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Is my pc on the verge of breaking down?


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#1 wildcat2000

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 12:17 AM

I went to QVC.com (ya know the other homeshopping network) and all of sudden the screen kinda froze and the site's link buttons started flashing and couldnt get themselves to fully load and my address bar became blank. So I closed the window and on my desktop/wallpaper all my icons turned almost transparent and black. There were also some extra icons that appeared like My Computer I think. Which I don't normally have on there.

I shut the computer down but the shutdown box (where you choose log off, turn off, restart) was also transparent and the shutdown screen changed from the normal one to like an offical Windows XP box. Kinda like one before you format a hard drive I guess.

Right before it happend my disc tray popped out (seprate issue) and maybe I slammed it shut a bit too hard. I don't know. Ive had the computer, which is a gateway laptop with XP SP3, since 2006. I had to replace the internal hard drive a little over a year ago. Anyway this just happend out of nowhere. The PC has been working ok until this. I don't think its a virus.

Thanks for any info or thoughts.

Edited by wildcat2000, 04 November 2010 - 12:18 AM.


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#2 Sneakycyber

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 06:54 PM

What happens when you reboot the computer?

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#3 wildcat2000

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 12:01 AM

What happens when you reboot the computer?


Everything was back to normal when I turned it back on. So far it's been acting normal since then. So far thats only that one time it's ever happend.

#4 MrBruce1959

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 01:32 AM

This sounds like an interesting situation you have encountered here.

Although your situation seems to have cleared up for the time being and it may have just been a freak incident. I would suggest you look into performing some maintenance on this computer, if you haven't done so in a while.

I am referring to checking for dust accumulation inside your computer.

Dust accumulation can cause random/occasional issues in the beginning, but it will be become more obvious and happen more often as time goes on.

You should do an inspection of the various cooling fans and heat sinks through out your computer.

Pay special attention to the cooling fan and heat sink assembly on your processor, as this is the most likely place dust will build up and cause problems.

The safe removal of dust can be performed by using a can of compressed air, this is commonly used on heat sinks and can be purchased at any store that sells electronics components or computer systems.

Just follow the directions on the can and remove any dust you see from the heat sinks and the computer case as well.

Hope this helps.

Bruce.

Edited by MrBruce1959, 05 November 2010 - 01:33 AM.

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#5 wildcat2000

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 04:04 AM

Well you can scratch my last post. It just happend again a few mins ago, sort of, just not the same way. Screen kinda froze up as I was browsing so I closed the window and all of sudden I got a Blue Screen of Death.

It flashed so fast I really couldn't read what it said. The first sentence said something like an error came up and windows had to shut itself down. Then as it restarted itself and I got that usual message about sending a notice to MS where you click send or dont send. I didnt bother sending.

I already know what Blue screens and self-rebooting means. The PC is doomed.

Ive been expecting something like this for awhile now. Like I said Ive had this computer since 2006 and it just has so many problems its not worth looking into. Already replaced the Hard Drive once which helped it stay up and running for a little over a year now so that was pretty good. I doubt its the hard drive. Its only a year old. Mostly likely something else now.

Well thanks for the help anyway. :) Oh one more question if you guys dont mind. How long do you think this computer will work until it finally breaks down altogether? Oh and is there anyway to see that blue screen again? Like in a menu or somthing? It flashes so fast you can't read it. Im just curious what the error is.

Edited by wildcat2000, 05 November 2010 - 04:50 AM.


#6 MrBruce1959

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 11:25 AM

I have computers here that work quite well that were put together in 1999.

So age does not always mean a computer is bound to fail sometime soon or with any predictable pattern.

Anytime Windows crashes, it usually creates a log file which can be found in the administrative tools section of the control panel. Look for Event viewer.

You did not say if you have ever cleaned the computer out for dust accumulation or performed such a task recently.

You may have a driver issue here as well.

It could be a driver related to the adapter you are using to connect your computer to the Internet or a video card driver.

I have had issues with a nVidia driver crashing my computer to a blue screen of death along with the same shut down to protect my system you are experiencing. It happened while I was browsing the Internet. I used a different driver package I had and it resolved my problem.
But just so you know the driver I had downloaded from nVidia's web site was the one that crashed my computer. It may have been corrupted while I was downloading it, so my point is it does happen.

You can download Blue screen view to help you diagnose what your crashes are related to.

Blue Screen View http://nirsoft.net/utils/blue_screen_view.html

Check the time and date of the errors shown and this would point out which error caused the crash.
Then from there we can suggest a possible fix or solution.

Bruce.
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#7 wildcat2000

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 04:34 PM

I checked Event Veiwer but it didnt seem to show it. I dont know, I downloaded bluescreenveiwer and it DID show the error. Oh by the way, no, Ive never cleaned it for dust.

Anyway heres what blurescreenveiwer said. This is the only error that showed up on the top of the list and the time listed is pretty much when it happend last night so Im sure this is the one Im looking for. (I copied and pasted, what I thought anyway I can do the rest, were the most important file names)

Crash Time: 11/5/2010 1:41:20 AM

Bug Check String: PNP_DETECTED_FATAL_ERROR

Caused by Driver: ntoskrnl.exe

Caused by address: ntoskrnl.exe+21cc5

File Description: NT Kernel & System


I have no idea what that driver is. Guess I could google it.

#8 MrBruce1959

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 07:25 PM

Here would be your Bug string.

0x000000CA: PNP_DETECTED_FATAL_ERROR

This is an indicator that you have a bad driver.

Of course ntoskrnl.exe may NOT be the driver that is causing the problem.

It could be the driver associated with your modem or Ethernet adapter.

It could also be the driver related to your video display.

I found a solution related to Windows 7 64 Bit OS, however I prefer to pull up some information related to Windows XP SP3.

Please check this link to see if anything here relates to your situation. (Please be advised, I realize some errors listed refer to Windows server 2003 or 2008. There isn't much on the Microsoft knowledge base for Windows XP.

http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Search/en-us/?query=0x000000CA&refinement=108

Perhaps you may find a solution from one of the server error messages. Those server OSes are NT operating systems just like Windows XP is. In other words they are NTFS file systems just as Windows XP is NTFS, so sometimes a server 2003 or server 2008 OS solution will work with Windows XP SP3.

Its worth a try, as I have used solutions before from server operating systems and found they also resolved an issue with Windows XP or Vista.

So it is worth looking into.

We know you have a driver issue, what we are trying to determine is which driver it is causing the problem.

You could try using MSCONFIG from the command prompt and unchecking all the startup listed there and run the system for a while to see if your problem has been resolved.

You can go back and enable one at a time and run the system for a while to see if the problem is gone or comes back again.

Keep doing this procedure, until the problem comes back again.

Now you have the culprit that is causing the crashes.

If this fails to reveal the culprit, post back, I'll offer another solution for diagnosing the culprit.

Bruce

Edited by MrBruce1959, 05 November 2010 - 07:39 PM.

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#9 wildcat2000

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 08:17 PM

Hmmm...None of those things in the link sounded like my problem. How do you use command prompt?

So if this problem goes unresolved does that mean the computer is gonna die pretty soon? I mean like whatever it is, it it gonna make the pc basicly useless even if it doesn't actually breakdown?

#10 MrBruce1959

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 09:06 PM

I do not think at this point in time we should be considering the computer is dying.

You have a driver problem, those are software issues and not mechanical issues.

Drivers simply tell your OS how to communicate with hardware.

If the driver software is corrupted, it does a poor job of telling windows what to do with the hardware it is trying to communicate with.

Since you have windows XP service pack 3, this is how you go about getting the system configuration utility to pop up.

Click your START button.

Look for RUN.

Type the following text into the box.

MSCONFIG

Click the OK button.

The System Configuration Utility window will appear on the screen.

Look for a tab called STARTUP.

Click on this tab and you will see a list of programs and a box with a check mark next to each one.

I want to tell you, this utility is for trouble-shooting only.
So the changes we are making here are NOT to be permanent ones, there are other safer ways to disable a trouble-some program or driver. We'll come to that, once we find out what is causing you the problems you are experiencing.

You may disable your anti-virus software or another utility that protects your computer, you should not permanently disable those programs.

But for the purpose of diagnosing a problem startup program, it is Okay to disable those until a problem is resolved or a solution is found.

Disable everything by removing the check marks from all of them.

Click apply and allow Windows to restart.

When Windows restarts, a box will pop up stating you have disabled some startup programs.
Just close the notice and use your computer for a few hours and see if the problem has gone away.

If it appears the problem has gone away, you know you disabled the problem program.

Now the question is, which program was it?

Here is how we determine this.

GO back to MSCONFIG as I instructed above.

Now go to the startup tab again and put a check mark next to the first item on the list.

Click apply and allow a restart.

Use the computer normally again.

If no problems, you still have the culprit disabled, if problem comes back, you just enabled the culprit.

Keep doing this procedure with MSCONFIG until you either have found the problem, or you have all the startups enabled again.

I would seriously try updating your drivers for each piece of hardware you have from the manufacturer's web sites, this way you know they are up to date.

Please keep me updated with your progress and if you have any questions or concerns, please let me know.

Bruce.

Edited by MrBruce1959, 05 November 2010 - 09:16 PM.

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#11 wildcat2000

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 10:07 PM

Ok I see. Just one question. If I disable all these things how am I gonna be able to use the internet? One of the things on the list is my wireless utility. Do I have to manually turn it on or enable it somehow everytime I wanna use the computer to browse the web?

#12 MrBruce1959

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Posted 06 November 2010 - 12:39 AM

One of the things on the list is my wireless utility.


I would take it you have a wireless dongle such as a USB wireless device that requires a user interface that starts up when the computer boots up. Does this sound correct?

If this is the case leave this one enabled for now and test the system for crashes.

If it crashes, you have two choices to try to resolve the problem.

Number 1) get the latest drivers for your wireless adapter.

Number 2) Get the latest drivers for your video adapter.

One of those would be the culprit.

You can then go back to MSCONFIG (The System Configuration Utility) in this case and re-enable all your startups again.


Bruce.
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#13 wildcat2000

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Posted 06 November 2010 - 02:55 AM


One of the things on the list is my wireless utility.


I would take it you have a wireless dongle such as a USB wireless device that requires a user interface that starts up when the computer boots up. Does this sound correct?

If this is the case leave this one enabled for now and test the system for crashes.

If it crashes, you have two choices to try to resolve the problem.

Number 1) get the latest drivers for your wireless adapter.

Number 2) Get the latest drivers for your video adapter.

One of those would be the culprit.

You can then go back to MSCONFIG (The System Configuration Utility) in this case and re-enable all your startups again.


Bruce.


No I have a built in wireless card and the modem box is another room.

I saw I had a startup for limewire which I uninstalled awhile ago. I disabled it so I guess it might help...can't hurt anyway. Its pointless cause I don't use it.

#14 MrBruce1959

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Posted 06 November 2010 - 01:12 PM

Thanks for your reply.

I have a better understanding now, what type of set up you have for your wireless adapter.

As for Lime wire, There are ways to permanently remove that start up entry from this list.

One way is to edit the windows registry. I can give you safe and accurate instructions on how to remove Lime wire from your startup list.

There is also a program that will assist you in doing this. If you prefer doing it this way, I can provide you with a link to the program and instructions on what to do.

I will leave that decision up to you, which way you feel is easier for you.

Bruce.
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#15 MrBruce1959

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Posted 06 November 2010 - 01:45 PM

I want to add a little information about System Configuration Utility.

This feature is used primarly for trouble-shooting purposes.

It allows a user to disable a program from starting when windows starts, to see if the program in question causes any issues with or without it starting up.

It is not intended to act as an un-install program, because it does not un-install or remove anything. It simply stops a program from starting up when windows starts.

Now over the long haul, it is NOT a good practice to keep any entries here permanently disabled.

It can cause issues down the line.

So lets say you no longer have intentions of using Lime Wire again.
It is better to remove Lime Wire from this list entirely, rather than just disabling it.
Plus the fact that you now have orphan entries in your registry.
Some are Okay, but some can keep track of what you do on your computer and Lime Wire's program has those abilities. Even after this program is uninstalled.

This is done by going to what is called the Windows Registry and editing registry keys that are found in the STARTUP menu.

This will permantly and safely remove the Lime Wire entery from the System Configuration Uilities startup list. Which is the recommended way to do this.

I want to add here, that editing the registry, should NOT be preformed unless you know what you are editing, what the effects will be once it is done and most importantly is knowing how to back up the registry before making changes to it.

The instructions I will provide you with, will be the safest and correct way to perform this task.

Bruce.
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