Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Chicago, IL, USA
    Posts
    107
    Thanks
    22
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    I have a DIY computer that's a couple years old at least -- a 2.66GHz Core2 Duo on a Gigabyte GA-P35C-DS3R motherboard with 4GB RAM. I ran XP on it for quite a while and then did a clean install of Win 7 Pro. Last night a message suddenly popped up at the lower right corner of my desktop telling me Windows 7 was not a genuine copy (it is). I downloaded and ran a file from the Microsoft site that fixed it, but then today when I booted up the BIOS had to recover itself. This is the second time I've had the BIOS recovery happen at startup; the first time was maybe a month or two ago. More recently, Windows had gotten way, way slow at startup -- several minutes -- and then my second internal physical drive (D disappeared from Explorer. I shut down, reseated the cables for D:, and blew out the dust from inside the machine, including all the fans. I have some extra fans and it shouldn't be too hot in there. There was a lot of dust since I have pets and I must not have opened up the machine in a while. But then Windows suddenly regained its normal startup speed.

    Does this sound like either the beginning of a decline (like an old car) or possibly symptoms of some central issue? The machine still runs well otherwise and is fast enough. Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    2,654
    Thanks
    7
    Thanked 113 Times in 97 Posts
    Hi Erik,
    Can you describe exactly what you mean by the BIOS had to recover itself? What was the file you downloaded from the Microsoft site?

    Did your D: drive show up in Explorer after you reseated the cables?

    Are you running 32 or 64 bit Windows 7 Pro?

    What do you run for Antivirus and Antispyware protection? Have you scanned for malware? You might download SuperAntiSpyware Free Edition to do supplementary scans for infection.

    What apps are running at startup? Have you checked MSConfig to identify your startup programs and look for anything odd?

    You can download Sysinternals Process Explorer to help identify processes to see if any are unusual or unidentifiable. You can right click any running process and check it out online for help in identification.

    Have you checked the Event Viewer Application and System Windows Logs for errors that show at the time of these events?
    Deadeye81

    "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." Sir Winston Churchill

  3. #3
    2 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Chicago, IL, USA
    Posts
    107
    Thanks
    22
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    Thanks Gerald. Those are good suggestions. I don't remember the message on screen -- if it happens again I'll try to write it down -- but the BIOS business was in character mode just after the mobo splash screen went away. I think it was restoring from a copy. I believe the file I downloaded from the Microsoft site was WindowsActivationUpdate.exe.

    Yes, Drive D: showed up in Windows Explorer after I reseated the cables and Windows began starting normally again. My anti-malware programs are Norton Security Suite, PC Tools Spyware Doctor, and Spybot-SD. I can run a couple of others to check things out. I can also take a look at the processes and logs. I know I've looked at the running processes recently but it was just for the purpose of eliminating unnecessary startup programs. I may not have checked everything out closely enough.

    It sounds like I shouldn't start thinking my machine is just aging for no reason I guess I know better; these computers of ours generally get mucked up with all kinds of stuff but don't tend so much just to go bad on their own over time like we organics do. I've had all kinds of components go bad over the years mostly one at a time, but they can be replaced.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    2,654
    Thanks
    7
    Thanked 113 Times in 97 Posts
    Good morning, Erik.

    There are a number of things we can do to keep our machines running in tip top condition. In Performance Information and Tools, there is the DIsk Cleanup that can be run. A great alternative to use is CCleaner. The items checked by default in CCleaner are pretty safe, but I would uncheck Cookies, because under Options you can decide for yourself which cookies to keep and which to remove. That way all cookies will not be wiped out at once, as some are very beneficial. CCleaner helps to keep your computer scrubbed out if you will. A search on these forums will provide more information on using CCleaner.

    Adjust visual effects can also be accessed in Performance Information and Tools. There may be some effects you do not really care about that can save some CPU cycles when turned off.

    Indexing Options can be checked to be sure only those areas you want indexed for Windows Search are being maintained. If there are a lot of folders being indexed that you never need to search, removing them from indexing can boost performance as well.

    Although whether to defrag modern hard drives stirs up controversy these days, defragging does still have its benefits. The Windows Disk Defragmenter will optimize the files on the hard drive as well as defrag. Those applications most accessed will be placed at the front of the hard drive to speed access. Disk Defragmenter is scheduled to run once per week at 1:00 AM on Wednesday unless that has been disabled. If it misses its schedule, it will start at the first idle moment after you boot your computer. Of course there are other good alternatives as well. You can check out Defraggler when you use the link for CCleaner as it is another free product from Piriform.

    It doesn't hurt to run Chkdsk once in a while as well. Right click on Command Prompt and select Run as administrator , type chkdsk /f (or chkdsk /r for a more thorough check, which can take a very long time) and you will be prompted that Windows will have to restart to run the routine.

    Uninstalling applications you no longer need or use can yield some good benefits. A good uninstaller is Revo Uninstaller Free edition. It uses the Windows uninstall routine initially, but in addition tracks down all traces of the uninstalled program on your hard drive, including the Windows Registry. This makes for a thorough uninstall. While Revo Free is only compatible with 32 bit applications, that is not a problem on 64 bit Windows 7 as long as the app you uninstall is a 32 bit app. The Pro version will safely uninstall 64 bit apps.

    If you keep routine backups of your data, that is a plus. If you do image backups of your system partition, that is great! There are a number of threads in the Security & Backups Forum that cover imaging in great detail, including at least two tutorials about Acronis True Image and Macrium Reflect. You can use Windows Backup, which is much improved over earlier versions, and can do image backups, but many find a third party tool more to their liking. Also, if you start Windows Backup, there will be a prompt to burn a System Repair Disk. If you have not done so, it is a good idea to burn the disk. Win7 comes with its own native burning software. The System Repair Disk contains the same software that pressing the F8 key at startup will give you in regard to system repair. It is good to have the disk so you can boot from it if you cannot bring up the option using F8. But since you have the Win7 Pro DVD you can use it to access system repair as well.

    Another great tool to obtain is Sysinternals Autoruns, which will enable you to better analyze all the software that starts at Windows boot. The Logon tab is the most relevant to view for startup programs, but you can view all as well.

    I would not be too concerned if your machine is running pretty well after the things you did earlier such as reseating component connections inside your computer and cleaning out the dust. I would keep a watch on the BIOS to see if it "recovers itself" anymore. That may have been a response to the loose connection to your D: drive. I have also experienced the same message informing me that my copy of Windows is not genuine. Quite a few people running genuine Windows have experienced that nuisance.

    Some routine maintenance and cleaning can keep our machines running in optimal condition for a long time.
    Deadeye81

    "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." Sir Winston Churchill

  5. #5
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    6,794
    Thanks
    117
    Thanked 799 Times in 720 Posts
    I suspect that most of your issues were caused by overheating due to all the dust you cleaned out. You should be fine if you clean out your PC every 6 months or so since you have pets.

    Jerry

  6. #6
    2 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Chicago, IL, USA
    Posts
    107
    Thanks
    22
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    Well it happened again when I booted up today. There was a long beep from my PC's speaker and then these messages in character mode:

    Scanning BIOS Image in Hard Drive

    BIOS Auto-Recovering.......................

    Then the machine restarted and seemed fine. I'll definitely run SpinRite tonight as a first step.

    Jerry, you could be right about the dust (but not for this particular issue). Gerald, I do run CCleaner from time to time and I have Diskeeper 2010 running in the background so I have virtually no fragmentation on my drives. I've downloaded Sysinternals Autoruns at your suggestion and I'll check it out.

    For backup, first, my wife's and daughter's files get copied over the network to my machine. Then I have the important files I've identified from C: copied using XCOPY via an automated and scheduled batch file to Drive D:, and family pictures copied to an external USB drive and accessible to the rest of the family on the network. Windows Backup backs up Drive C: to another external USB drive, though I don't do a disk image. In addition, I use Carbonite to back up to the Internet. I have a lot of files but one way or another they ought to be safe

  7. #7
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Burrton, KS, USA
    Posts
    833
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
    I would replace the battery on the motherboard for starters. I have never had a bios chip go bad but this sounds like something is messing up your bios....

  8. #8
    2 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Chicago, IL, USA
    Posts
    107
    Thanks
    22
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    Great idea! The battery is cheap and easy, and it could explain why the BIOS error message comes up only when the machine has been off for a while.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •