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InSiDeR
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Elizabethtown, KY
Insane since: Sep 2001

IP logged posted posted 02-28-2006 04:46 Edit Quote

For some reason, some strange unknown reason, my computer will lock up for 3 or for seconds at a time every 2-3 minutes. I don't understand what's causing it. Sygate firewall is blocking all possible spyware, and I've defragged my computer twice. Rebooting doesn't work. I really don't have anymore information, but perhaps someone has suffered this problem once before and could give me some insight as to how to fix it? It's like clockwork!

JKMabry
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: raht cheah
Insane since: Aug 2000

IP logged posted posted 02-28-2006 05:17 Edit Quote

if you rbing up the task manager and go the processes tab you can click on the col headers to sort by them, try sorting by Mem Usage descending and CPU descending and see what process it is that jumps in there at the time. 3 seconds oughta be enough to catch it

_Mauro
Bipolar (III) Inmate

From:
Insane since: Jul 2005

IP logged posted posted 02-28-2006 13:40 Edit Quote

It could be a non-software cause.
=> A possible hardware cause.

In any event...
Does it do the same if you create a new Windows user profile and use that to login?
* This one is important: often, applications degrade because some data in the Windows user profile has become corrupt.

Have your recently installed new device drivers?
* Revert to another version of the drivers, or remove (this or that new driver that could conflict with an old one) and check.

Does the comp overheat?

I strongly think about a hardware issue though. Without being able to see the problem, I assume "all Windows" is freezing every once in a while,
and this just doesn't make sense to me at a software level.
I mean, Windows has the exclusive control of the display, and delegates privileges to other applications when needed,
so basically, if there was one software acting up to the extent of freezing the complete activity of the pc, then the mentionned software would be Windows itself.

And it would act up for exactly 2-3 each few minutes It makes even less sens if we still are talking about a software issue.

So? Don't make assumptions anyway: consider some hardware component is likely to die soon, and backup your data first,
then investigate possible causes, one by one.

And between major software modifications, reboot, or better yet, shut down, to let Windows store the newly modified settings and
try to start in a stable state.

InSiDeR
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Elizabethtown, KY
Insane since: Sep 2001

IP logged posted posted 02-28-2006 18:57 Edit Quote

Actually, I have brought up the task manager. explorer.exe (windows shell) seems to be taking up the most mem usage and probably 3 times more than its regular amount.

I've considered the possibility of a hardware issue. The only recent hardware change was like a month ago when I got a new video card... but like I said that was a month ago. I seriously doubt my computer is overheating, it's cooled very efficiently.

As far as other users? Yup, the other user on my computer has also experienced this awkward rotation.

Rinswind 2th
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Den Haag: The Royal Residence
Insane since: Jul 2000

IP logged posted posted 02-28-2006 23:43 Edit Quote

I had this once a long time ago, i was using win98 or win95 or so. It turned out to be a virus which was hiding itself in the win-explorer file.
It was a very long time ago so i don't remember its name but every half decent virusscanner should be helpfull.
Get a livedisc of some sort with an virus scanner aboard and boot from the disk, scan and remove.

.........................................................................
:: Develop yourself, develop your life, develop the world ::
.........................................................................

_Mauro
Bipolar (III) Inmate

From:
Insane since: Jul 2005

IP logged posted posted 03-01-2006 00:23 Edit Quote

Yeah, if it obviously is a process (explorer.exe), investigate that.
With those info, it starts looking like a software issue to me.
(still, what we can say for sure is that it is machine dependent, so OS/application layer, or Hardware, the error is not located "above" those levels,
in application settings or such).

A virusscan is a good idea.
And, in order to repair Windows software components, you can use, for instance, start>run>scf /scannow with your Windows XP CD (restores original windows files).
You can also use a reg cleaning utility, but the only one I would recommend are regclean from Microsoft, the only +/- reliable ones.
And you should also uninstall the video card drivers, reboot, then reinstall them.

Once all these have been done, you'll have a virus free system with software components in their original state.
Reinstalling the driver on top of a regclean then means installing it on a stable system.

It should help already.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
To better "target" the cause, you can also use the Windows event viewer, for application logs in this case.
If there is a warning or error every three minutes in the application logs, copy/paste the error description to google
and you'll get Microsoft's workaround/fix for the mentionned error.

Other than that, there are detailed diagnosis tools available from sysinternals, but you won't need them unless
all that I suggest above fails.

DL-44
Lunatic (VI) Inmate

From: under the bed
Insane since: Feb 2000

IP logged posted posted 03-01-2006 00:38 Edit Quote

With all of the nice tips in here, it may not be needed, but I want to clarify the important part of JK's suggestion jsut in case it was missed - don't just look at what's using your memory/CPU, but watch to see what happens during the interval in which the problem occurs. There's a good chance whatever process is involved will show itself then and there.

FWIW

Skaarjj
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: :morF
Insane since: May 2000

IP logged posted posted 03-01-2006 09:36 Edit Quote

Yes... JK's suggestion's one of the best ways to see if it's possibly someting else during those cycles. Bring up the task manager, go to processes and click on the CPU column header twice to sort decending by CPU usage. I once had a program that used to use up every bit of processor power it could grab. Turned out to be Windows Media Player's update service. Had this big memory leak in it. I only found out what it was because I sorted by processes like that.


Justice 4 Pat Richard

_Mauro
Bipolar (III) Inmate

From:
Insane since: Jul 2005

IP logged posted posted 03-01-2006 18:55 Edit Quote

Yeah, agreed. Basically, the sysinternals things are "enhanced" monitoring tools for -anything- windows: regmon, filemon, procmon (process), tpcmon, yourmom. No, not that one.
Anyway, you get the idea.
A single click fires loads of actions inside the Windows mechanics, so DL and JK are right, and the sysinternals tools are just another way to get to know the details of what occurs, instead of the task manager.

InSiDeR
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Elizabethtown, KY
Insane since: Sep 2001

IP logged posted posted 03-03-2006 00:04 Edit Quote

Ok so.... if it is a virus (which it sounds like) what would be the best way and what software should I use to remove it?

Skaarjj
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: :morF
Insane since: May 2000

IP logged posted posted 03-03-2006 03:12 Edit Quote

That depends upon the virus. Usually you hope a good, up-to-date antivirus could wipe it out... but that's not always the case. Sometimes it takes a little bit of research with the symptoms to find a way to get rid of the bastard yourself.


Justice 4 Pat Richard

_Mauro
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From:
Insane since: Jul 2005

IP logged posted posted 03-03-2006 04:02 Edit Quote

I'd recommend McAffee or Panda off the top of my head, they both are decent at finding virii, and they have trial or online versions, but I don't personally "think" it's a virus, my recommendation
was here for completion, and giving a full list of tips.

Frankly, my next tip will be: "get at least one hint about the root cause", eg. Control Panel->Administrative Tools->Event viewer->Applications or System

It should look like this, and as you scroll down, it's easy to spot the red crosses, if they occur regularly, you nailed the origin of your problem.



And I was wrong, you don't even have to copy/paste to google for known issues (the ones which have well known fixes), they are linked to the Microsoft Knowledge base directly from the event viewer.

Plus, if you spot something that looks like the issue, you can copy/paste it here for advice.

(Edited by _Mauro on 03-03-2006 04:03)

InSiDeR
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Elizabethtown, KY
Insane since: Sep 2001

IP logged posted posted 03-03-2006 04:57 Edit Quote

Well, I brought that up and I think I've found the problem...

I have hundreds of crosses and i's (for information) labeled DCOM (crosses) and service control manager (i's) that occur within 1:30 to 3 minutes apart from each other, they're definitely the cause of the problem.

I'd post a screen shot but I no longer own any webspace. Now that I've identified the problem, where do I go from here?

_Mauro
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From:
Insane since: Jul 2005

IP logged posted posted 03-03-2006 17:43 Edit Quote

Hmmm... DCOM Stands for Distributed Component Object Model and the scm thing is, as the name says, a generic host for services.

Looks like some service is trying to instantiate a component every three minutes and failing, and it is tightly intricated in your explorer.exe mechanics.

You can take three routes from here, you should take all three.

1) Find one of these error messages, when you double-click it, do you get a link to the MS knowledge base?

2) Copy/paste one of the error messages to google, with quotes, to find more info.

3) Intuition: is there something that occurs regularly, some service which fails at startup, something that should be "listening" (like an antivirus and other tray tools) during your Windows sessions (and something which is installed for all users)?

Could be a browser plugin, could be anything that acts as a "waiter" and runs along explorer.exe or iexplore.exe.

You can also safely apply the "sfc /scannow" trick I gave above, and the regclean thing (because a service and related component are the cause, and because the registry contains settings for such things - and the whole system).

We're limiting the possible causes now, and finding our way.

The best for me to be able to search root causes, is to copy/paste the exact error messages for each of the two errors in your application log here.
Just double-click an entry to get the error description.

InSiDeR
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Elizabethtown, KY
Insane since: Sep 2001

IP logged posted posted 03-04-2006 05:23 Edit Quote

Here's the error message when I double click it:

The server {0002DF01-0000-0000-C000-000000000046} did not register with DCOM within the required timeout.

I don't mean to sound droll but, I typed it into google and found many responses and possible solutions, but I don't understand the lot of any of them. I'm not nearly that computer literate =\. Although I did read on one of the pages that google found that someone fixed it by changing a registry key...

Another one involved someone having DCOM blocked by their firewall, and once they enabled it, it did it's thing and installed something then they uninstalled it and scanned for viruses and all was good. That seems like something I think I have the knowledge to attempt... So I'll try that and get back to you all.

Skaarjj
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: :morF
Insane since: May 2000

IP logged posted posted 03-04-2006 07:05 Edit Quote

I'd still get one of the suggested virus scanners (or NOD32 is also damn good) and scan your drive thoroughly before you do that.


Justice 4 Pat Richard

_Mauro
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From:
Insane since: Jul 2005

IP logged posted posted 03-04-2006 17:35 Edit Quote

Skaarjj, I am sorry, but I am categoric: this is not a virus. Insider may take your advice, of course, but imho, it's a waste of time. Virii hide better than this for one, and the more he gives details, the more I am fleshing out the real cause.

I've also copy pasted your error message into google.
The weird number between weird quotes is Iexplore, as it is registered in the.. registry. (regedit-> search it, and you'll see it corresponds to IE).

That guy here: http://www.tek-tips.com/viewthread.cfm?qid=1082303&page=1

Has apparently found a way. NOT disabling Dcom (although you can safely disable it), but the following solution he provides.

I understand you're just a user, but you're a few clicks away from fixing it methinks.
I can't provide Windows screencaps as I don't have a Windows machine handy, due to my laptop dying on me (I am on Mac OS. I HATE OS 9 btw).

But google "enabling Dcom", you'll find your way to the dialogs the guy in the link above describes, and then you can do exactly what he did, it's safe, and should solve it.

Also, try the same search (with the whole error message between quotes), and then append "msdn" or "microsoft knowledge base" to your search to have a very technical msdn description... assuming it is a known issue (it doesn't seem to be, otherwise google would have returned it as first result).

Apparently, a software component related to IE is causing DCOM registration issues. This component, for some reasons, tries to do something every three minutes.

It may be a normal Windows "job" though, and most probably is: such a timed action sounds like, for instance, the clock trying to upgrade, or if there is a fan control, maybe the fan control soft querying the cpu temp, etc.

But I can't see a virus doing this every three minutes, I can't think of a reason for it. Same for spywares.

InSiDeR
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Elizabethtown, KY
Insane since: Sep 2001

IP logged posted posted 03-05-2006 05:43 Edit Quote

Well I typed "enabling DCOM" into google and followed the instructions given here:http://support.sas.com/rnd/itech/doc9/admin_oma/sasserver/comdcom/dcom_enable.html

They didn't seem to work at first so I rebooted, but still no luck =\. Though I keep feeling like we're nearing the solution.

Skaarjj
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: :morF
Insane since: May 2000

IP logged posted posted 03-05-2006 06:03 Edit Quote

Well, _Mauro... you can be as categoric as you want, but having been caught out by things like this before, I prefer to be thorough. Over-confidence on a given path hen other possibilities still present themselves is one of the fastest ways to royall screw things up, in my experience. But, in the end, it's up to Insider what he wishes to do, not you or me.


Justice 4 Pat Richard

InSiDeR
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Elizabethtown, KY
Insane since: Sep 2001

IP logged posted posted 03-05-2006 07:16 Edit Quote

I'll do everything that is suggested until all is fixed =\.

_Mauro
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From:
Insane since: Jul 2005

IP logged posted posted 03-05-2006 17:19 Edit Quote

Skaarjj, no offense meant, I do think completion is good for resolution of such issues and I do agree on that and said it before. I do not think randomness is good, it is not a so called best practice at least.

I do think you've experienced comp issues in the past.

I have too. For 9 months now, I've resolved 40 issues of this kind per week for a multinational company.

So yes, experience sounds good, I agree. Order in steps taken for the resolution, methodology and thinking sound even better.
Of course, an advice is an advice, an opinion is an opinion, and everything is good for Insider, but my opinion is that you are wrong on the virus issue, and the way to investigate this.
And I don't want to attack or insult you by saying this, I just happen to 150% disagree with you.

Here we have proven, and logged evidence, of Iexplore being the originator of the issues: Insider's Windows reports it, not me.

So this investigation should be "led to an end" prior to making stabs in the dark, me thinks, on this track we do already have some light.

----------------

Iexplore here is only acting as a "parent", cover to the real, software component which tries to register itself as Dcom and fails.
An application in general involves lots of processes. Iexplore software components are shared, in part, by explorer.exe, hence the fact your explorer.exe "magically locks" each and every time an error pertaining to Iexplore is logged in your applications log: something is saying to IE "hold on, have to try registering myself as DCOM" and never succeeds.

And it really is what happens: a sub process requires his top-level parent to wait for an action which can't be performed, and fails after a couple of seconds of lag.

Consider the reformatting vs tracking down issue balance, also: which one will resolve the problem faster and with the smallest impact on bus... your activities

The link you gave for DCOM is correct, try unchecking everything, restarting, checking everything again, restarting, etc. a couple of times.

To let the system apply this setting fully on startup: it's important.

Of course, a decent default state is important: is your system protected at all? Is it up-to-date? Issues like this can be bugfixed by Windows update.

All my assumptions above take for granted a Windows XP sp 2 with at least a firewall, and maybe a popup blocker and casual spyware check.

But the symptoms still don't look -at all- like a virus.

A Virus which is stupid enough to tell the applications log it has messed up every three minutes would be dead before long, it would basically write down "hello world, I am a nasty piece of software causing others to lock".

I just, in terms of logic and statistics, can't imagine such an obvious activity allow a virus to spread, as it would be identified so early.

Let alone the fact that DCOM is rarely used. Lmao... Think of a nasty virus maker saying to himself "to hide my virus, I'll use a feature which is never used by normal applications and that will lead any error to cause a log entry about the origin".

Way to go! The only possible worse way to write a virus would be writing one which auto-erases itself.

My 2 cents.
One more cent though: on the sysinternals site (www.sysinternals.com) there is a nice piece of software called "procmon": keep it running in the foreground,and when your comp hangs, procom can tell you the exact sub-process which causes this.

If you get a procmon window to run in the foreground while the issue occurs...

And of course, all this is advice indeed, hence the 2 cents price.

InSiDeR
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Elizabethtown, KY
Insane since: Sep 2001

IP logged posted posted 03-05-2006 22:40 Edit Quote

Couldn't find procmon on that website. I found a bunch of other utlities that ended with 'mon,' but not procmon =\.

_Mauro
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From:
Insane since: Jul 2005

IP logged posted posted 03-06-2006 04:23 Edit Quote

My bad, -memory glitch. It's pslist for you. pmon could help as well, but first, pslist. As I said, it monitors processes as they appear and disappear, act, etc. It could not be enough, I don't know all the sysinternals tools by heart, but it should display the guilty process when your computer freezes.

InSiDeR
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Elizabethtown, KY
Insane since: Sep 2001

IP logged posted posted 03-10-2006 05:57 Edit Quote

After restarting my computer and trying to reconfigure the DCOM settings like I did before, I noticed that all the things I had checked were not checked. So I checked them again as stated in the procedure and restarted. Nope, went back to unchecked.

And as far as that pslist, I can't seem to get it to work. I double click it and command prompt comes up for a milisecond and disappears.

I'm considering just reformatting my whole hard drive =\.

NoJive
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: The Land of one Headlight on.
Insane since: May 2001

IP logged posted posted 03-10-2006 06:18 Edit Quote

If you decide to format I suggest you consider killdisk.

http://www.download.com/3000-2092-10188745.html

I figure if you're going that far, might as well make sure there's nothing on that hard drive.

The other BIG thing to remember is disconenct from the internet while you're reinstalling the OS... set up your firewall etc 'before' going back on line.

InSiDeR
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Elizabethtown, KY
Insane since: Sep 2001

IP logged posted posted 03-10-2006 07:05 Edit Quote

Well I'm going to xfer all my music, vids, photos, and various other paitings or artworks onto a second hard drive, then reformat the one with the OS on it.

_Mauro
Maniac (V) Inmate

From:
Insane since: Jul 2005

IP logged posted posted 03-11-2006 10:13 Edit Quote

I said it before, so for the sake of completion:

quote:

Consider the reformatting vs tracking down issue balance, also: which one will resolve the problem faster and with the smallest impact on bus... your activities



And this:

quote:

And as far as that pslist, I can't seem to get it to work. I double click it and command prompt comes up for a milisecond and disappears.



When such a thing happens, you are generally running a command-line prog.
There is a Windows version of pslist, but when in doubt about wether a soft is command-line or not,
just create a text file besides the prog, inside that text file, put:

code:
progname.exe
pause



And name that file "something.bat", then double-click it.

docilebob
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: buttcrack of the midwest
Insane since: Oct 2000

IP logged posted posted 03-13-2006 13:44 Edit Quote

Not to change the subject or anything, but I have the same problem with the sfc.exe. When you tell it to run, it flashes on the sreen almost long enough to identify it, and it`s gone. (Win 2K pro).
Why does it do that ?



<edit> it also happens on my machine at work that`s running XP Pro</edit>

(Edited by docilebob on 03-13-2006 13:45)

hyperbole
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Madison, Indiana, USA
Insane since: Aug 2000

IP logged posted posted 03-13-2006 19:31 Edit Quote

bob: sfc.exe is a command line program. You need to run it from a command prompt to see any output from it. If you try to run any command line program from within windows, it will exhibit that behavior.

Start menu --> Run.
Type cmd.
In the command window type sfc

.



-- not necessarily stoned... just beautiful.


(Edited by hyperbole on 03-13-2006 20:03)

docilebob
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: buttcrack of the midwest
Insane since: Oct 2000

IP logged posted posted 03-14-2006 07:02 Edit Quote

Exibits the same behavior from the "run" command.
At least in XP. I`m at work now. But I have tried the run command on the 2K Pro box , and it does the same thing.

Skaarjj
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: :morF
Insane since: May 2000

IP logged posted posted 03-14-2006 07:54 Edit Quote

That's because you're missing out the step where you type 'cmd' and hit enter to bring up the windows command prompt. In that DOS window that then comes up you navigate to where sfc is and type 'sfc.exe' and let it run.


Justice 4 Pat Richard

Gilbert Nolander
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Washington DC
Insane since: May 2002

IP logged posted posted 03-15-2006 05:55 Edit Quote

as info:

Try this virus scan software out. It works really well, and its free...

http://free.grisoft.com/doc/1

----| Asylum Quotes

docilebob
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: buttcrack of the midwest
Insane since: Oct 2000

IP logged posted posted 03-15-2006 06:55 Edit Quote

@ Skaarjj :

Ah-HA !

I`ll try that when I get home. At work it says I need to be an admin running a console session.
Thanks.

InSiDeR
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Elizabethtown, KY
Insane since: Sep 2001

IP logged posted posted 03-17-2006 06:14 Edit Quote

Ok I made the .bat file and put exactly what you told me to put in there, when I double click it a command prompt comes up and says press any key to continue, then it disappears =\.

_Mauro
Maniac (V) Inmate

From:
Insane since: Jul 2005

IP logged posted posted 03-17-2006 19:58 Edit Quote

...Consider seriously remastering that pc, eg. backup/format/reinstall.

If you want to keep your local settings, they are stored to {systemroot}:\Documents and Settings\{username}
So back that up among things.

Because, in the amount of time it'll take for me to guide you through a resolution, with all the misunderstandings due to various factors,
computers will have been replaced by genetically created pocket multipurpose bots, and we will be in some cryogenic sleep state waiting to be resurrected.
...

If you persist in tracking and removing the root cause, though, then I've just tested a bunch of sysinternals on my home pc,
and there's a better one for you, one with a cool gui on top.
A sort of super-task-manager, and by far one of the best.

http://www.sysinternals.com/Utilities/ProcessExplorer.html

When you use it, sort by cpu, and in the "view" menu, check all "show" options. The most important is the "show process tree".
And try to spot which one freezes, and post us with a screencap.

It's easy, the one which freezes will have something close to 100% cpu.
By monitoring the process tree, if it's a program that depends on another, we can track the exact originator.

Can't do that with the normal task manager.

_Mauro
Maniac (V) Inmate

From:
Insane since: Jul 2005

IP logged posted posted 03-17-2006 20:01 Edit Quote

Actually, Process Explorer is a hell of a monitoring tool.
I mean, it will replace 10 other system tools I used to use, from now on.

It just shows processes that are currently accessing the filesystem in green, or other colors,
it shows -exactly- what's going on, and allows you to lookup any process on google in a click.

Plus 10000 other amazing features. This thing rocks.

(Edited by _Mauro on 03-17-2006 20:01)

InSiDeR
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Elizabethtown, KY
Insane since: Sep 2001

IP logged posted posted 03-19-2006 07:13 Edit Quote

Don't have webspace, but bottom line is I've found the program. When it's not locking up, 'System Idle Process' is taking up 80-90% of my CPU, but after a little research I've found that to be perfectly normal. However, when it IS locking up, I've located the program that's doing it. When it locks up, 'winlogon.exe' is now taking up 80-90% and SID is down to 10-20%. Once it's done locking up SID is back to where it was and winlogon.exe goes back to 10-20% CPU usage. I've typed winlogon.exe into google and found this useful definition. It's a backdoor trojan that hides itself in my comp to steal and send out personal information. I also found another discussion of this virus here.

After searching for winlogon.exe on my hard drive, I've found that I have:

WINLOGON.EXE in C:\i386
WINLOGON.EXE-0957F9B2.pf in C:\WINDOWS\Prefetch
winlogon.exe in C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32

So basically, I have to somehow determine which one is the real winlogon and which one is the virus. Then I have to disable/kill the program, and finally delete it from my hard drive. And probably run adaware afterwards...

So. My question is, how do I determine which one is the virus?

JKMabry
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: raht cheah
Insane since: Aug 2000

IP logged posted posted 03-19-2006 08:40 Edit Quote

winlogon should live in system32

InSiDeR
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Elizabethtown, KY
Insane since: Sep 2001

IP logged posted posted 03-19-2006 08:51 Edit Quote

The real one or the virus?

Skaarjj
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: :morF
Insane since: May 2000

IP logged posted posted 03-19-2006 10:30 Edit Quote

The real one. But here's the problem. the i386 folder looks like it's left over from the installation of windows, and the Prefetch folder is, I believe (and I could be wrong) something like a process cache. All three of those files may very well be legitimate, however it is displaying abberant behaviour. You can try, of course, running Symantec's Netsky Removal Tool and see if it catches anything. Worth a shot if nothing else presents itself.


Justice 4 Pat Richard

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