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XP consistently stalls during bootup, before the Desktop loads


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#1 Karmic Justice

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Posted 04 June 2010 - 09:52 PM

Hi, all! This is my second post to BleepingComputer.com, and while I was originally going to post to this forum in regards to an ongoing issue I've been having with my machine playing nicely with USB external hard drives, a new issue just cropped up the other day, and I'm hoping someone here will be able to help me pinpoint the cause and hopefully resolve it.

What's been happening as of two days ago is that when I boot up Windows XP, the Windows startup screen will display then change to a black screen as usual just before the Desktop starts loading, but instead of loading instantaneously as it did before, it will freeze or hang at that black screen for about two minutes before loading the Desktop. It seems to happen regardless of whether I boot up into normal mode or Safe Mode. In the latter, it will hang at the list of drivers for two minutes before loading the Desktop. Ever since this started, this behavior has been consistent, save for when I try to run an Avast! boot time scan (if I start it and escape out, the Desktop will start loading immediately).

I'm not sure what exactly could have triggered this problem all of a sudden. The last thing I recall doing that could have had anything to do with this was that I was watching several videos on YouTube (Avast!'s real-time protection was active and didn't pick up anything amiss, and I temporarily had NoScript allow only the needed scripts and objects on the site to play the videos), and then rebooted the machine to run a boot time scan in Avast! overnight, which didn't find any problems. The next morning (Wednesday), I shut down the machine before going to work, as I usually do. However, when I powered it back on some time after I got home that same evening, I noticed that the bootup sequence was frozen at the black screen for an unusual period of time. I thought it was a one-off glitch and rebooted, but the same thing happened. The only thing that seems to allow it to boot up more quickly is if I run a boot time scan with Avast!, whether or not I allow it to finish. I also affirm that I don't have any USB drives plugged in when this happens (that's related to a separate issue that I hope I'll get to address after this one has been resolved).

Avast! didn't find anything, nor did Malwarebytes' Antimalware or SUPERAntiSpyware, so I doubt that this is due to malware (although I know the possibility can exist), which is why I'm posting here first this time. I suspect a possible hardware or driver issue, but since I'm very unsavvy when it comes to hardware or drivers, I'm not sure where exactly to start to troubleshoot this problem. None of my friends know for sure, either, although one of them thinks it might be related to the video card.

And for the record, my machine's specs are as follows: Windows XP (SP3), running on an AMD Athlon™ XP 3000+ motherboard, 2.16 GHz processor, with 992 MB of RAM. (Yes, I am very painfully aware that this machine is woefully outdated, but after the one that it replaced earlier this year, this one has been a godsend to me. Besides, I get what I pay for; this was donated from friends.) And as far as security goes, I'm running PCTools Firewall Plus Free Edition (version 6.0.0.88), Avast! Free Antivirus (version 5.0.545), and Spybot S&D's resident Teatimer (which hasn't caused any conflicts with anything thus far). I do keep all of these updated regularly, as well as MBAM and SAS, and I make sure to update XP whenever security patches are available.

And finally, I do have several System Restore points from several days before this started happening. Would it be a good idea to try System Restore to see if it resolves the problem?

Thanks so much in advance for any advice on this.

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#2 cryptodan

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Posted 04 June 2010 - 10:18 PM

And for the record, my machine's specs are as follows: Windows XP (SP3), running on an AMD Athlon™ XP 3000+ motherboard, 2.16 GHz processor, with 992 MB of RAM. (Yes, I am very painfully aware that this machine is woefully outdated, but after the one that it replaced earlier this year, this one has been a godsend to me. Besides, I get what I pay for; this was donated from friends.) And as far as security goes, I'm running PCTools Firewall Plus Free Edition (version 6.0.0.88), Avast! Free Antivirus (version 5.0.545), and Spybot S&D's resident Teatimer (which hasn't caused any conflicts with anything thus far). I do keep all of these updated regularly, as well as MBAM and SAS, and I make sure to update XP whenever security patches are available.

And finally, I do have several System Restore points from several days before this started happening. Would it be a good idea to try System Restore to see if it resolves the problem?

Thanks so much in advance for any advice on this.



First of all welcome to the forum, and I hope we can solve issues.

I need to ask do you have all those security applications set to start up at boot, and if so have you tried limiting them via their options?

One of them could be doing a partial boot up scan, and slowing things down. We should try to limit them down to one application. For starters, I would open up Spy Bot, MBAM, and SAS and disable the start up with Windows Options via their properties/preferences page. And disable them on start up. Now reboot the computer, and see if the same issues arise. Post back your results, and then we will progress further into our troubleshooting efforts.

#3 Karmic Justice

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Posted 04 June 2010 - 10:44 PM

Hi, Cryptodan! Thanks so much for the super-quick reply! =)

Of the security programs, only the firewall, Avast!, and Spybot's Teatimer were set to autorun at boot (MBAM and SAS's free versions don't offer resident protection, so I had already made sure those options were disabled, and I double-checked just now to make sure). I should probably also add that when I ran the Avast! boot time scan the other day just before this all happened, it was far from the first time I'd done that, so I'm not sure that it's related per se.

I went ahead and disabled Teatimer from autorunning at boot time, and when I rebooted the machine, it still stalled between the Windows startup screen and the Desktop for the same amount of time. Furthermore, less than a minute after the Desktop loaded, it automatically rebooted for no reason that I could see, which is a bit disturbing. =/ And this time, it still hung on the interim black screen before the Desktop loaded, but now I don't have Teatimer running. There is, however, a process I've never seen before in Task Manager, called "savedump.exe," which may likely be benign (I just haven't had a chance to look it up yet) and related to the sudden crashing. EDIT: Okay, just looked it up, and though I couldn't tell where the process originated from, it seems to be a normal result, and it's no longer showing up in Task Manager.

But yeah. Any other ideas you may have on this would be appreciated. Thanks again!

Edited by Karmic Justice, 04 June 2010 - 10:48 PM.


#4 cryptodan

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Posted 04 June 2010 - 10:53 PM

I would check the event logs via: Start > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Event Viewer and look at the Application and System logs for any yellow or red marks next to them on the left.

Or you can do the following:
Download BlueScreenView
No installation required.
Double click on BlueScreenView.exe file to run the program.
When scanning is done, go Edit>Select All.
Go File>Save Selected Items, and save the report as BSOD.txt.
Open BSOD.txt in Notepad, copy all content, and paste it into your next reply.

#5 Karmic Justice

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Posted 04 June 2010 - 10:58 PM

Thanks! This is the only one that has a red mark next to it:

Event Type: Error
Event Source: Application Error
Event Category: None
Event ID: 1000
Date: 6/4/2010
Time: 8:29:59 PM
User: N/A
Computer: IDEQ-A9431CE08C
Description:
Faulting application teatimer.exe, version 1.6.6.32, faulting module kernel32.dll, version 5.1.2600.5781, fault address 0x00012afb.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.
Data:
0000: 41 70 70 6c 69 63 61 74 Applicat
0008: 69 6f 6e 20 46 61 69 6c ion Fail
0010: 75 72 65 20 20 74 65 61 ure tea
0018: 74 69 6d 65 72 2e 65 78 timer.ex
0020: 65 20 31 2e 36 2e 36 2e e 1.6.6.
0028: 33 32 20 69 6e 20 6b 65 32 in ke
0030: 72 6e 65 6c 33 32 2e 64 rnel32.d
0038: 6c 6c 20 35 2e 31 2e 32 ll 5.1.2
0040: 36 30 30 2e 35 37 38 31 600.5781
0048: 20 61 74 20 6f 66 66 73 at offs
0050: 65 74 20 30 30 30 31 32 et 00012
0058: 61 66 62 0d 0a afb..

There is also a Dr. Watson event right after that one, with a blue exclamation mark. Did you want that one also?

#6 cryptodan

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Posted 04 June 2010 - 11:00 PM

I would remove Spy Bot and see if it still happens. You have other tools that are far superior.

#7 Karmic Justice

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Posted 04 June 2010 - 11:20 PM

I've uninstalled it from my system then rebooted. Still the same problem. =(

Furthermore, while it didn't crash, I got a dialogue box as soon as the Desktop finished loading, saying that "The system has recovered from a serious error. A log of this error has been created." It shows up in the event log viewer as a system error as follows:

Event Type: Error
Event Source: System Error
Event Category: (102)
Event ID: 1003
Date: 6/4/2010
Time: 9:12:59 PM
User: N/A
Computer: IDEQ-A9431CE08C
Description:
Error code 100000d1, parameter1 f7ddd000, parameter2 00000006, parameter3 00000000, parameter4 f7742cb1.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.
Data:
0000: 53 79 73 74 65 6d 20 45 System E
0008: 72 72 6f 72 20 20 45 72 rror Er
0010: 72 6f 72 20 63 6f 64 65 ror code
0018: 20 31 30 30 30 30 30 64 100000d
0020: 31 20 20 50 61 72 61 6d 1 Param
0028: 65 74 65 72 73 20 66 37 eters f7
0030: 64 64 64 30 30 30 2c 20 ddd000,
0038: 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 36 00000006
0040: 2c 20 30 30 30 30 30 30 , 000000
0048: 30 30 2c 20 66 37 37 34 00, f774
0050: 32 63 62 31 2cb1

Should I try rebooting again to see if it happens again?

#8 cryptodan

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Posted 04 June 2010 - 11:34 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.



Compliments of Broni.

#9 Karmic Justice

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Posted 04 June 2010 - 11:56 PM

Ouch. That was what I was afraid of. =/ I hope this doesn't mean the HD is going bad already. Good thing I copied over the important files to the USB external drive when I last had it plugged in a few weeks ago. Should probably do it again, to be on the safe side.

But now I have to ask a stupid question: how do I know what brand HD it is without opening up the tower case? I checked the Device Manager and also the Properties tab of the drive itself under My Computer, and they both say "VIA SATA RAID 1 SCSI Disk Device." Which is probably not the information I want here. (Also, just FYI, the link to the bleepingcomputer article is broken, but the other link still works.)

Of course, regardless, I may have to open the case anyway to do the troubleshooting step involving the RAM. I won't be able to do that right now, but I will give it a shot in the morning and (if I didn't manage to break anything, LOL) will let you know how it went. =) In the meantime, I can try to get a hold of my friend who built this machine and see if he can recall what brand HD it's using as well as how many RAM sticks are actually installed.

Thanks so much for your help and for bearing with me! I appreciate it a lot.

#10 cryptodan

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 12:00 AM

You can download a program called: Speccy and that should providey ou with a name for your hard drive, and if that doesn't then you can download the following: SIW - System Information for Windows and use that to try and get a name.

Posted Image - SIW in action

Edited by cryptodan, 05 June 2010 - 12:10 AM.


#11 Karmic Justice

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 12:25 AM

Oooh! These are very handy tools! :D Thanks for letting me know about these!

Okay, I had to use SIW to grab the info about the HD because Speccy said that the manufacturer was "unknown." According to SIW, the manufacturer is "VIA." Here are the full specs:

Property Value
IDEQ-A9431CE08C (VIA Technologies, Inc. KM400A-8237)
Disk 0
Manufacturer VIA
Model HDS722580VLSA80
Size 9077.0 MB
Firmware Version V32OA6MA
Serial Number VN6B3ECBF4DXEC
Interface Serial ATA
Transfer Mode (Current / Max) Unknown / Unknown
Temperature 34 C (93 F)
Controller Buffer Size on Drive 7938 KB
Removable No
Cache Enabled (Read / Write) Yes / Yes
SMART Support No
DVD Writer 0

(There was info about the DVD burner right after the HD, but I trimmed it out as it doesn't seem relevant at this time.)


As for the RAM, it looks like it uses only one module:

Property Value
IDEQ-A9431CE08C (VIA Technologies, Inc. KM400A-8237)
Memory Summary
Maximum Capacity 1024 MBytes
Maximum Memory Module Size 32 MBytes
Memory Slots 2
Error Correction None
DRAM Frequency 199.8 MHz
Memory Timings 3-5-3-7 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS)

Device Locator Slot 1
Manufacturer OCZ
Part Number OCZ4001024PF
Capacity 1024 MBytes
Memory Type DDR (PC3200)
Speed 200 MHz
Supported Frequencies 200.0 MHz
Memory Timings 3-3-3-8-0 at 200.0 MHz, at 2.5 volts (CL-RCD-RP-RAS-RC)
Data Width 64 bits
EPP SPD Support No
XMP SPD Support No

So it looks like I should give memtest a try. I have some blank rewritable DVDs around here and will try burning the image onto one of them and give that a go and let you know.

Again, thanks so much!

#12 cryptodan

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 12:12 PM

What kind of computer is this? I cannot find any information on the hard drive what so ever.

#13 Karmic Justice

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 05:06 PM

Hey, Cryptodan!

Sorry for the delayed response. I had a little trouble burning the ISO onto the DVD, but it looks like I finally got a viable disc. ;) Guess we'll see once I try running the test tonight. Or if it usually takes only a couple of hours or so, I can probably run it while doing errands I have to take care of anyway.

It looks like a lot of this hardware is from VIA Technologies, with a few exceptions. I'd have to check with my friend to be sure on that. If it helps, I can copy/paste some more of the diagnostics from SIW (I would just need to know which specific ones you would need so that I don't end up needlessly spamming you with irrelevant info).

Thanks again!

#14 cryptodan

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 05:09 PM

The memory test should be ran at most 5 times and over night.

Can you take a picture of the actual machine, so i can look at it. You can host the image at http://www.tinypic.com or http://www.photobucket.com, and to post the image here you do the following:

[img]linktoimagehere[/img]

Do you have a model number for the computer in question?

Edited by cryptodan, 05 June 2010 - 05:11 PM.


#15 Karmic Justice

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 02:32 PM

Hey! Again, sorry for the delay. But good news! I booted from the memtest DVD as directed and left it running overnight. Not only did it not detect any errors, but the problem seems to have been resolved. *Crosses fingers*

What happened was, I hit "escape" per the directions at the bottom of the screen, which restarted the system (I made sure to remove the DVD before the drive could be detected), and instead of taking two minutes after the Windows startup screen showed up, it loaded the Desktop nearly instantaneously like it did before. I rebooted it once more to make sure that was still true. Maybe this is a coincidence, since, if I understand correctly, all memtest did was just run a diagnostic on the memory stick, but I'm certainly not complaining! ;) I guess time will tell.

In the meantime, I did get a picture of the front of the case, but since I did it with a camera phone, I apologize for the hideous quality (unfortunately, this was the best I could get):

Posted Image

It's hard to see, but the logo on the outside says "iDEQ." Apparently, per Google results, the brand is Biostar; curious since nothing in SIW mentions anything about it at all. And I wasn't able to find any particular model number via SIW; here are the basic specs under System Summary:

Property Value
Manufacturer VIA Technologies, Inc.
Product Name KM400A-8237
Version
Serial Number
Machine Type AT/AT COMPATIBLE
DMI System UUID FFFFFFFF-FFFFFFFF-FFFFFFFF-FFFFFFFF

Hopefully, this is all a moot point anyway, and that whatever happened during memtest corrected the stalling. (If it happens again out of the blue, I'll come back to this for further troubleshooting.)

Thanks so much once again for all your help (and also for pointing me to the nifty tools)! You are awesome! =)




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