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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Virus or system problem?

    Its almost like somebody is screwing with my computer every few days. One day I can't open firefox til I restart my computer. Then a program that has worked for years I have to reinstall. There will be icons which disappear from my desktop. Every tow or three days this happens. At the present time I have lost the calibration on my monitor. Some days it will run video files others it won't. Someone told me I have to reinstall windows. If this is the case I will dump XP and go to Win 7 but I don't want to do this if this is not my problem. I haven't heard of any viruses that do this. Any suggestions out there???

  2. #2
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    Things you can try:
    1. Download and run Malwarebytes
    2 Run SFC /scannow from a command prompt to verify your system files.
    3 Do an XP repair install .

    Jerry

  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    How old is the PC? Have you run the Win 7 Upgrade Advisor or checked the Win 7 Compatibility Center? This does not sound like a hardware problem since it also affects the monitor (I assume desktop PC with separate monitor) My guess would be a virus, and the upgrade to Win 7 with a clean install sounds like a viable option. Once you do, install good security and Image for restoration purposes.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  4. #4
    Platinum Lounger
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    Try an online scan. e.g. Panda Software.

    cheers, Paul

  5. #5
    New Lounger
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    Virus or system problem!

    Probably should have said this before. I have run Avast antivirus scans both regular and boot scans. I also run Malwarebytes scan on a regular basis. Nothing shows up. The computer is pentium 2.8 gb dual processor but is 4 yrs old. Just this morning when I logged on my home page, which is wunderground weather switched from the classic style to their newer web page. I switched it back with no problem but it is a real pain.

  6. #6
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    These type of problems are sometimes very difficult and time consuming to trouble shoot. If you are really serious about exploring Win 7, what a great time to do so.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  7. #7
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    I'm thinking that the problems are not in the OS. Installing a new OS would probably wind up with a new OS but the same old problems.

    Something I'd do, but maybe you can't, would be to boot up with a Linux boot CD and run some diagnostics on your hardware, like a memory test, a hard drive test and a series of test to check out the monitor, mouse and keyboard. Even something so simple as a bad mouse can cause a computer to go nuts.
    So before blowing your OS away, do thoroughly check out your hardware.
    I have a little IDE hard drive all set up with Diagnostics that I use only for troubleshooting purposes.
    I can boot up a system on that drive and totally bypass the OS.

    I know that if I had that PC on my bench for a day or two, I could have it running like a champ.
    (it's what I've done for a living, for almost 30 years)

    Good Luck,
    the Doctor
    Last edited by DrWho; 2011-08-14 at 14:07.
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

    Backup! Backup! Backup! GHOST Rocks!

  8. #8
    Platinum Lounger
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    I would run hardware diags on the disk drive. The disk manufacturer's site will have a utility.
    And take lots of backups

    cheers, Paul

  9. #9
    New Lounger
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    Well; I guess somebody has to ask, so it may as well be me (although I'm hardly an expert).

    Have you done the basics: You know, blast the crud out of the fans and interior, removed and reinstalled the mem sticks, replaced the Motherboard battery? The batteries are cheap, and the only time I had those symptoms it was the battery.

    Are you on a UPS? If you live in one of the states suffering through high heat, your area may be experiencing heavy power load fluctuations.

    Just the ruminations of an old man.

    Good Luck



    J.P.

  10. #10
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    And while you are at it, if you don't do this regularly, try doing a Windows system cleanup. CCleaner and Glary Utilities (free edition) are two cleanup programs I would recommend.

    If you don't mind paying a bit, PCMatic from PC Pitstop could find and correct all sorts of Windows issues. But the price is nearly $50.00, so think before you buy. It should be a lot cheaper than shipping the computer to DrWho and paying him to work his magic (although I am sure he would do a much better job of it).

    No matter what these utilities tell you about the details, just let them run through all their cleaning and fixing. For a computer which has a lot of issues, this is better than trying to pick and choose the safest things to fix first.

    I think these three steps would do wonders for a computer which has not had Windows cleaned up in quite awhile.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2011-08-20 at 00:06.
    -- Bob Primak --

  11. #11
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    I don't understand the obsession of cleaning out temporary files on a regular basis. With the possible exception of temporary internet files, this has no impact on system performance and only consumes hard disk space. With the size of hard disks today, this isn't much of an issue. Cleaning Temporary internet files can cause you to lose login and other site dependent information. I rarely clean out temporary files and have not experienced any performance issues. The only part of CCleaner that would solve a system issue is its registry cleaner which can cause problems as well as fix them unless you are knowledgeable enough to look at each item it finds and can determine if its safe to fix. Most of what it finds are don't care items like bad shortcuts.

    Jerry

  12. #12
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwitalka View Post
    I don't understand the obsession of cleaning out temporary files on a regular basis. With the possible exception of temporary internet files, this has no impact on system performance and only consumes hard disk space. With the size of hard disks today, this isn't much of an issue. Cleaning Temporary internet files can cause you to lose login and other site dependent information. I rarely clean out temporary files and have not experienced any performance issues. The only part of CCleaner that would solve a system issue is its registry cleaner which can cause problems as well as fix them unless you are knowledgeable enough to look at each item it finds and can determine if its safe to fix. Most of what it finds are don't care items like bad shortcuts.

    Jerry
    CCleaner does not just clean out temporary files. Browser temporary files can slow down browsing, but they are not a disk space issue.

    What do accumulate are various Windows logs and mini-dumps when a program crashes or malfunctions in any way. These accumulations slow down Windows, as it scans these logs and dumps every time it logs into an account or boots. And the sizes of some Windows junk files can grow significantly large.

    Cleaning occasionally (not obsessively) does seem to keep my laptops running faster and more smoothly. And it also removes personal data and web trackers. So there's a privacy advantage. To some extent, CCleaner also helps reduce antivirus file scanning times and Image Backup archive sizes.

    In severe cases, accumulated Windows Sludge can slow a computer or even cause boot failures. That's usually only true if the computer is never cleaned and browser caches are never cleared. But the same programs (like CCleaner) which can prevent this sort of extreme condition, can help improve everyday use as well. It's not an obsession of mine, as cleanup is just two mouse-clicks out of my life.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2011-08-23 at 13:56.
    -- Bob Primak --

  13. #13
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    What do accumulate are various Windows logs and mini-dumps when a program crashes or malfunctions in any way. These accumulations slow down Windows, as it scans these logs and dumps every time it logs into an account or boots.
    Bob, I am not aware of any logs and mini dumps that windows scans on boot. Do you have a reference that backs this up? Don't mean to be contrary, jut want to continue to learn Windows nuances. I thought the logs and dumps were write only as far as Windows is concerned unless you choose to send diagnostic information to Microsoft which is a one time deal.

    I will also grant you that temporary files (Windows generated or otherwise) can grow fairly large but I've never seen more than 5 gigabytes which is pretty inconsequential given the size of today's disks. I will also grant you that backup times increase with large temporary files but I do my backups when I'm not using my PC so it doesn't bother me.

    I also will occasionally clean out some temporary files but I just don't understand the need to do it weekly as some have done. I have serviced many PCs that have never had their temporary files cleaned and after cleaning them have not noticed any performance gains. I guess that's just one more reason why they are called personal computers.

    Jerry

  14. #14
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    What happens in Windows is that if any program crashes, if Windows continues to run, there may be a mini-dump created and Windows by default will create an error report to send to Microsoft about the crash. If this feature is not disabled, and if the crash is severe enough to shut down Windows or force the user to perform a hardware reset (forced shutdown), the minidump may not have time to be created. Under some conditions, the process of creating the mminidump will then be scheduled for the next reboot. Even if the minidump is not being created at the reboot, the error reporting (if not disabled) is scheduled as a Startup item for at the reboot. This can often be seen when a slow startup occurs for no other apparent reason. The Windows Task Manager will show either a Process for Minidump.exe, or else a Process associated with Microsoft Error Reporting.

    Both of these features can be switched off by the user. My older WinBook Windows XP laptop used to generate a lot of crashes before I overhauled it prior to installing SP3, and these Processes were often present during slow boots, and at other times when Windows was slowing to a crawl.

    I don't find off-hand a specific reference about all of this, but I'm sure Microsoft Technet has something on the subject. My own observations show both the Startup Item being created and the running Processes at the next Windows reboot.

    So it really does make a difference (at least on that computer) if any unreported crashes (not yet gone through the error reporting routine) are cleaned up before trying to reboot Windows again. This is especially effective if there have been several recent crashes, none of which found an Internet Connection to allow Error Reporting to proceed. The minidumps and the error reports then queue and cause terrible Windows slowdowns during startup and when the Internet Connection is first reopened.

    CCleaner lists as optional, the cleaning of about a half-dozen Windows Logs, as well as minidumps. So, that vendor seems to consider cleaning these areas to be a help sometimes with slow Windows computers. (Especially slow startups.)
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2011-09-05 at 14:40.
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  15. #15
    Platinum Lounger
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    Crashes are nothing to do with slow start up, they are an anomaly which will always generate additional checks on start up.

    CCleaner cleans everything it can because they can then advertise "even more features", but there is still no reason to perform these tasks except as a one off clean up and defrag.

    cheers, Paul

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