How to Cut Your Internet Connection to a Crawl

Our Internet service at home has been absolutely HORRIBLE for the last ten days or so.  I went through several calls to our ISP, a new cable modem, two technicians in the home, the first technician dissing what the support people on the phone had told me for being wildly and uselessly incorrect, a tier 3 technician with whom I spoke on the phone dissing the first technician for not doing some checks he thought he should have, and the second technician – a lead technician specialist – finally figuring out what was going on, proving that EVERYONE to date had missed the diagnosis.

Turns out the problem wasn’t my ISP.  It was my hardware.  Or rather software running on my hardware.

A few days before our Internet access slowed to a crawl, showing up as lousy ping times, many dropped packets, traceroutes with steps where it couldn’t connect, and generally unusable access, I upgraded my desktop PC from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10.  That wasn’t the source of the problem, at least not directly.  The day before it became unusable, I also upgraded my laptop from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10.  That also wasn’t the source of the problem, again at least not directly.  There was a common issue, however, that was the source of the problem.

Windows 8.1 had a problem that I couldn’t live with.  To use the Microsoft OneDrive app and sync files from a Windows 8.1 computer to the OneDrive cloud, you needed to log into that computer with a Windows Live login.  I hated that.  Absolutely, positively without reservation HATED that.  So I wouldn’t do it.

Then I learned about SyncDriver for OneDrive.  It is an app that negotiated between Windows 8.1 and OneDrive and let you sync without forcing a Windows Live login on the PC.  It worked great.

When I upgraded to Windows 10, however, I discovered that Microsoft had wised up and removed that restriction, so I could login to my PC with a local login and still connect to OneDrive.  So I uninstalled SyncDriver on both my desktop and laptop PC.  Or at least I asked Windows to uninstall it from the Add/Remove Programs screen and it told me it had.  But it really hadn’t.

SyncDriver stayed installed and resumed running on a reboot of each system.  That’s a problem, but not the one that knocked our Internet connection to its knees.  SyncDriver was stuck in some kind of a loop trying to upload the same file over and over.  And over.  And over.  It keeps a log file in TXT format and archives a log file when it gets to be 1 MB in size.  SyncDriver was writing four or five log files a day on my PC.  The ISP technician who was in our home today said that we had more than 60 GB of uploads in the last ten days.  That’s more than we downloaded in that time.

SyncDriver was the culprit.  At least I’m certain it is, I guess I don’t have full proof.  My son and I were on the desktop PC trying to figure out whether it had been infected with a rootkit or virus when we looked at the network resource monitor, part of the Windows 10 Task Manager, and saw the SyncDriver utility still running, despite having been uninstalled.  Or so I thought.  There was no longer an entry for it in the Add/Remove Programs screen.  I was able to uninstall it by downloading the installer, running it again and immediately uninstalling it.

The network was running well while the technician was here as the desktop PC had rebooted itself after what I presume was an automatically installed update and I hadn’t logged in yet.  I was also out of town visiting my Mom so my laptop wasn’t connected to the LAN or Internet.

When I booted my laptop this evening, my son pretty much immediately called down asking me to check my connection to the Internet.  That’s when I discovered SyncDrive running on it, too.  The second I stopped SyncDriver, the network came back and was usable again.  Installing and uninstalling the program appears to have removed it this time.

I sent a couple of emails to the support account at SyncDrive late this afternoon but haven’t heard back from them yet.  I wanted to be sure they knew of the issues.

I also wanted to write it up here in case someone else runs into the same trouble.  Hopefully, they’ll find this through a search and learn one possibility for getting their Internet connection working again.

Thanks to James, the technician who visited us today, for getting us on the path to figure out what was going on.

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Thanks for sharing this info in such a detailed report!

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