where do I begin?

Discussion in 'Computer Information' started by tomScotland, Nov 1, 2003.

  1. tomScotland

    tomScotland Guest

    Thanks for all the help I've had from this forum so far.
    But, now I have a problem (or collection of problems) that I think may
    finally be terminal.

    first up - the terminology may be a bit unenlightened here, bear with me.

    System - Tiny P4 1300, 40 Gb HDD, 128 ram, running xp pro (originally Win Me
    but problems date back farther than install of xp). The computer is less
    than 3 years old.

    Symptoms
    1. Computer now takes between 5-7 minutes to boot. By "boot" I mean to load
    windows. When i start it up it beeps once, goes to the "Tiny" screen and
    stays there for 5 mins. Then it will either -

    a) Continue to load windows, or
    b) give me an error, something along the lines of System Disk Failure, boot
    from Atapi CD-Rom - press any key. pressing "any key" does nothing and I
    have to turn it off completely and start again. After a couple of attempts
    it usually loads windows.

    2. When and if the machine starts it has become so excruciatingly slow at
    doing things. The windows start-up music is fragmented and sounds like it is
    battling to play at all. Opening an application such as OE takes longer than
    it should (about 30 secs). However, once its up and running everything is
    fine unless I open more than say 2 applications at once. I can play mp3 ok
    thru Winamp, but if I try to open something else the sound will stutter and
    stop. Is this a ram issue?

    3. Sometimes, there is a "buzzing" sound on a mouse scroll or other
    activity - hard drive dying?

    4. The Matshita CD writer has given up the ghost. I can't burn any CD's.
    Haven't a clue why, but I've had my fair share of discs off it (500 maybe)

    5. There are not loads of programmes installed so I don't think its bogged
    down with software. The hard disk gets a fairly regular de-frag, all the
    temp stuff gets cleaned out regularly too.

    Anyone care to speculate?
     
    tomScotland, Nov 1, 2003
    #1
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  2. tomScotland

    Duane Arnold Guest

    Sounds to me like the machine has been compromized by a worm or Trojan.
    It's just a guess and I could be wrong -- stay off the P2P's.

    Duane :)
     
    Duane Arnold, Nov 1, 2003
    #2
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  3. tomScotland

    tomScotland Guest



    I've run AVG with latest updates. It finds nothing.
     
    tomScotland, Nov 1, 2003
    #3
  4. tomScotland

    JK Guest

    Does the system clock run slow? If so, you need a need battery on the
    motherboard.
    When did you last defragment the hard drive? If you haven't done it recently,
    I suggest that you delete as much junk from the hard drive as you can, empty
    the recycle bin, close your open windows, then defragment the hard
    drive(Start,programs, accesories, system tools, disk defragmentor).If you
    haven't
    done it in a long time, it may take a few hours. Leave the pc alone while it is
    defragmenting.128 meg of ram isn't enough when using Windows XP.
    I suggest that you add more ram. At a minimum 256 meg of ram is needed, but
    512 meg or more is recommended if you have a few applications open at once,
    or use applications with large data.
     
    JK, Nov 1, 2003
    #4
  5. tomScotland

    Duane Arnold Guest

    Scanning with an AV can sometimes catch things, and other times, it's
    useless. You need to look around yourself and see what is happening. You
    can use Active Ports and (Process Explorer or PRCview) all are free --
    use Google. Process Explorer or PRCview can look at what a program is
    using while it's running. If the machine has been compromised, then
    running the AV means nothing and you must run specialized tools to
    eradicate it. But first, you have to detect/determine that the machine
    has been compromised, if it has been compromised at all.

    http://www.windowsecurity.com/articles/Hidden_Backdoors_Trojan_Horses_and
    _Rootkit_Tools_in_a_Windows_Environment.html

    This may help too.

    Windows is Windows no matter what flavor you're running at home or work.

    I could be wrong about the whole thing, and maybe, the machine is on its
    way out. <g>

    Duane :)
     
    Duane Arnold, Nov 1, 2003
    #5
  6. tomScotland

    joaquin Guest

    wouldn't hurt to run spybot sd. google it, small program
     
    joaquin, Nov 1, 2003
    #6
  7. tomScotland

    tomScotland Guest

    Do you think any of the theories put forward so far could explain the demise
    of the cd writer? It spins when you insert a disc, but never reads or even
    recognises. Its as though it doesn't "catch".???
     
    tomScotland, Nov 2, 2003
    #7
  8. tomScotland

    mark mandel Guest

    Funy, I have the exact same problem but this is with Win98 and in a PC I
    just built. The vendor who sold it to me(and who's also a "tech", so he
    says)blames it on 98 yet you're having the same issue with Win XP. So go
    figure?

    Interestingly though, I was able to solve this(and make full use of a new
    sound card I had just purchased)by downloading the VIA 4-in-1 chipset
    drivers. BUT, the drawback(which soon became apparent)was that in the
    process the CD ROM icon disappeared in "My Computer" + I got a message in
    the Device Manager saying I was now running in MS DOS compatibility
    mode(normally this has to do with "real" mode drivers being used as opposed
    to the "protected" mode ones). But it was unfortunate since the sound card
    really came to life the short time I had this experience.

    So like you I have to find out what's causing this. At least I've ruled out
    a hardware issue because the chipset drivers got it working as I say(even
    while screwing up the rest of the system).

    Mark Mandell
     
    mark mandel, Nov 2, 2003
    #8
  9. tomScotland

    Trent© Guest

    1. The startup programs/processes are bogging down the machine. Run
    msconfig to see what's running. Disable things that aren't really
    necessary.

    2. If yer running an anti-virus program in real time, its takes a lot
    longer to do things. Turn this feature off and see what happens.
    Better yet...uninstall it temporarily...and then reboot. Then see if
    it makes a difference. You can always reinstall it again later.

    3. Yer drive could be on its last legs...even though its a relatively
    new drive.
    After its up and running well, do a series of reboots. If it boots up
    okay after its been running an hour or so, it may be a problem with
    the hard drive...not spinning fast enough when the drive is cold.
    1. Run AdAware...ver. 6.181 Make sure you get the latest definitions
    before you run it.

    2. Do a file search for *.tmp and delete them all. Then 'temp' and
    delete those that aren't needed.

    3. Install and run Vopt...especially the section that removes
    Temporary Internet Files.

    4. Empty your recycle bin.

    5. Do a defrag.

    It really sounds like a CPU issue...but that shouldn't be the case if
    yer runnin' a P4. Are you sure the BIOS has you runnin' a P4?
    Not from that...but, as I said before, it may indeed be dying.

    That's probably an unrelated issue.
    Many people forget...

    1. *.tmp & temp stuff...as noted above.

    2. Temporary Internet files and cookies.

    3. Tweaking...as outlined/performed with Vopt.

    4. Deleting the deleted email.

    5. Compacting OE files...especially the news files.

    Also, do a search for very large files. Vopt can do that for you.

    Good luck.


    Have a nice week...

    Trent

    Follow Joan Rivers' example --- get pre-embalmed!
     
    Trent©, Nov 2, 2003
    #9
  10. tomScotland

    Trent© Guest

    More than likely, it IS a hardware issue.

    Make sure the jumpers are set correctly on all your drives.

    And change your drive letter for any cd's. Change readers to R...and
    writers to W.


    Have a nice week...

    Trent

    Follow Joan Rivers' example --- get pre-embalmed!
     
    Trent©, Nov 2, 2003
    #10
  11. tomScotland

    tomScotland Guest

    I've tried everything suggested. Tonight it took the bugger 10 mins to start
    up. I don't know what to try next.
     
    tomScotland, Nov 3, 2003
    #11
  12. tomScotland

    Trent© Guest

    1. Turn on S.M.A.R.T. in the BIOS.

    2. Go to your hard drive manufacturer's site...get their latest
    diagnostic software...run it.

    3. Review the entries in your Event Viewer.

    4. Boot WITHOUT being connected to the Internet...or to ANY network
    device.

    5. Are you running a network? Are you running sp1? There was a
    network bug in the initial rollout of xp.


    Have a nice week...

    Trent

    Follow Joan Rivers' example --- get pre-embalmed!
     
    Trent©, Nov 3, 2003
    #12
  13. tomScotland

    Trent© Guest

    Also, as a last resort...

    Disconnect all drives from the machine. Boot into the bare BIOS...see
    if at least THAT part seems normal.

    And try a different drive if you have one.


    Have a nice week...

    Trent

    Follow Joan Rivers' example --- get pre-embalmed!
     
    Trent©, Nov 3, 2003
    #13
  14. tomScotland

    tomScotland Guest

    s'no good. I've tried everything suggested and more - no dice. I give up!
     
    tomScotland, Nov 7, 2003
    #14
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