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PC freezes during virus scan and/or check disk etc


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#1 Blaggs

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 02:14 AM

Dear all,

I hope you can help. I have an issue with my PC which I think is virus and/or spyware related.

My issue is basically that my PC freezes randomly or during a virus scan. I have used McAfee before and during the scan 9/10 times my PC froze. I spoke to their support and they suggested I had a viruse but were pretty useless in helping me diagnose the virus (MCafee never actually found a virus in Safe Mode or normal mode.)

I then decided to remove McAfee thinking it may be an issue with their software and installed AVG Trial version. I am still having the same issue. I have run both in Safe mode and not found any problems. I have run CCleaner and resolved any issues it found.

I also find that my pc will crash (freeze) at random points (without running a virus scanner) I also tried running check disk which also caused a crash.

I hope someone can help diagnose the issue as it is driving me crazy.

I run Windows Vista on a Dell Studio XPS. I have all the latest updates for Vista and the virus software.

Regards
Blaggs

Edited by Blaggs, 03 February 2010 - 02:15 AM.


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#2 quietman7

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 01:16 PM

The speed and ability to complete an anti-virus or anti-malware scan depends on a variety of factors.
  • The program itself and how its scanning engine is designed to scan: using a signature database vs heuristic scanning for suspicious behavior or a combination of both.
  • Options to scan for spyware, adware, riskware and potentially unwanted or unsafe programs (PUPs).
  • Options to scan memory, boot sectors, registry and alternate data streams (ADS).
  • Type of scan performed: Deep, Quick or Custom scanning.
  • What action has to be performed when malware is detected.
  • A computer's hard drive size.
  • Disk used capacity (number of files to include temporary files) that have to be scanned.
  • Types of files (.exe, .dll, .sys, .cab, archived, compressed, packed, email, etc) that are scanned.
  • Whether external drives are included in the scan.
  • Competition for and utilization of system resources by the scanner.
  • Other running processes and programs in the background.
  • Interference from malware.
  • Interference from the user.
To speed up your scans, uninstall unnecessary programs, clean out the temporary files or use ATF Cleaner first, temporarily disable any other real-time protection tools, close all open programs and do not use the computer during the scan. If the scan still seems slow or hangs, then try performing the scan in "safe mode".

Note: It is not unusual for an anti-virus or anti-malware scanner to be suspicious of some compressed, archived, .cab and packed files because they have difficulty reading what is inside them. These kind of files often trigger alerts by security software using heuristic detection because they are resistant to scanning (difficult to read). This resistance may also result in some scanners to stall (hang) on these particular types of files. Certain files in the System Volume Information Folder like the Tracking.log (created by the Distributed Link Tracking Service to store maintenance information) have also been reported as a source causing some scanners to hang.

Crashes (BSOD), unexpected shutdowns, sudden freezing, random restarting, and booting problems during or after running anti-malware scanners can be symptomatic of a variety of things to include problems encountered with certain types of files (.exe, .dll, .sys, .cab, archived, compressed, packed, etc) that are being scanned. Crashes can also be symptomatic of hardware/software issues, overheating caused by a failed processor fan, bad memory (RAM), failing or underpowered power supply, CPU overheating, motherboard, video card, faulty or unsigned device drivers, CMOS battery going bad, BIOS and firmware problems, dirty hardware components, programs hanging or unresponsive in the background, and even malware. Even legitimate programs like CD Emulators (Daemon Tools, Alchohol 120%, Astroburn, AnyDVD) can trigger crashes, various stop error messages and system hangs so you may or may not be dealing with multiple issues which are not all malware related. Troubleshooting for these kinds of issues can be arduous and time consuming. There are no shortcuts.

When Windows XP detects a problem from which it cannot recover, it displays Stop Error Messages which contain specific information that can help diagnose and resolve the problem detected by the Windows kernel. An error message can be related to a broad number of problems such as driver conflicts, hardware issues, read/write errors, and software malfunctions and malware. In Windows XP, the default setting is for the computer to reboot automatically when a fatal error or crash occurs. You may not see the error code because the computer reboots too fast.

An easier alternative is to turn off the automatic reboot feature so you can actually see the error code/STOP Message when it happens - this is also known as the Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD). To change the recovery settings and Disable the Automatic Restart on System Failure in Windows XP, go to Start > Run and type: sysdm.cpl
Click Ok to open System Properties.

Alternatively you can just press WINKEY + Pause/Break keys to bring up System Properties.
  • Go to the Advanced tab and under "Startup and Recovery", click on the "Settings" button and go to "System failure".
  • Make sure "Write an event to the system log" is checked and that "Automatically restart" is unchecked.
  • Click "OK" and reboot manually for the changes to take effect.
This can also be done in the Windows Advanced Options Menu as shown here here by pressing the F8 key repeatedly like you would do for entering safe mode.

-- Vista users can refer to these instructions: How To Disable the Automatic Restart on System Failure in Windows Vista.

Doing this won't cure your problem but instead of crashing and restarting you will get a blue diagnostic screen with an error code and other information to include file(s) that may be involved which will allow you to better trace your problem. Write down the full error code and the names of any files/drivers listed, then provide that information in your next reply so we can assist you with investigating the cause. Without that specific information, we would only be guessing rather than troubleshooting.
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