Two big questions: one's the problem, one's the solution

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Okay. So since yesterday my internet has been crapping out. Even as I type this my normally 750megs a second cable modem is struggled to finish loading the smiley icons. It seems to do this fairly often, and about every three months I have to call the comcast guy here, because they're idiots over there and test my line for 3 seconds and go "It seems to be fine," but the problem is sporadic and I guess they don't understand that.

My ping in Warcraft hit the 4000's last night.

Now normally the Comcast guy comes out here and fixes the end of a wire or something and magically it works again for another three months. But this time is different: my modem isn't given any indications of struggling, and for little patches, it works beautifully as ever. I check out my processes and I see multiple SVCHOST.EXE instances...

I believe I've contracted some kind of virus, long story short, but all of my scanning and removing of things hasn't worked. I even installed Norton (I've been using that POS, AVG) but it wouldn't let me update--not all that dissimilar from this mystery virus my friend's computer had that we couldn't even get it to detect, let alone remove. My friend, before we formatted his machine, had me store some files on my computer and I'm betting that is why this has happened. Before this I remember never having more than two SVCHOST.exe instances and they were always part of the 'system' grouping. Now I have six, from all kinds of places.

I went into my registry, backed it up, and manually deleted some of these. Hopefully it will be of help to me. I only erased the ones that looked unofficial.

Can anyone help? Whatever is wrong is raping my connection--even websites and my AIM load uselessly slowly. I could barely make this post.

I've ran Spybot (though I'm not sure it updated because of the connection crapping out), and ran Ad-Aware with newest updates. It found what is usually finds on average--nothing out of the ordinary. Norton wouldn't work at all and AVG found a single viral file that I deleted but it did not help.

Maybe I should just format anyways...since I keep everything on my Ext. Drive now I might as well have a clean install of windows to keep this thing running nice (I've never reformatted this machine before...I kind of don't want to, I have a lot to lose, file-wise). But that brings me to my next question.

* * * * * *

My second question is a bit weirder. If I can't fix this problem I suppose I could format, but I am always paranoid about that because every other time I've done it there's almost always something that slips through the cracks, some files that get left behind, etc.

I have a huge External Hard Drive, in which I've installed pretty much all of my games and keep all my files. I know the files will be safe during the format; but what about the games?

I know it sounds strange but I figure I wouldn't have to reinstall them at all. The only disadvantage would be that their respective uninstalls wouldn't work anymore...but then again, if they aren't in the registry anymore, I could just manually delete them, couldn't I?

I also once moved a game off a computer I formatted then put it back, and all that happened was it asked for the CD key again. What exactly will happen if I reinstall windows and format on my C drive but leave all of my games intact on my X drive?

If it comes to it, I figured I could probably search out the registry sections for each of those games and save the strings on the X drive, and reapply them after the format.

Any of this sound viable at all?
 
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The first one isn't a virus. I just checked my own processes, and I've got 6 of them as well. I asked a few of my online friends just now, and they all have 6 also. So I really doubt it's a virus. The chances we all have it are pretty slim I would think.

No clue on your second problem.
 
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First part:

Sounds like a dieing modem. My old 3COM modem did that and died a few days later.

Second part:

Just backup all the registry enteries for those games, then when you format and reinstall, all you'll have to do is merge them into the registry
 
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Well...like I said...I have to call Comcast out here about every two to three months to fix this frigging thing anyway.

Something is very wrong. It is a brand new modem...

I guess if I can back up all of the registry entries for my games on the X drive, I shouldn't have a problem, though. I should probably reformat anyway--long overdue, really. I probably have all kinds of other spyware.
 
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Multiple svchost entries aren't a problem. As for the format idea.. Some older games or well designed games (WC3, for instance) don't need the registry entries to work. Most games though, when you start them after moving.. Will either completely not work, or re-enter the default entries back into the new registry.
 
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SVCHOST.EXE is a called service (services host) that allows your services to get online. Anything that has registered itself as a service (AVG, ZoneAlarm) uses it to get online. So that is definately not a problem. Cable modems can be crappy depending on how many people near you have gotten the service. Degredation of throughput increases as more people use the connection, so long as the connections all run through one junction box. This may be your problem. As far as the modem crapping out, even new ones can take a **** and die, so don't write it off if that's the case.

Installing your games on a removable HDD is not really the best idea, their throughput is slower than an internal one, like a ATA or SATA drive, even if you have USB2.0. Further, much of the games content can be reinstalled, if you want to save anything, put the updates on the removable HDD so you don't have to dl them again. See if your games support export of saved games, that's your best bet really, because the game should be registered to access the computer, even if they are coded well, this can cause problems with accessing low level areas of your computer. Remember, all traffic goes through the OS, which is why games can't run without one installed.
 
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I don't know man.

I just downloaded the same file five times in a few minutes without reloading a page.
First time: 170kb/s
Second time: 450kb/s
Third time: 700kb/s (about the middle of my normal range--it has always consistently downloaded at this speed, never falling below 550ish unless the site is at fault)
Fourth time: 35ish kb/s
First time: 550ish kb/s

This thing almost always is 400+ minimum, even at it's all time worst.

The problem is sporadic; whatever is going on, it lets the thing work normally with intermittent chokes. In WoW just now my ping went from 50ms (normal for me) to 3000+ms. Like, I know cable allegedly suffers if a lot of people are using the node, but...3000ms is way beyond that limitation.

As for the modem...it's diagnostics and lights and modem interface page are all reading normal--usually when it breaks and I call the Comcast guy, it doesn't do any of those things.

The problem is on their end in their DHCP/DNS stuff. I know it because a while back my router started to detect erratic changes in those fields and they are CONSTANTLY screwing up my computer.

At this point I'm looking more for advice about the reformat then the internet. I'm sure the same thing I always do will solve it--call the comcast guy, watch him replace a wire he just replaced a month ago, and watch him sit down for six seconds and tell me it works.

As for what you said in your edit, Cuc: I have a super high end firewire port and my outer drive is a 10,000rpm one. In my general experience I've found it to be even faster then my junk internal HD when running games from it. It also, as an added bonus, has enough space that I could in theory backup my entire computer onto it and still have 120 gigs of free space to play with.

I would be wary but I tried it with a few games and they seemed to function better then ever when not using the C: drive as their source. So I started to do it with pretty much every game I had and never ran into a problem. A lot of people said to me, "That's a bad idea," but it's caused me nothing but good since I started doing it. Things like higher framerates and faster load times, that sort of thing. At least, that's been my experience.

Incidentally some of the games I've had the most trouble with are on my internal drive (Half Life 2 and ESF, for example). I guarantee they work better once off the windows drive; everything else did.

The games, I can reinstall. I'm none too worried about that. In fact I can reinstall them over the source files and just back up the config files beforehand. Should be easy enough.

I just wish there was a better way to fix my damned internet. But this machine is long overdue for a format anyhow.

I just worry about most of my work files. I write books, I record music...most of that is on the XHD. So I don't want to F with the XHD.

Besides. I couldn't keep all the games on my C: drive if I wanted to--two or three of them's worth of space used would probably be cutting into the page file and system restore space.

What I plan on doing is loading all of the necessary drivers and hardware files I will need to get this thing back up and running again, onto the XHD itself, along with backups of irreplacable config files or CD keys, then I will unhook it, reformat my C drive, install WinXP Pro, and then install the XHD software--from there, I'll add all the stuff I pre-readied.

Should be easy. But I really don't want to do it. I don't know why. Call it superstition, heh.
 
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Well i have 5 svchost processes running, 2 for network services, 2 from system services and 1 from local services. I'm on dial up and have a network bridge setup (dunno about you sounds like to me you are using one or two pcs, I have a cable modem that lerks in my closet back from the days when i had cable myself). How popular is comcast as an isp? Have you tried to make a warranty claim on the modem?.
 
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Your average speeds are all but one faster than my connection... how did you get a ping of 4000? How much do you pay for that high a speed?
 

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