SUPER SLO-MO computer

I have an eMachines home PC running Windows Me, 256 megs RAM, 466 MHz, wirelessly networked with a new eMachines laptop on XP. The Laptop works fine, but the PC is behaving as if slogging through thick molasses. The cursor lags far behind movements of the mouse; you can type a paragraph in either Word or a web page message board with nothing appearing on the screen, then one by one the letters begin to appear. I’ve called the ISP, deleted all the temp files and cookies, restarted, defragged, unplugged all the network connections…nothing. Just had the computer doc come over to try to speed things up (it was nowhere near this slow, though) and install an external hard drive for backup plus two spyware blockers; also I just bought Norton Internet Security. The problem has arisen since, even though it seemed to work fine before he left. I’m typing this on the laptop, because if I were doing it on the PC, the page would still be blank by now. Any idea what’s up or where to look next?

Thanx in advance

Even though you have spyware blockers, some can still get through I’ll bet. Not to mention adware.

Remove spyware as described in the sticky thread of this forum:

My bet is on the Norton Internet Security resource hog. Try disabling it or turning it off an watch your performance recover.

I would try disconnecting the ME machine from the network and from the Internet so it is standing alone. Do “Ctrl-Alt-Delete” and in the window that pops open, “End Task” on everything except Exporer. If this fixes the slowness, then you have something running in the background that is eating up system resources and so you can reboot and repeat the same trick turning off things one at a time until you identify the culprit. Once you know what is causing the problem, go to Start -> Run and type in “msconfig” (no quotes) and then OK and then go to the Startup tab and disable the culprit.

I’ve seen a problem with Windows ME and some Norton Software that can cause massive slowdowns. I know Norton Sytems Works can cause the problem, but I’m not sure about Internet Security. This particular problem can cause general slowdowns and also complete freezes when trying to install new hardware or update Windows. Anyway, it’s easy to check and remedy, so not much to lose.

First, you need to open up a “My Computer” or Windows Explorer window. Then go to “Tools”>“Folder Options”>“View” and enable “Show hidden files and folders” and un-enable “Hide protected operating system files”. Now navigate to “C:\WINDOWS\INF” and sort the files by size. Some kind of interaction can happen between WinME and the Norton software that creates up to tens of thousands of zero kilobyte files named oem*.inf (where the * is a sequential number). If you see this situation, you need to delete the bad files and only the bad files. Delete all the files that are both zero kilobytes and also named oem*.inf. Do NOT delete any other files. This operation can take quite some time and it may look like your computer has frozen while it deletes all the files. Give it some time before you assume you need to reset.

Just a couple of days ago, I worked on a computer that was afflicted with this problem. There were 32,843 empty INF files. Even working from the command line, it took the computer almost 45 minutes to delete them all. Afterwards, the computer was noticeably more responsive. The only way I know of the prevent a reoccurence is to disable the Norton software. Good luck!

Problem solved rebooting in safe mode, using msconfig and disabling culprit at startup

Thanks very much to all–very helpful stuff. “Great” dope!

Out of curiosity, what was the culprit? The first thing that popped into my head when I saw just the title of the thread was “CoolWebSearch infection”. You described classic symptoms of having the CWS scumware on your system.


You could very well be psychic. My tech did a telephone consult and walked me thru disabling a number of things at startup that he felt were spyrot, and I believe UncoolWebSearch was one of them if memory serves. There was also some parental control thing from Norton that I don’t need which he felt might be problematic, among others.

Nah, I’m not psychic I’ve just been the guy on the other end of the phone from you way too many times - but I just haven’t been paid to do it in a long time (ie, mostly friends and relatives calling). Last month a friend’s mom’s system was doing a lot of the same things you describe, and when I looked at her system, it had more infections than $2 hooker at a UTEP frat party in Juarez…

I would, as soon as possible (if you haven’t already) get Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware SE Personal Edition (this is the free version :slight_smile: ) and the latest spybod search & destroy (I think it’s still ver 1.3), as well as CWShredder, Kill2Me and HiJack This! (the last three all ceveloped by and available from Merijn’s site.

Removing the items from startup (which was done via msconfig, I’m assuming) won’t necessarily remove the critter from the system, and it hooks so deep into the system that it will eventually realize it’s startup component is missing an generate a new one.

Regarding Hijack This! - do NOT use it to make any changes to the system unless you are VERY familiar with everything in it - you could very easily potentially screw up the system’s ability to access the Internet. Instead, scan your system and post the log to someplace like Computer Cops or similar help board, and someone there can analyze your log file and let you know what you need to fix.


Thx for the tips–got much of the same great advice right here at the good ol’ SDMB in the Computer Problems - Read this First thread