Clogged Pipes


I just bought a used PC running Windows XP. It had been really fast loading and running programs and accessing the web, but suddenly it slowed down to a complete stop. I had to unplug it just to shut it down.

So, I unplugged the Ethernet cable and it worked fine. I scanned the C: drive—no virus. Plugged the Ethernet cable back in and it slowed down again. Unplugged the Ethernet and it’s fast again. What’s going on, Doc?


That’s definitely suspicious behavior, Tim. It sounds like something is trying to send or receive lots of data, and we don’t like it when programs do that without our explicit consent. You’re likely either the victim of some bizarre Denial of Service attack or you’re the victim of some sort of virus or other malware, even if you’re not detecting anything. It’s always good to do a clean install of Windows on an upgraded or new-to-you PC. Make sure you’re running both a firewall and antivirus software. Short of that, our Ultimate Malware Removal Guide can help you root out any nasties that might be responsible for this egregious behavior.

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION Are flames shooting out of the back of your rig? First, grab a fire extinguisher and douse the flames. Once the pyrotechnic display has fizzled, email the doctor at for advice on how to solve your technological woes.

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