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Strange symptoms...all help appreciated.


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#1 QuasarJones

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Posted 28 May 2016 - 10:09 AM

OK, pretty specific set of issues here; I haven't found anybody on forums and the like that seems to have the same.  
I'm not much of a computer guy, so any assistance or pointers at all would be truly appreciated.

I'll describe the issue as completely as I can, in this order: 1.system specs, 2.user specs, 3.symptoms and non-symptoms, 4.what I've tried, 5.possible diagnoses(?) and thoughts.

1. System specs
-HP Pavilion g series laptop, purchased in 2011.
-Windows 7 Home Premium, 64bit, version 6.1.7601 SP1 Build 7601
-AMD Phenom™ II P960 Quad-Core Processor, 1800 Mhz, 4 Core(s), 4 Logical Processor(s)
-Norton and Malwarebytes for anti-bad stuff
-Not sure what other specs would be useful. (Let me know if I should add something.)
-Note: I've never done a wipe or system reinstall, because I've never had a reason to -- everything has worked pretty fine so far, given a troubleshooting session here and there.

2. User specs
-Super vanilla case -- not a gamer, no special software, try to minimize what I'm running at any given time. I don't have lots of programs running in the background (that I know of) and when I run my web browser, I rarely have more than a few tabs open.
-really like Win7 and would like to keep it for as long as I can.  
-Not wealthy (to put it lightly) and have had a couple bad experiences with repair people in the past, so I'm a bit non-trusting and would rather do as much as I can (with the help of kind-hearted folks like yourself) before I resort to a tech repair person.


3. Symptoms and Non-symptoms
-Original symptom: random freezing. Doesn't respond to Ctrl+Alt+Del. Mouse cursor still visible. *Occasionally* gives me the Black Screen (maybe 10% of the time it freezes) but stays running/doesn't shut down.  
    --Doesn't appear to be related to what programs I am or am not running: it happens in the middle of a video, when idle, or after "sleeping".   Once while loading Windows.
    --Doesn't appear to be related to how long I've been logged on -- sometimes it doesn't freeze for 1hr, sometimes 5 mins.
    --It *does* appear to increase in frequency if I log on shortly after rebooting -- it will freeze slightly more quickly than the previous time.
    --> NOTE: this symptom is absent in Safe Mode, but apparently NOT in Safe Mode With Networking.
    --> Also NOTE: this symptom started soon after a recent series of Windows Updates. Possibly a coincidence, but I dunno.

-Added symptom (a day or so later): parts of the display that should appear WHITE appear BLUE. (well, white with lots of very skinny vertical blue lines).
    --this symptom now happens all the time, including in Safe Mode, while doing a "Clean Boot", and while loading Windows (you can see the blue lines in the flashing Win logo).

-Added symptom: the "cmd.exe" window sometimes briefly pops up when Windows is starting. Don't know if it matters, but this didn't use to happen.

-Non-symptoms: for all of the above:
    -fan is running normally  (i.e. not loud)
    -temperature is normal (i.e. not hot)
    -lights and screen illumination are normal (even with the Black Screen).
    

4. What I've tried (with no results)
-Clean out as much dust as I can from the laptop.
-Did a "Forced Reset"
-Ran a malware check.
-Checked all my hardware and drivers on Control Panel-->Device Manager.
-Made sure all my Windows updates, browser plugins, and software I use were up to date.
-*Uninstalled a bunch of Windows Updates, (as mentioned, this problem started immediately after a series of updates.)
-Did a system restore [but I didn't have a restore point before the aforementioned Windows Updates; also I don't have an image to do an advanced system recovery with.]
-Installed BIOS updates.
-Reverted to BIOS setup defaults.
-Ran every HP and Windows diagnostic tool on my computer (hard disk test, RAM test, etc.)
-Uninstalled and Reinstalled the graphics chip driver.
-Consulted HP Support Assistant, Windows Troubleshooting, etc... as well as every online forum I could find a similar problem for.  


5. Possible diagnoses(?), Thoughts, Questions.
-My instinct says "graphics chip is screwed", however:
    --no problems are listed with the hardware or driver on Device Manager.
    --my computer doesn't overheat. (It used to back in the day, but not since I've regularly blown compressed air into it. As mentioned the fan is working normally)
    --I don't do anything more visually/graphically taxing than watch Youtube videos,
    --For the first week or so, other than the blue lines and the freezing, there was nothing unusual visually: no distortions, artifacts or weird patterns. Photos and video generally load and play normally (except for blue lines in the white parts).
        (As of today, I've started to get a couple random red lines here and there. Not sure if they will persist.)
    --For the first week, it wasn't running abnormally slowly.  (As of today, it seems to be struggling a bit more.)

-I also considered it might be some hardware component reacting allergically to something in one of the recent Windows Updates, but I've uninstalled all the ones that it could have been (*except the security-related ones).

-Why do the blue lines happen in Safe Mode, but not the freezing?  (Except it does freeze in Safe Mode with Networking --> is this relevant?)

-Is it worth doing a complete system overhaul and reinstall Windows from scratch, or would that be a waste of time?

-What haven't I thought of?  

THANKS --Pete



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#2 usasma

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Posted 29 May 2016 - 04:53 PM

I work as a PC Tech.  If you need to spend money, we'll advise you of a way to do it so that you won't lose any (mostly by purchasing from a shop that'll give you your money back if you want to return whatever it is that you purchased).

We can coach you through most everything - but it requires patience and the ability to follow directions accurately.

If you have problems with what you're doing or what we're saying - let us know.

 

These are significant:

 

--> NOTE: this symptom is absent in Safe Mode, but apparently NOT in Safe Mode With Networking.
    --> Also NOTE: this symptom started soon after a recent series of Windows Updates. Possibly a coincidence, but I dunno.

Now, I can rant all day about the Windows Update thing - but the long and the short of it is that Windows Updates rarely cause problems.  Most often the problem is due to an outdated component/program that doesn't react well to the Windows Update.

And, why would it go away in Safe Mode - but not in Safe Mode with networking?  Sounds like there may be some networking involvement here (we remember this as we're troubleshooting).

 

But, this one is also significant:

 

-Added symptom (a day or so later): parts of the display that should appear WHITE appear BLUE. (well, white with lots of very skinny vertical blue lines).
    --this symptom now happens all the time, including in Safe Mode, while doing a "Clean Boot", and while loading Windows (you can see the blue lines in the flashing Win logo).

This is most likely a video problem.  Could be hardware or software.

 

Q:  Why do the blue lines happen in Safe Mode, but not the freezing?

A:  I dunno :0)  There's several possibilities and I hope that we can narrow them down as we work on this.

 

Q:  Is it worth doing a complete system overhaul and reinstall Windows from scratch, or would that be a waste of time?

A:  Yes :0)  If done properly, a clean install of Windows can help to determine if this is a 3rd party software problem (as there won't be any 3rd party software in a clean install), a hardware issue (if the problem continues despite a fresh install of the OS, this increases the likelyhood of it being a hardware issue, and if you use different install media when installing you can help rule out Windows as the problem (as the Windows bits should be OK as the media comes from the factory.

 

Finally, as it's coming up on time for the free W10 install to expire, you may want to do it just to get the license for it.

Then you can install W7 and continue on for that. (ask about it if you're interested).

 

So, I'd like to start with this:

- wait until the system gives you the black screen in normal mode.

- as soon as you recover in normal mode, Let's try looking at these 2 sets of reports:

1)  Please run this report collecting tool (even though you may not be reporting BSOD's) so we can provide a complete analysis:  http://omgdebugging.com/bsod-inspector/
When done a Notepad document will open with the name of the file and it's location.
By default it'll be a .zip file located on your Desktop
Simply upload the .zip file with your next post and we'll move on from there.
If it doesn't work for you, then please try this:  http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/576314/blue-screen-of-death-bsod-posting-instructions-windows-10-81-8-7-vista/

2)  Please do the following:
- open Event Viewer (run eventvwr.msc from the "Run" dialog)
- expand the Custom Views category (left click on the > next to the words "Custom Views")
- right click on the "Administrative Events" heading
- select "Save all Events in Custom View as..."
- save the file as Admin.evtx
- zip up the file (right click on it, select "Send to", select "Compressed (zipped) folder")
- upload it with your next post (if it's too big, then upload it to a free file-hosting service and post a link here).

FYI - If we're looking for Event ID 41 errors (unexplained shutdowns), there's more info on that here:  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2028504

While waiting for a reply, please monitor your temps with this free utility:  http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/hwmonitor.html


 
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#3 QuasarJones

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Posted 04 June 2016 - 08:13 AM

Hi usasma,

I really appreciate you taking the time to comment and give suggestions!

 

Attached are the 2 zip files (one from BSOD Inspector, one from Event Viewer) -- please note that I did this after a regular freeze, not after a black screen, since I just wasn't getting any black screens -- don't know if this invalidates the tests or not.

 

Also attached are 2 txt files from the CPUID HWMonitor readings.

 

I have not done the tests recommended on the BSOD page since I am not getting BSODs... would they be useful

anyway?

 

Attached File  PDURAN_HP_04_06_2016_14_41_14.zip   5.42MB   2 downloads

Attached File  Admin.zip   426.44KB   1 downloads

Attached File  HWMonitor.txt   38.83KB   1 downloads

Attached File  hwm_smbus.txt   1.17KB   2 downloads

 



#4 usasma

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Posted 05 June 2016 - 05:36 AM

The reason for waiting until you have a problem is to make the problem issues show up towards the top of the logs.
I find that this makes troubleshooting (on the average) a bit more easy.

 

Also, with many problems, this is the point where one forces a shutdown in order to get the system functioning normally - and that event is logged in the system (so I have a point where I know that the error was just before it).

 

There's lot's of CD-ROM errors in the Admin logfile.  This can either be from a problem with the drive, or with a CD/DVD in the tray that has bad blocks.
Please take everything out of the drives and leave it out for now.  If needed, use the drive, then remove the CD/DVD immediately after you're done.

 

There's also lot's of disk errors - and the hard drive often uses that same controller as the CD-ROM drive.

This may mean a hardware problem, so please start with these free hardware diagnostics:  http://www.carrona.org/hwdiag.html

As this is an HP system, also run the HP diagnostics (use the Intensive option).

 

Also, the most common error is a series that point to problems sharing different printers.  How many printers are connected to this system (I counted 4 or 5)?

I wonder if there's a problem with the system either in Windows (the print spooler) or with the hardware connections.

 

Although you appear to have a reasonable number of Windows Update hotfixes for this version of your OS, please double check for any new Windows Updates.  It only takes one update to cause a problem, so it's essential that you have all of them.  The actual number is not important.  Rather it's important that you checked manually, installed any available updates, and didn't experience any errors when checking or updating.

Interestingly, the system shows many, many BSOD's in the WER section of MSINFO32 - yet there aren't any memory dumps in the uploads.

Please do this:

 

Upload Dump Files:
NOTE:  If using a disk cleaning utility, please stop using it while we are troubleshooting your issues.
Please go to C:\Windows\Minidump and zip up the contents of the folder.  Then upload/attach the .zip file with your next post.
Left click on the first minidump file.
Hold down the "Shift" key and left click on the last minidump file.
Right click on the blue highlighted area and select "Send to"
Select "Compressed (zipped) folder" and note where the folder is saved.
Upload that .zip file with your next post.

If you have issues with "Access Denied" errors, try copying the files to your desktop and zipping them up from there.  If it still won't let you zip them up, post back for further advice.

If you don't have anything in that folder, please check in C:\Windows for a file named MEMORY.DMP.  If you find it, zip it up and upload it to a free file hosting service.  Then post the link to it in your topic so that we can download it.

Also, search your entire hard drive for files ending in .dmp, .mdmp, and .hdmp.  Zip up any that you find and upload them with your next post.

Then, follow the directions here to set your system for Minidumps (much smaller than the MEMORY.DMP file):  http://www.carrona.org/setmini.html
More info on dump file options here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/254649

 

Other than the things that I've mentioned above, there's no firm signs of a particular problem.
This randomness is often symptomatic of a hardware problem.
So, that calls for (first) the hardware diagnostics:  http://www.carrona.org/hwdiag.html and the HP diagnostics

Then, as this appears to be a laptop, you can't do much in the way of replacing/removing hardware components to test for hardware problems.

So that's when we use the OEM "test" of reinstalling the OS "clean".  If the problems persist after the clean installation, then it's most likely that the problem is hardware.

This presumes that the recovery media was good, that you have gotten ALL available Windows Updates, that there are no problems in Device Manager, and that you haven't installed any third party software.


My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.




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