Jump to content


 


Register a free account to unlock additional features at BleepingComputer.com
Welcome to BleepingComputer, a free community where people like yourself come together to discuss and learn how to use their computers. Using the site is easy and fun. As a guest, you can browse and view the various discussions in the forums, but can not create a new topic or reply to an existing one unless you are logged in. Other benefits of registering an account are subscribing to topics and forums, creating a blog, and having no ads shown anywhere on the site.


Click here to Register a free account now! or read our Welcome Guide to learn how to use this site.

Photo

Recently slowing PC now won't start properly


  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

#1 D808Centaur

D808Centaur

  • Members
  • 93 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Guildford, Surrey, UK
  • Local time:09:03 AM

Posted 16 May 2010 - 11:08 AM

Dell Dimension E520 -- Vista Home Premium 32bit
Configured for multiple users.
McAfee protection suite

Have been suffering a number of problems recently, but in the past day or so the PC has become almost unusable.
In the past day or so the PC has been:
a -- taking an age to go through startup (ie log-in to an individual account)
b -- becoming increasingly sluggish the longer it stays on (even if you're not doing anything), and
c -- taking an age to shutdown or reboot. We're talking multiple minutes rather than the previous tens of seconds -- sometimes the power button is the only thing that works.

Now, things have got even worse. Whereas yesterday I could log in and eventually use it, today, while composing this, it has been working less and less. Earlier today I downloaded and ran Malwarebytes, and a quick scan found nothing wrong. Originally I was going to post this from the poorly PC, but everything froze and I had to restart it. Login appeared to work, albeit very slowly, but the freezing happened earlier. A Start->restart took 5-10 mins to respond.

Most recently I tried booting it in safe mode, and this has taken 10-20 mins. It is still responding to some commands (just) but is taking minutes to respond to each mouse click. (Fortunately I have a laptop I can use to send this!)

Help! (Please???)
PJ


=================
The other known problems and the recent history are outlined below.

Recent History:
PC is about 3 years old. It used to be connected to a wireless ADSL router via a USB dongle. A few weeks ago we changed to cable broadband: PC now connected direct to router by Ethernet cable. Since then we have had problems with the internet connection being dropped -- most often while in standby, but sometimes while being used. Only solution is to reset the network adaptor.

In trying to resolve this issue (at another forum, before I had discovered bleepingComputer!) I discovered a number of other problems, which I have yet to tackle, but in the past day it has become too slow to use.

Other issues:
(i) Windows Update had stopped working some time ago -- now resolved (hopefully) with the help of MS tech support. I tried tackling this first in case the internet-connection problem was fixed by a Windows Update I didn't have (it wasn't)
(ii) Tooltray Network Connection icon permanently showing red cross, and reporting 'No Connection', despite Internet connection being established OK
(iii) Occasional halts in Firefox, ignoring user input and reporting '(not responding)' -- doesn't happen on several other computers running the same version / add-ons but different OS (XP or Win2K). After a short delay, recovers and continues normally (this was happening before the change to cable broadband)
(iv) Dell Support reports certain driver updates available -- but hadn't alerted to say they are available. I hadn't downloaded any of these as I have been trying to fix one problem at a time.

BC AdBot (Login to Remove)

 


#2 Broni

Broni

    The Coolest BC Computer


  • BC Advisor
  • 42,613 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Daly City, CA
  • Local time:02:03 AM

Posted 16 May 2010 - 07:47 PM

You may have some hardware problems.

***** Run hard drive diagnostics: http://www.tacktech.com/display.cfm?ttid=287 (or http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic28744.html)
Make sure, you select tool, which is appropriate for the brand of your hard drive.
Depending on the program, it'll create bootable floppy, or bootable CD.
If downloaded file is of .iso type, use ImgBurn: http://www.imgburn.com/ to burn .iso file to a CD (select "Write image file to disc" option), and make the CD bootable.

NOTE. If your hard drive is made by Toshiba, unfortunately, you're out of luck, because Toshiba doesn't provide any diagnostic tool.

====================================================================================

A. If you have more than one RAM module installed, try starting computer with one RAM stick at a time.

NOTE Keep in mind, the manual check listed above is always superior to the software check, listed below. DO NOT proceed with memtest, if you can go with option A

B. If you have only one RAM stick installed...
...run memtest...

1. Download - Pre-Compiled Bootable ISO (.zip)
2. Unzip downloaded memtest86+-....iso.zip file.
3. Inside, you'll find memtest86+-....iso file.
4. Download, and install ImgBurn: http://www.imgburn.com/
5. Insert blank CD into your CD drive.
6. Open ImgBurn, and click on Write image file to disc
7. Click on Browse for a file... icon:

Posted Image

8. Locate memtest86+-....iso file, and click Open button.
9. Click on ImgBurn green arrow to start burning bootable memtest86 CD:

Posted Image

10. Once the CD is created, boot from it, and memtest will automatically start to run.

The running program will look something like this depending on the size and number of ram modules installed:


Posted Image

It's recommended to run 5-6 passes. Each pass contains very same 8 tests.

This will show the progress of the test. It can take a while. Be patient, or leave it running overnight.

Posted Image

The following image is the test results area:

Posted Image

The most important item here is the “errors” line. If you see ANY errors, even one, most likely, you have bad RAM.

My Website

p4433470.gif

My help doesn't cost a penny, but if you'd like to consider a donation, click p22001735.gif


 


#3 D808Centaur

D808Centaur
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 93 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Guildford, Surrey, UK
  • Local time:09:03 AM

Posted 17 May 2010 - 03:58 AM

Thank you for the suggestions -- I need to find someone with a CD writer and then I'll try these. (Our CD writer is on the failed machine.)
The disk is Western Digital, I believe.


Since writing the original post, the scenario has worsened. If left alone, a safe boot will reach the 'Select User' login screen, eventually, but on attempting to log-in Windows will not manage to reach a stable state -- for example, the desktop icons don't appear and a popup says "Windows Explorer has stopped working", after which Explorer tries to restart (but fails).

I can understand that a poorly hard drive or memory could cause any manner of effects, such as those I have described, but could this failure to log-in be indicative of a malware issue?
(I didn't post this information last night (it's 10am as I write this) as I didn't want to bump the topic.)

#4 Broni

Broni

    The Coolest BC Computer


  • BC Advisor
  • 42,613 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Daly City, CA
  • Local time:02:03 AM

Posted 17 May 2010 - 10:45 AM

could this failure to log-in be indicative of a malware issue?

Possible.
You can always start new topic in "Am I Infected?" forum.

My Website

p4433470.gif

My help doesn't cost a penny, but if you'd like to consider a donation, click p22001735.gif


 


#5 D808Centaur

D808Centaur
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 93 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Guildford, Surrey, UK
  • Local time:09:03 AM

Posted 17 May 2010 - 06:14 PM

While waiting for my son to download and burn the diagnostic CD I noticed an option on the PC: 'Boot to Utility Partition'.
There, to my surprise, was a whole raft of built-in test utilities.
- Memory checks passed OK.
- All hardware checks passed ok, except one:

Device: SATA Disk S/N = WD-WCAPD4177405
Test: S.M.A.R.T Short Self Test
Test Status: Running IDE S.M.A.R.T. drive self-test

Error code 0F00:065D
Msg: IDE device failed: The self-test failed the read portion of the test
(The given error code and message can be used by Dell Technical Support to help diagnose the problem)


So, it definitely looks like the hard disk is feeling poorly.

When I had managed to boot off the CD, the following appeared (after a short delay)
DLGDIAG 5.04f - Data Lifeguard Diagnostics
Reported:
NO DRIVE FOUND
ERROR/STATUS CODE: 0120

So, is that indicative of a very poorly drive, or is it just not working because my son downloaded the DOS rather than Windows version of the test program? Or what?


What are the options now?

#6 Broni

Broni

    The Coolest BC Computer


  • BC Advisor
  • 42,613 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Daly City, CA
  • Local time:02:03 AM

Posted 17 May 2010 - 07:37 PM

It looks like your hard drive IS failing.
This is what Western Digital says about code 120:

An unknown error has occurred during testing. This may be an anomaly. Check connections and retest. If the error repeats, replace the drive.

I suggest, you back up your data quickly.

My Website

p4433470.gif

My help doesn't cost a penny, but if you'd like to consider a donation, click p22001735.gif


 


#7 D808Centaur

D808Centaur
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 93 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Guildford, Surrey, UK
  • Local time:09:03 AM

Posted 18 May 2010 - 03:11 AM

I suspected this was the case. :huh: Much of the data is backed-up, but there is some recent stuff that isn't.

The PC is clearly able to read some of the drive, as it could not get to the 'switch user' log-in screen otherwise, but it won't start enough to allow data transfer to flashstick. I am hopeful that I can read it if I boot from another drive in due course, but I have no means of doing this yet.
(Is there a bootable CD image available that would allow me to do this?)


The other big question is, the PC did not come with an installation disk, so how can I get a new hard drive up-and-running?

#8 Broni

Broni

    The Coolest BC Computer


  • BC Advisor
  • 42,613 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Daly City, CA
  • Local time:02:03 AM

Posted 18 May 2010 - 09:59 AM

Couple of possibilities (if you're quick)...
You can slave the drive in another computer to retrieve data, you can buy USB hard drive enclosure (~$20), put the drive into it, connect it to another computer and try to read it, use Ubuntu Live CD to get your data: http://www.smartestcomputing.us.com/index....showtopic=38317
Another possibility...new drives usually come with cloning utility. The question is, if the cloning utility will create working hard drive copy, considering the fact, that some files may be damaged.

My Website

p4433470.gif

My help doesn't cost a penny, but if you'd like to consider a donation, click p22001735.gif


 


#9 D808Centaur

D808Centaur
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 93 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Guildford, Surrey, UK
  • Local time:09:03 AM

Posted 19 May 2010 - 02:25 PM

Thank you for the Ubuntu disk link...and your other help.

... (if you're quick)...

The only reason to be quick is that we are one computer down at present, so everyone's having to share.
Otherwise I won't start it up again until I have all the bits: working external drive, Ubuntu CD, replacement internal drive, some time -- it's not going to get any worse if I wait a week or so!
The notes on that linked page are very clear, so I should be ok with the data recovery attempt.

#10 Broni

Broni

    The Coolest BC Computer


  • BC Advisor
  • 42,613 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Daly City, CA
  • Local time:02:03 AM

Posted 19 May 2010 - 03:08 PM

You're welcome :huh:
The thing with failing hard drive is, that it may totally fail at any moment, so the sooner you go ahead with backing up your data, the better your chances are.

My Website

p4433470.gif

My help doesn't cost a penny, but if you'd like to consider a donation, click p22001735.gif


 


#11 D808Centaur

D808Centaur
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 93 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Guildford, Surrey, UK
  • Local time:09:03 AM

Posted 25 May 2010 - 06:29 PM

It's about time for an update...

The Ubuntu boot disk worked like a dream, THANK YOU!
What's more, the failing hard disk mounted OK at boot up (as did the external drive I bought to suck off the data). Fearing the worst, I went round grabbing the really urgent stuff -- email files, recent photos, etc -- and as time passed was able to capture more and more.

Next I tried copying "everything" in one go (more than 100GB) but this failed with a couple of read errors.
Instead I have copied folders piecemeal, and isolated the errors (so far) to a couple of folders under ProgramFiles\Microsoft, and c:\pagefile.sys. It's still copying as I write this...

So it would seem that the hard disk is definitely poorly, but not yet dead.


Is there anything I can do with the captured data to make the rebuilding of the system with a new hard disk less painful?
(I have a new 500GB drive waiting, and the promise of a DELL Vista image disk from a colleague at work.)

#12 Broni

Broni

    The Coolest BC Computer


  • BC Advisor
  • 42,613 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Daly City, CA
  • Local time:02:03 AM

Posted 25 May 2010 - 06:37 PM

I'm glad, you're able to save all your data :huh:

Is there anything I can do with the captured data to make the rebuilding of the system with a new hard disk less painful?

Unfortunately, I think, painful copy/paste will be your only way.

Thanks for posting back :huh:

My Website

p4433470.gif

My help doesn't cost a penny, but if you'd like to consider a donation, click p22001735.gif


 





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users