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Occasional freeze mid-startup


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#1 Alfran

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 07:41 AM

Hello,

 

I've been going through some malware removal in another area of the site, and was referred here.  I'm working on "tuning up" a computer for a relative (he had at LEAST 6 or 7 different toolbars [babylon, conduit, lesstab, defaulttab, etc] plus a couple other fun programs that found their way in), so I don't know if this is a persistent issue, or new related to the malware removal.  Since then, Windows will boot, but it will occasionally freeze mid-startup.  I get to the desktop, I get some icons in the tray, but it never finishes.  The pointer moves, but clicking is not responsive.  The only solution is to power off/on and try again; that usually fixes it for that one time.  Near the very beginning of the malware removal process, it would "freeze" on the initial BIOS screen (do nothing for a while, then shut down).  I was told to run a diagnostic to check the hard drive state; my particular model of Acer requires a change of boot order any time you want to boot from another device (or, don't have anything in the USB/CD drives on boot).  In the middle of switching the boot order in the BIOS setup, it shut down.  I haven't had that happen the last few times, but I don't know if they're related or not.  I'm not sure if it's a boot issue, or if a particular process is hanging in startup (that wouldn't explain the BIOS related issues, though).  I'm not exactly sure where to begin in finding the problem.  Any help or directions to head in would be greatly appreciated.


Edited by Alfran, 16 August 2013 - 07:46 AM.


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#2 dc3

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 09:08 AM

Can you boot into Safe Mode?


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#3 Alfran

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Posted 17 August 2013 - 06:52 PM

Yes, I can boot into any of the modes (safe, safe+network, normal).  In normal it is (from my perspective, but I'm positive that its not the case) randomly freezing.



#4 dc3

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 09:12 AM

Please run sfc /scannow , this command scans all protected system files and replaces corrupted and incorrect versions with correct Microsoft versions.

 

Boot into Safe mode with Command Prompt.

 

Type cmd in the Start Search box, cmd will appear in the pane above the Search box, right click on it and then click on Run as Administrator.

 

You will see the Elevated Command Prompt like the image below, type in sfc /scannow and then press Enter.

 

commandprompt_zps212bc71a.png


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#5 Alfran

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 01:33 PM

I tried it once, and it shut off at about 68 or 70%.  I just turned it back on and it shut off right away, turned it on again and now I'm back in safe mode with command line.  I had solved this once or twice in the virus removal process with a system restore, but what I'm worried about is that I'll restore something to a state that has been altered or will leave me vulnerable to a virus.  I'm going to attempt to get this to complete; I'll post again whether I do or not.



#6 Alfran

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 01:43 PM

It has repeatedly frozen, I'm going to try once more, if it doesn't work I guess I'll try to run this from the system repair command line...?  Unfortunately I don't have any recovery media for this computer; it's an out of warranty Acer and Acer charges for the windows recovery discs (I think).  Worst case scenario, the relative I've been doing this for said he has XP discs and he wants to replace vista with XP.  I have advised against that, but that's the absolute last backup plan.



#7 Alfran

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 01:51 PM

Now I get past BIOS, get the flashing underscore in the top left, and immediate power off.



#8 dc3

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 01:52 PM

You can download a legal copy of Vista here.


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#9 Alfran

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 02:32 PM

I've been researching this for the past hour; I've come across many different sites that want me to download a type of 3rd (what I would call "4th") party installs...files that I am not 100% positive are safe for my computer.  I do realize you're trying to help, but I'd like to not download something while feeling like I'm walking down a back alley buying a CD out of somebody's trench coat pocket while he tries to sell me a watch (not saying that's you, but some of the sites seem that way).  I've just finished de-spyware-ing two machines, and I'd like to not keep them as clean as possible.  I got some windows startup options back, and I started with enabled bootlogging.  Will that only give me the basic boot sequence of events, or does that include startup folders after windows is loaded?  I booted up and it worked this time, but I'd like to try booting a few times and seeing if I can get a log if it freezes.  It will be useless, though, if it stops logging after windows is entirely loaded.


Edited by Alfran, 18 August 2013 - 02:33 PM.


#10 Alfran

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 02:42 PM

I'm also not entirely positive that it's windows related...since it crashed in the BIOS menu, that concerns me.  I also got into recovery environment and tried to run windows memory diagnostic; crashed.  Put in a windows 7 recovery CD to boot from; crashed.  Is there a forum that I should redirect this to, or do you think the problem is most likely windows based?



#11 dc3

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 03:41 PM



I've been researching this for the past hour; I've come across many different sites that want me to download a type of 3rd (what I would call "4th") party installs...files that I am not 100% positive are safe for my computer.  I do realize you're trying to help, but I'd like to not download something while feeling like I'm walking down a back alley buying a CD out of somebody's trench coat pocket while he tries to sell me a watch (not saying that's you, but some of the sites seem that way).  I've just finished de-spyware-ing two machines, and I'd like to not keep them as clean as possible.  I got some windows startup options back, and I started with enabled bootlogging.  Will that only give me the basic boot sequence of events, or does that include startup folders after windows is loaded?  I booted up and it worked this time, but I'd like to try booting a few times and seeing if I can get a log if it freezes.  It will be useless, though, if it stops logging after windows is entirely loaded.

 

Fifteen months prior to this date I would never suggest a download that I wasn't comfortable about suggesting.  I have been married for fifteen months now and have had way to many instances of my wife downloading software indiscriminately leaving me with the clean up job afterward.   Because of this I'm twice as intent in not suggesting downloads which have third party software imbedded in them.

 

The only questionable aspect of this download is if you are running Vista Ultimate.  If you are not, then this download isn't for your.

 

Microsoft no longer sells Vista, because of this there are no Microsoft endorsed downloads available.  But since most all of the OEM computers come with a recovery partition there are an increasing number of sites which provide "legal" copies of Vista and Windows 7, what do you do if the hdd fails and you can't access the recovery partition?  You will need a valid product code to be able to use these ISO files.

 

I'm also not entirely positive that it's windows related...since it crashed in the BIOS menu, that concerns me.

 

This is the first that you have provided us with information pointing a hardware problem.

 

 

 
Memtest86
 
1) Please download the Memtest86 Pre-Compiled Bootable ISO file.
 
2) Unzip the downloaded memtest86 file.  You will need a program like 7-Zip to unzip this file.
 
3) Inside, you will find the memtest86 file.
 
4) Please download and install ImageBurn.
 
5) Insert blank CD into your CD drive.
 
6) Open ImgBurn, and click on Write image file to disc.
 
ImgBurn1_zps715cb1c2.png
 
7) Click on the Browse for a file... icon:
 
ImgBurn2_zpsaea72ba9.png
 
8) Locate the memtest86 file, and click on the Open button.
 
9) Click on the blue arrow to start burning bootable memtest86 CD.
 
imageburn11_zpse44f577b.png
 
10) Once the CD is created, boot from it, and memtest will automatically start to run.  
 
Please note:  It may be neccessary to change the boot order in the BIOS so the CD/DVD-ROM is the first device in the boot order and the hdd second.
 
Each pass consists of 8 tests, it is suggested that you run at least 7 passes, this will take several hours, you may find it simpler to let it run overnight.  The longer you run the passes the more comprehensive the results will be.
 
If you are running multiple modules and have a failure, remove all but one module and test it separately, continue this with each module till you find the one that failed.  
 
When you discern that a module is good, use it to test each slot to be sure there isn't a problem with one of them.
 
When the test is complete a display similar to the one below will appear.  Note the locations of the Pass and Errors, any Error is indicative of a failed module.
 
memtest1_zps7be717f5.png
 
I would also suggest finding out who the manufacturer of you hdd is.  Post this information and I will provide you with a link to their diagnostic tool download site.

Family and loved ones will always be a priority in my daily life.  You never know when one will leave you.

 

 

 

 


#12 Alfran

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 03:54 PM

In the first post:

 

 

Near the very beginning of the malware removal process, it would "freeze" on the initial BIOS screen (do nothing for a while, then shut down).  I was told to run a diagnostic to check the hard drive state; my particular model of Acer requires a change of boot order any time you want to boot from another device (or, don't have anything in the USB/CD drives on boot).  In the middle of switching the boot order in the BIOS setup, it shut down.  I haven't had that happen the last few times, but I don't know if they're related or not.  I'm not sure if it's a boot issue, or if a particular process is hanging in startup (that wouldn't explain the BIOS related issues, though).

 

 

Please don't misunderstand my apprehension, I do think you're trying to help, and I hate to be picky about the advice I take.  But what you described as your problems with spyware are what I'm fighting right now.  I go to college out of state, and I come home and my grandparent's computer has 6 or 7 (at least) programs that I know don't belong (conduit, babylon, etc...).  So, they are removed, but now there are these other issues that surface (or have been there for who knows how long).  Thank you for the help I've received so far, and I will take the download as sort of a hail mary if I have to.  It's my distrust of scammers, not you.

 

Anyway, I'll begin with the memtest, and I'll find out the info on the hard drive.  I believe (but I'm not positive) that it's a Hitachi, but I want to check to make sure.  The diagnostic I ran (the only one I know of because I had to use it for an issue on my drive) is the one included in Parted Magic.  Again, thank you for taking the time to help me solve this.  I'd be pretty lost on this one on my own.


Edited by Alfran, 19 August 2013 - 04:08 PM.


#13 Alfran

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 09:32 PM

Started Memtest, let it run unattended; it was off when I checked it about 2 hours later.



#14 dc3

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 07:48 AM

If left to its own memtest86 will continue to run for hours.   I'm a little concerned that you posted that memtest86 had quit running after a couple of yours.  It is suggested that 6 or 7 passes be run to produce accurate results. 

 

Unless you restarted or ended the scan the results of the passes should have been seen on the monitor, did you see the results?


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#15 Alfran

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 08:17 AM

 

If left to its own memtest86 will continue to run for hours.

 

Yeah, that's what I thought; I did some minimal looking into the program.  I don't know exactly how many passes it made because I turned it on and walked away thinking it was going to run for a while.  I know that it couldn't have been more than 2 hours...that's a very generous estimate.






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