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Vista 64 booting with only 254mb memory!

Messages
8
#1
Hey all,

I'm Alex and I'm new. I work in a third level support Microsoft / Citrix based platform team, so do lots of high end support and development / arcitectural work... Just signed up here after having a really odd problem with Vista and its high time I embraced the Vista forums anyway, as they've been a great help to me in the past :D

OK, I booted Vista yesterday and it was really really slow. To the point that it spent over 5 minutes on the loading 'welcome' screen, before rebooting, and if left would rinse, repeat the process etc...

System essentials; Q6600, 4gb RAM, Abit IP35-Pro, Vista Ultimate 64

After getting on in safe mode, I can see that;

  • the system is only using 254mb of physical memory! That is all it shows as available in task manager
  • I can see from the performance charts that the memory is maxed out at around 98% all the time. Even trying to run AV in safe mode is painfully slow :(
  • I cannot even get into my event logs to see if there are any errors.
  • Start > right click 'Computer' > Properties shows that my CPU and Memory specs are 'unavailable', which googling suggests WMI errors but I cannot check my logs!
I tripple boot between Vista Ultimate x64, my old 32bit standard Vista and also Windows 7

  • I can boot into both Vista 32bit and Windows 7 without problem
  • I have booted into both of the above in Safe mode to check that neither also restrict the physical memory in safe mode to 254mb which they do not (and had never assumed they would)
I have run HJT and can see some odd services I cannot remove. However, full AV scans and Malware scans do not yeild anything of any use (cookies, no critical items).

I feel I have been infected by something quite nasty, and am happy to post in the correct thread for support, but I wondered if anyone else has seen anything like this before or can explain if something else could potentially cause the memory problem?? My AV and Malware definitions are up to date and I was surprised that I didn't catch anything in them.

AV;

  • Avast Home
  • AVG
Malware;

  • Lavasoft's AdAware 2008 for Malware.
Any help would be greatly appreciated

Regards

Alex
 

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mitchell

Ngai Tahu/Tau Iwi
Vista Guru
Messages
420
Location
New Zealand
#2
hi alex, i have not experienced the problem you have and basically it is way over my head but you seem adament it could be malware. i recently picked up a badly infected computer i first installed and scanned with avast which found a trojan and 2 items of malware then i used spybot which found 1 item of spyware i then scanned with super anti spyware which didnt find anything. for the next week i scanned every day with all scanners and was convinced the computer was clean during this time i read a lot of reviews on malwarebytes, low and behold it found 2 more trojans and 1 item of malware the others had missed. i then run it on my laptop which which i am very vigilant with security and it found malware in the registry so if you think your problem is malware related mabee malwarebytes would be worth a try. the stand alone scanner is freeware and very easy to use. all the best and hope i was of some help
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Hewlett Packard, compaq presario CQ60-305AU
    CPU
    AMD Athlon QI-46 2.1 Ghz
    Motherboard
    Wistron 303C
    Memory
    2048 Mb DDR2 SD Ram
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVidea GE Go Force 8200M G / 256Mb dedicated grapics memory
    Sound Card
    MCP78S NVidea High definition
    Monitor(s) Displays
    15.6" High Definition Brightview Widescreen
    Screen Resolution
    1336x768
    Hard Drives
    Toshiba MK2555GSX ATA
    Mouse
    Synaptics PS2/Touchpad

mitchell

Ngai Tahu/Tau Iwi
Vista Guru
Messages
420
Location
New Zealand
#3
oh sorry me again i sat back down and forgot to mention i assume you know but just in case you dont running avast and avg resident shields at the same time will cause majour problems!
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Hewlett Packard, compaq presario CQ60-305AU
    CPU
    AMD Athlon QI-46 2.1 Ghz
    Motherboard
    Wistron 303C
    Memory
    2048 Mb DDR2 SD Ram
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVidea GE Go Force 8200M G / 256Mb dedicated grapics memory
    Sound Card
    MCP78S NVidea High definition
    Monitor(s) Displays
    15.6" High Definition Brightview Widescreen
    Screen Resolution
    1336x768
    Hard Drives
    Toshiba MK2555GSX ATA
    Mouse
    Synaptics PS2/Touchpad
Messages
8
#4
Thanks mitchell, much appreciate your responses :)

Yup, I wouldn't run two at the same time, I've been there in the past and it has caused problems like deleting incorrect reg keys when one finds a problem just before the other one does but deletes it after the second AV has picked it up lol

I believe it may well be malware, I have done a quick scan with malwarebytes, great piece of kit. It picked up only the hijack.displayproperties thing which people have listed as OK to white list... I will do a deeper scan. There are also some online scanners that I will use. I think I may post this issue up on a professional dedicated spyware / malware removal site as well... and I'll keep this thread updated in case anyone else gets something similar.

Really odd how the OS can only see and address 254mb of physical memory... it has crippled vista something chronic and I've only been able to get in at all under safe mode meaning that the problem is probably loaded into a local machine key but definately sounds registry related.

I'll get back once I know more, again thanks for your response

Alex
 

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rive0108

Vista Guru
Gold Member
Messages
2,081
Location
Hampton Roads, Virginia, USA
#5
I suspect you have Windows/Program corruption usually due to either Registry cleaners/Optimizers, Malware, or User error. run a sfc /scannow integrity check, and Checkdisk.



Vista uses prefetching to fill the RAM, I for example have 4GB, and only 65MB is free (see attached image at bottom). If your total RAM is less than say 3325, I suggest running a Memory diagnostic:
http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/65361-memory-diagnostics-tool.html

As for Trend's Hijack this, It is not x64 compatable and will result in error showing "missing". Do not use it in 64-bit Vista. A better diagnostic that is color coded is SysInspector and is a free standalone app. [green is good/red is bad].
This app will give a self diagnostic of all files/apps/processes and registry entries on the pc.
http://www.eset.com/download/sysinspector.php

AVG is not a good antivirus (only recieved standard certification in recent AV-Comparative testing [Feb 2009/Nov 2008]), Avast! is better, but Eset NOD32 is the best.






I would scan for and clean any polymorphic malware, run the diagnostic, and then check and fix any system file integrity violations and and corrupted/system file errors and bad sectors on the HDD.

See post #3 here:
http://www.vistax64.com/vista-secur...jan-virus-my-mcafee-program-cant-seem-ge.html

and these:
http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/66978-system-files-sfc-command.html?filter
http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/165576-how-make-vista-more-responsive-faster.html?filter

For further info on Antivirus and Vista tweaking see post #272 and those that follow:
http://www.vistax64.com/system-security/139503-whats-best-antivirus-security-suite-28.html
 
Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • CPU
    T7600G Core2Duo 2.66 Ghz
    Motherboard
    Intel 945PM + ICH7 Chipset
    Memory
    4GB DDR2 PC2-5300 667MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    Mobility Radeon x1900 256MB
    Sound Card
    Realtek HD
    Monitor(s) Displays
    WUXGA 17"
    Screen Resolution
    1920X1200
    Hard Drives
    640GB 7200RPM SATA/RAID 0 (2x320GB)
    and 320GB 7200RPM External
    Mouse
    Wireless Microsoft 3000
    Internet Speed
    10 mbps/2 mbps
    Other Info
    Optical Drive:
    Panasonic UJ-220 DL BD-RE (Blu-Ray)
Messages
8
#6
rive0108, thanks for that great post. I will look at this when I am at home this evening. I will have to consider NOD32 then. I use Avast Home edition (free) but maybe its time I paid for something different

I'll let you know how I get on. Cheers

Alex
 

My Computer

Messages
8
#7
I have only the memory test to complete now. Nothing else has found any problems at all. Everything you have suggested has checked out.

I am going to test some other memory in the PC as well, although I'm not sure its memory related as Vista 32bit and Windows 7 64bit both can see and use the 4gb I have without trouble. I'll let you know the memory test results.

Cheers

Alex
 

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Messages
8
#8
Memory test came back clean. I have also tried using the boot discs repair facility to check/fix boot up problems, but it was also clean.

I cannot boot into safe mode now, but I can get into safe mode using the 'last known good config'...

I am going to borrow ESET off a friend and remotely scan the disk from within Windows 7. Failing that I will swap the RAM out.

On getting in with 'last known...' I managed to access the event logs. There are some WMI errors, but I can also now see that the system reports 4Gb or RAM if I check the computers properties page, but task manager is still only reporting 254 and is showing that I'm using 98% of that space... I hate the prospect of reformatting without finding what it is... its not a major loss though as all my media and software are stored on DVD's and external storage...

I cannot think what this would be... I don't use the PC for anything stupid, its just general use, some gaming and video encoding / decoding of family vids, or using it as a media hub for the Xbox.

I'll report back after testing ESET and also swapping out with some older memory

Thanks again

Alex
 

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Messages
8
#9
I have scanned using Avast again and this time it did pick some Adware up, something called poinstall.exe, see here

Has been deleted but didn't make a difference. You can see what I mean about the physical memory below... Windows 7 and Vista 32bit can both see 4gb in task manager whilst in safe mode (this pick was taken in safe mode).




I'm prepared to format this disk. Can you suggest anything else? I will try swapping the memory out later and see if that makes any difference, it's my last ditch attempt I guess.

Cheers

Alex
 

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archie123

I Tunes hates Me
Vista Guru
Gold Member
Messages
1,831
Location
UK
#10
how come you only have 22 running processes?? what have you "tweaked"?

It all seems a bit odd for a Vista install
 

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System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Custom Build
    CPU
    Intel Q9550 @ 4Gig / Titan Fenir
    Motherboard
    XFX 780i
    Memory
    4GB OCZ PC2-8500C5 DDR2
    Graphics Card(s)
    Gainward GTX260/216 SLI
    Sound Card
    Creative X-FI Xtreme Gamer
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell UltraSharp 2209WA 22"
    Screen Resolution
    1680x1050
    Hard Drives
    western digital raptor 10000rpm sata
    PSU
    OCZ Modstream 700w
    Cooling
    Titan Fenir
    Mouse
    Logitech G5 Gamer
    Keyboard
    Razer Reclusa
    Internet Speed
    8mb

archie123

I Tunes hates Me
Vista Guru
Gold Member
Messages
1,831
Location
UK
#12
phew its taken me alot of hard work to get mine down to 38 :p
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Custom Build
    CPU
    Intel Q9550 @ 4Gig / Titan Fenir
    Motherboard
    XFX 780i
    Memory
    4GB OCZ PC2-8500C5 DDR2
    Graphics Card(s)
    Gainward GTX260/216 SLI
    Sound Card
    Creative X-FI Xtreme Gamer
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell UltraSharp 2209WA 22"
    Screen Resolution
    1680x1050
    Hard Drives
    western digital raptor 10000rpm sata
    PSU
    OCZ Modstream 700w
    Cooling
    Titan Fenir
    Mouse
    Logitech G5 Gamer
    Keyboard
    Razer Reclusa
    Internet Speed
    8mb
Messages
187
Location
Minnesota
#13
I had a XP machine at work that did the same thing the CPU cycles where maxed out all of the time and I think a Boot up was about 9min. I ran just about every AV and spyware software I could find, I even bought Trend and ran that no help. We ended up just Up grading to XP pro.

My Home PC has Vista and that picked up a MalautoRun2, the only way I found that was Malwarebytes. I was just too paranoid and ended up using the dell Factory image restore and its been a whole new PC since then. Startup is less than 1min.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 530
    CPU
    Intel Core 2 quad Q6600 2.40GHz
    Motherboard
    OFM586
    Memory
    3.5GB DDR2 at 667MHz
    Monitor(s) Displays
    19inch dell HD flatscreen
    Screen Resolution
    1280x768 60hz
    Internet Speed
    7mb
Messages
8
#14
Thanks venom, I believe this is the quickest fix to it. Haven't had to format due to software problems in over 5 years, but this is beyond me.

Thanks to all who have offered help. I will format this drive.

PS the new memory did not work either. Windows Vista 64 still only saw 254mb of RAM, meaning it would only boot (slowly) in safe mode.
 

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