What's Rundll Running?


I have Windows 7 and when I start a game like the Homeworld 2 demo, my processor refuses to go below 50 percent usage. When I look in the Task Manager the process called rundll32.exe is using 50 percent of the CPU cycles. I ran an Avast scan; there is no indication of a virus. I can fix this by suspending the task and the games run fine without the rundll32 task going. Any idea of why this is going on?


Ian, Homeworld 2 is an old game and is not optimized for multicore processors or Windows 7. Be sure you’re running in compatibility mode (accessible by right-clicking the application icon and going to Properties, then the Compatibility tab).

Provided the rundll32.exe is located in the Windows\System32 directory, it’s most likely legitimate. If rundll32 isn’t located in Windows\System32, it could be malicious software masquerading as a legitimate process. Run Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware ( www.malwarebytes.org ) to flush it out.

Process Explorer can help you figure out which dynamic link libraries rundll.exe is actually acessing.

Rundll32.exe is a generic application used to access the contents of Dynamic Link Libraries, or DLLs, which many Windows apps use. To find out which DLL your process is accessing (and therefore what the heck it’s doing, and what you’re pausing when you suspend the task), download Process Explorer from Microsoft ( http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896653.aspx ) and run it. Look for the rundll32.exe entry, then right-click it and hit Properties. You’ll see a field called Command Line, which will tell you which dynamic link library the program is calling—and thus whether it’s important or not.

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 doctor@maximumpc.com for advice on how to solve your technological woes.

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