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Strange Intermittent Errors


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#1 Rimmer

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Posted 14 April 2005 - 07:59 PM

Working on the premise that it doesn't hurt to ask, bend your diagnostic brains around this please:

System - Win98SE and Xandros dual boot, AMD K6-2 500MHz CPU, 128MB RAM, AOpen AX59 Pro Motherboard
SIS 6326 PCI graphics card, CDROM and LG CDRW drives. 20GB Hard drive (2x10GB partitions) 5GB free
2x USB ports (1 faulty). External modem (no longer has internet connection).

Software - Office 97, Works Suite 2001 including Word 2000, imaging stuff for printer and scanner and CD burner, some DOS like Genealogy programs and knitting pattern programs. AVG 6 anti-virus, AdAwareSE. Some crossword puzzle type programs.

Problem - Intermittent one off events over the last month:
  • One desktop icon would not appear correctly when system loaded - refreshed after ~10 mins.
  • Genealogy database got screwed up - wrong data with wrong people, duplicates etc.
  • Folder name fonts garbled for one folder only (different folder each time).
  • System locks up for maybe 20 seconds, then recovers.
  • Disk activity for no apparent reason.
  • Word complains that Normal.dot already exists (?) and do you want to save it?
    Will not take 'no' or cancel for an answer.
System has been Scandisked (3 times), Defragged, Virus scanned, AdAwareSE says its clean but no other anti-malware progs in there (Its not connected to the internet now anyway). MemTest86 ran for 12 hours no errors. Various system burn-in tests and simple diagnostics with SANDRA and FreshDiagnose run for hours - no errors.

Can anyone offer suggestions for the cause of the errors?

Edited by Rimmer, 14 April 2005 - 08:03 PM.


Soltek QBIC, Pentium 4 3.0GHz, 512MB RAM, 200GB SATA HDD, ATI Radeon 9600XT 256MB, Netgear 54Mb/s WAP, ridiculously expensive Satellite Broadband
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#2 Herk

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Posted 14 April 2005 - 10:00 PM

I don't have a clue - K6 gone wonky maybe? I wonder if, during the process of installing Xandros, files were moved to make room and messed things up? Did you create a new partition to install it?

#3 TEB

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Posted 14 April 2005 - 10:41 PM

seems a problem with the dual boot, its not particularly safe to install 2 os's on 1 hard drive, if your gonna install 2 os's, get another hdd, slave it, and install it on there.

#4 Rimmer

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Posted 14 April 2005 - 10:43 PM

Herk - Yes the system was originally Win98SE in 20GB with hardly anything used. Split the drive into two with Partition Magic and installed Xandros in the empty partition (this was about 18months ago). Primarily done so as to use Open Office and Mozilla(?)which came with Xandros at the time, plus the user was not happy with Windows. But Xandros ran very slowly and is now seldom used. No problems until now.

Techsomething - The OS's are on seperate partitions, what's the difference?

Edited by Rimmer, 14 April 2005 - 10:46 PM.


Soltek QBIC, Pentium 4 3.0GHz, 512MB RAM, 200GB SATA HDD, ATI Radeon 9600XT 256MB, Netgear 54Mb/s WAP, ridiculously expensive Satellite Broadband
Windows XP Home SP2, Trend Micro Internet Security, Firefox, Thunderbird, AdAwareSE, Spybot S&D, SpywareBlaster, A-squared Free, Ewido Security Suite.

#5 raw

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Posted 15 April 2005 - 12:13 AM

seems a problem with the dual boot, its not particularly safe to install 2 os's on 1 hard drive, if your gonna install 2 os's, get another hdd, slave it, and install it on there.

If this were a dual boot problem you would have had problems long ago.
Being a Linux user for nearly 6 years now i have never had a problem
with 2 OS's on the same HD (3 on one system at one point).


Although you've run the diagnostics and it came back clean
this still sounds to me like a FAT32 corruption.
Have you done the full ScanDisk to check for bad blocks?
Have you tried using Xandros lately to see if there's any problems?
Just some suggestions as i haven't used Win98 in a long time.

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#6 Rimmer

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Posted 15 April 2005 - 12:29 AM

Raw - yep, every time I ran scandisk it was with 'thorough' and 'fix' checked.
Zero bad sectors, not a hair out of place. No, I didn't check the Xandros operation other than load it (no error messages), I don't really know how to do much more than that.

Another symptom reported was one of the Genealogy programs suddenly decided it was going to use a different font to normal. Everything worked fine it was just in a new font.
I checked the installed fonts and there were about 70 listed - not an unusual number I believe?

Edited by Rimmer, 15 April 2005 - 12:32 AM.


Soltek QBIC, Pentium 4 3.0GHz, 512MB RAM, 200GB SATA HDD, ATI Radeon 9600XT 256MB, Netgear 54Mb/s WAP, ridiculously expensive Satellite Broadband
Windows XP Home SP2, Trend Micro Internet Security, Firefox, Thunderbird, AdAwareSE, Spybot S&D, SpywareBlaster, A-squared Free, Ewido Security Suite.

#7 LoLucky

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Posted 15 April 2005 - 08:52 AM

K this one has me scratching my head. I completely agree with Raw saying there is some FAT (File Allocation Table) corruption. Which would cause the Icon on the desktop, Could cause the folder name to become garbled, the system locking up. This wouldn’t cause the database to screw up tho. And the Word 2000 could be a simple fix. So I’ll start there.
In Word 2000 Click Tools -> Options -> Save -> Uncheck “Prompt to save normal template”
Now one thing that could cause some of these problems could be a failing sector on the Hard drive. If they have shut off the machine without shutting down, (power loss, power button, ECT…) and scandisk ran it could have found a “bad” cluster and marked a whole sector as “bad”. Instead of just marking the cluster “bad”. How this would cause the problems would be the lnk to that file on desktop could have partly been in that sector. The folder name could become garbled like the system knows there is something there but its not fully coming up it will/could create random fill-ins. (or do you mean like Times to Arial?) the system locking up for 20 seconds could be the HD trying to relocate the data to an unused “extra” sector, this could also be the disk activity. But still after all that I don’t feel that this causes a database to be displaying wrong information. By logic it wouldn’t display any information and would just be completely corrupted when you try to load it. What you can do is try the built in database repair. (can’t remember if this was in 97 or not) But if you do try this option make sure you make a Unlinked Backup.

Sorry not better help

P.S. it’s a little costly ($85) but I would try and run SpinRite5 on the drive this will “unflag” the “bad” sectors and only flag “bad” clusters. To get SpinRite5 now however you have to buy SpinRite6 and they will let you download Free SpinRite5. and if its not that issue SpinRite is one tool I keep on hand. (ran it on a 100GIG HD that had so many “bad” sectors that it was reporting it was only a 30GIG HD SpinRite and 6 hours later I had 92GIG Drive.)
SpinRite can be found Here

#8 Rimmer

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Posted 15 April 2005 - 09:43 PM

Thanks for your thoughts LoLucky. I'll check out SpinRite.

Re the folder font symptom - I plugged a pen drive in to the USB port to load a diagnostic. I have lots of folders and subfolders on the pen drive. I'm navigating my way through the folders and the next one I open all the subfolder names are gibberish - not recognisable characters at all. Like a font that had somehow been crumpled up. I refreshed the screen, backed out and went in again - still bad. I thought the pen drive was corrupted - check in another system, its fine. plug it back in this system - all the folders are fine. Problem vanished. The user reported the same thing happened with folders on the hard drive.

Re the databases - they are not using Office, they are stand alone genealogy programs that look as though they are left over from DOS days - they dont have any windows type functionality when they run.

Edited by Rimmer, 15 April 2005 - 09:52 PM.


Soltek QBIC, Pentium 4 3.0GHz, 512MB RAM, 200GB SATA HDD, ATI Radeon 9600XT 256MB, Netgear 54Mb/s WAP, ridiculously expensive Satellite Broadband
Windows XP Home SP2, Trend Micro Internet Security, Firefox, Thunderbird, AdAwareSE, Spybot S&D, SpywareBlaster, A-squared Free, Ewido Security Suite.

#9 Rimmer

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 02:18 AM

This damn thing is still haunting me. :thumbsup: The lady who owns it rang this morning to say that after a week of running trouble free, this happened:

While trying to print a dialog box came up "Word is setting up Background Monitor"

Later "Background Monitor is not working - Reinstall driver? Y/N"

she chose N and the 'system' hung :inlove:

Ctl/Alt/Del to end Word.

error - "Word is in the process of printing" or similar and the system powers down (!)
:flowers:

Word frequently reports that Normal.dot has been replaced.
Lots (20-30) of temporary files floating round in My Documents and the TEMP folder.
:trumpet:

Soltek QBIC, Pentium 4 3.0GHz, 512MB RAM, 200GB SATA HDD, ATI Radeon 9600XT 256MB, Netgear 54Mb/s WAP, ridiculously expensive Satellite Broadband
Windows XP Home SP2, Trend Micro Internet Security, Firefox, Thunderbird, AdAwareSE, Spybot S&D, SpywareBlaster, A-squared Free, Ewido Security Suite.

#10 PC WizKid

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 04:49 AM

Not sure but it could be a micro virus.
I love Windows Vista Ultimate

Windows 7 RC no more :cry:

#11 Rimmer

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 05:19 AM

What's a micro virus? :thumbsup:

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#12 LoLucky

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 07:38 AM

I think they mean Macro Virus.

#13 PC WizKid

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 04:48 AM

Whoops I meant macro virus. :thumbsup:
I love Windows Vista Ultimate

Windows 7 RC no more :cry:

#14 Rimmer

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 05:55 AM

PC WizKid - Can you tell me what leads you to that suggestion, and do you have any recommendations as to how I might get rid of this macro virus?

Soltek QBIC, Pentium 4 3.0GHz, 512MB RAM, 200GB SATA HDD, ATI Radeon 9600XT 256MB, Netgear 54Mb/s WAP, ridiculously expensive Satellite Broadband
Windows XP Home SP2, Trend Micro Internet Security, Firefox, Thunderbird, AdAwareSE, Spybot S&D, SpywareBlaster, A-squared Free, Ewido Security Suite.

#15 Herk

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Posted 28 April 2005 - 10:58 AM

First, you need to find out if a Word macro virus is present. You would need to look through the macros to see if there are any which are not recognized. Some examples of macro viruses are: AAAZAO, AAAZFS, AutoOpen, FileSaveAs, and
PayLoad.

You can download a file to protect against these viruses. Usually, they start out by infecting the basic macro in Word - the one that opens as the first macro, and then they can infect every other macro that's opened.

I have Word 2000 and it's set to protect against any macros not from trusted sources by default. For earlier versions prior to Word 6, you can download a protection tool.

From my brief research, it seems there may now be thousands of macro viruses and some of them are capable of deleting all the files on C:.

PC Hell link




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