Posted 11 September 2009 - 05:27 AM
This trouble started over a week ago. I'm an active user of AIM and MSN (or it's WLM now supposedly), and I don't want to get the official clients and have them both running at the same time eating up my memory with all their extra unnecessary features I don't use. And I'm convinced now even if I got them, they might crash anyway. Well here's my problem, and it seems so obscure that I wouldn't know how to go about trying to figure out what's wrong.
I have tried THREE DIFFERENT clients for multi protocol instant messaging (aka, I can sign onto AIM and MSN at the same time, or any other IM service if I wanted to) that seem to have these completely random crashes out of nowhere. Seriously, the crashes occur at no set interval; the program will crash shortly after starting it up, or it will crash after having it open an hour or more. The crashes also occur doing no set activity; I've had the program to crash in the middle of IMing someone, and I've also come back to my computer after not touching it at all for awhile and I'll see the crash message on my computer. The crash message is always the same by the way, "(insert program name here) has encountered a problem and needs to close", etc... typical Windows program crash. It closes out the program entirely; I can't just drag the message aside like I've seen with some other apps before. I'm running Windows XP Pro SP3 by the way, if that's relevant at all.
CRASHING MP IM #1: Pidgin
For years, I used the multi protocol client Pidgin to IM my contacts (I remember using it when it was called GAIM, actually). It's a simple client so it's perfect for my needs. At first when I started having the crashing issues, I figured it was a bug. I even posted a bug report on the Pidgin website, they said upgrade to the latest version that just came out; I did, but the crashes still occur. I submitted a log, no response; alternatively I could run some command when the app crashes to record the crash info, but there's no telling when it might happen. I also noted that no one else was reporting random Pidgin crashes like I was having, and many crash issues from previous versions had been patched over. Moving on, since I NEED to use AIM/MSN...
CRASHING MP IM #2: Miranda IM
Since I figured I couldn't use Pidgin, I started hunting down other multi protocol clients. I came across this one called Miranda IM, it appears lesser known and I don't know if they update it often but it seems to get the job done by letting me sign onto AIM/MSN. I didn't even get the CHANCE to IM anyone using it, it crashed several times with me messing around with the settings or just having it open. I thought it was kind of weird, but I figured that maybe they hadn't worked all the bugs out of the program, so I looked up another one...
CRASHING MP IM #3: Trillian
This is a name I'd heard before, but never used personally. I just absolutely WANTED to IM my contacts though, is that too much to ask? I read that there's a new version of Trillian called Astra, so I figured since it's the latest thing, they should have all the bugs worked out. So I downloaded and installed Astra a little while ago (and had to make sure not to install their spyware much to my annoyance), and was messing around in the settings and starting to IM someone and CRASH. Same exact kind of "has encountered a problem and needs to close" crash as before.
MP IM That Didn't Crash: Meebo (Web Messenger)
I'd been using Meebo for IMs on and off starting with the Pidgin crash issues, but I'd prefer to use a stand alone client rather than a web messenger (don't really like the idea of having to answer my IMs in Firefox or it bogging down Firefox's memory usage like it does during heavy IM loads sometimes); not to mention that Meebo seems rather limited on a few options such as no tabbed IMs and it tends to change my status and display name everytime I sign in, and the file transfer option seems to be broken so I've had to find other methods to send and receive files. Other than that, it gets the job done as far as I can send and receive text only IMs and get notified about those and see my contacts' display pictures and screen names and such. Anyway, it didn't crash at all, but I think that's because of its slightly different interface, since it's pretty much just an interactive website. I'd prefer not to have to resort to using it all the time because of the limitations and my personal preferences I mentioned before.
So Here's What I'm Assuming...
Maybe there's some file or driver on my system that has something to do with IM protocols and is corrupted or outdated and therefore responsible for the crashes, so I should reinstall a new copy of this file/driver or update it? Or maybe something else I'm running is conflicting with IM clients and initiates the crashes? I don't really see how this is possible though because there's only a few programs that I have open the majority of the time and I wouldn't think they'd really have anything to do with it; I can think of Notepad++, Winamp, and Firefox and then I dabble in some multimedia stuff for audio/video/graphics editing but the crashes will happen regardless of whether or not I have any of the multimedia apps open. I've also considered stuff running in the background, since there's things that I wouldn't really want to run in the background but tend to anyway eventually even when I end them; including drivers for my HP printer and drivers for my camera regardless of whether I'm using the hardware or not at the time (they just have to be on I guess), and several processes related to VMWare (virtual machine client) which I only use sometimes and I'd be happy to do something about getting rid of these drivers if only I could be able to IM. I've also considered other possibilities; I can't really think of changing anything a week ago honestly, I don't know if my Linksys router that I've used for several months now would have anything to do with it; I've taken all hardware/software into consideration but anything I can think of that I use, I wouldn't think should affect this and I've been using all of that stuff for long before I started having these problems. I consider myself fairly decent at computer-related fields, but with this stuff I can only guess, so maybe someone else can shed some light on the situation.
Also, sorry for the lengthy post, I tend to be wordy anyway and I wanted to try to fit as much detail into this post as possible so that I'll have to give less answers than someone here that might be able to help me. Oh and for the record, I tried restarting my computer, lol...