shiny clean regularly. I reccomend that for any computer owner- learn the registry and then make sure that everything is in it's proper place.

Commands that are associated with programs you installed then later removed, oftentimes get left behind.

There are a great many stand alone tools, that you don't need to install like you do with Anti-Virus, that can keep you well informed.

I use spybot search and destroys Tea Timer.

Also have Winpatrol.

Stand alone tools include Hijack this, Trajan Hunter, File assassin etc, which can show me hidden files and processes as well as hidden registry keys and can also remove the unremovable.

Laguna
2007-Oct-22, 06:31 AM
1a-d The idle process is no real process. It just showes how much capacity is unused... (Ever thought about joining the BAUT BOINC (http://www.bautforum.com/astronomy/33847-join-baut-teams-boinc-einstein-seti-lhc.html) Team to give him some work?)
The activity could be an indexing software.
Either the one that comes with Winsows or one that you installed.
It does not take any %of CPU time to let you her your HD.
Go get a Anti Spyware Software as it could be something like that too...

2. Pleace specify your computer specifications. CPU, HD, RAM, OS

3. I do not know Creative Systems Audigy 2.


BTW, I have Norton Antivirus,
What would explain a lot. Get rid of it.

absael
2007-Oct-22, 07:19 AM
All the advice given so far is good IMO. I'd replace Norton w/ AVG anti-virus. It's free and it won't hose up your system like Norton will. If you scan w/ AVG and Spybot regularly, you can be reasonably sure your system isn't infected with viruses, spyware, malware etc. Adaware is OK, but I've never seen it catch anything that Spybot missed, except cookies. Whatever you use, be sure to keep it updated.

#2: I've never seen that before. I assume you're using Internet Explorer? You might try using Firefox instead. You'll have to set it as the default browser to use your shortcuts. I don't know if that will fix it, but you might end up liking Firefox better anyway.

#3: Have you tried a driver cleaner? You might try uninstalling the software and drivers, then running Driver Cleaner Pro (see the included readme for instructions), then reinstalling everything, preferably the latest version from the Creative site.

Last resort: Back up your data, wipe the drive and install Linux. I like Debian.

Neverfly
2007-Oct-22, 07:21 AM
ty- I forgot that- Norton is awful!!

hhEb09'1
2007-Oct-22, 08:41 AM
Aren't you also running SETI?

The_Radiation_Specialist
2007-Oct-22, 11:43 AM
BTW, I have Norton Antivirus,

What would explain a lot. Get rid of it.

You can't, totally. Unless you format the disk.

Laguna
2007-Oct-22, 01:17 PM
You can't, totally. Unless you format the disk.
In this case he should do so.
Norton AV has more of a virus than most of the viruses it should protect you from...

Moose
2007-Oct-22, 01:27 PM
BTW, I have Norton Antivirus, and I keep it updated. I also run Adaware, but not too often.

This is a big part of the problem. There may be a way to tell it to knock off the progressive scanning and stick to just-in-time scanning.

Another prominent name in the "list of usual suspects" is Fast Find or Indexing Service (depending on what version of windows or office you're running.)

Pre-XP: You should go into your control panel. If there's an icon that says "Fast Find" (it's yellow), click it and toggle the tickey-box so it's not operating.

XP or later: You can disable indexing partition by partition by selecting
the drive letter from your "My Computer" list, right clicking, selecting properties, and unticking the "Allow indexing service to run my drives until they're dead" tickbox.

There's a better way to get at this, IIRC from the control panel, that'll let you tell it to leave your drives alone all at once, but I can't seem to find it on my work machine. It's also possible to turn the indexing service off outright, but I'm hesitant to explain the procedure. Turning one service off often tempts one to turn a lot of services off, and it's easy to go overboard and cripple your OS outright.

MentalAvenger
2007-Oct-22, 02:12 PM
Thanks for the great advice everyone. Itíll take some time to go through all that. Iíll let you know how it goes. Again, thanks.

Casus_belli
2007-Oct-22, 02:38 PM
Hit it with a hammer.

It will solve your problem, make you feel better and show any other electrical equipment in the house that you are not a man to be trifled with.

MentalAvenger
2007-Oct-22, 05:49 PM
2. Pleace specify your computer specifications. CPU, HD, RAM, OS

ACPI Uniprocessor PC
Intel Pentium 4 2.4GHz w/512K
384 MB Ram
Windows XP w/ SP2
Maxtor 6Y080L0 80 Gb HD
Samsung SP8004H 80Gb HD
Matrox Graphics Millennium PCI running two monitors
NVIDIA GeForce4 MX 440 running two monitors
Lite-On DVDRW SHOW-1693S
Plextor DVD-ROM PX-116A

MentalAvenger
2007-Oct-22, 05:50 PM
#2: I've never seen that before. I assume you're using Internet Explorer? You might try using Firefox instead. I use both IE and Firefox. On another forum I have separate userids as a member and a Moderator. To keep them separate, I go online on IE as a member, and on Firefox as the Moderator at the same time. They both seem to work equally well.

Fazor
2007-Oct-22, 06:12 PM
Well, for starters, 384 megs of Ram on an XP machine might be the cause right there.

The HDD read/write is probably the sytem using the page-file, since there's not much in the way of ram. I think XP recommends a minimum of 512, but I personally wouldn't run XP on less than a gig of ram.*

*edit: of course, aside from games, I use my system for hardware intensive CGI and Photo editing, but still I think a RAM upgrade would definately help you.

Roving Philosopher
2007-Oct-22, 06:31 PM
I agree with Fazor. You need more memory. If you've got room for another stick, you can probably get by with adding in 512 MB. Otherwise, get a 1GB stick. I'd do that first before anything else.

When your internet shortcuts stop working, do other shortcuts(e.g. program shortcuts) still work OK?

Fazor
2007-Oct-22, 06:37 PM
If you've got room for another stick, you can probably get by with adding in 512 MB.

Be carefull with this. Too often I've seen (i.e., been guilty of) just adding more memory. But if the two sticks are different types of RAM, it's always in my experience led to one of the sticks failing, causing more problems than it solves.

I usually suggest just buying all new RAM. A single stick, or two identicle sticks. It's not that expensive anymore.

Roving Philosopher
2007-Oct-22, 06:46 PM
Be carefull with this. Too often I've seen (i.e., been guilty of) just adding more memory. But if the two sticks are different types of RAM, it's always in my experience led to one of the sticks failing, causing more problems than it solves.
Interesting. I've done it quite a bit in the past and never had a problem (having said that, the complaints will no doubt come pouring in :doh: )

Fazor
2007-Oct-22, 06:50 PM
:) Well, I've never had any lasting problems from it, but inveriably one of the two sticks will quit working which would lead to head-scratching crashes and glitches and poor performance.

Of course, my last adventure into the world of build-it-yourself computing was back in the last 90's, early 2000's. So I dunno if newer ram is more tolerant of other brands than it use to be.

Moose
2007-Oct-23, 12:31 PM
It's not as much of an issue now, but it matters if you're using DDR RAM. You're better off with two identical sticks than you are with any other combination.

But yeah, the RAM situation can definitely be causing the constant disk activity. With that little ram, you're likely to be paging. (Swapping means using disk space to swap out processes that are active only rarely. Paging means using disk space to swap out processes that are in frequent use. Swapping is okay (not great, but okay). Paging is bad.)

XP needs a minimum of 512Mb of RAM just to idle smoothly. Anything else you want to do with it requires more. I suggest 1Gig as a hard minimum. 2 Gigs is preferable, especially if you intend to game (particularly on dual monitors), but it's not mandatory. You probably don't need to go beyond 2 Gigs.