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Is my computer dying?


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#1 ctrsara

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 10:59 AM

HP Pavilion a6500f, Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit edition, intel pentium dual-core processor.

A few days ago it started freezing. (no response from mouse or keyboard, sound frozen too) happened while doing all sorts of things. No rhyme or reason. It's happening a LOT. I did a scan with malwarebytes and it found nothing. check disk with the repair option (but it started before I saw the results) and it seemed a little better after that. Only this morning it's been worse. Even in Safe Mode it froze (sort of. The light in the mouse went off, but I still had keyboard control.) Then the next time I tried to start it it refused to start up (like 6 times in a row) and just stayed on the blue Hp screen. At that point (since the way the mouse froze) I unplugged all of the USB peripherals (4 different external drives and passports and a printer/scanner) and I was able to get it to respond to the F9 diagnostic. It passes all of the diagnostic tests and then started up.

Is the problem one of my external drives? They've all been responding just fine! Can they make my computer freeze or even not start? What is going on here?

Any thought would be greatly appreciated...

Thanks!

Sara

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#2 Allan

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 11:07 AM

You said you scanned with MalwareBytes. Did you also scan with your av app?

What is new or different since the last time everything worked properly (ie, new hw, new sw, virus, error, etc)?

#3 ctrsara

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 11:16 AM

I did not scan with my antivirus (I guess after malware found nothing I figured it was a hardware issue?) I am doing that now. Nothing has changed recently; the last thing installed was over 3 weeks ago, and the problem's only been happening about 3 days. I -have- been plugging and unplugging different external drives (I video edit and have about 3 TB of storage going on). Can a file problem on my externals cause the freezes? I haven't tried scanning all of them yet... We do get a few error messages on start up, but they have to do with certain programs that I assumed disliked not having Internet access. We've been getting those for months. (we've moved around a lot this year, and only connect to the Internet through my husband's 3G network using PDA Net). I'm on our iPad on a wireless connection right now. There's no Internet connection to the desktop I'm working on currently.

Edited by ctrsara, 22 August 2011 - 11:26 AM.


#4 Allan

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 12:23 PM

What are the error messages you are getting at startup?

And please finish the scan with your av - right now, my preliminary guess would be malware. MalwareBytes is NOT an anti virus application.

Also, when you boot to safe mode do you have problems there or do things run normally?

#5 ctrsara

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 01:17 PM

I am in safe mode right now backing up some files. It is doing well so far, but earlier today my mouse froze in safe mode and I only had keyboard controls. When I tried to restart at that point is when it refused to boot at all for a while. My Avast scan ran for about an hour and a half earlier (and was only at 20%) when I got the blue screen resulting in a physical memory dump and a restart. When my files finish backing up I will restart in normal mode, get the error msgs written down an re-attempt a virus scan?

Edited by ctrsara, 22 August 2011 - 01:34 PM.


#6 Allan

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 01:26 PM

Yes, please try to finish the scan - even if you run it in safe mode. Please note that the inability to finish an av scan is often a sign of an infected system.

Also, Download BlueScreenView:
http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/blue_screen_view.html
unzip downloaded file and double click on BlueScreenView.exe to run the program.
when scanning is done, go to EDIT - Select All
Go to FILE - SAVE Selected Items, and save the report as BSOD.txt
Open BSOD.txt in Notepad, copy all of the content, and paste it into your next reply

Edited by Allan, 22 August 2011 - 01:28 PM.


#7 ctrsara

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 01:34 PM

I am attempting a quick scan in safe mode. Should I stop it and go for a full scan instead? I can't download the file until tonight as I only have Internet access on the iPad until my husband comes home with hs phone in about 5 hrs.

#8 Allan

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 02:14 PM

If you have the time I'd suggest the full scan.

#9 ctrsara

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 03:12 PM

Full scan running. It's possible it will take all night. So now that I pretty much have everything backed up, I'm thinking about a full System Recovery to factory settings. What would be the cons to that? Pros?

#10 Allan

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 03:17 PM

The only "con" is that you will lose any files on the drive and you'll have to reinstall all updates and apps. Other than that, none. In the future, you might want to consider regular backups with disc imaging software. It's something I suggest to everyone.

If your system is infected the full restore should take care of that issue - unless it's a boot sector virus.

#11 ctrsara

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 04:18 PM

I back up regularly, but due to the sheer size of data I'm constantly working with (because of the full-quality .avi files especially) it becomes a little cumbersome. If my computer crashed I would be inconvenienced and maybe have to redo some work, but I wouldn't lose anything unrecoverable. (I learned my lesson there with a few different bad hard drives). That's why I have so much external media attached; I'm constantly backing up and transferring lots of video. (I have 3 family's total family videos in process)
I was finally able to get the computer to respond to a system restore (not a full recovery yet) and it took it back about 2 weeks. I'm running the full scan now (and probably well into the night) and am leaving my peripherals detached for now. I'll see what I find out and probably update again tomorrow. (I'm on EST). Thanks so much for your help and suggestions so far!!

Edited by ctrsara, 22 August 2011 - 04:19 PM.


#12 ctrsara

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 07:14 AM

I was finally able to complete a full virus scan in Safe Mode and it did find one virus: a "high" severity one -"Threat: Java: Agent-LS[Expl]". It was in C:\Users\Sara\AppData\LocalLow\Sun\Java\Deployment\cache\6.0\12. Avast didn't respond to requests to delete it in Safe Mode, so I went in manually deleted the file. I emptied the recycle bin at that point and ran another scan on just that local set of folders and it came up clean. Do you think that kind of virus might have been causing the freezing problem? Is manually deleting it sufficient? This is the second virus I have gotten since I started using Avast several months ago. Can that be normal with any AV software, or should I try something else?

#13 ReviverSoft

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 07:29 AM

Do you think that kind of virus might have been causing the freezing problem?

Maybe or maybe not. Computer freezes are either the result of program conflicts in Windows or hardware related problems. You will need to rule them out one by one.

when I got the blue screen resulting in a physical memory dump and a restart.

Are you able to follow Allan's suggestion of using the Blue Screen utility to record the details of the BSOD error?

Is manually deleting it sufficient? This is the second virus I have gotten since I started using Avast several months ago. Can that be normal with any AV software, or should I try something else?

It's time to try a different AV program. Some brands to consider: ESET, AVG, Kaspersky, Bitdefender, GDATA and Trend Micro
Also, make sure you run a quick scan using Microsoft Security Essentials and Malwarebytes (or SuperAntiSpyware)
ReviverSoft - Happy to help!

#14 Allan

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 07:31 AM

I do think malware was your problem. If I were you I'd now post in the Am I Infected forum on this site. Explain your problem there and include a link to this thread.

To answer your question, no anti virus application is perfect. But I'm a big believer in having the best protection available and in my opinion that is not Avast - or any other free program. Lot's of people swear by Avast, Avira, AVG and other free apps - and that's fine. Personally, I use Kaspersky.

#15 ctrsara

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 07:42 AM

Thank you both for your replies and suggestions. I have been unable to do the blue screen program, because unfortunately, my husband took his phone's connection cord with him to work yesterday and somehow lost it (probably in a parking lot an hour away). So my desktop has no Internet connection until he can get another cord.
I will post in the Am I Infected forum to make sure things are clean now, and look into some other AV solutions. Interestingly enough, I am running a full iris scan again this morning, and while it took about 5-6 hrs to run yesterday, today after 2 hours it is 97% done... Also, I haven't had any freezes since deleted the virus last night, so that is a big positive! Thanks again for your help!




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