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Semi-frequently (a few instances during a given day), when running Firefox, it will refuse to navigate to any website, not even when I click home. The tabs just get stuck saying “Loading”. When I shut down Firefox and restart again, I get the “Firefox is already running…” message. Attempts to End Process via Task Manager (which only shows firefox.exe as a Process, but is not shown as a running program in Applications) are unsuccessful. Stranger still, nothing happens when I attempt to restart or shut down the computer via either the Start menu or by Alt+F4, so I have to turn the computer off and on at the wall, selecting Start Windows Normally when prompted. For some reason using the power button to restart didn’t work the time I tried that.

Another problem of the same frequency is, for example when I’m on a website like YouTube or Myspace, the media stutters seriously until it has fully buffered 100%. I have never had this problem before. Also, when this problem is flaring up, if I have Windows Media Player running and I navigate from one website to the next, it will stutter a little, sometimes a lot. Turning off AVG Anti-virus (and disabling the related superfluous add-ons in Firefox), Zone Alarm and Spybot S&D doesn’t seem to affect it. The problem also occurs in IE7 when I try that instead.

I am not sure whether these two problems have the same cause, but it is quite a nuisance, especially the first one. I have recently removed McAfee and installed AVG, ZoneAlarm and Spybot S&D instead, though I don’t know if that’s a cause and am not assuming anything either way.

I am running Windows Vista 32-bit.

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Last Post by Rik_
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I wonder if it might be malware related?

Download Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware to your desktop.

* Double-click mbam-setup.exe and follow the prompts to install the program.
* At the end, be sure to checkmark the Update Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware and Launch Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware, then click Finish.
* If an update is found, it will download and install the latest version.
* Once the program has loaded, select Perform full scan, then click Scan.
* When the scan is complete, click OK, then Show Results to view the results.
* Be sure that everything is checked, and click Remove Selected.
* When completed, a log will open in Notepad.
* Post the log back here.

Make sure that you restart the computer.

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I may try that tomorrow (been a long night!). However, on my old computer, I used "Superantispyware" or something to identify and get rid of some nasty malware/trojan thing, except it made the system super unstable because it deleted some vital registry entries in the process, and I couldn't even save that machine after reformatting. I take it Malwarebytes won't do anything catastrophic in that regard?

I am also considering uninstalling ZoneAlarm first as a guy on another forum who was experiencing exactly the same problem with Firefox hanging found that to help.

Another issue I'm noticing now is I just downloaded System Mechanic and in addition to there being a UAC shield thing in the corner of the desktop icon, nothing happens when I click on it (except for allowing the program to run), and in Task Manager the executable file persists in the Processes tab, just like Firefox has been doing.

Do you think this is a ZoneAlarm/conflicting anti-spyware & firewall issue or possible malware?

By the way, if it helps, I'm using Vista SP1.

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It actually sounds like a memory issue, as Firefox can be a pain to get fully closed down if memory usage is too high; the stuttering media also suggest this.

Can you quickly give us a run down of you system specs?

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Mbam is completely safe. I use it myself and have gotten hundreds of people to scan with it without a single incident.

Your system was probably damaged by the malware rather than by superantispyware as I also use it myself too.

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It actually sounds like a memory issue, as Firefox can be a pain to get fully closed down if memory usage is too high; the stuttering media also suggest this.

Can you quickly give us a run down of you system specs?

This is what it says under Control Panel > System:
Dell Studio 540
Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Quad CPY Q8200 @ 2.33GHz 2.34GHz
4.00GB RAM
32-bit Operating System

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OK - for starters, running a x86 (32-bit) OS will not even utilise all that RAM - x86 caps out a little below below 3GB.

Would recommend moving to Win7 x64 on release (1, because cheaper than Vista alternatives; 2, MUCH better driver codec support; 3, runs much lighter and better tweaked for multiple processors.), as will make the most of your system. I also have suspicions that neither XP or Vista are fully optimised for handling quad-core processors.

Also, what OS are you using? I ask because I'm after some specific info on your hardware, such as HDD write speed, RAM type, processor model. Knowing what OS you are running means we can guide you one extracting that info.

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I have to say, I am using Windows 7 release candidate as a dual boot with XP on my system and really like it. I have a socket 754 64 bit single core CPU and Windows 7 runs really well and seems to be able to take advantage of the 64 bit capabilities unlike XP.
It has a few minor issues, but nothing serious.

All in all, I like it. It's far far far far better than that Vista ****.

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What version of FireFox are you using?

3.5.1.

By the way, I only just got this new computer. I'm finding it a bit soon to be moving to Windows 7 already. Perhaps the next time I reformat I will consider it, but I don't find it necessary to fix this problem. The stuttering media is only very occasional and wasn't a problem until a few days ago.

I have uninstalled Zone Alarm (which I've just realised shouldn't be necessary since the computer already has Windows Defender) and will see if this helps. If not then I'll uninstall AVG and try for something like Comodo instead, which another guy found fixed it. He was experiencing the exact same problems and also had Vista SP1 and all the same anti-virus/firewall/anti-spyware programs that I've been using. If doing what he does doesn't solve the problem then maybe I should consider it a malware issue, but it seems all too concidental with my change from McAfee to AVG/ZoneAlarm/Spybot S&D.

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Zone Alarm is a firewall program and Windows Defender is a rather poor antimalware program. They are not the same type of program at all.

Have a look HERE for a free firewall.

You should add Mbam to your security software list too, it's the best free one out there at the mo.

You didn't list a phishing filter, WOT is very good and free.

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Just a question about Malwarebytes (or any such program), if they turn up something nasty that's worked it's way in the registry, is it ok to let it fix/remove it anyway? What I was saying about what happened with the old PC is it removed something vital in the process of removing a trojan.

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I have never known Mbam to do harm. I use it myself and have gotten hundreds of other people to use it on their PC's without incident.

If you are ever unsure about any software, Google it.

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