Intermittent problems

Discussion in 'Computer Information' started by UCLAN, May 22, 2010.

  1. UCLAN

    UCLAN Guest

    I have numerous intermittent problems. This is an older system - an
    Anthlon XP 2.1GHz running under Windows XP, 1GB RAM (max allowed)
    65GB HDD about half full.

    Problems:

    Web browser (latest Firefox version) will be working fine, then start
    not correctly opening pages (graphics, fonts incorrect.) Closing &
    re-opening Firefox corrects problem (for a while).

    Mail client (Thunderbird) will sometimes not add attachments to mail.
    Closing and reopening Thunderbird corrects problem.

    Adobe Reader 9.0 will sometimes not correctly open a PDF file or even
    open its "OPEN" menu. Closing and re-opening Adobe Reader solves the problem.

    Word will sometimes give a "not enough memory" error when trying to open file,
    or sometimes when trying to open "OPEN" menu. Closing and re-opening Word
    corrects the problem.

    Do these symptoms ring a bell, anyone? Thanks.
     
    UCLAN, May 22, 2010
    #1
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  2. Have you run your anti virus? Is it up to date? Have you scanned for
    malware? Is the malware scanner up to date? And, finally, have you scanned
    for spyware, and is your spy checker up to date?

    If yes to all of these, and you still have problems, then I'd suggest that
    you need to reload Windows and start over.

    Unfortunately, virii, malware, and spyware can all sneak past the tools on
    occasion, and remain after the checks come up clean. If this happens,
    there's not much you can do but to reinstall Windows. The downside of this
    is that you also have to reinstall all of the apps.

    XP running under 1G of RAM is gonna struggle anyhow. Well, it should run
    okay, but to get real performance, 2G is way better, and bumping it to 4G is
    the best. It's difficult to beat XP that's running under 4G.

    I bought a motherboard at Fry's last week (Tue., 05/18) for $38.25 that
    included the CPU _ and_ has a $10 mail-in rebate dropping the price to
    $28.25. It's a pretty nice board for a non-gamer -- which with what you're
    running now, you have to be. And if you _are_ gaming with that machine and
    getting by, the board I got from Fry's will change your life and improve
    your scores.
     
    Jeff Strickland, May 22, 2010
    #2
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  3. UCLAN

    Paul Guest

    Run Prime95, and see if it remains error free in a four hour run.
    If it stops in a matter of minutes, with an error, it could be
    processor or memory. You can then work on the problem, until
    Prime95 is clean. (You want the stress test option of this program,
    and don't have to "Join GIMPS".)

    http://www.mersenne.org/freesoft/

    The purpose of using Prime95, is partly to do a test that doesn't
    touch the graphics card. If Prime95 runs fine, then you'd suspect
    the problems are caused by the video card/AGP slot, and its interaction
    with the OS.

    If you want, you can also do a visual inspection for bad capacitors.
    My AthlonXP machine started to crash, as the 5V rail on the power
    supply started to fail, and there were four leaking caps inside
    the power supply. But that is a different set of symptoms than
    you're getting, and your problem smells more like a bad video card.
    But running a few more test cases, may help isolate the problem.

    For a graphics stress test, I like 3DMark2001SE, as the download
    size is smaller than a lot of the later versions. At this point,
    it isn't going to isolate a problem - but if Prime95 passes, and
    3DMark "crashes and burns", you'd suspect a video card problem
    or a bad AGP slot. (It could even be the onboard power source for
    the low voltage AGP I/O supply for example.)

    http://majorgeeks.com/3Dmark_d99.html (41MB)

    Paul
     
    Paul, May 22, 2010
    #3
  4. UCLAN

    UCLAN Guest

    I thought the same thing, but my runs were all clean. Problems persisted,
    so I let an "expert" come over and have a go at it. He found no virii,
    malware, or spyware. He cleaned up my registry, defragged my HDD, got rid
    of many unwanted and unneeded programs active at start-up, check PSU voltages,
    checked CPU fan and exhaust fan operation, installed more RAM (up to the MB's
    1GB max), and told me if I still have problems Windows might need to be
    re-installed. Since Windows XP came pre-installed, I never had it on disc
    (to my knowledge.) Of course, all of the intermittent problems did not appear
    in his presence.
    This Asus MB has a max of 1GB of RAM. Still have the problems, but the 'puter
    sure is faster than it was before.
    Not a gamer. But I'm getting sick of these intermittent problems. If I keep
    my current monitor, speakers, etc., I can get a new HP PC only with an Intel
    i3, 6GB RAM, 1GB HDD, Windows 7 Premium, etc., for about $600 delivered. That
    may be my best route.

    Thanks.
     
    UCLAN, May 23, 2010
    #4
  5. If you have your BIOS set (properly is the word I'll use, but it not the
    right word ...) then you should see an opportunity for F11, or something, to
    Restore Windows.

    If you have a Drive D: that is hidden or protected or otherwise configured
    to keep you from using it, then it should carry the original issue of XP. I
    don't recall what machine you said you have, but it is common that major
    brands that have Windows pre-installed will have a disk partition with the
    original software stored in the partitioned space.

    If you go to My Computer, it should show Drive C and Drive D. If D is
    configured so that you cannot get to it, then you should have an F10 of F11
    opportunity during boot-time to restore Windows.

    If you have Fry's Electronics nearby, you can buy a decent motherboard and
    gobs of RAM for $150 any day of the week, and if you wait for a sale, or
    accept DDR2, then you can get down to 50-ish dollars for the board and
    25-ish dollars for RAM. They'll plug the CPU and RAM in for you for another
    10 bucks, but I see no reason you can't do it yourself if you understand how
    to orient the components so the pins fit properly. Of you bought the board
    and RAM, then you would also need to buy a copy of the OS.

    You could drop the new board into your existing case if you wanted to, and
    keep the other parts of your machine just as they are now.
     
    Jeff Strickland, May 23, 2010
    #5
  6. UCLAN

    UCLAN Guest

    Drive D: is labelled as "HP Recovery." What will this do?
    Thanks, but current dexterity problems prohibit this, elsewise I would have
    upgraded this dog long ago. I'm more in the "Here's some money. Fix this" type
    of mode.

    Odd thing is, since I started posting questions about this problem, the
    "glitches" have failed to occur. They're "layin' low" I guess.

    BTW...I can't seem to get into the BIOS on this thing. Windows XP, Phoenix
    LTD 3.10 BIOS (Award BIOS?). ASUS A7V8Z-LA motherboard. Hints?
     
    UCLAN, May 23, 2010
    #6
  7. UCLAN

    UCLAN Guest

    Will download & run as time permits.
    ASUS MB (A7V8X-LA) has integrated graphics (VIA UniChrome.) No plug-in
    video card.
    Present lack of dexterity prohibits my search for bad caps. And, as
    I said, integrated graphics. No video card.
    Thanks. It's looking more and more like a new base PC is in order. I'm
    quickly getting tired of chasing the glitches in this one.
     
    UCLAN, May 23, 2010
    #7
  8. Yep, that's the one you want. You should be able to invoke its services with
    an F Key during boot-time. If you can't see the opportunity for the F Key,
    then you need to go into the BIOS -- again, this is a boot-time option --
    and find a setting that displays the Power On screen.






    BIOS is opened with the Escape or Delete Key, most of the time. Some systems
    might use a different one, but there should be a line that passes by that
    says STRIKE <SOMETHING> TO ENTER SETUP, or words to that effect. If you can
    see this line though, you should see PRESS F11 (or whatever) TO START SYSTEM
    RESTORE.
     
    Jeff Strickland, May 23, 2010
    #8

  9. I wish I knew more about this stuff ...

    It's a G31. The box says, Intel Celeron E3300 Dual Core, running at 800Mhz.

    The price on the box (motherboard box) says $47 and change, but I don't know
    if this includes the processor or not. The processor box has no price on it
    but it does have a stock tag. The processor is a separate line item on the
    cash register receipt, but Fry's would list the staples on the box as a
    seperate item if htey could.
     
    Jeff Strickland, May 23, 2010
    #9
  10. UCLAN

    Paul Guest

    They put brand new glitches in each one :)
    Good luck with your next one.

    In terms of the new ones, some of the integrated graphics solutions
    include video playback acceleration. For example, an AMD 785G chipset
    has video playback acceleration. Some Nvidia based ones might as well,
    but I don't know how prevalent they are now. That would be a bit
    different, than what was included in something like a KM400 or the
    like.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMD_700_chipset_series ("UVD")
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nvidia_PureVideo (Geforce 8300, ION, "VP3")
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_HD_Graphics (GMA X4500HD, G45, maybe core i3?)

    http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2010/01/25/intel-gma-hd-graphics-performance/6

    Intel chipsets claim to be catching up, but with the lack of
    frequent reviews of features like that, it is hard to tell whether
    they're becoming more equal or not.

    In terms of RAM, RAM is becoming more expensive again. We had
    a nice dip in prices that existed for a while. DDR2 and DDR3 are
    roughly about the same price, so there isn't much benefit to
    either one, in terms of keeping the price down.

    I still recommend buying pre-built computers, that look like
    home made ones. The idea there, is if it breaks, you can use
    standard components to repair or upgrade it. I'm not a big fan
    of "slim" computers, where you can't find expansion cards to
    fit it properly, don't have enough power or air cooling.
    Naturally, everyone sees this differently, in terms of
    priorities. I like the ability, with my collection of junk,
    to take cards out of one machine, and plug them into another,
    which is why I stay with the mid-tower format.

    Paul
     
    Paul, May 23, 2010
    #10
  11. UCLAN

    UCLAN Guest

    I've been trying different "F Keys" during boot-up. No luck. Still
    can't get into BIOS or "HP Recovery."

    I'll keep trying.
     
    UCLAN, May 24, 2010
    #11
  12. UCLAN

    JD Guest

    it could be in a menu such as "Press F12 for boot options" then
    "Recovery Partition" or something similar.

    if that does not work you may have to mark the recovery partition as active:
    go to your Control Panel > Administration Tools > Computer Management
    partition) and then select mark partition Active, you should now be able
    to use F11 to recover/restore your machine.

    JD
     
    JD, May 24, 2010
    #12

  13. If you see the Windows Welcome Screen, you missed your opportunity.

    There is a very small window of opportunity to invoke the System Recovery
    operation that resides on Drive D. You need to repeatedly press F10 starting
    when you turn the power switch to ON -- I _think_ it's the F10 Key.

    When you set the power switch to ON, the machine does a Power ON Self Test
    and then loads the BIOS. I suppose it might load the BIOS then do the tests.
    In any case, to get into the BIOS (also called Setup), you press ESC or
    DELETE or F1 -- depending on the system -- and look through the settings for
    one that allows the tests to be displayed onscreen as they are taking place.
    Computer makers think that people don't want to see this stuff going on, so
    they set it to not be displayed. Dislaying the tests as they proceed does
    not slow the process of starting up, and disabling the display only makes
    the screen remain off (black) instead of showing the progress of the tests.

    The entry point of the system recovery is shown during the tests, so if the
    tests are set to not be displayed, then you do not get to see the system
    recovery entry point. The entry point is still there, but you don't get to
    see it. So, you can switch the machine ON, then tap the F10 Key until either
    the Windows Welcome Screen appears or the System Recovery prompt comes up.
    If the Windows Welcome comes up, then power down and back up and tap the F11
    Key.

    To open the BIOS, do the same thing, but tap the ESC Key, DELETE Key, and F1
    Key each successive time the machine is booting.
     
    Jeff Strickland, May 24, 2010
    #13
  14. UCLAN

    Paul Guest

    We had a recent poster, who couldn't trigger recovery (wipeout of C:),
    because of the keyboard itself. No F keys were being sent to the
    computer. A different keyboard fixed it.

    Paul
     
    Paul, May 24, 2010
    #14

  15. Good call.
     
    Jeff Strickland, May 24, 2010
    #15
  16. UCLAN

    JD Guest

    Thats a good point there are some wireless/wired keyboards (logitec for
    example)that use the F keys as multimedia short-cuts and you have to use
    a F key toggle switch somewhere on the board.

    if he continues to have problems, getting an XP oem disk and
    flattening/rebuilding might be the best choice (drivers available from
    the support section on hp site), or apparently you can go to the HP
    website enter your model number and order the re-install media (however
    i'm finding that section hard to locate)

    from the HP website
    (http://h20219.www2.hp.com/Hpsub/cache/312352-0-0-225-121.html):

    "With HP Backup & Recovery Manager, file restoration is easy. To recover
    a deleted file, simply use the Restore Wizard. For a full system
    restoration, press the F11 key during bootup and then select "Recover
    PC" from the menu."

    however as I mentioned in the previous post, some other HP users had
    problems with there Recovery partition and "Marking it Active" restored
    the F11 Boot option at startup.

    JD
     
    JD, May 24, 2010
    #16
  17. UCLAN

    UCLAN Guest

    Oh, it's F10 alright. There's 3 or 4 F-key options during boot. Problem is
    that none of them work. I've tried pressing only when those options appear
    (briefly on the screen) and I've tried pressing it several times between when
    I press the ON switch, and before the Windows Welcome screen appears. Maybe
    my keyboard is bad?
    Yeah, none of the above work at all. Frustrating. I can remember watching the
    RAM being tested on an old computer. More fun than watching a blank screen,
    IMO. Oh well. I'll keep trying.
     
    UCLAN, May 25, 2010
    #17
  18. UCLAN

    UCLAN Guest

    I've got a NEW spare keyboard in my storage. I'll dig it out next time
    back there. Thanks.
     
    UCLAN, May 25, 2010
    #18

  19. Are you using the same machine that we are talking about here?

    If yes, then the F Keys have jobs during Windows operations. For example,
    start Internet Explorer, F7 will ask if you want Carat Browsing in IE, F1
    invokes the Help Menu, F3 starts the Find feature, and so on. If none of
    these work, then your keyboard is either broken or needs new drivers. I've
    never heard of a keyboard driver fixing inoperative keys, so my money is on
    broken.
     
    Jeff Strickland, May 26, 2010
    #19
  20. UCLAN

    UCLAN Guest

    I only have one machine. The RAM test comment above was on an old P2 computer.
    I don't use IE. The current IE installed (IE8) comes up with no URL address
    window (among other things.) Also, when I start it, it goes full-screen and
    I lose my bottom "tool bar" (other programs running, icons, etc.) So, I don't
    mess with it. I'm very happy with Thunderbird.

    Last night I was able to get into BIOS by pressing F1 during boot-up. I'm sure
    I tried this unsuccessfully before. Still no luck with Recovery.
     
    UCLAN, May 26, 2010
    #20
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