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Struggling with a (whatever)

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Here's the symptoms:

Windows 7 with SP1 32 bit on a Dell Optiplex.

When booted fresh performance is great. Starts to slow down after a few hours; if I don't do anything about it, it grinds to nearly a halt. Takes forever to launch windows, apps go into "not responding" mode.

Looking at Taskmgr and Resource Monitor, I see that CPU usage is at 100%. The two processes using most of it are the NT Kernel and System Interrupts. One or two other processes will grab maybe 5-10% for a fraction of a second in an apparent round-robin pattern.

I have installed the paid-version of Malwarebytes and Xoftspyse, both have run repeatedly and not found malware. Malwarebytes HAS found registry issues and cleaned them, but with no affect.

In reading various blogs I've seen suggestions that when the Sys Interrupts is thrashing like mine, the actual issue is something in another process generating a flood of not-handle-able interrupts. Before all this started, I was using McAfee with all its options. Firewall, site advisor, malware blocker, etc. It had gotten to the point where McAfee was hogging the pc. It seemed to want to download updates every few hours, then launch a full scan even though I had those scheduled for once a week. I would cancel the downloads but could not interrupt the scans. Even if it was not scanning or downloading, it was using cpu and I suspected generating the interrupts. I deinstalled it to see what would happen. After reboot the system appeared great for a few hours, then back to same.

Looking at what else is doing anything I looked for background processes that run constantly. Two that appeared to be busy for no good reason were the Windows Media Player network module and the Windows indexer. I scanned their images specifically with mwb but it found nothing. I used msconfig to prevent their starting and rebooted. While the system ran like a champ after that for a time, this morning it is back to 100% flatlined CPU without them. I also started windows in safe mode and ran mwb, but found nothing.

Now I plan to follow the steps outline in the pinned post "what do I do" if MWB fails to rectify.

My questions are:

The terms virus, spyware, and malware seem to be used almost interchangeably. Is Malware the general term for everything?

I see recommendations to NOT run more than one anti-virus or anti-malware at a time. Is Windows Defender both? Should I not be running anything else with it? Is what I am seeing actually contention first between McAfee and Defender, now MWB and Defender?

If the above is not the answer, then am I on the right track? Should I follow all those steps? I am going to reboot and get to work while the system is working, will look for a response to this before tackling that.

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Guest spc3rd

Hi DonKey and welcome to the Malwarebytes Forums!

I will offer you some info here until one of our distinguished moderators or other very knowledgeable members here can respond to your post in more detail.

The terms, virus, adware, spyware, etc are varying types of malware. The terms are often used interchangably too.

You are also correct in noting that you should not have two security programs running concurrently on the same computer when both have real-time scanning enabled. The reason is it can create problems as both programs may be trying to handle the same issue (i.e. a malicious IP address attempting to connect to your computer) at the same time.

I hope this will be of a little help. The moderators and other more experienced members here are pretty adept at responding in a timely manner to inquiries posted Good luck!

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Hello, and Welcome to Malwarebytes

I would suggest that you have the experts look over your logs first to rule out any infections...

If you think you are infected, here are the steps needed to get your computer cleaned....

Please read the following so that you can begin the cleaning process:

You have 3 Options that you can choose from as listed below:

[*]Option 1

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I posted all the data in the other thread for review.

One other interesting bit of info - I've observed three times now that once I reboot and the system is ok, it stays that way as long as I keep using it. When I go away long enough for it to time out, putting up the login page, then when I log in I see the CPU usage trace (I've been leaving taskmgr running) jump to 100% right then. So it would appear that whatever is lurking comes to life through the os component(s) that manage that system-resume action.

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