IE8 - High CPU Usage!

Discussion in 'Internet Explorer' started by charliec, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. charliec

    charliec Guest

    I often get a message on my computer that IE8 is consuming really high CPU usage and my
    computer is slowed down quite a bit. It goes away after awhile, but what in IE8 could be
    causing this and how do I correct it? I'm running WinXP with all updates.

    Any insights are really appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.
    charliec
     
    charliec, Nov 4, 2011
    #1
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  2. charliec

    Mayayana Guest

    A message from where? What exactly does it say?
    You're not providing enough information. And you didn't
    mention what you've tried, if anything. Are you enabling
    tabs and then leaving tabs open? Big downloads? If
    you're not doing anything but reading news in a single
    IE window then that's a bad sign. But if you're just not
    bothering to close tabs/windows then you shouldn't be
    surprised if it hog resources. (I think that's a big problem
    with tabs -- it's too easy to leave your whole day's
    browsing history active.) You gave no indication as to
    whether you've even tried to find such correllations.

    If the message says something like, "A script is causing
    Internet Explorer to run slowly..." then see here for
    a fix:

    http://www.jsware.net/jsware/scripts.php5#ie7prob

    If that's the case the message is valid in the sense
    that IE is busy, but it's an IE bug in the sense that
    the message won't stop coming back even when you
    select the option to allow the operation to continue.

    ....If you really mean RAM rather than CPU that's a
    whole different kettle of fish. (That's the likely problem
    if you leave tabs open. High CPU usage indicates a
    temporary but intensive operation.)

    --
    |I often get a message on my computer that IE8 is consuming really high CPU
    usage and my
    | computer is slowed down quite a bit. It goes away after awhile, but what
    in IE8 could be
    | causing this and how do I correct it? I'm running WinXP with all updates.
    |
    | Any insights are really appreciated.
    |
    | Thanks in advance.
    | charliec
     
    Mayayana, Nov 4, 2011
    #2
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  3. charliec

    VanguardLH Guest

    Could be an add-on you installed. Did you run IE8 in its no add-ons
    mode and retest?

    Could be a screwed up script at the site stuck in a tight loop. You
    didn't mention if the problem is at a specific (group of) site(s) or at
    all sites that you visit?

    Some sites are poorly written (or perhaps deliberately written so) that
    web browsers they don't like will have scripting problems. When
    visiting http://www.apple.com/ipad/, my IE8 gets bogged down in their
    scripts resulting in errors. I block some 3rd party content and if rely
    on using that (images or scripts from another domain that is blocked)
    then their scripts will fail but sometimes coders don't bother checking
    for errors so the code hangs or loops. If I run with add-ons disabled
    in IE8 (but scripting still enabled), that Apple site runs quickly
    without indefinitely slamming the CPU usage to 100%. If I disable just
    Apple's Quicktime add-ons in IE8, their page paints quickly and there's
    no 100% CPU usage, so it looks like a screwup in their QC code.

    So see what happens when you disable all add-ons by running IE8 in its
    no add-ons mode. If that fixes the problem, start looking at what
    add-ons you installed for IE8 and start by disabling those that most
    suspect (or disable them all and enable one-at-a-time to isolate which
    one causes the 100% CPU usage).
     
    VanguardLH, Nov 4, 2011
    #3
  4. charliec

    charliec Guest

    I get the message from Norton Antivirus Software and it shows, in it's display of CPU
    usage, that IE8 is consuming something like 86% of the CPU memory. I have noticed that
    this seems to appears when I am using Yahoo! News, so it probably has something to do with
    their website. I have not received the notice on others, that I can recall. When you use
    Yahoo! News and click to get details of a posted article, it takes a really long time to
    load and it loads a lot of shortcuts for various sites, like Fackbook, etc. And take a
    long time to load. That could be the CPU usage problem -.

    Do you use Yahoo! News and if so, have you experienced this?

    charliec
     
    charliec, Nov 4, 2011
    #4
  5. charliec

    Mayayana Guest

    |I get the message from Norton Antivirus Software and it shows, in it's
    display of CPU
    | usage, that IE8 is consuming something like 86% of the CPU memory. I have
    noticed that
    | this seems to appears when I am using Yahoo! News, so it probably has
    something to do with
    | their website. I have not received the notice on others, that I can
    recall. When you use
    | Yahoo! News and click to get details of a posted article, it takes a
    really long time to
    | load and it loads a lot of shortcuts for various sites, like Fackbook,
    etc. And take a
    | long time to load. That could be the CPU usage problem -.
    |
    | Do you use Yahoo! News and if so, have you experienced this?
    |

    I don't use IE online, and just visited Yahoo news for the
    first time after reading your post. I don't see anything
    unusual in the webpage code, although their links are very
    long and convoluted. If it's using high CPU that indicates
    some kind of intensive processing but I'm afraid I don't have
    any good ideas. I don't allow script, cookies, 3rd-part images,
    or flash, and certainly wouldn't on a site like Yahoo, so I'm
    not seeing a page anything like the page that you see. I see
    a simple page full of headlines with virtually no images, which
    loads very quickly.

    Loading shortcuts doesn't mean anything in itself. Facebook
    Like buttons are a privacy problem. They're designed to track
    anyone with a Facebook account from any webpage with a Like
    button, even if you're not logged into Facebook. (Even if you
    have script disabled, they use an IFRAME to allow them to
    set a cookie.) But that sort of thing shouldn't be processor-
    intensive.

    It'd be interesting to hear if you figure out the problem.
    It sounds like *something* is doing an awfully lot of work...
    that it probably shouldn't be doing.
     
    Mayayana, Nov 5, 2011
    #5
  6. charliec

    charliec Guest

    When you say you don't allow script, cookies, 3rd-part images, or flash, where do you turn
    those off in IE8?

    Thanks for the reply.
    charliec
     
    charliec, Nov 5, 2011
    #6
  7. charliec

    Mayayana Guest

    | When you say you don't allow script, cookies, 3rd-part images, or flash,
    where do you turn
    | those off in IE8?
    |

    Script: Tools -> Internet Options -> Security tab ->
    Internet zone

    Flash: In IE that would come under ActiveX settings.

    Cookies: Tools -> Internet Options -> Privacy tab
    (You can also set cookies by domain there.)

    3rd-party images is something that can be disabled
    in Mozilla browsers. It's not a setting in IE.

    IE settings are difficult. There are a lot of them.
    In other browsers you can enable or disable script
    with one click. In IE there are several script settings
    and several ActiveX settings in each security "zone".

    Probably the easiest option is to disable script,
    ActiveX, etc. in the Restricted Zone -- disable all
    of it completely -- then assign websites there. For
    instance, you could assign yahoo.com there and see
    if it still works OK. You can do the same in the cookie
    settings. If a particular site doesn't work without
    script you can then remove it from the Restricted Zone.

    Or you could do it the other way: Disable everything
    in the Internet Zone and then choose slightly more
    flexible settings for the "Trusted Zone". You can then
    assign to the Trusted Zone only those websites that
    absolutely won't work in the Internet Zone.

    Are you familiar with the zones and security settings?
    If not then it's hard to explain. IE settings are exremely
    complex and convoluted. Microsoft has gone to great
    lengths to ensure that very few people will ever understand
    IE settings. :)

    I actually wrote a free, fairly new program recently.
    It's a plug-in for IE:

    http://www.jsware.net/jsware/jspagefilt.php5

    jsPageFilter. It allows you to control webpages in great
    detail, filtering anything you like on a per-domain basis.
    I wrote it partly for blind people, because a lot of sites
    don't work well at all for the blind. I have a friend who's
    blind and noticed that he has great difficulty maneuvering
    around the typical, bloated website these days. But the
    program is also designed for anyone who wants better
    control of security and privacy in IE. (These kinds of controls
    are already partially available in Mozilla browsers, but the
    settings are obscure. In IE, controlling the details of a
    webpage have never been available at all.)

    jsPageFilter is a type of plug-in known as a mime filter.
    Microsoft provides mime filter functionality so that
    corporations can write software to edit webpages before
    they reach employees. Mime filters are also used for
    parental controls. The way they work is that the webpage
    is given to the mime filter by the downloading function in IE.
    The mime filter can then do anything it wants with the
    webpage, and give anything it wants to the browser! It's
    a middleman. (For instance, a parental control mime filter
    might eliminate JPG images from webpages other than
    Sesame Street, in order to avoid kids seeing porn.)

    jsPageFilter takes that functionality and
    provides an interface for it, so that anyone using IE can
    create any sort of filter they want, on a per-domain
    basis. (It's a good example of why IE is *so* good and
    also *so* bad. On the one hand, I was able to write this
    webpage filter because IE is so flexible. On the other hand,
    any malware could be running IE through such a filter
    right now and you wouldn't have any easy way to know it.)

    If you don't want to use extra software like jsPageFilter
    then assigning websites to the Restricted Zone is the closest
    you can get to controlling script, ActiveX, etc.

    The closest thing in IE to blocking 3rd-party images
    is to use a HOSTS file.

    http://www.jsware.net/jsware/cook.php5#hosts

    It's safe. It's fairly easy. And since most ads are actually
    coming from one of a few very large ad servers, it's not
    hard to eliminate nearly all ads from webpages. That also
    can eliminate privacy intrusions from Google/Doubleclick,
    Microsoft/AQuantive, and various other giant ad companies
    that follow you around the Web by using their ubiquitous ads
    as tracking devices. (Note, however, that simply having
    3rd-party ads on a webpage, though intrusive and usually
    visually calamitous, will not cause IE to go into a high CPU
    usage state.)

    Some people believe that it's wrong to block ads because
    websites need them to make money. But blocking 3rd-party
    images does not block honest ads... ads that are actually
    part of the website. They only block web-beacon spyware
    ads from large ad servers that you never chose to visit in
    the first place. (If you visit somewhere.com, that doesn't
    give somewhere.com the right to make you visit doubleclick.com,
    but that's essentially what 3rd-party ad images do.)

    Sorry to go on so long. This is a *very* big topic. Getting
    even modest control over security, privacy and loaded objects
    in webpages is very difficult to do without knowing at least
    the basics of how it all works.
     
    Mayayana, Nov 5, 2011
    #7
  8. charliec

    Mayayana Guest

    PS: You never answered VanguardLH as to whether
    you're using add-ons. If you've allowed things like
    toolbars to be installed it would be a good idea to
    remove those. They're just useless spyware. Anything
    listed in the add-ons window should be something
    you know about and find useful. Otherwise it should
    be removed.
     
    Mayayana, Nov 5, 2011
    #8
  9. charliec

    VanguardLH Guest

    Rather than customize a security zone (i.e., make a bunch of edits to
    its settings to then save as a customized setup), just move the slider.
    You can effectively turn the Internet security zone into the Restricted
    Sites security zone: show the Internet security zone and move up the
    slider. That's one way to test of the problem is with some feature
    normally enabled in the Internet security zone's default settings.

    Of course, none of that is going to circumvent problems with enabled
    add-ons that the OP installed into IE8. Don't know why he hasn't yet
    bothered with the really simple test of running IE8 in no add-ons mode.
     
    VanguardLH, Nov 6, 2011
    #9
  10. charliec

    Mayayana Guest

    | > Or you could do it the other way: Disable everything in the Internet
    | > Zone and then choose slightly more flexible settings for the "Trusted
    | > Zone".
    |
    | Rather than customize a security zone (i.e., make a bunch of edits to
    | its settings to then save as a customized setup), just move the slider.
    | You can effectively turn the Internet security zone into the Restricted
    | Sites security zone: show the Internet security zone and move up the
    | slider. That's one way to test of the problem is with some feature
    | normally enabled in the Internet security zone's default settings.
    |

    The problem with that is that it applies to all sites and for
    most people that doesn't work. It might be a rough way to test
    a website, but it's not a solution to security risks or "active
    content" problems in the long term.
    Also, the slider is not very useful. High security, for instance,
    doesn't block all "active" content but does block downloads,
    making it useless. It seems much more usable, and safer, to
    me to take the time to really go through all the settings to
    select a highly secure setting for the restricted zone that sites
    can then be added to selectively. (Or vice versa -- to limit
    the Internet Zone and add sites selectively to a more privileged
    zone.)

    | Of course, none of that is going to circumvent problems with enabled
    | add-ons that the OP installed into IE8. Don't know why he hasn't yet
    | bothered with the really simple test of running IE8 in no add-ons mode.

    I wondered about that, too. I am somewhat surprised, though,
    that that solution is mentioned so much. I don't use IE online, so
    I'm not familiar with those kinds of problems, but judging from
    the advice I see in this group I get the impression that BHOs and
    Extensions are the cause of most IE problems.
     
    Mayayana, Nov 6, 2011
    #10
  11. charliec

    VanguardLH Guest

    Especially since many add-ons are dragged forward in an update from
    older versions of IE but aren't designed well at all or to support the
    newer version's process modelling. For example, there were lots of
    add-ons that were addressing outside their allocated memory space (code
    bugs) but wouldn't error in IE up to version 7. Although IE7 added a
    DEP check (memory protection), it wasn't enabled by default. That was
    to give authors of poorly written code time to fix their crappy code and
    test it with IE7 with the memory protection (advanced setting) enabled.
    In IE8, memory protection was enabled by default and all the lazy
    authors got caught for their crappy code. You either uninstall their
    old add-on and, if available, installed a newer version that was fixed.
    Alas, many add-ons didn't get fixed or were pretty slow to get fixed.
    The memory protection option now enabled in IE8 exposed many add-ons.

    So you could disable the memory protection but it was there to thwart
    malicious code. It's like being nuisanced with an alarm sounding
    everytime you return home to open your house door so you unpower your
    security system rather than fixing the alarm so using your key or
    entering the code in time eliminated the alarm on valid entry. Better
    is to get an updated add-on that fixed their bad code. If they didn't
    have an updated version that would run without crashing IE or causing
    other problems then you uninstall it and do without it. Lots of add-ons
    dropped dead from lack of further support from their authors because
    they were unwilling to figure out how to get it working in the new
    process model of IE7/8 and were unwilling to fix their crappy code to
    avoid memory errors.

    By the way, I've seen a hell of a lot of crappy Firefox extensions, too.
    Happily they're all a script so there is some limitation on their
    faults; however, it takes a lot of user effort to figure out which
    extensions overlap each other, which ones are crap, and which ones
    conflict with each other. Many authors simply abandon their extensions
    so users have to go editing the .xpi file to see if it'll run under the
    next version of Firefox (which is obviously not the author doing the
    testing for compatibility).

    Running IE7/8 in its no add-ons mode is a rather fast way to determine
    if it's the OS & web browser at fault or an add-on that got installed
    (and might be an old or incompatible version dragged forward when
    updating to a later version of the web browser). It's often the first
    (and easy) suggestion followed closely thereafter with a reset of IE. .
     
    VanguardLH, Nov 6, 2011
    #11
  12. charliec

    Mayayana Guest

    | For example, there were lots of
    | add-ons that were addressing outside their allocated memory space (code
    | bugs) but wouldn't error in IE up to version 7. Although IE7 added a
    | DEP check (memory protection), it wasn't enabled by default.

    I'm not sure that's really an example. Writing to "illegal"
    addresses is a bug. Running afoul of DEP just means running
    executable code from memory that you've allotted to data.
    That was a fundamental change that MS made in how they
    handle a running process. Changing software to adapt to that
    is not always a simple task. In any case, either problem will
    result in an instant crash, not a poorly behaving IE.

    | Running IE7/8 in its no add-ons mode is a rather fast way to determine
    | if it's the OS & web browser at fault or an add-on that got installed
    | It's often the first
    | (and easy) suggestion followed closely thereafter with a reset of IE.

    I guess I can see the logic there, but I wouldn't want to be
    on the receiving end of that advice. It's the "professional"
    approach that says, "We don't know and we don't think you're
    smart enough to understand, so for now just try XYZ and
    report back."

    It's like when you go to the doctor and they want to run blood
    tests and urine tests. Then they prescribe an antibiotic, an
    anti-inflammatory, and a placebo that does something dramatic
    like turning your lips purple. (Usually they also try to sell you the
    prescription du jour that the drug companies are pushing: a statin,
    a blood thinner, an alleged "acid reflux" cure, or maybe a
    neurotransmitter re-uptake inhibitor. But that's another issue.)

    When it's over you might not know what's wrong, but you do know
    that a) the doctor is worried about being sued, b) the doctor is not
    really being honest, and c) the doctor has no sympathy for how
    much time and expense they might put you through.

    The problem there is not necessarily that the tests shouldn't be
    done, but rather that the doctor is not confiding in you to let you
    weigh the costs and benefits. And they're busy. So you end up on
    an expensive, cookie-cutter treament plan.
     
    Mayayana, Nov 6, 2011
    #12
  13. charliec

    VanguardLH Guest

    I wasn't going to delve into the technical details of how IE7/8's memory
    protection feature worked. I used DEP as one type of protection that
    this new option afforded. There's also Address Space Layout
    Randomization (ASLR) which loads executable code in randomized locations
    in memory because it makes the process' footprint look different to
    malware to, say, help deter the well-understood return-to-libc exploit.
    When a .dll gets loaded, this randomization changes the offset for the
    entry points (where functions/methods are defined in the DLL) to make
    them unpredictable to malware that looks for the entry points to be at a
    known offset.

    The mitigation of online attacks by using DEP/NX is to eliminate
    malicious code from generating a buffer overrun by writing into the data
    block to then execute code from there. So, yes, DEP is to prevent
    execution of code from a block of memory marked non-executable for a
    process but the malicious code had to first get into that non-executable
    area which is often performed with a buffer overrun. IE isn't the one
    putting the malicious code in the data block and the malicious code
    isn't there when you load only IE so something else had to first get the
    code into that data block to then execute it from there.

    Sometimes the DEP/NX crashes for add-ons was due to simply using an
    older version of the ATL library. So just recompiling the code would
    solve the problem but obviously users had to wait for the add-on author
    to actually get around to doing that.

    I'm pretty the OP couldn't give a gnat's fart about all of this. The
    troubleshooting suggested is to simply run IE7/8 with all add-ons
    disabled (i.e., load IE in its no add-ons mode). If that eliminates the
    problem then further troubleshooting can be more focused rather than
    shotgunning out other possible fixes.
    Disabling the add-ons isn't a blind shotgun troubleshooting step as you
    suggest. Switching them all off and then noticing there isn't a problem
    immediately lets you focus on looking at the add-ons rather than the web
    browser or some recent change to the OS via tweaks or updates. You can
    then go inspecting each add-on one at a time: you disable them all,
    enable one, retest, and repeat until the problem resurfaces at which
    point the latest reenabled add-on is the culprit. It's a guided method
    of troubleshooting rather than just dumping out a bunch of possible
    diagnostics.

    Obviously you have to start somewhere. If the exact steps to resolve
    the problem were already known then no one would be asking for help on
    getting rid of the problem. Even if the problem appears to be a
    well-known or common problem and it seems obvious that just one fix gets
    rid of the problem, it's still a guess since too often the common
    solution to a common problem doesn't fix that common problem and you
    have to keep working on troubleshooting.

    Resetting of IE is a typical suggestion if the *behavior* of IE is not
    as expected. That's because something (security software, users,
    malware, tweakers) made a change the user wasn't aware of or had an
    effect that wasn't immediately evident. I didn't say a Reset was the
    appropriate action in this particular case. I said it's probably the #2
    suggestion that solves a lots of user complaints right after the #1
    suggestion of disabling add-ons to see where you focus your further
    attention in the remaining troubleshooting steps. By the way, if the
    doctor gave you a shot of something you hadn't a clue what was in it and
    it fixed your ailment, do you really care what was in the hypo? Do you
    REALLY know what's in the flu shot hypo (are you really required to
    understand that microbiology before commiting to getting the shot)?
    Most users just want the problem fixed. Some users might like to delve
    into why a fix solved their problem but that means more planning and
    interrogation. When you use a tube of Super Glue, do you really care
    why the cap doesn't get permanently glued to the spout? Well, you might
    but you would be in the severe minority. You just want it to work.
     
    VanguardLH, Nov 6, 2011
    #13
  14. charliec

    Mayayana Guest

    | By the way, if the
    | doctor gave you a shot of something you hadn't a clue what was in it and
    | it fixed your ailment, do you really care what was in the hypo?

    Yes, very much so. I don't want to be taking statins just
    because they're the latest thing, or taking antibiotics just because
    the doctor thinks I'll complain if I don't get them. Why should I
    trust a 28-year-old baby-doc with my life? Why should I shirk
    the responsibility for my own decisions?

    But I do realize that people vary that way. Many, as you
    say, just "want it fixed". They prefer to stick to one narrow
    field and pay "professionals" when they need to deal with
    other fields.

    In the case of charliec I don't know how much he can, or
    wants to, understand. But this is usenet, which is already
    somewhat of a self-service venue. So I'm trying to just
    explain as much as might be relevant, as clearly and simply
    as possible, so that he, and others who read it later, can
    have that info. if they want it.

    Actually I think that doctors and IT people have a lot in
    common as regards this issue. They both tend to condescend
    to people who are not expert in their particular field. One need
    only read a day's worth of posts at Slashdot to see blatant,
    unembarrassed insults, regarding all non-geeks as troublesome
    idiots. That's why nerds are so widely disliked; not because
    they're interested in technical things and tend to wear brown
    pants and pocket protectors, but because they're chauvinistic
    about their own field of knowledge. Yet a lot of non-geeks happen
    to be very intelligent people, too...like doctors, for instance. :)

    | When you use a tube of Super Glue, do you really care
    | why the cap doesn't get permanently glued to the spout?

    That's an interesting question that I never thought of. Please
    do post the answer if you come across it. :)

    (After all, if we only take interest in what's necessary to be
    comfortable, then what's the difference between human life
    and a dog rummaging nose-first for scraps of food on a rubbish
    heap? Nothing, really. But the human has the possibility of
    raising his or her head and recognizing... Poetry.)
     
    Mayayana, Nov 6, 2011
    #14
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