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Something is preventing Windows 7 Home Premium from completing some basic tasks.

  • I can't open the Networking and Sharing center, and the network icon in the system tray is frozen with the blue "loading" circle. The internet connection works fine; I'm using it to type this question.

  • I can't open msconfig.

  • I can't turn on real-time protection in Microsoft Security Essentials.

  • Programs which normally load on startup no longer appear in my system tray, for example my touchpad software.

If I reboot in safe mode with networking then all but the last of the above work fine. While in safe mode I ran a full scan with Microsoft Security Essentials and didn't find anything. I then opened up msconfig and unchecked the box titled "Load startup items" under selective startup in the General tab and restarted without safe mode - the problem persisted. Back in safe mode I further unchecked the box "Load system services" in the same place and restarted without safe mode and I could finally access the Networking and Sharing Center, open msconfig, and turn on real-time protection in MSE.

At this point I suspect some service is causing a problem and needs to be disabled (permanently). However there are a huge number of services in the list in msconfig and going through them one-by-one doesn't sound very appealing. Is there a better way I can find the culprit? Is there some kind of log I can generate on startup to show where things get hung up?

Any other ideas for what could be happening or things I could try in order to narrow down the problem are welcome.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

When it's acting up, try to open Windows' Task Manager and look at the tasks and services that are running. Further to that, try the Performance Monitor. Those will tell you lots about what's busy.

Use MSConfig as you are, but continue on: re-enable one service at a time (and reboot) until you figure out which one is causing it.

Then work to fix or get rid of that service.

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Thanks much for the words of encouragement and the tip about the task manager. I was able to figure it out thanks to you. For anyone else who comes across this page: in the "services" tab of the task manager, try ordering the list by "status". One of my services was stuck at "starting", so I restarted in safe mode and disabled it in the services tab of msconfig. Everything is working fine now. – Antonio Vargas Sep 17 '13 at 23:40

To add to the person above ... there is a much better way. Open the task manager (R click on the Taskbar to find it), and when the window appears, select the "Processes" tab and tick the box at the bottom which says "Show processes from all users".

Now sort the list by clicking on the column heading for "Working Set (Memory)" which puts the largest number on the top. If you don't see the Working Set heading, you likely have to go to the "View" menu (at the top of the window), then choose the "Select columns..." options to add it to the list of columns showing.

Now, right click on the top item (the one that is using the most of your memory) and go to the bottom of the list of the menu to "Go to Service(s)"and it will take you to the right place on the next tab, highlighting the item or group that is hogging your resources.

In MY case, when my computer suddenly got sluggish, the 12 culprits were being hosted in one instance of "svchost.exe" in a grouping called "netsvcs". They were mostly related to Windows Update.

I hope this helps,


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