Last Updated on April 20, 2020

How many Windows XP users have experienced at least once an unexplainable slowing down of their computer? Maybe too many! What was the solution? Reinstalling the operating system. But in my case, this did not work.

Let me tell you the whole story: one year ago, I noticed that my system started to act very sluggish, even on simple tasks, such as editing a PowerPoint slide, or writing a document in Word. Switching on the computer took me about 3-4 minutes, and no program launched in less than 30 seconds (which in this case is almost an eternity). I reinstalled the system three times, each time everything was OK during maybe the first day or so then the problems appeared again.

Yesterday I installed a TV tuner. Everything went OK with the installation and channels search, but the videos were not smooth, and the sound had interruptions and a lot of noise.
For a computer with 512 Mb RAM, 1.6 GHz processor’s speed and 64Mb video card, this was totally unacceptable, so I started to investigate possible reasons:

  • – I run a full test at PCPitstop. My computer was declared a winner at all chapters, except the processor, which got an yellow flag (minor problem). The message was the the CPU load was 100%.
  • – I launched Task Manager (by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del) and I checked it: that was true, it was showing 100% CPU load, although I was not even moving the mouse.
  • – In the Task Manager, I looked at the processes currently running, and I noticed that a process called symWSC.exe was consuming 98%-100% CPU.
  • – I stopped that process and all the problems were gone, until I restarted the computer (thus activating again the SymWSC.exe process).
  • After about one hour of Google investigations, I managed to fix the problem for good. This is the chain of events:

  • – SymWSC.exe means Symantec Security Center, and I had it active on my computer.
  • – The computer came with Norton Antivirus 2004 installed, and I had removed it after a while, and installed PC Cillin from Trend Micro. That was the moment when the computer began acting sluggish, but I did not notice the coincidence.
  • – Uninstalling Norton Antivirus did not remove also the Symantec Security Center, thus generating a conflict between the two security products running simultaneously on my computer.
  • This conflict resulted in consuming almost all processor’s resources.
  • At Symantec Support website, I found the SymNRT removal utility, which I run and got rid of Symantec Security Center.
  • I checked again the TV tuner, and all channels were running smoothly, the sound was good, and all other problems were gone.
  • [eminimall]
    This problem annoyed me for so long, and the resolution was so simple, that I wanted to send out a warning for all of you who might experience it: make sure that you have only one security program running, and in case you switch to another product, make sure you remove all traces of the previous one.