Hi All. My name is Tony. I've been having some problems with my computer for about the past 6 months or so. First, I am on a dial-up connection because that's all I can afford at the moment because I lost my job about 2 years ago. But, then again, I'm cheap and have always had a dial-up connection. I have a Sony Vaio Laptop, AMD Athlon XP 1500+ processor, and 512MB Ram (that's all it will take). Running Windows XP Home. I haven't downloaded any Service Packs, yet, because it is hard on dial-up. I have downloaded some of the other Critical Updates. BUT, all of this started when I had all of the Service Packs and updates (SP3). It was running fine for quite some time with WinXP Home SP3. I reinstalled Windows about 3 months ago because of this problem.
That's how I first noticed there was something not right with my computer/connection. I used to use Firefox (exclusively) and it was very fast, even on my dial-up connection. Then I started noticing that when I would click a link on any page, at random times, nothing would happen for quite some time (amount of time would vary). I've reinstalled and tried most of the Firefox versions including the latest and greatest. I've been to the Sony website and downloaded all of the latest drivers. I was fully up to date with everything when this all started.
I use Avira AntiVirus (up to date). I have ran scans with Spybot, AdAware, SuperAntiSpyware, MalwareBytes, you name it. I haven't found any malware with any of them. Ewido did find "Alexa". But, Ewido isn't supported anymore.
I downloaded Process Explorer and have noted that everything seems fine when I am not connected (through dial-up) to the Internet. My CPU Usage is only about 3.88% and is steady in that case. As soon as I dial-up and get connected, my CPU Usage soars to anywhere up to 30% or 40%, up and down, and the graph in the "CPU Usage History" becomes very erratic, like a sharp saw-tooth pattern. It's smooth before I dial-up.
I had my phone line replaced from the pole to my house and from the pole to the "hub". It was checked by the technician for noise and was good. I have unhooked all other devices from other jacks in my house and the problem persists.
Here's the other indicator that something has "changed": I used to be able to go to Shoutcast, just about 5 months ago, and I could listen to a station with a lower bitrate (say 32kbps, or even 40kbps) and I could listen to the station uninterrupted for hours with no buffering after the station started. Now, it buffers every 10 seconds or so.
Sometimes, the modem (connection) just goes dead and the modem doesn't send or receive any data and I have to disconnect and then dial-up again. Sometimes when I go to disconnect my connection the modem takes one or two minutes to do so.
I've noticed that when I click a link, sometimes when nothing happens, that there is no CPU activity at all. Right now the CPU Usage History in Process Explorer looks like a bad EKG chart. It's all jagged and erratic continuously.
I have no idea if this is a bad modem or something else? The modem does connect at good speeds (49kbps - 50.6kbps) all the time. That is always what I have connected at.
Anyone have any ideas?
More Info: The other thing I forgot to mention that also in Process Explorer, under Interrupts>Properties, the CPU Usage History is a continuous "jagged", "erratic" "saw-tooth" line and the CPU Usage itself is continuously jumping from 1% to 10%. Maybe even a little more. That's even when I am not touching anything.