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Windows 7: Didn't install anything, but the number of processes running went up

28 Dec 2011   #1

Didn't install anything, but the number of processes running went up

Hi everyone!

I discovered in my Windows Task Manager about two weeks ago that the lowest number of processes running when idle went up by one. From 49 to 50. By the "lowest" number, I mean the number of processes running when idle. This number (49) had been the same for about a year since I bought my laptop.

The problem is that I didn't install anything two-three weeks ago. Not then, not since then. The number just went up from 49 to 50 for no apparent reason. So, I figured that it was some random application that hadn't been properly shut down and expected it would come back down to 49 when I reboot the laptop -- because I knew it had happened before.

Yesterday, I finally rebooted the machine fully expecting the number of processes running when idle to come back down to 49. NOPE. It's still at 50. What could've happened here?

One possibility is, of course, a virus. After all, about two weeks ago, shortly BEFORE I discovered the change in numbers (from 49 to 50), the MSE caught a virus in my digital camera that had just been connected to my laptop. But, being always careful with these things, I ran the MSE before I opened the digital camera's drive (G:\ or whatever) and the MSE caught the aforementioned virus. And I immediately quick-scanned the digital camera and the laptop with the MSE and the MBAM. No more viruses.

Just for the sake of peace of mind, in the last two weeks, I've run a full scan and multiple sessions of quick scans of both the MSE and the MBAM. Nothing. The laptop is clean.

Back to yesterday, I rebooted the laptop, discovered the lowest number of processes when idle was staying at 50. Upon closely looking at the Processes and Services tabs of the Task Manager, I didn't find any anomaly (or so I think). But it seems that the number when idle is 50 now.

What do you guys think has happened here? Not knowing exactly what's happened to my computer is driving me crazy. Please help.

Thank you,

My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Dec 2011   #2

Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit

giacomo, welcome to Sevenforums!

This shouldn't be a problem. Often, windows starts and stops many different services that require processes to run, as not all of these services are required to run all of the time. Likely, you only noticed this as the infection with virus caused you to look around for damage. My recommendation is to make sure MSE is fully updated, run the scan on "full scan", and not to worry so much. If the virus is removed, you can be sure that it is removed. Update windows in control panel and install all important updates, as there are numerous security patches there that may further strengthen your computer against attack.

PS. You will only need 1 full scan of MSE to catch a virus at any time. 2-100 full scans and 4-60 quick ones will do nothing further for you. It is an active virus scanner, meaning even if the scan isn't on per se, it will still be looking for evidence of viruses. Give the scanner a rest at least until a few weeks have gone by, provided you aren't surfing potentially dangerous websites. If you don't trust a website but feel you must look something up anyway (dangerous), go ahead and do a quick scan. It is a well built antivirus, so give it a little trust
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Dec 2011   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by giacomo View Post
Not knowing exactly what's happened to my computer is driving me crazy.
I hope you have more worthwhile things to drive you crazy.

There are thousands of things going on in your computer every second. Most of them will remain beyond your understanding.

Take Dust Sailor's advice--try not to worry so much.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

28 Dec 2011   #4
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1

It may be a Windows or some program update added a process to the list. My process numbers range from 41-50 and more. You might look again at some point and it will be 48. Why bother even looking? As my two friends said, nothing to worry or even think about.

If they suddenly increase to 123 I'd be concerned.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Dec 2011   #5

Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit

I have 61 processes going normally and only 1 startup program. They can be anything from drivers to applications that autorun to windows itself.

Ah, and I looked again and now I have 59. You can't explain that
Didn't install anything, but the number of processes running went up-oreillycantexplain.png

EDIT* My family computer running vista has 71 processes running... This one I use is a bit slimmer

My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Dec 2011   #6


Thank you all for sharing your thoughts!

Maybe I need to chill out by now, but this whole thing first got me concerned/interested/worried because of (1) the timing (happened right after the virus infection); and (2) more important, the fact that the "lowest" number of processes running when idle had been consistently the same -- 49 -- until two weeks ago. I figured that something that consistent wouldn't have suddenly changed without a significant change somewhere.

For now, I think Britton30 is probably the closest: an update adding a process to the list -- because the monthly updates were installed about the same time. So, the monthly updates, the virus infection (to the digital camera), and the change in the lowest number of processes running when idle all happened about the same time. What caused what? I don't know.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Didn't install anything, but the number of processes running went up

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