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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger
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    Utility to track a crash (Win XP Pro SP-2)

    Over the last couple of days I've been experiencing sudden freezes of the PC. I have added a couple of items (Winamp, Acronis True Image) in that time. I have deleted the Winamp and stopped the Acronis True Image Scheduling service.

    I'm wondering if anyone can suggest a utility that might show what's causing the freezes, i.e., driver, dll, or whatever. I'll try running memtest and I've run my Webroot Spy Sweeper and Norton Antivirus.

    The freezes are complete. No mouse, keyboard, total freeze and no error message. The only way back is to turn off the PC and reboot.

    Thanks for any thoughts.

    --Bob Harris <img src=/S/flags/USA.gif border=0 alt=USA width=30 height=18> <img src=/S/flags/California.gif border=0 alt=California width=30 height=18>
    -Bob Harris
    "Seek Simplicity, Then Mistrust It!"


  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Utility to track a crash (Win XP Pro SP-2)

    Have you looked at startups with MSCONFIG (or some other utility) to see if something suspicious jumps out at you? How about also looking at Task Manager Processes to see what going on - could be that something is chewing up CPU and grinding things to a halt. Do you by any chance also run something like AdAware and/or Spybot S&D in addition to Spy Sweeper? Might not be a bad idea to try.

  3. #3
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    Re: Utility to track a crash (Win XP Pro SP-2)

    Thanks for your reply. Yes, I have looked at the Task Manager, nothing unusual there. As for MSConfig, the startup list looks pretty standard.

    I had added a couple of things that made we wonder. Specifically, I installed Winamp to listen to internet radio and also had installed Easy Media Creator 7.5, leaving out some of its more problematic features, such as "Drag and Drop" which I know can conflict with the WinXP function that is similar. Last night while helping my wife with a few things, the PC locked again; this time Winamp was not running. So I uninstalled Winamp, uninstalled Easy Media Creator and also did a System Restore back to last Saturday, before all of this started.

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed! Oh, and one more thing, I checked my BIOS and discovered that a couple of days ago I had increased the Graphics Aperture Size to 128 Mb from its default of 64 MB. This PC has 2 G of ram, so that shouldn't make a difference. Nevertheless, I put it back to the default.

    There are no errors in the event log either. It would really be nice if there were a utility that could track interactions between drivers, etc.. Then one could see what sort of neferious interactions are lurking in the shadows.

    Thanks again for your response and any further thoughts.

    --Bob <img src=/S/flags/USA.gif border=0 alt=USA width=30 height=18> <img src=/S/flags/California.gif border=0 alt=California width=30 height=18>
    -Bob Harris
    "Seek Simplicity, Then Mistrust It!"


  4. #4
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    Re: Utility to track a crash (Win XP Pro SP-2)

    Bob,
    In addition to the graphics aperture. Did you check your CPU and RAM settings?
    A lot of the newer MBs allow some overclocking of CPU frequency and RAM voltages. Too far an increase in these will lock up your system "faster than a Gull on a french fry". ( local saying ) <img src=/S/bummer.gif border=0 alt=bummer width=15 height=15>
    BOB
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    Long ago, there was a time when men cursed and beat on the ground with sticks. It was called witchcraft.
    Today it is called golf!

  5. #5
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    Re: Utility to track a crash (Win XP Pro SP-2)

    "faster than a Gull on a french fry" ..... I like that! Very descriptive!!

    I did check the RAM & CPU settings. They are all "Auto" and the RAM is by SPD. I tend to be conservative about these things, since I'm not a gamer.

    So far today (knocking on wood) the PC has been stable. It seems hard to believe that the graphic aperture would have that effect, but there is the matter of some of these settings having a "black magic" component.

    I really liked Winamp because of the radio music (Jazz & Classical) that it has. And the bitrate is high enough for good quality sound. If all goes well today, I may try it again tomorrow with the CD burning functions disabled. I've wondered if too many media creating utiliites can spoil the soup. Also, I've had good luck in the past with Nero, but a friend talked me into trying Roxio Easy Media Creator 7.5. All of these things can burn CDs and maybe there's an issue there.

    If you have any thoughts on all of that I'm really interested. Thanks for your thoughts...and the french fries. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    --Bob <img src=/S/flags/USA.gif border=0 alt=USA width=30 height=18> <img src=/S/flags/California.gif border=0 alt=California width=30 height=18>
    -Bob Harris
    "Seek Simplicity, Then Mistrust It!"


  6. #6
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    Re: Utility to track a crash (Win XP Pro SP-2)

    I thought that I would provide the "final solution" to the problem, since you and others have responded.

    It turned out that the Winamp application was the culpret. Obviously, some facet of Winamp was not getting along with another piece of software on this PC. I suspect that the problem may have been the Sonic burning software that is part of Winamp. Perhaps at a later date I'll try Winamp again without the Sonic. In the meantime, since this is my main home office PC, I can't afford to mess around with things that make it crash.

    I do note that the trouble shooting forum on the Winamp site has over 140,000 threads! That may be indicative of something!

    Thanks to you and to BigAlDoc for making me think! <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    --Bob <img src=/S/flags/USA.gif border=0 alt=USA width=30 height=18> <img src=/S/flags/California.gif border=0 alt=California width=30 height=18>
    -Bob Harris
    "Seek Simplicity, Then Mistrust It!"


  7. #7
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Utility to track a crash (Win XP Pro SP-2)

    I'm glad to hear that you narrowed it down, Bob. I don't remember why but I quit using Winamp a long time ago. Let us know if you DO try your modified install at a later date.

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    Re: Utility to track a crash (Win XP Pro SP-2)

    I have a quick question about your total freezes. Do you still have a cursor when it freezes? I was getting those a long time ago, with no mouse, keyboard or other input response and the only way to quit was to lean on the button, but there was always a cursor, which really drove me crazy. I can't remember how I got out of it eventually, but it was an earlier generation of programs, including Roxio et al. (7.5 drag to disk works fine for me, along with the rest of it, but as with all programs be sure you have the latest patch.)

  9. #9
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    Re: Utility to track a crash (Win XP Pro SP-2)

    The freeze was complete, i.e., the cursor was visible but unmovable. The keyboard was just dead, no response whatsoever. The only way out was to turn off the PC and start again.

    I think I have an idea of the cause, but I'm not completely certain. This was the latest version of Winamp. It has a sonic CD burning driver it in that was likely conflicting with the one in Easy Media Creator 7.5. I've noticed in the task manager that there are several processes that are added with these new programs that sometimes conflict with other apps. For instance, there's a media monitoring (or something like that) process that is running as a process from Easy Media 7.5 that conflicts with a DVD burning program I use from Pinnacle. That could easily have messed up the Winamp as well.

    When I get my courage back up (or I'm foolhardy enough!) I may try Winamp again without it's burning utilites loaded. That can only be done during installation of Winamp. I was only using it to listen to streaming audio anyway. Shoutcast.com has a great list of free streaming audio and I wanted that. But there other ways of getting that kind of stuff.

    Hope this answers your question. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    --Bob <img src=/S/flags/USA.gif border=0 alt=USA width=30 height=18> <img src=/S/flags/California.gif border=0 alt=California width=30 height=18>
    -Bob Harris
    "Seek Simplicity, Then Mistrust It!"


  10. #10
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    Re: Utility to track a crash (Win XP Pro SP-2)

    Hi Bob
    Those symptoms are exactly what I experienced, and the point that I wanted to make is that while it was with XP, it was long ago and before SP-2 and possibly SP-1, and all of the program versions were earlier than the present.

    It would have been something like Roxio 5, for example, so you may be barking up the wrong tree if you're trying to pin it on something like up-to-date software. I suspect that it may be at a lower system level, and I'll see if I can find any record of how I cured it, or if it cured itself.

    Peter

  11. #11
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    Re: Utility to track a crash (Win XP Pro SP-2)

    So, Peter, are you now using Winamp? It would be interesting if it's something relatively simple.

    --Bob <img src=/S/flags/USA.gif border=0 alt=USA width=30 height=18> <img src=/S/flags/California.gif border=0 alt=California width=30 height=18>
    -Bob Harris
    "Seek Simplicity, Then Mistrust It!"


  12. #12
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    Re: Utility to track a crash (Win XP Pro SP-2)

    Hi Bob
    No Bob, I'm not using Winamp, I was discussing the symptoms you described, and which I also experienced. The fact that I don't have Winamp but had identical symptoms is one reason I would be cautious about your conclusions as to the cause of the problem.

    I had to look up Winamp to find out what it is, and for that purpose I'm using MusicMatch Jukebox, for which I have a lifetime subscription, which turned out by luck, given the lifespan and quality of most software, to have been an excellent investment.

    Whatever the cause, best of luck with your troubleshooting.

    Peter

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