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DAW - High CPU Consumption

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  • DAW - High CPU Consumption

    Figured I'd post this for others. May come in handy if you ever have the problem which may do.

    For the past couple of months I had been getting poor DAW performance. Mostly dropouts. I used to get them occasionally using sonar when mixing due to heavy CPU plugins, but I never had problems with dropouts tracking, even with my earliest DAW's.

    I knew something was going on but I couldn't nail it down. The symptoms began with my CPU fan running at high speed all the time. I put a better fan and heat sink in there and that fixed that problem but I still got the erratic dropouts.

    Next thing I did was clone the SS Drive I had in there and went back to using a regular drive. The problem followed over to the new drive so I know it was a data issue.
    I had two choices, redo the drive from scratch or fix the problem. A scratch build takes me a week to complete and even longer to fine tune things. I figured I'd work on the fix first.

    I removed all the unnecessary programs that had collected on there and also used CC cleaner which is a free program for cleaning and fixing windows. Does a nice job fixing registry problems too which can occur after removing programs, plugins, apps etc. Its also got a feature that lets you disable items from the start menu.

    In the process of finding the problem I used windows task manager and resource monitor. I localized the issue to high CPU consumption causing sonar to drop out. Just in idle mode my CPU was running up to 100%. I found the computer was running an app called regsvr32. I couldn't find much about it on the net other then checking to see if it was located in the windows 32 directory and if it was it was supposedly normal fort it to run.

    The problem I had was I had 4 of them running. Two for the machine and two for the internet. I could use the recourse monitor and see it bringing up web addresses like amazon and others.
    Along with this I had two items in the start menu which I couldn't disable. I suspected them to be some kind of stealth adware.

    I downloaded a trial copy of Malwarebytes which was able to quarantine the files. I actually got rid of them the first time and developed problems with track shifting in the DAW. Long story short I had to reclone the drive and start over. I had been overzealous removing items I suspected as being a problem and damaged something I shouldn't have. The second clone I was successful in removing the regsvr32 problem.

    I had to run the Malwarebytes program twice because that problem was stuck in the root directory and self replicated itself. Many Trojans will do that because the problem gets copied to the system restore files. In summary, I was able to remove those start up files and the Trojan and when I ran my resource monitor all 4 of those regsvr32 apps were gone and my CPU and memory usage was nearly zero in idle mode so I knew I nailed what I needed.

    I should also note I had the firewall blocking all incoming and outgoing traffic yet they were still trying to connect through the local network.
    I can pretty much trace that virus back to one of two possibilities. I don't browse the internet from that DAW but because I have a couple of plugins that require PACE to run I have to keep it connected.
    I got a new freebee from Lexicon, a Plate reverb and that's about when the problems began. I had to download an updated version of Pace since the old version I was running wouldn't let me register the new plugin. (The old version allowed me to run them off line too).

    The other thing I did was run M-Audio drivers for another interface I had installed and it came with a free copy of Ableton Lite. I wasn't much interested it using Ableton but left it installed anyway.

    One of those two downloads had the adware/stealth ware included because they were the only two programs installed in the past year. Luckily I was able to successfully remove it and things are pretty much normalized. I still have an issue with my audio service failing to start at boot up but I think I can fix that. If not I'll likely have to redo the drive from scratch.

    In summary - what appeared to be an issue with either the DAW program or interface wound up being a stealth application eating up all the CPU resources giving the DAW program nothing to run on.
    For those who may have a DAW running or plan to, its worth while to use the task manager and resource monitor to check and see what's going on first. After you boot the computer should come to rest and consume practically no CPU resources. If you see the graphs jumping off the charts you got to fix that problem first, otherwise your DAW wont run well. You need to optimize the computer and free up all the resources you can so they are used for audio. The DAW program wont fix or optimize the resources on its own so its left up to you to batten down the hatches and make that engine sing.

    You may want to try these to utilities out even if you think your computer is running well. They saved me two weeks of hard work which I really wanted to avoid.