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I have downloaded the latest stable release of the ethereum wallet for windows. I installed everything and now I am just downloading. (I have repeated this process twice and the same issue has occured), while downloading the blockchain, my download seems to stop or slow down to only a few blocks per minute at the ~2,429,000 block. Any idea why this is happening. I have tried erasing the AppData of the blockchain and using a completely fresh install of both ethereum wallet and the blockchain.

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Yup - the network received alot of spam transactions around those blocks. You can get more details from here: https://theethereum.wiki/w/index.php/Ethereum_Wallet_Syncing_Problems

The best way to fix is by using the latest client (which defaults to a fast sync) as well as use an SSD to store the blockchain.

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