Adware Report: Broken Layered Service Providers (or, "my laptop is getting slower and slower and slower...")
I run one of the largest anti-spyware sites on the net and have every imaginable tool running on each one of my computers. I regularly audit my work laptop to ensure new strains of spyware aren't running in the background. I use Aluria Spyware Eliminator, Webroot Spy Sweeper, and Microsoft Antispyware. I run ZoneAlarm firewall, and F-Prot anti-virus.
And despite all of this, something ... somehow ... has managed to make my laptop grind to a halt while trying to surf the internet. Sometimes, the browser even freezes completely, and I have to open up a new window to finish what I was doing.
After hours of frustration, I have found the culprit: Broken LSPs (Layered Service Providers). These little snippets of code intercept all internet communication, sometimes for benevolent reasons, othertimes as a means of spying on your surfing habits. In my case, it turns out it wasn't spyware that was causing the problem. It was Google's Desktop Search program. I love this tool, but I have noticed that it slows down my computer, sometimes to unacceptable levels.
So I popped open Microsoft's AntiSpyware tool, which I use as a backup program to my preferred products. The reason I like this tool is not so much because of its effectiveness (it's better than average, but not great), and certainly not because of its usability (it's one of the more annoying programs I use), but because of its "advanced tools". In the "Advanced Tools -> System Explorers -> Winsock LSPs" section, I found the following:
Great! A likely culprit. Those question mark icons at the top indicate that the Google Desktop search has somehow inserted some broken LSPs into the communication pipeline between my laptop and the internet. But now how to fix it?
Fortunately, the generous souls at Cexx have written a tool, aptly named "LSPFix", to fix the problem. I downloaded this program, ran it, and problem solved! My laptop is running fast as the blazes again!
My next question is why aren't the anti-spyware vendors including something like this in their products?
Important: if you don't know what you're doing, leave the "advanced" checkbox off, or you could cut yourself off from the internet.
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