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Problems with rundll32.exe in Windows 7 64 bit

    Question

  • This follows on from another thread about problems of freezing when in Windows XP Mode running under windows 7 64 bit:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7itprovirt/thread/91fca8cc-206b-4988-945d-353e888778ba

    The original problem was to do with Windows XP Mode freezing unless the mouse was constantly moved around (see above link).

    In that thread, I found a common link with another problem I've encountered in Win7 64 bit.  Sometimes, the Rise of Legends game will not start.  Investigating that problem turned up rundll32.exe sitting there chewing up a full core of the processor as a sub-branch of a process tree under legends.exe (the game itself).  Killing legends.exe and leaving rundll32.exe isolated (but still chewing the full core of the processor!) cures the problem and RoL starts ok.  This is an intermittent problem but is consistent across a session.  That is, for a given session it will either always work ok or will not work at all and needs the aforementioned 'fix'.

    The link with Windows XP Mode is that it also uses rundll32.exe to launch.  Again, Windows XP Mode seems to either always work ok during a session or it will exhibit the freezing symptons.

    The fact that one or the other (RoL or Windows XP Mode) works or not within a session is not consistent.  One can be working ok whilst the other is not, and vice versa.

    The reason for this post is that it's now occuring on my other machine (also Win7 64 bit) on a different piece of software - the game Black and White 2.  This now shows the same symptoms as for RoL - rundll32.exe chewing up one of the processor's cores and nothing happening.  The 'fix' is the same as for RoL - kill the white.exe process (the Black and White 2 game) leaving rundll32.exe still running and restart the game.  Up until today, this other PC has been running B&W2 with no problems (someone else got hooked on the game and has been playing it on that machine for the last couple of weeks when I'm not using it for 'serious stuff').  The only changes on that PC since yesterday were a load of Microsoft Updates last night when the machine was closed down:

    KB2289158 - Security Update for Microsoft Office 2007 System
    KB2425227 - Security Update for Windows 7 x64-based Systems
    KB2492441 - Update for Microsoft Office 2003 Junk Email Filter
    KB890830   - Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool x64 - February 2011
    KB2479628 - Security Update for Windows 7 x64-based Systems
    KB2344875 - Security Update for the 2007 Microsoft Office System
    KB2345043 - Security Update for the 2007 Microsoft Office System
    KB2467023 - Update for Windows 7 x64-based Systems
    KB2487426 - Update for Windows 7 x64-based Systems
    KB2454826 - Update for Windows 7 x64-based Systems
    KB2475792 - Security Update for Windows 7 x64-based Systems
    KB2393802 - Security Update for Windows 7 x64-based Systems
    KB2485376 - Security Update for Windows 7 x64-based Systems
    KB2284654 - Update for the 2007 Microsoft Office System

    My current quest with these two PCs is checking legacy compatibility for some 'dirty' old applications in VB6 and VBA (Access and Excel 2003).  One PC is running them in Windows XP Mode, the other is running them in Win7 64-bit.  So far, Win7 64-bit is winning due to the 'freezing' problem outlined in the other thread.  All the legacy apps checked so far appear to be running ok in either environment.  Which is a relief for my 'lords and masters'.

    So my question is - Is this something to do with rundll32.exe or is something else the cause?

    PC 1 system configuration:

    Windows 7 Professional, 64 bit. Version 6.1 Build 7600.

    Virtual PC and Windows XP Mode downloaded in Jan 2011-  XP Version 5.1 SP3 Build 2600

    I5-750 overclocked to 2.880 Ghz (160 x 18)

    Cooled by Thermalright MUX-120 sitting in an Antec P193 case with 4 fans (Aussie climate!)

    Gigabyte P55A-UD3 motherboard

    Elixir 4 x 2Gb 1600 Mhz memory (160 x 10)

    Optical Drive: HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GH22NS50

    System Disk: INTEL SSDSA2M080G2GC 80Gb

    Data Disks: 4 x  SAMSUNG HD103SJ 1Tb

    (1 x Win7 data, 1 x Win7 backup, 1 x XP data, 1 x XP backup)

    No, I'm not dual-booting win7/XP - the XP drives came from my old XP machine to save a lot of hassle copying stuff.

    The only permanent USB devices are a HP Laserjet 1020 printer, a Logitech M500 mouse and Dell keyboard.

    The only temporary USB devices are other HDDs used for off-site backups

    Anti-virus is Norton Internet Security 2011.

    PC 2 system configuration:

    Windows 7 Professional, 64 bit. Version 6.1 Build 7600.

    I5-760 standard clock 2.8 Ghz with stock cooler

    Gigabyte P55-USB3 motherboard

    Elixir 2 x 2Gb 1333 Mhz memory

    Optical Drive: HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GH22NS50

    System Disk: SAMSUNG HD103SJ 1Tb

    The only permanent USB devices are a Logitech MX400 mouse and an anciet Compaq keyboard.

    The only temporary USB devices are other HDDs used for off-site backups

    Anti-virus is Norton Internet Security 2011.

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011 1:36 AM

All replies

  • Don't get your hopes up too much guys, but I've installed Win 7 64-bit SP1 on both machines and both problems have disappeared.

    PC1 - Windows XP Mode appeared to be fixed (and more responsive) after following Ankito's instructions.  The rundll32.exe problem had disappeared after yet another batch of Windows Updates about a week earlier anyway.

    PC2 - The problem with rundll32.exe was still present despite nearly identical Windows Updates.  However, installing SP1 seems to have fixed it.

    So maybe SP1 is worth a try as a fix.

    (Despite the huge download penalty - over 900Mb for the 'one size fits all' version!  Why does the world assume broadband over the entire planet?  Australia is far from backward in technology but it is a huge place and really fast broadband is limited to the cities.  The 'National Broadband Network' rollout from our government holds some promise but the timescale is a bit unrealistic in this fast-paced world.)

    Hope this may help.  Please let me know if anyone else had this problem and if SP1 seemed to have fixed it.

    Steve

    Sunday, March 20, 2011 9:15 PM
  • I copied most of this from that other thread - the relevant bit for this threaad is in bold...

    After nearly a week with no problems, I did two things (silly me!):

    1. I let Windows XP Mode install the Win7 upgrade for integration (cute the way it mounts this as a replacement for the DVD drive - left me wondering what the heck was going on for a while which is why I delayed its install in the VM after the SP1 install in the host.)
    2. Another Win7 64-bit update (Update for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB2524375)) installed itself.

    The freezing in Windows XP Mode came back - but subtly different.  It only seems to freeze now when copying from a host drive to one of its VHDs - internal operations don't seem to freeze (Acronis backups and large file copies).  Sorry to be a bit vague about this but I only had a short time to check it out - copy stuff to the VHD from the host (froze every few seconds) and then modify it (a lot of mouse movement but no apparent freezing when it came to backup time).

    I now copy stuff to and from the VHDs by mounting them in Disk Manager in the host when the VM isn't in use - quicker too!

    More telling is that the problem with rundll32.exe and some 32-bit games has also come back!  I'm still convinced these two issues are related - when Win7 64-bit runs 32-bit software, doesn't it also do it in a VM?

    Where to now?

    Anyone else got any feedback.  Anyone else got this problem?

    Steve

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011 1:42 AM
  • I just found this thread which seems to finger Games Explorer as a possible culprit.

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/w7itprogeneral/thread/d9aaef3d-d294-4a27-847f-0dc1422e3930

    I'm obviously connected to the 'net as I write this so I just fired up RoL and it worked fine.  I've also disabled the 'collect info' checkboxes in Games Explorer - I'll let you know if this makes any difference over the next few weeks...

    Steve

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011 1:56 AM