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Three days ago I installed Windows 7 Professional (32-bit) on my 2-yr-old machine (it was a clean install on a new drive, not an upgrade install). The installation went quite smoothly, then I installed all the 'important' windows updates, then a bunch of applications (VS2010, Skype, Chrome, GTalk, Steam), all of which were working fine for about a day, no performance problems to speak of, I also installed the latest ATI Catalyst video drivers, downloaded from ATI's website.

The following day I installed additional windows updates, including some of the 'optional' ones such as 'windows live essentials' and 'windows security essentials'. It is roughly since then that I have been noticing these problems:

  • Chrome freezes when I start to load certain websites, such as gmail (about half-way through the loading bar)
  • I installed Firefox, but it too locks up after seemingly random periods of time, but it recovers if you wait around 5 minutes.
  • Skype froze whilst in the middle of a call, and also recovered after 3-4 minutes
  • Installers for the Sun JDK, Python and a few other applications took an extremely long time to run

I checked for updates again and this time it told me about SP1 and a few more updates, which I tried to install, the installation was taking an extremely long time and failed the first time, on the second attempt they succeeded, but the problem has not been resolved, I am still getting intermittent freezes in several applications.

Any ideas what could be causing this, or if there's a known issue with a particular update that I should roll back? Thanks!

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Microsoft Security Essentials is an antivirus program. Did you already have an antivirus program installed when you installed this? If so, it seems likely they are arguing over locking files.

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No, no other antivirus installed. The list above is everything I have installed on that machine since installing the OS on Friday. – David Claridge May 2 '11 at 3:41
Try stopping/disabling the Microsoft Antimalware Service in Windows Services. If that fixes it, it's Security Essentials. Only reason I stick to it is that AV is known to cause these kinds of problems. – Bacon Bits May 2 '11 at 4:05
I've disabled the real-time-protection feature of Microsoft Security Essentials, and the problem seems to have disappeared. That said I've only been running it for about 20 mins. Will come back to accept your answer if this continues to work! Thanks :) – David Claridge May 2 '11 at 12:05
I've seen problems with real-time protection in MSE with certain apps that really give the network card a workout (like, say, real-time streaming of stock market conditions) but never in these circumstances. Still, it's possible, depending on the machine! – Shinrai May 2 '11 at 14:20

Check if the system log has any errors related to hard disk bad sectors. Download the free Sea Tools (by Seagate) for MS-DOS, burn an ISO and run the extended scan. If it says there is an issue with the hard disk, get it replaced.

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Check your CPU temps, and check your memory usage. You can try running memtest to check you memory to make sure nothing is faulty, but if you weren't having problems before your windows install its probably ok.

What are your system specs?

Check your running processes and startup programs to make sure you aren't overloading the sys

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