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Old 04. Nov 2009, 11:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I am running Windows XP Pro service pack 3, all of the latest free versions of Avast, Comodo(just firewall), Superantispyware, Malwarebytes, and Firefox as my browser. Additionally, I have No-Script, and Link-Extend.
My problem is, my computer will just shut down while browsing the net, or even if I just attempt to open a programme. It will re-start, but sometimes windows will not load, it justs hangs, with a black screen and the mouse pointer on the screen,sometimes it just freezes, and nothing will move.
I read on your forum to run scans on Superantispyware, and Malwarebytes. But when I do this both programmes either crash after a few minutes, or freeze before they have completed their scans. I have 1.5gb of ram, which is only reading as 1.12gb in system properties,and I regularly receive a message telling me that my computer is using virtual memory.
Finally, I logged onto Windows update, and although there where no critical updates for download, whilst on the site I went into review update history, I was greeted with the message, " you have not downloaded updates from this site" I have downloaded over 30 updates in the last 6 weeks, and have my updates set for 1am every morning. Yet nothing on view.
Sorry for a very long first post, but I was trying to cover everything that I have noticed going wrong on my computer.
I do hope you can help me please?
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Old 05. Nov 2009, 12:03 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Wow. This could be any number of issues from hardware to software.

Hardware--it could be your hard drive failing; it could be bad memory; it could be a bad power supply. There are probably other possibilities.

Software--could be corrupted registry; could be a virus or malware; could be a corrupt windows installer; could be a failed windows installer program (windows cleanup tool); or could be some failed uninstalled software. Again, could be many other possibilities.

1st steps--check out hardware possibilities; hard drive, RAM, power supply, etc.

http://www.techsupportalert.com/best...ng-utility.htm
http://www.techsupportalert.com/node/84
http://www.memtest.org/

2nd steps--boot into safe mode and run some anti-virus and malware scans

http://www.techsupportalert.com/cont...escue-disk.htm
http://www.techsupportalert.com/best...e-programs.htm

3rd step--download and install windows clean-up tool. Then use it to uninstall any unneeded programs or clean up failed installs.

This is a good place to start.
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Old 05. Nov 2009, 12:19 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank You. I am on it as soon as I finish typing this reply.
Could be a long night? I will keep you posted with my progress.
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Old 05. Nov 2009, 12:42 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Unless you have the time available to chase the ghosts and sufficient knowledge to work all the tools a clean install would seem the best option. If you do decide on this action though please double check (scan) everything you've backed up onto discs or pendrives (preferably on another PC) before re-introducing it into your clean system. If the problems persist after this then you've proved a hardware issue and it's time to ask Father Christmas for a new computer
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Old 05. Nov 2009, 04:26 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I was at work when I responded earlier. Now I'm at home and have a little more time.

I've faced similar type issues twice in the past year. I would have sworn that both were software/registry issues. I spent hours working on them both times. Both times, I finally gave up and took it to a "guru". (That was humbling in itself as I consider myself pretty computer savvy.)

The first time it was an over-heating issue. My liquid cooling system somehow had lost all it's coolant and my machine was over-heating. The second time I swore it had to be bad memory. It wasn't. It was a failing hard drive. I've come to appreciate hardware a lot more than I used to. In fact, I now swear by a hard drive monitoring program called Active Hard Disk Monitor that I found on here.

In the end, I found out that I know a lot more about software issues than hardware issues. I also found out that spending hours upon hours trying to fix a broken system is normally a waste of time unless you really know what you are doing. Midnight is right....either re-format and re-install windows OR take it to a professional. In the end, it will be more productive.

However, if you desire to try to fix it on your own, I'm sure that some of us will try our best to try to assist you.
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Old 05. Nov 2009, 10:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by learnerdriver View Post
My problem is, my computer will just shut down while browsing the net, or even if I just attempt to open a programme. It will re-start, but sometimes windows will not load, it justs hangs, with a black screen and the mouse pointer on the screen,sometimes it just freezes, and nothing will move.
I have 1.5gb of ram, which is only reading as 1.12gb in system properties,and
Finally, I logged onto Windows update, and although there where no critical updates for download, whilst on the site I went into review update history, I was greeted with the message, " you have not downloaded updates from this site" I have downloaded over 30 updates in the last 6 weeks, and have my updates set for 1am every morning. Yet nothing on view.
Sorry for a very long first post, but I was trying to cover everything that I have noticed going wrong on my computer.
I do hope you can help me please?
A couple of things:

- 1.5gigs of memory is an odd number - sometimes mixing sizes and brands of memory will cause problems like this. If you have two sticks of memory I would take out the smaller one, reboot, and see if that makes a difference.
Buying matched sets of memory has solved that for me.

-Have you tried booting into Safe Mode and seeing if you have the same problems? (Holding down the F8 when BIOS starts up, or tapping the F8 key while booting works - choose Windows Safe Mode or Safe Mode with Networking)

- Were you checking the Windows updates that are on your computer or were you checking the Windows Update web site? The ones on your computer would be listed. I think they show up in Windows Explorer and they are listed in blue. Maybe under the Windows listing? Sorry its been a while since I've had to work much on XP.

- Have you tried a System Restore to a point before all this started? (providing you have System Restore turned on)
To get there click Start/Accessories/System Tools/System Restore

It sounds like it could be a hardware problem though I would rule out software first.
Hardware is tricky to track down - like Kendall mentioned, the first thing I would check is to see if you're computer is overheating. Sometimes opening up the case and letting the computer run with no cover will give a clue to overheating.
I would also pop the case open and make sure all cables and connectors are tight - nothing loose.
While you're there, make sure all your case fans are working, especially the heat sink fan. Make sure everything is clean and dust free- fan blades, memory, HDD, Power Supply, all that stuff.

If it's still not working I would check the Hard Disk Drive and then the Power Supply. Power Supply issues are particularly tricky to diagnose - if you have a working Power Supply hanging around I would swap it out to test it. Ditto for the hard drive.
That's all I have to add to the conversation.
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Old 06. Nov 2009, 12:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalnomad View Post
Hardware is tricky to track down - like Kendall mentioned, the first thing I would check is to see if you're computer is overheating. Sometimes opening up the case and letting the computer run with no cover will give a clue to overheating.
I would also pop the case open and make sure all cables and connectors are tight - nothing loose.
While you're there, make sure all your case fans are working, especially the heat sink fan. Make sure everything is clean and dust free- fan blades, memory, HDD, Power Supply, all that stuff.


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If you do decide to open the casing please bear in mind a couple of issues:

1) Stay safe! Don't attempt this unless you are capable of working with live electrics and please consider anyone else who might arrive on the scene while your busy pumping several hundred volts into your right arm

2) Opening the case could invalidate any warranty and/or service agreement you might have, although from what you've told us so far I guess this isn't the case.
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Last edited by MidnightCowboy; 06. Nov 2009 at 12:25 AM.
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Old 06. Nov 2009, 01:04 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Evening All
Thank you all very much for your help.
I have almost completed all of the tasks suggested by Kendall. without complete success. (see below)
I only had 1 critical update missing which was on old one for IE 6,which as I said I do not use anymore, currently using Firefox.
The main h/d was excellent 98%, temp was correct, the 2nd h/d which only stores photos, documents, etc was 95%, again temp was correct.
The only programme I could not delete was Adobe 9. All temp files, and clutter had aready been deleted.
Malwarebytes Superantispyware, and avast were all run in safe mode. Only turned up 7 adware tracking cookies from Virgin Media (deleted)
All cables are secure, and clean and free from dust.
The only task I did not undertake was checking my memory. I did turn off the computer and switched the memory sticks around 1 at a time. There are 3 slots on the board an Aopen, which the website claims will take 4gb.
The result showed:
Slot A0 has 1024mb
Slot A2 has 1024mb
Slot A4 empty
Slot A3 empty
I did try to load Memtest86+, and that is when I got a bit lost, as to how to open the iso, or gzip file.
A little bit more help if possible with the above please?
Question? should the larger module 1gb be closer to the motherboard, or further away? I have 1x1gb and 2x512mb memory sticks, not all the same.
The computer does not seem to be performing as poorly as before the tasks were undertaken, but still seems to freeze after clicking an icon, or programme.
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Old 06. Nov 2009, 02:46 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MidnightCowboy View Post
If you do decide to open the casing please bear in mind a couple of issues:

1) Stay safe! Don't attempt this unless you are capable of working with live electrics and please consider anyone else who might arrive on the scene while your busy pumping several hundred volts into your right arm

2) Opening the case could invalidate any warranty and/or service agreement you might have, although from what you've told us so far I guess this isn't the case.
Yes yes yes Stay Safe! Always unplug everything, and even then the power supply can deliver a lot of volts. Always good to have someone who knows all that electric stuff. They can even test your Power Supply for you.
Be careful cleaning inside the computer, canned air gets very cold and has been known to fry components and even brushes can carry a static electric charge. I know someone who lost their memory that way. Er, their computer memory.
Using one of the small vacuums made for use with electronics is a good way to clean. The anti-static bags that computer hardware is usually wrapped in is good have around. I put screws and such on it. One of those wrist bands that grounds you is good as well. I have a spray bottle filled partly with liquid fabric softener and the rest with water that I spray all over carpets and furniture where I'm working, and all over the place I live because its so darn dry here in winter everyone gets shocked grabbing door handles and the like. I haven't had any problems with it staining anything but your mileage may vary.

As for voiding warranties......I keep forgetting that part because I build my own systems. They have no warranty, other than what the hardware comes with.
If it comes down to it, I've probably voided the warranty on my laptop. I'm sure I downloaded a driver for a piece of hardware that came from the manufacturer and not the retailer. It was for the touchpad.

Thanks for bringing up all that additional information MC.
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Old 06. Nov 2009, 04:48 AM   #10 (permalink)
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For MemTest86+, download the gz (or zip) file, extract the iso and burn it into a blank cd (http://www.techsupportalert.com/best...g-software.htm). Then boot from it (select your cd drive with disc inside as the first boot item in BIOS).
The rest should be fairly straightforward.
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