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Laptop so slow now I can't get into windows normally


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#1
summer_moonshine

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Hi, I have a problem with my Gateway laptop I got a few years back.

Short version: my laptop suddenly became very slow, and has since slowed down so much I can no longer get into windows properly, I get stuck at the blue log-in screen. I could only get in using safe mode. And I didn't backup my files and programs and I'm afraid of losing them, and now I got a message out of the blue saying that hard drive failure is imminent.

Long version: For a few days prior to my laptop meltdown, I noticed that it had gotten a bit slower: pages would load slower, it would take a few seconds for typed letters to appear, etc. That was unusual. Two days before the meltdown, the laptop had twice been accidentally left on for around 15hrs (it's supposed to shut off if it's not being used, but it never seems to do that anymore). Then, on the day of, it just seemed to freeze while I was online. I rebooted, and that's when my laptop started to act very slow. Slow to load windows, to open folders, everything. And interestingly, it seemed to get slower with every passing hour--or each time I restarted it anyway. Opening My Computer took 5 mins at first, then later 30 mins. My screensaver still worked (using images from my pics folder). I had no clue whether it was a virus/malware or hardware failure. I have Norton Antivirus Suite, and tried twice to run a scan, but after I opened it and clicked "scan" it would sit there for a bit, then the windows disappeared (crash?). And when I double-clicked on the desktop icon nothing happened. I also tried using it's Backup but same thing happened. After I found this website, I decided to follow the 'spyware/malware removal' instructions first, and used the TFC cleaner and erunt. I also got Malwarebytes scanning (slowly), but after 66hrs running without finding anything, while I think it was in the middle of scanning 'system32' folder (?), the outline of a windows update popup appeared (the kind that restart your computer) and...yup, it restarted my computer. And this is when I discovered that I couldn't get past the blue log-in screen. I could still move the mouse and all, but it seemed to be loading so slowly/stuck that after a few hours of log-in screen I shut my laptop off. After this, I used F8. I tried the 'last known good config' first, with no change. But I can get in using safe mode. I couldn't get Microsoft's backup to work, I got an error (labeled: 'catastrophic failure'?!). So I deleted a few files, moved some files, and copied some files to an external hdd. I ended up leaving it alone for a few days, then when I turned it back on I got a black screen saying something about SMART disk failure (?) and how I should backup all my files because a hard drive failure is imminent and I should replace it. That was an unpleasant surprise. And I still can't get into windows in normal mode. After that imminent hdd failure message I haven't tried safe mode. And I don't have my hdd properly backed up and I'm afraid of losing files & programs, I dread the thought of having to wipe my laptop clean (or replacing my hdd, ouch) aaaand I'm broke :) Any help would be appreciated.

Other notes: laptop gets warm quickly. I usually have a fan blowing on it. I have about 13 gigs free, which I know is less than the recommended amount. But I've had as little as 2 gigs free and it never slowed up on me even remotely like this (it would be fine after I freed up space). In the days leading up to this I hadn't installed anything, downloaded anything suspicious, or visited any websites that gave me cause for alarm, for what that's worth. I also use firefox and have ABP & NoScript. Also, this laptop had a C: drive and a small D: drive.


Gateway MX6543 laptop
Processor Type: AMD Athlon 64 X2
Processor Speed: 1.6 GHz
Processor Configuration: Dual Core
Memory (RAM): 2 GB
Hard Drive Capacity: 160 GB
Operating System: Windows XP Media Center
Primary Drive: DVD+/-RW
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#2
rshaffer61

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Run hard drive diagnostics: http://www.tacktech....ay.cfm?ttid=287
Make sure, you select tool, which is appropriate for the brand of your hard drive.
Depending on the program, it'll create bootable floppy, or bootable CD.
If downloaded file is of .iso type, use ImgBurn: http://www.imgburn.com/ to burn .iso file to a CD (select "Write image file to disc" option), and make the CD bootable.

NOTE. If your hard drive is made by Toshiba, unfortunately, you're out of luck, because Toshiba doesn't provide any diagnostic tool.

Thanks to Broni for the instructions
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#3
summer_moonshine

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99.8% sure my hard drive is a Seagate--I looked it up under device managers and on Gateway's website. I burned the Seagate version, the latest one offered, and it did boot when I started up my laptop...but I couldn't do anything. The touchpad, the keys, nothing was working. I couldn't accept the licensing agreement.
So I went back and downloaded the v1.10 (text) in case it was compatibility issues, and it booted up as well. It completed device scan, and then said "No Hard Drives Found". ?
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#4
rshaffer61

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I would suggest then we stop and get your data backed up to be safe.
To do this we need to try a Linux Live cd.
Get Puppy Linux from my signature below...Get puppy-2.16-seamonkey-fulldrivers.iso download it and burn it to cd
..
if you don't have a burning program that will burn .ISO files get Burncdcc from my signature...it is a small FAST no frills iso burning program...

NOTE...do not put a blank cd in until burncdcc opens the tray for you
1. Start BurnCDCC
2. Browse to the ISO file you want to burn on cd/dvd ....in this case its puppy-2.16-seamonkey-fulldrivers.iso
3. Select the ISO file
4. click on Start

make sure in the bios the cd drive is the first boot device....

put the cd in the cd drive..boot your computer....puppy will boot and run totally in ram...if your hardware is is good working order you will know...
after you get it running and your at the desktop...you take the puppy linux cd out and then you can use the burner to copy all your data to cd/dvds
you can also use it to backup your data to a external usb harddrive..just have it hooked to the computer when you boot up with puppy...

==========================
quick guide for saving data...music..files on a system that will not boot using puppy Linux..


after you get to puppy desktop..
click on the drives icon...looks like a flash drive...top row..it will list all the drives connected to

your computer...

click on the red icon for the drive you want to mount...in this case its a flash drive ...puppy will

mount the drive..the drive icon turns green when its mounted...
minimize the drives mounter window..you will need it again in a few minutes..
drag the right edge of it sideways to shrink it to its narrowest size...about half the width of the screen...then drag the window to the right edge of the screen...

now click on the icon that looks like a filing cabinet (kind of yellow) on the main drive...it should
already be green..
you will see a list of all the folders on the main drive Usually your C: drive..shrink that window to
the narrowest you can..about half the width of the screen...drag that window to the left side of the screen...
at this point you should have 2 windows open on your desktop..the flash drive on the right side..
go back to the folders on the C: drive...click on the documents and settings folder...then your user
name or all users..find the folders that has your data..
drag and drop the folder with the data you want to make copies of to the flash drive window...

your options are to move ..copy ect...JUST COPY..if its to big you will have to open the folder and
drag and drop individual files until the flash drive is full...(I have a 120 GB external USB drive for
big data recovery jobs and a 4 GB flash drive for the smaller jobs)..after you get the files copied to
the flash drive...
Click on the drives mounter you minimized earlier
UNMOUNT THE FLASH DRIVE by clicking on the green icon..you will once in awhile get error messages when
unmouting the drive..ignore them..when the flash drive icon turns red again its safe to remove the
flash drive..trot on over (stroll if you want to look cool) to another computer and plug in the flash

drive and copy all the data files ( I drag and drop) to the other computer..
make sure the other computer can read them...

now delete the data on the flash drive...take it back to the misbehaving computer and plug it in

again..click on the drives icon again and repeat until you have all your data transferred to the working
system..

Thanks to happyrock
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#5
summer_moonshine

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Sorry for the delay, hope you can still help me out.

I ran puppy linux, copied my docs, music, vids, etc over to an external hdd. Is there anything else I should make a copy of? I'm not sure what, if any, programs I would lose if my hdd fails (besides the ones I installed myself). My laptop came with an OS disc, and I have backup cds of the drivers & applications.
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#6
rshaffer61

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Email addresses and \or saved messages can also be saved
I would suggest backing up your data and format the system. This way you can start with nothing but the native OS and try the videos before installing any other programs. If you want to save your Outlook's address's and Messages then go HERE and follow the steps.





If Email does not open or says not default mail handler then go HERE




If none of the above will work then try going to HERE
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#7
summer_moonshine

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-- Email: I've never used Outlook so I don't think there's anything to save (?)
-- Backup Data: Well, I copied everything from my My Docs & Shared Docs. I noticed puppy linux had an option to make a copy of a partition or drive, but I already had a lot of my files copied already so I wasn't sure if I should use that or not.
-- Format my system: formatting my hard drive? Will this erase the recovery partition?
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#8
rshaffer61

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- Format my system: formatting my hard drive? Will this erase the recovery partition?

Nope if there is a recovery partition it shouldbe safe. It should a different drive letter completely.


-- Email: I've never used Outlook so I don't think there's anything to save (?)

What do you use Thunderbird or a third party email client?
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#9
summer_moonshine

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I have a yahoo and hotmail email account. I also have an older desktop that I try to keep synchronized with my laptop in certain aspects, like bookmarks etc.

Oh good. Can I ask: how do I go about formatting my system?
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#10
rshaffer61

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Per Gatway's Customer Support site:

Q: How can I tell if my computer shipped with a Gateway System Recovery solution?

A: Here are a few indicators that can help determine if your computer shipped with a Gateway System Recovery solution:

* An F11 prompt appears after completing POST when the computer is powered on.
* There is a System Recovery option on the Start Menu. From the Start menu, point to All Programs, and then click System Recovery.
* A D: recovery partition is located on the hard drive.
* It is a notebook or desktop computer that shipped with Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2).
* A new computer was purchased directly from Gateway after November 1, 2004. Several of the first models included the Gateway 3200, 5200, 7200, E2300, E4300, E6300, and the Profile 5.5.


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