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I think my pc is dying



Don't really know where to post this, but applications seems pretty broad...

My computer is dying. I'm on the verge of a reformat anyway, but I really don't have time for that for another 4 weeks or so, so I'm kind of hoping I might find a fix.

There are really so many problems that I don't even think I'm going to go into all of them. They seemed to start with a problem with my start menu (to which I have previously posted), where at times it takes 15 seconds for my 'all programs' list to populate.

I suppose now I should give my system specs:
Athlon xp 2000+
512 mb ddr ram
geforce 3 ti200 64mb

So now its obvious why it shouldn't take my computer 15 seconds to display all 50 items in the 'all programs' folder. Even if that was common, it only began happening recently so I know it isn't normal.

Beyond that, now whenever I boot up I have SYSTEM IDLE PROCESS in my process list, and its listing under CPU is 97-99. I don't know what that process is, but I'm convinced it doesn't need that much power. Ocasionally, though, that number drops to zero. In that case, explorer shoots up to 80-99 and begins to suck ram like a vacuum (has been at 120k). This can make the computer slow (not always). Anyone know why that is?

Another thing, not a pervasive problem, but I have an .avi that I downloaded, and now it won't let me delete it because it is somehow in use. Well the file is corrupt so whatever part of my coputer is using it isn't having much luck. Even right after a reboot, the file won't delete. I tried renaming it and the extension, still in use! I don't have any programs running that could be using it (any media player or p2p sharing prog), so why won't it delete? Is there any way to have the computer tell whatever's using the file to go to hell and just delete the file? I doubt this has anything to do with my strange cpu usage statistics in task manager, but you never know.

BTW I have done a full system scan with the latest virus definitions from Norton and nothing is screwing with my pc. Seems its killing itself.

Thanks for any help.


oh and when my explorer file is using outrageos amounts of resources, this is what I had running:

1 IE window (this one)
1 winamp
1 Trillian message window.

I would sincerely hope my system is capable of running those without having a heart attack.


My system Idle process does the same. How old is your comp? It is recommended that you format every 6 months to get rid of junk. Also disable any services you don't need see blkviper.com for more info.


My computer is about 3 months old.


OK, maybe discovered a major problem. Right after posting I decided to restart (because explorer was using so much resources that they computer was slow). After selecting restart, a windows dialog appeared that indicated it was going to give a program a certain amount of time to close, but I could choose End Now. I chose End Now, but the program wasn't anything I recognize as belonging in my computer. It was called 'MessageBouncer.' Has anyone heard of that? Kind of sounds like a virus to me. If thats the case I have Norton and their inadequacies to thank.


I'll try disabling processes, but it doesn't seem like there are that many running compared to when I first got the computer. Its encouraging that your system idle is that high, though, thank you. My friend's is at 20-40 so mine had me worried.


Prodigal Son
Whoa!!!!! System Idle Process is supposed to do that. If you are not doing anything, it will be about 99%. It's the process that runs when nothing else is running.
You may indeed have a trojan or virus. Do a complete system scan with what you have and also try a couple other trial programs like McAfee or PCcillian or something. I know there are online scanners too that will load a small program and do a system scan through IE. Just be sure you only have one AV running at a time. If you do find a compromise (virus), clean it and if you're not happy with it do the format to make sure you're completely clean.

'System idle' process is what it says... that's actually how much resources are NOT being used.


Good! I thought system idle maybe meant that something was running in the background. 99 is good then, I'm happy. I still don't understand why explorer will sometimes for no reason become a resource hog. I ran a full system scan with norton, but nothing came up, I think I need to try another, thanks for the advice!


It's windows...what do ya expect. You could try another shell that doesn't take up so much resources


Well, I know for fact the System Idle process is going to be at around 99, as stated earlier. As for the .avi problem, try using an alternate program that lets you Browse, like Nero, and go to the file and try to delete it there. There are many people with the .avi problem, and recently I've had problems deleting a .zip file (I get the same error).

As for the overall stubborness of your problem, it sounds like a virus or something of that nature. When I run into stupid problems that occur for no reason, and I think this is one of them, I back everything up and format the damn thing. I realize most people prefer not to, so it's only a route you can take later, if you have to. A good thing I would recommend is using System Restore. After you re-install XP and everything is tuned how you want, AND IT RUNS "NORMAL", do a System Restore Point. That way you don't need to format next time. Blah, I'm dragging on and on. Good luck man!


Act your wage.
Political User
the .avi problem

I have had the problem you speak of with the avi files, and it takes some tricky work to delete them. I don't know what causes this, I just know how to delete them. What I ended up doing was using VirtualDub, and going to File->Open. When the Open box came up I browsed to the folder the file was in and then selected it and hit 'delete.' That did it for me. If that doesn't work you might boot up in safe mode and try deleting it then. Also, run msconfig if you haven't already and check your processes. Uncheck any that you don't think look right. There is a website somewhere with descriptions of most well-know startup processes. Wish I had the URL but I don't, you might be able to search for it. Hope some of that helps.


um, the system idel proccess is how much cpu isn't being used...
hence idle, not used.... wasted....
mine is aways 98ish, unless i'm burning a cd or playing mohaa, in which case i drops, cause the cpu isn't idel anymore, the resources change to the most cpu hungry prog running.


You might try checking out what you have running at startup to see which applications are causing the file locks.
1. The startup directory under the program menu.
2. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

These are the prime lounging spots for Trojans and Virii.


Thanks for all the suggestions. A couple different virus scans have indicated no virus, which I can't believe, but who am I to argue with almighty Norton and McAfee.

Thanks for the idea of using safe mode, that got rid of that stupid avi file.

I am preparing for a reformat, but its always too much work (I have to flash my bios because for some reason by default usb devices won't power, and I don't remember how to do that, things of this nature...). Maybe it is just a problem with windows being not-so-great, but it is just recently that explorer (the process) began consuming resources like an SUV does gasoline. So I am hoping that after I reformat things will return to normal.

I thought about creating a restore point right after a reformat, but thought of 2 problems:

1) I have no idea how much space a restore point takes up on my hd, but at some point won't windows begin to delete restore poitns as you create new ones and your allotted space for them fills up?

2) Also, at times when I have made changes to my system and go back to a previous restore point I have had problems like programs I uninstalled still present in the registry (and in add/remove programs), but not actually on the hard drive, so I can't get rid of their entry in add/remove programs. I'm curious as to how many little problems like that I would run into if I tried to restore my pc to a month or two ago...

Again, thanks everyone, very much appreciated!!!!!!


Act your wage.
Political User
1) Restore points actually take up much less space than you'd expect. I don't know exactly how much per point, but I'd say less than 100MB a piece. A couple of things you can do about the restore points:
There is a System Restore tab under the System Properties, and you can configure which drives are monitored as well as the max amount of space you want to allow them to take up. You can also remove all but the most recent restore point from time to time by going to the properties of that hard drive [such as C:], and clicking Disk Cleanup. The 'More Options' tab gives you a button to choose to delete restore points.

2) As far as restoring back a month or so is concerned, it's a great idea if you don't mind losing the programs you've installed since then. You old registry entries and whatnot that show back up can easily be removed by using the APK Windows Registry Cleaning Engine. There is probably a link to the program in the downloads area of this site. This will keep those programs from popping back up in your Add/Remove that are actually uninstalled already. I've used System Restore several times and it has been great to me!

Good luck! :D



get startupcpl to see if anything is loading on start up. I had the same probem with uninstalling Ultima online it was "in use" I reformatted but for other reasons than that.
possible virus

I would suggest doing an online panda virus scan, this software is
far more extensive in it's virus definition library. It is the best i've seen. Always detects things that are missed by Norton, PC Cillin,
and Macafee. Also be prepared for an hour or so for the check as it checked some 60,000 files as opposed to 16,000 on others. There is also a first time download of virus definitions. Also i would
set for auto repair when it asks. www.pandasoftware.com
Try rebooting into SAFE mode and then delete the AVI file. That should take care of it since there are no unnecessary programs running, just the bare minimum. Also, if things are taking a bit too long, check your autoexec.bat and config.sys files. If there is anything in there, delete it and save. You don't need autoexec.bat and config.sys anymore. They're only for legacy drivers and can make your system sluggish and unstable. Better yet, rename them as autoexec.ba_ and config.sys_ and reboot. I bet you'll see a great improvement in your system.

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