Question Explorer.exe causing methodical CPU spikes

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Marshall Hurtado

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Jun 28, 2013
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I've been trying to pin-down this issue I've been having for months and I finally think I have, yet I'm unsure how to fix it. I had thought I was having some kind of hardware fault but ruled out every single component through process of elimination with my old parts as all components are currently brand-new.

Essentially, I would notice my PC "lock up" and freeze for about a full second. It happens about every 30 seconds, very methodical, either with normal desktop use or while gaming. First I noticed it while gaming which was VERY annoying, but having it happen constantly just made it more annoying. I've ran malware tests with multiple programs, did a clean boot to check if the problem persisted without any programs auto-starting, but unfortunately it still was present.

One very important discovery was it did NOT affect my "test" local account I created. The test account showed no signs of Explorer.exe causing hang ups.

Any ideas? Will gladly try everything.
 

geofelt

Titan
I get a heavy cpu spike when trying to access tom's.
I think the app is trying to access some sort of ad processor and keeps trying until about a 10 second timeout.
I get the similar thing when accessing the what's new part of the forum.
After the time, all operates as normal.

A second oddity that befuddles me is that accessing an ad gets me a unable to find ad.doubleclick.net error.
I think there is a connection.
 

Marshall Hurtado

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Jun 28, 2013
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I get a heavy cpu spike when trying to access tom's.
I think the app is trying to access some sort of ad processor and keeps trying until about a 10 second timeout.
I get the similar thing when accessing the what's new part of the forum.
After the time, all operates as normal.

A second oddity that befuddles me is that accessing an ad gets me a unable to find ad.doubleclick.net error.
I think there is a connection.
Makes me think I could have some kind of mining virus, although why the 4-5 scanners I use wouldn't pick that up, I don't know.
 

godlysoup

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Check your background apps. My recent build was doing the same thing, if I recall, and it ended up being the ASUS Gaming app that was causing it. It limited my bandwidth on things that it didn't consider games. Pull up procmon when the spike occurs and see what's running.
 

Marshall Hurtado

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or might be something you install
Agreed, had thought it was a program conflicting or causing issues, however when I did a clean boot without any other services running aside from the bare Windows ones, I still had the issue. Should I attempt to just uninstall certain programs and see which is a possible culprit? I was using Process Explorer but couldn't fully understand it, the only thing I did understand was the very methodical pause caused by Explorer.exe
 

Marshall Hurtado

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Jun 28, 2013
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Check your background apps. My recent build was doing the same thing, if I recall, and it ended up being the ASUS Gaming app that was causing it. It limited my bandwidth on things that it didn't consider games. Pull up procmon when the spike occurs and see what's running.
I had procmon running to check, definitely going to check other background apps, it's clearly something not playing nicely. I wonder exactly which program it is, if it is a program, because it still persisted after doing a clean boot...
 

Marshall Hurtado

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What has a 30 second schedule??
Perhaps your email app is doing a send/receive every 30 seconds.

Do you have an app that is enabled to check for updates?
Very good question... my email app does fetch often, however I'm currently on my laptop and not experiencing issues related to that, worth a try on my desktop though.
 

Marshall Hurtado

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what is bare windows ones? install any motherboard utility? gpu driver/app?
I followed steps online for a clean boot to determine any conflicting programs, so when I mean bare Windows I meant whatever that boot environment was. I don't have any utilities for CPU, GPU, or MOBO. I used them in the past but Gigabyte has SUPER clunky software and when I did a fresh install recently I purposefully didn't install them to see if they caused my CPU spiking.
 
Dec 15, 2019
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SOLVED: To anyone who may read this, the issue was my desktop wallpaper slideshow changing every minute....crazy world....
I've been lurking this site for years. I registered to say thank you.

I've been struggling with this problem for like 6 months now tearing my hair out trying to figure out why my computer was doing this. Fresh installs. complete dissasemblies, firewalls.... so many things and this was it lol

Thank you so much
 
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Feb 21, 2020
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I ALSO just registered to say thank you. You are a god among mortals, a champion of peace. I think I might finally get a good night's rest now that my eyeballs will no longer buzz from the constant freezing on my monitors. My fingers got PTSD from how many times I'd type and the letters wouldn't appear as the computer was having another moment to itself only for it to catch back up again a second later. I also want to drop some keywords so other unfortunate souls might find this forum post, there are probably dozens of us. I kept searching for phrases like explorer.exe slows my computer periodically. What I found so challenging about this problem was when I would fresh install windows, because I was using my microsoft account, it would automatically turn this setting back on and even port over my old desktop backgrounds. The phrase "my computer keeps freezing" is about the dumbest thing to google for, so even though I'm an intelligent person, do software for a living, I just could not nail this down. Another crazy side effect was some programs (like open source basic ass windows looking programs) would flash whenever the freeze would happen, like 10 times. They probably reloaded each time the basic settings of windows changed (like the accent color or whatever) to just blanket handle these types of events, and so would go on the fritz as windows reset things each minute.

You have freed my soul.
 
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