for the last 2 days I had very strange issues with my Lenovo T60 laptop (2 years old).
Running Windows XP Pro with SP2.
Just a few days earlier I updated the BIOS in the hope that it would fix another issue (which it didn't, and I may post another post on that here later).
And now after a few tests all of a sudden everything works normally again.......
So here's the deal:
Yesterday and earlier today when I started the laptop, it would work normally, I opened one or two programs (one being Firefox), then I notice the external USB mouse no longer working (trackpoint still worked).
I used the trackpoint to check things, and the program I use instead of Windows Explorer to access the content of my hard drive (Total Commander) was unable to access the hard drive, or so it seemed - it had the My Documents folder open and basically froze, waiting for something (hour glass).
So I went to the Start Menu to test it, and the text "START" on the Start Menu button disappeared as my mouse ran over it. I was able to get the Start Menu open, but some of the text next to the program icons would not load, and I could not go anywhere else from there.
Task Manager (CTRL+SHIFT+ESC) did not open.
I forced the laptop to turn off by holding the power key for 5 seconds.
Yesterday I immediately ran a few diagnostics, but neither hard drive nor RAM seemed to have any issues.
(I have been working in Tech Support for 10 years, so that at least I know how to do )
Today when this happened again, I thought I should undo the BIOS update and revert it to the backup the program made, but since I didn't want it to freeze in the middle of it, I figured I'd better start in Safe Mode.
So I tried that (Safe Mode with Networking), and it showed the list of drivers it was loading (stopped briefly at one like A2345.sys or similar with a message that I could skip loading it but it continued normally).
It never went past the screen with the drivers loading, but the hard drive kept running like crazy.
After 5 minutes of that I got fed up with it and again forced a power down.
Next I started Windows normally again (it tried to run CHKDSK but showed "cannot open volume for direct access" - I already read a few posts on that, and it would have to be either AVG or DiskKeeper Lite doing that - yesterda I had run CHKDSK from a copy of Ultimate Boot CD for Windows that I created myself, so I wasn't too worried).
I started Process Explorer in the hope that I could find a program or service locking up first giving me any clue about the issue, but nothing happened - and the computer has been running fine for the last 2 hours, even after I quit Process Explorer and opened and used Firefox for a while.
I didn't find much helpful in the Event Viewer:
ATI HotKey Poller terminated unexpectedly
Computer Browser service terminated with timeout
System failed to flush data to the transaction log (Ftdisk)
System Restore filter had error 0xC000009A
The server was unable to allocate from the system nonpaged pool because the pool was empty (Srv)
These happened when the laptop was still messed up.
I have had the ATI and Computer Browser error since then, but that's about it.
To me, this all seems like hard drive or RAM related issues, but I have no idea why this would come up suddenly and then go away suddenly.
Ultimate Boot CD for Windows ran its version of Windows XP Pro without any problems, so maybe it's not a hardware issue but a driver or Windows issue.
Yesterday it happened at home after the laptop had been sitting in its bag all day, today it happened when I carried the laptop through very very cold temperatures to work.
It's not overheating because at home I use a cooling fan, and I couldn't find dust by the CPU (blew air in and saw nothing come out).
Only other thing that sometimes messes up is the networking - Intel Wireless-G and Intel LAN card. They work normally most of the time, but when I use VMWare Server, sometimes the virtual machines do not have network connection until I manually disconnect and reconnect the virtual network card in VMWare. Maybe there's a connection there...
Otherwise the laptop is working very well and has for 2 years (with one exception for which I'll make another post - when I hibernate while connected to the AC adapter and come out of hibernation on battery, it may freeze or the entire computer may "stutter", i.e. freeze very briefly every 2 seconds, and I can't shut down Windows normally, it will stop shutting down once Explorer is partially gone).
Any ideas what this could be?
(Addition: I just ran a SMART tool, and it found absolutely no error or mention of a sector move due to an error etc., so that's another theory I can mark off).
Edited by semmel, 12 January 2009 - 11:07 AM.