Natalie Goes to Japan

40 year old very married blonde woman having a midlife crisis who heads to Japan alone to follow her dreams. Be careful what you wish for ... you just may get it.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Invasion of the Internet Snatchers

It's horrible. It has invaded into my life. But nobody believes me. I'm convinced my computer has a virus, but none of the detection devices can find it. It's making my computer go so slow that I can't do many of the things that I want... no need to do to keep me sane. I have 50 gig free, so that's not it. I defragged the computer, so that's not it. I scan my computer daily, and it can't find the ghost virus. I can't Flickr, I can't watch any media clips, I can't listen to NPR, I can't play games. I can get my email and I can watch DVD's. But that's about it. I'm going crazy.


At 1:33 PM, Anonymous Claus Valca said...

Apple PC or Windows pc? If Windows what version? XP/2000/Vista/98/Bob? ;)

I'm taking a guess that since you are having such an issue, you do have a Windows pc. You might want to try downloading the free Microsoft utility Process Explorer for Windows v10.21.

Unzip it and run. It looks all complicated and geeky but focus on the top section and the CPU column. Watch it for a while and see if you can find any process that is taking up a high amount 50+, or that stay high for a considerable time. This might at least give you an idea to focus on. Make a note of the process name and do a Google search.

If you get comfortable using this tool, you might also try using the freeware utility CurrPorts: TCP/IP Connections Viewer. It will let you see which programs are running and talking to the net. Do a Google with what you find out. If you have a trojan/malware/virus, today's versions like to play ET and phone home. You might catch it that way...but be cautious, most that show up will probably be normal and needed. Google is your friend.

Finally, does the problem still happen when you unplug your pc from the network? If it speeds up again if you unplug your network cable, that might give you a clue as well and point to the issue being a program accessing the net.

It might be a virus/malware, but it could also be a Windows Update process running in the background (inefficiently) causing the issues. Microsoft recently updated it's updater service and I have seen that become a major source of slowdowns/lockups at work until all the most recent Windows updates are applied.

Make sure your system is fully updated with the system updates/patches.

Don't give up!

Then again if you have an Apple pc...nevermind....

At 7:09 AM, Blogger Natalie said...


I tried the Process Explorer, and it ran and ran. The only thing that looked suspicious was MS Messenger, so I disabled that. But otherwise I was quite confused by the PE. I need something that gives me a report..."hey, lady, this program looks unusual". But no improvement on the speed, if anything it seems a little pissed off now. I didn't try the other one as you make it sound even less accessible to non-studied type. But thanks for the suggestions.

At 8:22 AM, Blogger Claus said...

Sorry that didn't help.

I use this stuff almost every day and I guess it's second nature. It can be intimidating.

Here is are two YouTube video on Process Explorer: Exploring with Process Explorer and Troubleshooting with Process Explorer, Filemon and Regmon. Might be too geeky.

Maybe I need to make a "Process Explorer for noobs" tutorial post on my blog.

Did you check that all your Windows Updates were current?

What happens if you unplug your network cable and restart it?

My dad had a problem with his XP system a while back locking up bigtime. Eventually tracked it down to some the Windows Automatic Update process being wonked out along with a corrupted Windows Update catalog on his PC. That was a bit of tricky troubleshooting!

Thawing an XP System and the conclusion at the end of the Mostly Mozilla Madness... post.

Recently this issue has been giving some folks headaches as well as me at our workplace pcs: Microsoft 100% CPU usage and svchost.exe

I'm sorry I can't help you better. Kinda too far and wet to drive...

I really love your blog and posts...(I even highly recommended it to a local Houston celebrity blogger: 5 Swivel Feeds for Kent Newsome).

I wish I could do more to help!

I'm sure you've scanned your pc with all the usual virus/malware scanners...but just in case, here are my freeware recommendations in case you are still looking: Anti-Malware Tool Roundup - #2. Sunbelt Software's CounterSpy is also very good (and has a full-featured limited time period): CounterSpy

Finally, here are some on-line based scanners: Online System Security Scanners

Best wishes...and good luck!

At 6:17 AM, Blogger Natalie said...


Well, that reminds me...a year ago I turned off my Windows Updater because it was doing something really weird. Everytime I turned on my computer the Updater would run, making my computer slow down to a crazy crawl. The updater would do this for a couple of hours, but then would stop at the 39% place and never go any higher. Not even if I left the computer on all night. So I turned it off and my computer ran much better. So I turned it back on yesterday, set it to update at the turn of the hour. It appeared to update one file. This file did not miraculously clear up my problem, and then when I turned on the computer the next time the ole "39% problem" occurred again!

Restarting without internet doesn't seem to make much difference. I even unplugged my internet tower and rebooted, but to no avail. I don't really run any big programs when not on the internet, so almost everything seems normal, except one photo editing program.



At 8:16 AM, Anonymous Claus said...

Hi Natalie,

That issue sounds very similar to the one that my dad was having on his XP Home system.

His was a combination of factors, but basically the Windows Updater couldn't properly read/save the update list it was getting from it just kept spooling, causing the system to come to a crawl. Eventually if he left it on long enough it gave up and became normal again.

I had to do several things to get it fixed up once and for all. It was really frustrating so I feel your pain.

You're clever enough to figure out how to fix it yourself if you take your time and do your research.

Just out of curiosity, what options are available for "home" pc repair help in Japan? Is there a "geek" friend you would turn to? Is there a pc repair service in the area?

That would be a great post!

As an IT guy I'm kinda curious on how those things work for the average computer owner in Japan.

Just wondering.

Sounds like it is at least usable and you can work around it for now.

I hope you eventually track it down! At least if you decide to chuck it out the window, you'll be able to use your awesome new camera to take some great shots of the aftermath!




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