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Windows 7: Windows 7 64bit Issues With Starting Most Programs

28 Oct 2011   #1

Windows 7 Professional 64
 
 
Windows 7 64bit Issues With Starting Most Programs

Hello,

I have an intermittent issue that is occurring on a nearly daily basis now. The cause seems to be almost random. No errors present themselves when this happen, and until I start a program I have no way of knowing that there is even an issue.

Once there is a problem, most but not all programs fail to execute.

Windows Explorer still works (I can browse files) as does Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, Paint, and any programs that are already running can open new windows (such as my antivirus, volume control, etc).

Examples of programs that fail to execute are Google Chrome, Office 2003, all games that I've tried (Torchlight, Mass Effect 2, etc), CD Burning software (ashampoo), and most smaller miscellaneous programs that I have installed.

I need to make clear that this is intermittent. When the OS boots up, everything works perfectly. Seemingly at random, I haven't been able to come up with a sequence of events that reproduces this every time, I will start to not be able to run any programs.

Here is a brief description of the behavior of failed programs. The program begins to execute, creates a *single* process in task manager (even in programs like Chrome which should be opening more than one process) that takes a small amount of memory (usually between 100 kB and 120 kB) and 0% processor power. Then absolutely nothing happens. The process doesn't die unless I choose to end it in task manager, but the program fails to do anything. I can continue trying to execute the same applications over and over until there are many processes for the same application. There are no errors or complaints, I can have 10 identical Chrome processes running and none of them will be doing anything. For programs that are pinned to the taskbar, the icon shows activity as if the program is running for approximately 5-10 seconds then simply becomes inactive as if the program were shut down. No feedback comes from the OS.

All symptoms go away if I shutdown the computer and start it back up again.

By messing around with the issue, I was able to find some associated but peripheral issues. These don't normally happen, I have to really try to get things to mess up for them to occur, but they are unusual nevertheless. The Network applet will sometimes begin to show a connection failure (red X). However, I have a perfectly working internet connection when this happens and can browse websites with no problem using Internet Explorer. I can sometimes but not always get this issue to occur by opening up the Network applet's window several times while I'm having issues with programs executing. If I manage to get Windows Explorer to crash while this is occurring (not terribly difficult considering the number of actions that aren't working), I can choose to find a solution then restart Windows Explorer. Afterwards, trying to browse the file system fails with a message of a failed remote procedure call. However, this usually doesn't happen. I have to TRY to crash Windows Explorer.

Possible patterns. I see two possibilities here. First, all of the programs that seem to fail for me are 32 bit programs. All 64 bit programs that I've tried have worked. Another possible explanation is that programs that are somehow directly tied into the OS are working. Also, I believe my AV program is 32 bit and continues to function correctly. I have been scouring the internet looking for a relatively reliable 64 bit program that I could test with the next time I have an issue and then saw that Firefox now has a 64 bit beta version. This will give me a good test to find out which explanation is correct.

I'll give some specs in case any are relevant.

Windows 7 Professional 64
AMD Phenom X2 BE
(running at completely stock settings, not overclocked and the additional cores are not unlocked)
4 GB RAM
Normally about 900-1000 MB RAM are used by the system while running.
The system HD has hundreds of GB of free space still.

The system is less than a year old. I'm using a normal version of the OS. It is not an OEM version that has been altered by the computer manufacturer. I don't believe I have ever run a registry cleaner on it (I'll have to double check, but I'm pretty sure there isn't even one installed). Usually I customize startup and services to trim the fat on my other computers, but the specs on this computer are so overkill for anything that I use it for that I haven't even bothered. There is very little software installed on it. I guess what I'm getting at is this is an extremely vanilla system. It's by far the most vanilla system I've ever had.

Some additional diagnostics. At the very beginning before I had determined any patterns or the extent of the issue, I simply thought that some programs weren't starting up properly (particularly chrome). At the time, I was worried that a root kit might be an issue, so I ran some scans.

Avira root kit scan turned up clean.
Avire full system scan turned up clean.
Malwarebytes full system scan turned up clean.

Since then, it really just doesn't feel like something that malware would do. I'm leaning more towards a small part of the OS (service or call) failing.

Simply typing this up has made me think of a couple questions of my own, so I'll post back if I do additional tests.


My thanks in advance for any suggestions.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

28 Oct 2011   #2

Win 8 Release candidate 8400
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by springshades View Post
Hello,

I have an intermittent issue that is occurring on a nearly daily basis now. The cause seems to be almost random. No errors present themselves when this happen, and until I start a program I have no way of knowing that there is even an issue.

Once there is a problem, most but not all programs fail to execute.

Windows Explorer still works (I can browse files) as does Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, Paint, and any programs that are already running can open new windows (such as my antivirus, volume control, etc).

Examples of programs that fail to execute are Google Chrome, Office 2003, all games that I've tried (Torchlight, Mass Effect 2, etc), CD Burning software (ashampoo), and most smaller miscellaneous programs that I have installed.

I need to make clear that this is intermittent. When the OS boots up, everything works perfectly. Seemingly at random, I haven't been able to come up with a sequence of events that reproduces this every time, I will start to not be able to run any programs.

Here is a brief description of the behavior of failed programs. The program begins to execute, creates a *single* process in task manager (even in programs like Chrome which should be opening more than one process) that takes a small amount of memory (usually between 100 kB and 120 kB) and 0% processor power. Then absolutely nothing happens. The process doesn't die unless I choose to end it in task manager, but the program fails to do anything. I can continue trying to execute the same applications over and over until there are many processes for the same application. There are no errors or complaints, I can have 10 identical Chrome processes running and none of them will be doing anything. For programs that are pinned to the taskbar, the icon shows activity as if the program is running for approximately 5-10 seconds then simply becomes inactive as if the program were shut down. No feedback comes from the OS.

All symptoms go away if I shutdown the computer and start it back up again.

By messing around with the issue, I was able to find some associated but peripheral issues. These don't normally happen, I have to really try to get things to mess up for them to occur, but they are unusual nevertheless. The Network applet will sometimes begin to show a connection failure (red X). However, I have a perfectly working internet connection when this happens and can browse websites with no problem using Internet Explorer. I can sometimes but not always get this issue to occur by opening up the Network applet's window several times while I'm having issues with programs executing. If I manage to get Windows Explorer to crash while this is occurring (not terribly difficult considering the number of actions that aren't working), I can choose to find a solution then restart Windows Explorer. Afterwards, trying to browse the file system fails with a message of a failed remote procedure call. However, this usually doesn't happen. I have to TRY to crash Windows Explorer.

Possible patterns. I see two possibilities here. First, all of the programs that seem to fail for me are 32 bit programs. All 64 bit programs that I've tried have worked. Another possible explanation is that programs that are somehow directly tied into the OS are working. Also, I believe my AV program is 32 bit and continues to function correctly. I have been scouring the internet looking for a relatively reliable 64 bit program that I could test with the next time I have an issue and then saw that Firefox now has a 64 bit beta version. This will give me a good test to find out which explanation is correct.

I'll give some specs in case any are relevant.

Windows 7 Professional 64
AMD Phenom X2 BE
(running at completely stock settings, not overclocked and the additional cores are not unlocked)
4 GB RAM
Normally about 900-1000 MB RAM are used by the system while running.
The system HD has hundreds of GB of free space still.

The system is less than a year old. I'm using a normal version of the OS. It is not an OEM version that has been altered by the computer manufacturer. I don't believe I have ever run a registry cleaner on it (I'll have to double check, but I'm pretty sure there isn't even one installed). Usually I customize startup and services to trim the fat on my other computers, but the specs on this computer are so overkill for anything that I use it for that I haven't even bothered. There is very little software installed on it. I guess what I'm getting at is this is an extremely vanilla system. It's by far the most vanilla system I've ever had.

Some additional diagnostics. At the very beginning before I had determined any patterns or the extent of the issue, I simply thought that some programs weren't starting up properly (particularly chrome). At the time, I was worried that a root kit might be an issue, so I ran some scans.

Avira root kit scan turned up clean.
Avire full system scan turned up clean.
Malwarebytes full system scan turned up clean.

Since then, it really just doesn't feel like something that malware would do. I'm leaning more towards a small part of the OS (service or call) failing.

Simply typing this up has made me think of a couple questions of my own, so I'll post back if I do additional tests.


My thanks in advance for any suggestions.



There are several ways to find what the problem is. The best is to go into event viewer (type eventvwr in search). Event viewer (local) and look for errors listed in the last day, week, etc. Then go to the windows log>application tab. Finally the windows Logs>system tabs.

You want to look for all errors (they have red in the left column ).

When you find them you want to look for critical errors that say app hang, app crash, or anything that relates to the problem.

When you find them please note the event ID, and the source codes and tell us what they are.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Oct 2011   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (64 bit), Windows XP SP3, Linux Mint 17 MATE (64 bit)
 
 
System File Checker

You could try running:
sfc /scannow
See this tutorial by Brink:
SFC /SCANNOW Command - System File Checker
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


28 Oct 2011   #4

Windows 7 Professional 64
 
 

To start with, the results of the sfc scan were:

Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations.

So that one appears to be clean.


I'm getting 3 types of errors in the event viewer.

First is an application hang on explorer.exe. I'm personally the one causing these, so I know this isn't the issue. In particular, right clicking on a start menu entry crashes it every time after I start having problems.


The other two:

Windows Logs > System

Event ID = 7000; Source = Service Control Manager

The AODDriver4.0 service failed to start due to the following error:
The system cannot find the path specified.

This is supposed to be the ATI Catalyst Over Drive failing to start. I guess it is possible this could cause an issue with Aero, but I have no idea how it could cause these problems otherwise.

Windows Logs > Application

Event ID = 10; Source = WMI

Event filter with query "SELECT * FROM __InstanceModificationEvent WITHIN 60 WHERE TargetInstance ISA "Win32_Processor" AND TargetInstance.LoadPercentage > 99" could not be reactivated in namespace "//./root/CIMV2" because of error 0x80041003. Events cannot be delivered through this filter until the problem is corrected.

No idea on this one.


Perhaps I will turn off Aero for now on the off chance that this is simply a strange video driver issue.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Oct 2011   #5

Ubuntu 12.10
 
 

Lets try some things first, if they don't work I recommend a clean re-install. First of all, make sure all your drivers are up to date. Run a scan of your computer using Microsoft Standalone System Sweeper. Microsoft Standalone System Sweeper Beta | Microsoft Connect
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Oct 2011   #6

Windows 7 Professional 64
 
 

So far, turning off ATI Catalyst's Over Drive has resulted in no problems since my last post. I'm going to let things stay as is for the moment to see if that is the issue before I start adding in additional changes that might cause problems.

If this ends up fixing it, it's probably just a corrupted video driver causing issues with the Aero interface.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Oct 2011   #7

Ubuntu 12.10
 
 

Stupid AMD... I recommend you use the Standalone System Sweeper anyways and scan for viruses from it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Oct 2011   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (64 bit), Windows XP SP3, Linux Mint 17 MATE (64 bit)
 
 

AVG declared one of my ATI drivers to be a Trojan (on-board video).

Since I have an NVidia graphics card installed, I let AVG purge it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Oct 2011   #9

Ubuntu 12.10
 
 

@lehnerus2000 - Sorry, but I don't see what this has to do with the thread?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Oct 2011   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (64 bit), Windows XP SP3, Linux Mint 17 MATE (64 bit)
 
 
See Post #6

Note:
The word
d-r-i-v-e-r is vanishing from most of my sentences.
Weird.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by SlasherIT View Post
@lehnerus2000 - Sorry, but I don't see what this has to do with the thread?
He mentioned that he disabled an ATI d-r-i-v-e-r (or program) and his PC has apparently started to behave itself.

On my PC, Windows also reported that the ATI d-r-i-v-e-r was causing Shutdown delays (before AVG purged it) even though I wasn't using it and the on-board video was disabled.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by springshades View Post
So far, turning off ATI Catalyst's Over Drive has resulted in no problems since my last post. I'm going to let things stay as is for the moment to see if that is the issue before I start adding in additional changes that might cause problems.

If this ends up fixing it, it's probably just a corrupted video driver causing issues with the Aero interface.
I am always having trouble with video d-r-i-v-e-r-s breaking things.

I recently installed the latest d-r-i-v-e-r for my NVidia card (280.26).
It worked OK in Windows 7 (my WEI rating dropped though).

When I installed the XP version (in XP) it "hosed" my entire computer (except Ubuntu).
I couldn't boot into any Windows OS, even using the different Safe Mode options.
I had to reimage my Windows partitions.


It's possible that reinstalling your video d-r-i-v-e-r might help.
Although I don't really see why it should break your machine the way you describe.

If your PC is currently working correctly, you should make a backup image before attempting any further changes.

I don't suppose you remember what you changed/installed, before the problem first occurred?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Windows 7 64bit Issues With Starting Most Programs




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