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Thread: Results from windows clean-up list tips

  1. #1
    za_avastfan Guest

    Default Results from windows clean-up list tips

    Firstly, hello and apologies in advance for this long post. I thought it a good idea to try all these things myself and then describe the results here to try and save everyone some precious time.

    Thank you so much for your time reading this and your help, it is much appreciated.

    Jerusalem: Belarc Advisor wouldn t load on the computer, I shall try it again next time.

    Problem: Windows XP takes about 8 minutes to load (3 minutes to get to the black screen with the windows logo and another 3-4 minutes until the blue welcome screen loads). The computer is also slow once loaded.

    Assessment so far:
    Having spent 9 hours straight (I m not joking either) scanning the computer with 6 antispyware, 2 anti-rootkit programs and a thorough virus scan without finding anything I am reasonably sure (I understand one can t be 100%) it is not spyware, adware, malware or virus related. Also to my untrained eye the hijack this scan log (sorry I forgot to save it and will post it here when I return to my friend s house to try and fix the computer again) and the list of processes running on startup didn t look unusual or excessive.

    Having performed clean-up and maintenance tasks (please see below) without any change, my guess is that it is one of these three problems:
    - Windows XP itself is corrupt
    - The hard-drive itself is defective
    - Another problem exists which you experts (compared to this newbie) can see


    Computer Specifications:
    - Fujitsu Laptop (also has Siemens written on it)
    - Intel Celeron 1.86ghz
    - 448MB Ram (I realise this is not much, but 8 minutes to boot XP is excessive)
    - 80GB Harddrive (80% Free Space)
    - 56k Modem (with 512k DSL Internet Connection)
    - Windows XP SP2 Fully updated from windows update site
    - Windows Firewall & Automatic Updates turned on
    - A v a s t Pro 4.7.1098 latest virus def file
    - Zone Alarm Pro 7.0.462.000 (latest version & anti-spyware def file)
    - Microsoft Office XP
    - No other major programs installed

    Clean-up/Maintenance tasks to solve problem tried so far:
    - Ensured Windows was up-to-date with security patches
    - Checked startup programs/processes and removed adobe autostarter.
    - To my untrained eye no unusual items in the list of startup processes nor the hijack this scan log (I shall post it here when I return to fix the laptop)
    - Cleared C:\WINDWS\Temp, Firefox and Internet Cache, Passwords and Browsing History
    - Set windows wallpaper to a blank screen and removed unnecessary desktop icons
    - Uninstalled all non-essential programs on the laptop
    - Ran Ccleaner and cleared all items under Windows & Applications
    - Defragmented Harddrive No problems found
    - Ran Windows Diskcleanup Only 2MB space cleared
    - Tested the harddrive for errors with (windows error checking tool under harddrive properties, tools tab then error checking) No errors found
    - Went to my computer, properties, advanced tab, settings and deselecting everything except:
    * Animate Windows when minimizing and maximizing
    * Smooth edges of screen fonts
    * Smooth-scroll list boxes
    * Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop

    Ran the following programs in safe mode (except where stated otherwise):
    - Online scan with ewido and bit-defender nothing found
    - Boot-time scan with A v a s t Pro nothing found (other than 3 corrupt archive non-system files)
    - ZA Anti-spyware (latest def file) nothing found
    - AVG Anti-spyware (latest def file) nothing found
    - Spybot S&D (latest def file) nothing found
    - Adaware 2007 Plus (latest def file) nothing found
    - Superantispyware (latest def file) nothing found
    - A squared (latest def file) nothing found
    - F-secure Blacklight (latest version) nothing found (note: does not run in safe mode)
    - AVG Anti-rootkit (latest version) nothing found (note: does not run in safe mode)

    Operating System:
    Windows XP Pro
    Product Name:
    ZoneAlarm Pro

    Message Edited by ZA_Avastfan on 01-17-2008 02:47 AM

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    Default Re: Results from windows clean-up list tips

    1. Windows firewall should not be used when the ZA firewall is being used. Adding the windows firewall does not increase security and probably decreases it to some extent. First sign of conflict and possible slowdown.

    2. If two memory cards are used, one maybe defective - check these by starting the laptop with just one at a time (make sure nothing is set to be run at windows startup!) and then the other. If the laptop does not start with of the cards, but willl with the other, then assume one of these is defective. Just make sure nothing is set to start up with windows. More memory will no doubt help the laptop and the problem. I am assuming it is really 512 mem and the graphics is "borrowing" some of the mem.

    3. Do a system file check. There maybe some corrupted windows files over time of use and from previous infectionsand these may need replacing.

    4. Previous installations of security and software will always leave behind remmants of files (files, drivers, etc) and regisrty keys, These need to be removed.

    5. Uninstall any extra toolbars and items such as google desktop search.

    6. Any IM starting with windows should be set to start manually.

    7 Any Office starting with windows should be set to start manually.

    8. Disable any boot scan or startup scan of the Antivirus from starting at the windows startup. The boot time scan is OK.

    9. Open the Startup folder and remove any items. Do the same for any of the Startup folder in all of the user's accounts in the Documents and Settings.

    10. Open the Prefetch of the Windows directory and remove all past/unneeded items in the layout.ini and delete any past prefetch files.

    11. Disabling un-needed services is also beneficial. Look for the BlackViper site ( and many will be permanently Disabled (application layer gateway, clipBook, computer browser, indexing, ipsec, netbios tcp, netmeeting remote, fast users, uninterruptible power supply, universal plug and play, volume shadow copy, etc) and many can be set to Manual and off.

    12. What are the errors in the Event Viewer? What do they say and what are the exact event IDs'?

    13. Update all drivers of all the hardware components. Open the device manager and open the show hidden devices. Update each and every one.

    14. Check all of the items found in the system information. Make sure everything is working and everything is okay.

    15. Often there are manufactures updaters installed. Disable these or uninstall these. The manufacture of the individual hardware and of the laptop will always have the latest drivers on their web sites.

    16. Media players other than windows should not start with windows and be manually started.

    17. Make sure the proper BIOS is set in the laptop.

    18. The correct time and date should be used. It should be set in both the windows operating system and in the BIOS settings.

    19. In the properties of the TCP/IP, basically just the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) should be present. All others can be disabled or uninstalled. The LMHosts and the NetBIOS should be also disabled.

    20. The virtual memory should be 1.5 to 2.5 times the size of the physical memory. If you had sufficent memory, I would advise to disable the virtual memory, reboot and then enable it - this cleans out entire file and starts it again off fresh and clean. But your memory is at a minumin, so do not try this.

    21. Check the tcp stack - use something like lspfix to have a look. Also make sure there is only one copy of the WSOCK32.DLL in the windows directory and it is the original one that came with windows.

    22. Open the windows\internet logs and look for a lspconflict. Open with notepad and see what is happening.

    23. Basic configuring of the antivirus should have the zlclient and the vsmon as exclusions in the antivirus and the antivirus components listed in the ZA should have the first two items checked in the Option of the right click in the program listing.

    24. The web scanner of the antivirus such as the one found in the **bleep** should be adjusted correctly for the ZA/firewall. Also the unused addtional features of the antivirus should be disabled.

    25. The site blocker of the antivirus and the site blocker of the ZA maybe in conflict. Use one or the other but not both.

    26. The email checker of the ZA and that of the antivirus should not be used together. One or the other, but not both at the same time.

    27. The startups in the osfirewall of the ZA should be set to allow and see what happens.

    28. The program control slider should be set to a learning level - there maybe some something misconfigured and needs some adjustment.

    29. Still are at least 500 tweaks not going to be mentioned - some easy ones are disable the automatically search for network folders and printers and disable the remote administration. There are many and numerous registry tweaks and adjustments/diabling items in the DCOM server. I am not even going to get into those other areas.
    But the easiest way to find out what is wrong is disable all of the items in the msconfig and reboot. If the laptop still takes too much time to startup with nothing extra started, then it is not the software causing the problem, but either the OS or the hardware. If it starts up fast with nothing extra running, then slowly one by one add another item and keep rebooting until the startups starts to get slow again. The faulty item causing the slow startup can be traced using this process. If it is the ZA that is at fault, then do a database reset of the ZA and see if it improves.
    Using the faster firefox - then disable this.
    Yes you did a hard disk check, but you did the one that has to be done only in the boot time and not the quick one? Still it could be something else causing the problem, even something strange as the file system - not using NTFS and another instead could be the problem.


    Message Edited by Oldsod on 01-17-2008 10:48 AM
    Best regards.

  3. #3
    za_avastfan Guest

    Default Re: Results from windows clean-up list tips

    Hi Oldsod,

    Thanks so much for the prompt reply and wow!! what detailed advice, that's great!

    I shall work my way through your 29 points and report back.

    Thanks again, I really appreciate your time and help.

    Best wishes,


  4. #4
    zaswing Guest

    Default Re: Results from windows clean-up list tips

    Point 30 for you
    Are still running both ZA Pro and ZA-AS? That might be two firewalls, if two instances try to run. Regarding the Windows Firewall, you can set in ZA to shut the Windows firewall off - it's on the Advanced setting of the Firewall tab.

  5. #5
    za_avastfan Guest

    Default Re: Results from windows clean-up list tips

    Dear All,

    I would like to thank each and every one of you for the time and support, it has been absolutely fantastic!

    The problem has been solved and related to a problem/corruption within Windows system files.

    After many hours, and following all the helpful advice here, system restore appears to have fixed the problem.

    I realise the advice provided on here is given by wonderful people who do so without financial reward, and I cannot express my sincere appreciation enough in words.

    So please know that you REALLY helped a person in need and that the kindness you have shown will be returned to you somehow by somebody in life and provide you with help and reward when you need it!

    Many thanks again, I am extremely grateful and wish you all the best for the future.


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