I woke up this morning to find my PC in the lounge powered on. This is rarely a good sign, since it routinely goes into hibernation after its nightly backup at around 1am, so if it’s powered on unbidden when I get up, it means something didn’t go right.

It became immediately obvious that the machine was running outrageously slow, taking a good minute just to unlock the screen. An attempt at opening Task Manager hadn’t completed two minutes later. If I’d been in a hurry, I’d have simply rebooted, but since it was Saturday, I fired up my laptop and settled down to breakfast.

When I came back, this is what I found:

One process, ADEProxy.exe, had spawned over 10,000 instances of itself, causing such massive process contention that a single taskmgr.exe process was utterly starved of resources. Yes, TEN THOUSAND instances. I’m pretty sure that’s a new record for number of processes open on my machine at once. I should point out that this machine is a has a quad-core Q6600 processor and 4GB of RAM, so it’s not exactly easy to slow it down (and bizarrely, those 10,000 processes weren’t even using that much CPU time). Sadly I wasn’t able to get a screenshot of the number of open handles.

Luckily once the Task Manager had focus, I could at least right-click one of the instances and find out what the sodding thing was:

A quick search online confirmed that it’s part of the Android phone PC USB interface, which is integrated into the PC Suite for my Android-based Dell Streak. Quite why it decided to go Agent Smith on my computer is so far unknown, other than the fact it is clearly coded by imbeciles. Overcome with morbid curiosity at just how bad the problem was, I resisted a reboot once more, instead opting to run pskill to see how long it took to nuke 10,000 processes. After 25 minutes I went and took a shower, and it was just finishing up when I got back. In all it took over an hour.

Here I was thinking that Nokia’s PC Suite was a bloated piece of junk. I’d say we have a new winner in that category.

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About The Angry Technician

The Angry Technician is an experienced IT professional in the UK education sector. Normally found in various states of annoyance on his blog. All views are those of his imaginary pet dog, Howard.

10 responses to “Myriad”

  1. Mr M says :

    Ten thousand processes? Ten THOUSAND processes?


    That is truly amazing. You should definitely email a screenshot / link to this article to the devs if you can possibly get hold of a contact for them…

    Mr M

  2. Josh H says :

    I’m continually fascinated by how bad mobile phone sync/configuration/whatever software seems to be. I use a Sony Erricson k750i, the software suite bundled with this phone was around 5 totally separate applications (though you had no option to only select certain applications, it was all or nothing). Each application in the suite had a separate installer executed by a quick and dirty command prompt window which flashed open between installer processes, a sure sign of bad software in my opinion. The highly predictable result: 5 separate license agreements to agree to when installing, 5 separate applications to uninstall when cleaning up and 5 applications I didn’t even need, as I only wanted my phone to appear as a removable drive.

    To think this is apparently release grade software both saddens and enrages me, are people actually being paid to provide this as a solution?!

  3. Andy says :

    Don’t forget some HP driver ‘notification programs’ do this as well – I’ve seen those in the thousands as well. Nothing quite that big though.

  4. tmcd35 says :

    +1 for the iPad – iTunes has never spawned more than 3 processes on me (including the iTunes helper process), unless of course I get click-happy trying to open iTunes.

  5. Claudio says :

    The damned Nokia PC Suite is always one of the first things I deactivate from the startup registry (Run) on ALL the computers which come into my hands. Mine of family, of friends, business and so on.

  6. bonnie says :

    The adeproxy spawn just happened to me. I’ve had my Dell Streak a couple of months and never before had a problem. How do you fix the problem? I unplugged the Streak and rebooted the computer as a temporary fix, but I do need to connect them to download photos. Thanks for your help. Bonnie

  7. Graham says :

    Haha! I think I’ve just fallen in love with your term “decided to go Agent Smith on me.” It’s apt. APT!

    I wish I could lock up the guy responsible for the Java cache.. when I had to deploy Java run-times, it took a lot to keep it pruned, or it would bloat everyone’s roaming/redirected profiles.

    Next I would take the web developers behind the shed who choose to write garbage pages that need this stuff without thought to other implementations.

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