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Dell Inspiron M5030 freezing


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#1 usarmylcorley

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 02:58 PM

Hello fellow computer gurus. I have a problem with a coworker's laptop. She purchased a Dell Inspiron M5030 about six months ago. It has never had anything but operating systems and drivers on it until she asked me for help with a problem she was having. She had previously taken it to another coworker who knows enough about computers to break them.

Her problem:

After she bought the laptop, she tethered her phone to it for internet. When she did that, she noticed that the computer locked up, restarted, and when it loaded back up, her desktop wallpaper was gone, the clock reverted back to 1969, and her profile was corrupted. I think she picked up a virus through her phone. The Geek Squad member that looked at her computer after that happened said the phone created a backdoor in her computer that opened it up to a virus that fried her BIOS. I am slightly skeptical about this as her BIOS still checks out to be fine.

When she let the other coworker "fix" it, he installed Vista 64-bit, and decided not to put any drivers on it, so when I got it, it was plain-jane with the 640x480 screen resolution, and it didn't work properly. It would freeze up if you left it alone for more than five minutes.

I decided to install Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit after a low-level format of the drive. After installing Windows 7, I ran ALL of the updates, installed ALL of the drivers from Dell, and started to put on security programs. I installed Symantec Endpoint Protection 11 64-bit, Malware bytes Anti-Malware, CCleaner, and ATF-Cleaner. I have since removed ATF-Cleaner. She asked if I could install iTunes and put my music on it for her, so I said ok. After installing iTunes 64-bit, I tried to import my music from an external hard drive that runs fine in EVERY other computer. Now is where the actual problems begin.

The computer started freezing after exactly 3 minutes and 36 seconds, every time without fail. I finally booted up in Safe Mode and it didn't freeze, so I copied all of the music, and imported the music into iTunes. Upon restarting, I logged in, noticed that all of the music was gone, so I closed iTunes and ran it as an administrator. iTunes began to convert the songs, but on the third song the computer froze again. I opened the Task Manager, which usually runs fine, and to my surprise, the username column was displaying "Unknown" for every user, even SYSTEM. About 3 seconds later, the computer restarted itself, and started to freeze as soon as any program opened. As long as the mouse continued to move, the system would stay stable, but as soon as the mouse stopped moving, BAM! Everything stopped and froze. I have never encountered this problem on ANY other machine, laptop or desktop, and am in serious need of assistance. I have tested/swapped/changed the hard drive, RAM, and wireless cards, and the problem persists regardless of the hardware changes. I don't have any idea what could be causing such a persistent problem

My knowledge of Windows ranges from 3.1 all the way to 7, with very little that I do not know. My tech experience is probably about 8 out of 10. If the laptop will let me, I will post a HijackThis log tonight and anything else I can think of to be relevant. PLEASE HELP. I have already started losing hair over this problem.

Edited by hamluis, 13 September 2011 - 05:04 PM.
PM sent re sig size.

"He who smiles even when everything has gone wrong,
has already found someone to blame it on." - Jonathan Swift


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#2 Broni

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 08:04 PM

She purchased a Dell Inspiron M5030 about six months ago

I'd strongly advice to take advantage of warranty just in case this is a hardware issue.

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#3 MarkGS

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 08:52 PM

After she bought the laptop, she tethered her phone to it for internet. When she did that, she noticed that the computer locked up, restarted, and when it loaded back up, her desktop wallpaper was gone, the clock reverted back to 1969, and her profile was corrupted. I think she picked up a virus through her phone. The Geek Squad member that looked at her computer after that happened said the phone created a backdoor in her computer that opened it up to a virus that fried her BIOS. I am slightly skeptical about this as her BIOS still checks out to be fine.


Disregard what the GS member said, that is highly unlikely and improbable.

My suggestion would be to run the Dell Diagnostic utility, since the PC was wiped it's probably gone now. You can get the diagnostic utility from Dell's support page for that model. Start there and let us know how that goes.

#4 usarmylcorley

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 05:42 PM

Thank you for the halp so far. I ran the Dell Diagnostic Utility after installing it in Safe Mode with Networking. It came back clean. I am going to try a different route with this machine, since it only has 3GB RAM in it. I am going to try Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit. (The benefit of holding a Volume License Agreement with Microsoft.) I will update this as soon as I find out if the problem persists with 32-bit installation.

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has already found someone to blame it on." - Jonathan Swift


#5 usarmylcorley

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 09:58 AM

Well...

I downloaded Hiren's Boot Disk 14, ran every Hard Drive diagnostic included in the suite, and found 384 bad sectors on the hard drive. I used a program called Viva on the HBCD, and "remapped" the bad sectors. After installing Windows 7 32-bit, the problem does not start until I install any of the drivers from the Dell site. As soon as any of the drivers start to install, the computer locks up and after restarting explorer.exe, the computer runs slower than pond water in winter.

I swapped out the RAM with RAM that I know is good, but that didn't fix the problem. I am thinking the problem is in the HDD or the HDD controller. Any thoughts?

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has already found someone to blame it on." - Jonathan Swift


#6 Broni

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 10:34 AM

and found 384 bad sectors on the hard drive


I'd strongly advice to take advantage of warranty just in case this is a hardware issue.


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#7 usarmylcorley

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 03:34 PM

Well, there used to be a warranty until the guy who worked on it beore me voided it by opening the hard drive. I noticed some tool marks on the screw heads. Apparently, he noticed a problem with the hard drive and decided to use a video tutorial on how to manually resurface a hard drive disk. If he actually did what the owner said, I can't say he did a bad job if only 384 sectors were bad after his "manual resurface."

The warranty being voided, I was forced to replace the hard drive. Lucky for the owner, I had a 500GB drive laying around collecting dust, so I put it in and only charged her $5.00 for the drive. Everything works smoothly now, but Windows 7 has reported errors on every drive I have put in that machine since then. Windows 7's SMART scanning program must have a glitch in it somewhere, because none of the other drives register as bad in any other computer with or without windows 7. I guess if you ever get a bad drive, 7 will register every drive after that as bad. I disabled the error message for the new drive, and everything is just peachy now.

Thank you MarkGS for reaffirming that the GS member I talked to was full of crap, and for bringing up the Dell Diagnostic Utility. I had overlooked that until you mentioned it.

Thank you Broni for your exemplary advice in suggesting that I take advantage of the warranty like I normally would, which would be the easy thing to do, but I didn't, because there may have been a reason not to.

Thank you Hamluis for letting me know my signature needed revision.

With everything working properly, I think this thread can be closed. Thank you all again for your help.

"He who smiles even when everything has gone wrong,
has already found someone to blame it on." - Jonathan Swift





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