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Windows 7: Programs hang at start

24 Mar 2013   #1

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1
Programs hang at start

Hi all

I have this weird problem that keeps bugging me for years but usually it's not that frequent: whenever I start a program it seams to hang for a while before starting and sometimes this can take up to 5 minutes.
Sometimes this happens on startup, but not always.
Also, this occurs without any errors/warnings or any other signs, not even in Event Viewer.
The system can run fine for days and suddenly start doing this.

The thing is I cannot restart the system or even shut down because every time I do some of the app running will simply reset to an older state or to default settings or I will loose all tabs, sessions, bookmarks etc. I have.

Since it's usually a rare problem I ignore it but lately this seams to be quite annoying since sometimes I have to wait up to 1 hour or even more.

This can happen to every app I have installed and once the issue occurs, it happens to every single app I am trying to run.
The programs appear in the process list and the memory usage is really low, somewhere between 100 Kb and 250 Kb.
If I try to actually end the task or even try to kill the entire process tree, nothing happens. And I cannot use 3rd party apps since I cannot run them.
After a while, everything I tried to open & close open & close in a second, all at once.

First I thought it's a memory issue but the tests were fine. Then I thought it's the AV that blocks them so tried to disable it.

Scanned the system many times and nothing showed up.

However, as long as the system is in this state, Windows Explorer is really slow and Disk Manager stops updating. I can remove all external devices and add new ones, it will only show the devices that were connected prior to this.

I first encountered this issue on XP SP3 and since those days I got it on all my systems, with every single Windows OS.

My guess is that it's either some sort of a malware or some Windows services that simply hang, dragging the entire system down. I would also add some program I use but I never saw a pattern here.

Any ideas?

Oh, and another thing I noticed: the system memory usage goes down. Waay down. I have 8 Gb RAM on my main system and when I start it up the memory usage is somewhere around 30%-40%.
If this problem occurs and if it lasts long enough, even with 10 apps running, the total memory usage goes below 40, sometimes even below 20% :|

My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Mar 2013   #2

W7 Pro SP1 64bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by daydr3am3r View Post
...I got it on all my systems, with every single Windows OS.
So, what is the 3rd party common software on these systems? Norton 360?

Just as a test, uninstall Norton 360 and then run this tool:

Next install MSE:
Download Microsoft Security Essentials Prerelease from Official Microsoft Download Center

If apps still freeze, please work thru this tutorial:
Troubleshoot Application Conflicts by Performing a Clean Startup
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Mar 2013   #3


@OP, this happened to me on a Core i5 system as well. Programs taking a little time before popping up. I figured out the problem: It was Avast! AV. I uninstalled it, switched to a paid security (ESET) and the problem was gone. To make sure it was Avast, I re-installed Avast, problem re-appeared. Then I dumped it forever.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

25 Mar 2013   #4

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by UsernameIssues View Post
So, what is the 3rd party common software on these systems? Norton 360?
Not on all. I have it on my main system and on my laptop. On other systems I work with I have MSE.
Besides, I only use N360 since v3-4 and I had the problem before that.

But I'll give it a try. However, it was suggested before on other forums and didn't work out. Same for Clean Boot.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Mar 2013   #5

W7 Pro SP1 64bit

If it still does not work, then you can try the stuff here:
Troubleshooting Steps for Windows 7

Or it might take less time to just do this:
Clean Install Windows 7
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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