XP bogs down from explorer.exe?

Hi. This problem is a strange one and has become quite complicated, but I will try to keep it to the important points.

I am working on a Dell that runs XP Home(SP1) and has had no problems until now. After I hooked up the pre-existing cd-rom (it was disconnected when the user installed a burner some months ago) and plugged all USB devices back in cpu, the computer started to really slow down. In fact, it became unusable.

I unplugged everything and still had the same problem. Finally, I realized Task Manager was monitoring CPU usage at 100% over fairly regular intervals. During this time, the memory allocation for the explorer.exe process grew rapidly and reached sizes of over 350 MB! XP also grows the page file size to well over 900 MB. Normally, the page file size is around 120 MB. The computer seems to run out of memory and I need to restart or shut it off. The computer has 640 MB of RAM and runs fine in Safe Mode. Also, Mcafee is installed as are some Logitech and Kodak Easyshare software.

After extensive troubleshooting (disabling services, startup and checking for spyware, etc.), I thought I had it figured out. Disabling the telephony service seemed to do the trick. But this made no sense to me and, of course, the problem came back once all USB devices were plugged back in. Removing them had no effect and I soon realized that the problem did not always occur. One or two reboots could often go by with no problem in between. Then, out of the blue, I would see CPU usage hit 100% and the page file size would climb. Disabling all services does help, but that is not really a fix. I just can't seem to pinpoint the problem as the services at fault appear to be Microsoft's and worked fine before. Has anyone else seen this before?

One thing I have been suspicious about was any program that tries to access the Internet on its own. This computer uses a Linksys wireless USB adapter and so has not been connected during most of this process. Is it possible some program or service is constantly trying to reach out to the Internet and doesn't release memory well when it is foiled? I disabled all programs in startup via MSCONFIG and I still have this problem. Thanks, in advance, for any help on this matter.
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  1. Really it's most likely spyware or a virus. There are several tools for Spyware detection, Spybot S&D is good, download several popular ones, and run them. They all detect different things.

    What I would do, is backup important stuff, and format.

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  2. Also try per Microsoft Knowledge Base Article - 833228 (Read this MKBA first)

    CPU usage in the Indexing Service on your Windows XP-based computer increases to 100 percent

    This problem may occur if both the following conditions are true:
    The removable memory storage device slot is empty and does not contain a removable memory storage device.
    The Indexing Service is started.

    There is a hotfix but you have to call them, i just stop index service and that fix the friends problem.

    Display name: Indexing Service

    Service name: cisvc

    :cool: <font color=blue> I know nothing that is why i am here at THG!</font color=blue>
  3. Ok, this response is actually to both responders. Thanks to both of you. I finally fixed the problem although it took forever to do so and seemed quite complicated. I still don't know how the problem began, but it seems to have been related to a corrupted TCP/IP stack or protocol and maybe the Fax service XP loads on bootup. Here is a long, but hopefully useful, explanation as to how I got it running smoothly again.

    By the way, there was no virus and although I removed some spyware (iedll.exe and loader.exe), doing so had no effect on XP's 100% cpu usage, the explorer process needing upwards of 500 mb of memory, and the page file shooting to 980 mb.

    What did seem to stop this annoying problem was disabling the Telephony service, the Fax service, the Remote Access Auto Connection Manager, the Remote Access Connection Manager, and the Print Spooler. Since many of these are interrelated, I wasn't sure which service was at fault. Possibly the corrupted TCP/IP stack was going haywire and "calling" these services so my disabling them turned out to be an end run around the actual problem. Anyhow, I currently am running all of those services but the Fax and Print Spooler. I still haven't tested the USB printer to see if it works, though. Hopefully I can enable the Print Spooler. I will keep the FAX disabled as I saw another person on another forum had a similar problem and that was his fix.

    With regard to fixing the TCP/IP stack. Once the explorer.exe process going crazy problem was gone, I realized I could not reach out to the Internet. In fact, although I was set up to use DHCP, XP was assigning the usual 169.x.x.x IP to my adapter and I could not release it. The error said "The operation failed since no adapter is in the state permissible for this operation". Also, I received this error: "An operation was attempted on something that is not a socket."

    I then tried the following command: netsh int ip reset resetlog.txt. This command supposedly repaired the TCP/IP protocol. I still wasn't able to connect to the Internet, though. A bit later I used Microsoft's knowledge base #811259, which has instructions for repairing corrupted Winsock registry keys. Following these instructions was the key and I was finally able to get online and browse my local network. Yayyyy!!!

    It seems to me that somehow my TCP/IP stack/Winsock entries got damaged after I was trying to get the wireless USB adapter reconfigured. It also may have been McAfee's firewall software or it may have been one of those spyware programs I found. I really don't know how it started, but XP works now and I am happy. Hope this helps anyone else out there.
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