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not so SMART


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#1 millipede

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 03:29 PM

while this topic isn't about my brain...  I must say, my brain is fried sometimes.  I have trouble remembering things...  :/  frustrating.

I enjoy helping some local people with their computers from time to time.  As much as my wife would like it to be, it's not a business.  I just want to help and I can't handle enough computer work to actually make any real money from it.  People give me a few bucks here and there but I do this just because I want to help them. 
there are times when things don't go my way and I start to want to give up. 
Current situation...
This lady had THREE laptops that needed help.  The first one was the newest and was her work laptop and she needed it fast.  I don't remember all I did but I worked harder than normal and had it for her a day later.  I told her I don't often finish them that quickly but she needed it so I worked hard.  Second one I had for a good week I bet as it was older and needed more work.
This one though...  I'd like to throw it out the window.  :/
To start with, it had bugs in it.  not sure why it did and the others didn't.  Found several carpet beetle larvae, 2 or 3 cockroach molts, and found one baby roach crawling up my leg when I first got to work on it.  That thing stayed in a plastic bag in the van when I wasn't working on it in the yard...  and working on it was SLOW and only on days that were nice enough.  It's been a month I bet...  and I gave up on the outdoor work because I always ran out of time.  I had it all aprt the other day because I NEEDED to bring it inside.  Didn't find ANY bugs this time and managed to push on the fan so that it stopped hitting whatever it was hitting... it was loud.  Also got the dust out of the way that was blocking it up.
Anyway... EVERYTHING I did was taking forever.  I removed a LOT of unwanted junk.  Could not open ANY AV and still can't.  installed MSE and that is updating but I can't open it.  There were traces of avast, mcafee, and at least one or two others that I've done my best to clean up.  I can't even open malwarebytes.
I've run hijackthis in safe mode to get some BHOs and stuff that I could not remove in normal mode.  I've managed to uninstall some of the unwanted stuff through add/remove and through CCleaner's tools.  I've run the Housecall online scan... And I think that wasn't too bad. 
(Oh, I have it on a flat surface with duct tape all around to help prevent anything from crawling away, in case anything is still alive)
Have done SO much and still can't get malwarebytes or MSE to actually open.  MSE keeps bogging things down for a few minutes at startup but overall, things are running a little better.
I've updated windows like crazy, quite successfully.  Vista SP2 managed fine along with all the next updates that it needed. 
I was thinking, I should test the hdd...  downloaded gsmartcontrol and it couldn't do anything for me.  :/
Found it was western digital so I downloaded their diagnostic software.  It shows that there's no SMART data.  Shows "Fail". 
BUT...  ran the quick test... passed.  Running the extended test and it's going smoothly so far.  So, it's the SMART data that isn't working.  not sure what that means at this point. 
Oddly...  this is showing a C and D drive, both with 74.65GB on them...  D being EMPTY.  Why would someone have split the drive in half and not used any of D?  hmmm
I've considered reinstalling vista and I likely will head that way...  but that's where my brain gets fried.
Tried booting to a vista dvd I have to see if I could first try a repair option.  It wont read from it.  The dvd drive is making some odd noises(when it tries) and two different dvd's where showing as if there was nothing on it.  Went to my computer, right clicked, clicked "explore" and the drive opened back up asking me to insert a disc.  So, that's not going to work at all.  So that leaves me with either popping another dvd drive in(which I don't really want to do) or putting vista on a flash drive.  I think I have the files already... I just hate complicated instructions and every time I look up putting vista on a flash drive, I get a little overwhelmed. 
I need to do it though for this and future work.  Would be handy to just have it that way already.  :)
Other thing I don't really want to mess with is backing up their data.  It's not like people have ALL their important data in ONE place.  It's here and there any everywhere.  :/
eh... 
Like us, these people are poor... otherwise I'd strongly suggest just getting a new laptop.
We'll see if I can get this running like new again but my hopes aren't toooooo high right now.

So... questions...
Why would the SMART data not work and does that pose any problems?
I installed MSE because a LOT of people today do not want to be bothered with updates, registration, popups, etc.  MSE does everything in the background well enough.  But I'm open to other options if there are any other AVs out there that are just as hassle free.  I personally use Avast and like it but not everyone is the same. 

side note...  I don't know why my brain feels so fried sometimes...  I honestly have never done drugs in my life...  never smoked... and can count the alcoholic beverages I've tasted in my life on one hand.  So, that's not it...  maybe it's from being married and/or having kids.  HA.


Edited by millipede, 13 November 2013 - 04:57 PM.


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#2 millipede

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 10:08 PM

was having a hard time even running housecall again.  It just kept failing.  Thought I should just try another one.  I had already disabled every unnecessary startup and service I could...  that may or may not have helped at this point...
but, I gave panda cloud scan a try. 
Man that helped.  after cleaning up and rebooting, MSE finally showed up in the taskbar and I have it open and running a full scan.  :)
While it gets frustrating at times... persistence often does pay off.



#3 MrBruce1959

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 08:32 AM

Hello millipede. So we speak again. :busy:

 

I realize computers can be frustrating to analyze and diagnose, but patience is the key to dealing with anything that involves technology. Exploring and analyzing only leads to more knowledge for the next time you cross that same road. More knowledge, leads to a quicker path to success.

 

Let's start off with your first question about the SMART feature of any given hard drive that supports it. SMART is a feature that the computer's BIOS system uses to detect potential hard drive problems leading to failure. If the hard drive supports SMART and the BIOS also supports SMART and there is an issue with SMART being reported as not being currently active, that would means that the feature has been or was originally turned off.

 

Most system BIOS have setup parameters for the hard drive, the easiest way is to set this to automatic in the hard drive setup section of the BIOS. Everything is configured automatically so the hard drive works at optimal RPM and the disk space is correctly displayed. 

 

Now the thing with SMART is it is not always activated by default settings. In most cases, when a BIOS is re-set to setup defaults, the SMART feature is not activated, this has to be done manually and until it is, the SMART feature will be reported as not active. You can turn that feature on by selecting the hard drive and choosing it's properties in the BIOS setup utility. There should be a sub-menu option for that hard drive, since BIOSes are setup differently from computer maker to computer maker, it would be easier just to say, explore the MAIN menu of the BIOS until you locate the SMART feature and once you find it, activate it and save the changes.

 

Now, it is not unheard of for a laptop to have a hard drive split into two partitions, in fact, this is very common practice. The second partition also known as E:\ if the DVD drive is designated as drive D:\ is used for back up purposes. Windows Vista is capable of being setup to automatically perform a system backup at a scheduled time each week. Also, some laptop manufacturers hide the factory default operating system installation files on that second partition. A simple key stroke (often F12 or F11) at boot up, causes a hidden menu to popup that allows for the laptop to be restored to factory defaults. This can be done two different ways. 

 

One is directory C:\ will remain as it was, however everything in the Windows folder gets renamed to Windows.old (contains your old files, programs and directories, but they can no longer be started from this folder) and a new Windows folder is created with all your programs missing. The second way, is everything on drive C:\ is wiped clean.

 

It appears, that from older threads you have created, you have a bug problem where you are located on the map. I know many people who live in Florida say that cockroaches are a way of life to them, now where I live here in Connecticut, cockroaches are often a sign of uncleanliness and filthy living conditions. If your house is infested, with these bugs, no one wants to know you because these things multiply rapidly and infestation can happen by allowing things in your home that were in someone else's home that had cockroach problems. It happens faster than you think.

 

I know, me personally, I have seen houses that were loaded with this menace and it makes your skin crawl! I could not live with those things in my house, no way, totally unacceptable! Now, like I stated to you once before, having an outdoor utility shed would make things more manageable, being that as long as the building is not part of the main structure, your living quarters would never be a part of that infestation.

 

Bruce.


Edited by MrBruce1959, 14 November 2013 - 08:33 AM.

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#4 millipede

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 07:07 PM

Thanks Bruce...
 

 

There should be a sub-menu option for that hard drive

Sure didn't find any.  Going to reboot it and look around to see if there's an update to the Bios.(EDIT: Bios version was 1.0, looked on Acer's site and saw that was all they had as well... oh well)   If I can't find a way to get the SMART stuff working, that will be okay. 
Still working out a few minor things with this thing.  I am going to try really hard to remember the Panda online scanner.  That thing helped a LOT.  After that ran and removed things, I was able to open MSE and malwarebytes and find a few more. 
my biggest frustration with it all now is cpu usage.  Still gets a little high for different MS things... especially the first few minutes after boot.  MsMPEng.exe ends up eating up as much cpu as possible for a few minutes.  So I have to wait.  Looked that up, saw people referring to windows defender but I tried to open it and it said windows defender was turned off.  I'm guessing it's just part of MSE.  What I don't understand is what it's doing.  MSE is set to run a scan once a week.  What's running at every boot?
Overall it seems slower than I'd like but, it's vista... I've been using windows 7 for a while now and am used to it. :)
I guess that hard drive split would be handy if it was actually set to backup.  I found a folder with two files on D:.  Both of them were for some malware removal tool...  I deleted that folder.

bugs... yes... I'm not fond of them.  After messing with one like that outside for a while I have to take a shower.  I don't know that there are any live bugs left in this one but if there are, I'm hoping the duct tape will help. 
I have only brought 3 or 4 home that have had bugs or signs of bugs.  That's 3 or 4 too many.  I have a feeling that part of that is in that I'm offering my services to people that wouldn't be able to afford a repair shop.  A lot of them don't live so well...  this one had carpet beetle larvae(carpet beetles feed on hair and wool).  There was hair in there, just a little.  Even a small feather.  Not the worst one I've looked at but still not pleasant.
If I had a building outside I could work in, that would be handy.
I've come up with an idea but, I'm not sure how well it would work or if I'd even ever get to it.  I have a BIG problem with procrastination.  LOTS of things on my to do list.  :/
But I was thinking I could make a box with a LOT of screening for ventilation...  smaller screening that bugs wouldn't be able to just slip through...  Sealing up the rest of it fairly tight.  Have a place for the power cord and possible even a usb connection built into it so I can connect usb drives and devices without even touching the laptop... then just setting it in there and closing it up...  maybe put a few baited sticky traps in there.  HA.
For now, I open EVERY one up outside of the house before I bring them in.  If they don't look so good, I'll just work on them outside.  Of course that will be more difficult with the weather getting colder.  :(

Overall things are going smoother with it.  Just a few minor hangups.  Still wish I could just tell them to buy a new computer but that's just not possible.
Hey, someone should make some SUPER water proof laptops... and when things get buggy... just run it through a dishwasher or something.  HA.


Edited by millipede, 14 November 2013 - 07:21 PM.


#5 millipede

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 03:06 PM

ugh... isn't it fun to try and do computer work when you're feeling exceptionally tired... dizzy even.  blah...

Thought I'd be nice and try and see if I had a spare dvd drive for this thing.  Dug and dug and dug... 1, 2, 3...  3 that didn't have the same connections...  dig dig dig... finally found one...  opening and closing was tight for some reason... couldn't solve that but, that hardly matters...  Plugged it in and screwed it in... 
same issue.  navigate to the dvd drive and click "explore" and it pops itself open and asks to insert a disk... as if nothing was in there.  But there was.
So... while it is quite likely this spare drive isn't in great shape... I'm thinking something else is going on.  What I don't know.
In device manager everything looks fine.  Might explore that some more later but don't have the energy or patience for it at the moment.........



#6 millipede

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 02:15 PM

Any ideas on MsMpEng.exe?  It seems to run for a while at every boot.  CPU goes WAY up so I sit and wait for it to stop.  I bet I've been waiting ten minutes and it's still high.  It will eventually cut back but until it does, it makes doing anything else on the computer difficult.
I'm half tempted to put in another AV instead of MSE BUT... I put MSE on these sometimes because you don't have to worry about registering, popups, updating, etc like you have to with a lot of other free AVs.



#7 MrBruce1959

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 11:14 PM

These two links below will explain what MsMpEng.exe is:


What is MsMpEng process?

http://www.paretologic.com/resources/paretolabs/exe/msmpeng_exe.aspx


Why is MsMpEng.exe using so much CPU?

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/forefront/en-US/8ee4a53e-2ae7-4e91-9ac9-173ee3b12650/why-is-msmpengexe-using-so-much-cpu?forum=Forefrontclientgeneral

Bruce.
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#8 millipede

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 01:24 AM

Thanks.  I had done some looking and had already seen that microsoft site.  All the information is old and confusing.  That microsoft discussion goes over several possibilities.
I was under the impression... based on what I know on the computer, that it had to be from MSE...  I tried to open windows defender and it said that it wasn't turned on...  So, MSE was all I could think of.  Anything that came up in that discussion about MSE was limited.  The only suggestion that could help was to disable the scheduled scan.  Problem with that is, I don't think that was it because that's a weekly scheduled scan and this was happening every day I turned it on. 
I tried turning on windows defender but that failed.  I then went into the startup entries in CCleaner and found defender listed there.  I disabled it and plan to see how it boots tomorrow.  Too late to turn it on again tonight........



#9 MrBruce1959

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 05:35 PM

Well, now you know what that process is. Don't forget now, although you may not be currently executing a scan on demand, Windows Defender does monitor your system in real time. Same goes for MircoSoft Security Essentials. So, you can expect some spikes if you are doing anything that might relate to possible virus or malware infection.

Older systems might not handle the real time protection as well as the newer ones do.

Bruce.

Edited by MrBruce1959, 19 November 2013 - 05:35 PM.

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