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Strange XP freezing problem


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#1
ainwood

ainwood

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Just to provide the full history:

I reinstalled XP professional on a clean system - full reformat. Following this, I installed motherboard drivers, then internet a/c to download updates.

I forgot to disable the messenger service, and on connecting to the internet, I was bombarded by "system" messages (corrupt registry - go here to fix it etc). Ignored those, and decided to go straight to windows update.

Installed a few critical patches, and system message exploit was fixed. Next downloaded virus scanner, got updates and found I already had a couple of viruses! (Somehow installed via exploits - I hadn't downloaded anything except for the windows patches). Cleaned the viruses (for info - the viruses were one that was something to do with "xjJava", and the other kept creating "msdirectx.sys" in the user douments folder).


The problem:

I'm not sure when it started - might have been immediately following the full install, but not sure. Anyway - when the PC has been on for a while, XP simply freezes, but in a strange way. It appears that the taskbar freezes first, and other processes are quite happy to continue on. For example, if I'm downloading something, then the download window continues to show the download progress, but the taskbar icon for the download will not update.

During these freezes, basic user I/O still works - I can cut and paste text, move the mouse, click buttons etc. However, the button presses don't necessarily work (for example, I can write an e-mail in hotmail, but not "send" it. I can type new urls in IE, but IE won't then navigate to them.

The only thing I can do when these freezes hit is to soft-reboot (hold the power button in for 5 seconds).

I have had times when XP has remained operational for an hour; other times when its frozen within seconds of booting.

Any suggestions? (my current plan is a reformat again, installing virus scan and firewall before I connet to the internet).



System:
Athlon XP 2000+
MSI KT4V motherboard
512 MB kingston RAM
dynalink ADSL modem
Netgear network card (network not set-up)
Win XP SP1 with a few critical updates - have managed to DL SP2, but haven't installed it as yet - locks up).
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#2
Jack123

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How many antivirus programs have you running ? If you have more than 1. . . . they will step all over each other & slooooooow Your PC down to a crawl?

Do you have a firewall installed or hiding behind a router? Never leave home without it. . . . .

If you want to test your system for: "internet safe" go to:

Gibson Research Corporation. . . . .

http://www.grc.com/

Run Shields UP Test .. . . 1056 Ports will be tested . . . .

This is not a antivirus check . . . .just to see if you have any open ports, while surfing the net. . . . .You can run the Leak test also . . . .

Jack123

Edited by Jack123, 28 July 2005 - 05:43 PM.

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#3
ainwood

ainwood

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Currently, I'm getting these freezes without the firewall installed.

Only one virus scanner - trend-micro pc-cillin.

Its not that its grinding to a halt - there's no slowdown, just a sudden freeze.

A couple of extra bits of info:

When the screen-save kicks-in, when I then move the mouse, the desktop reappears but the taskbar remains black - maybe its something 'explorer.exe' related?

Also: Once I've booted-up to the desktop, I can't connect to the internet connection immediately. I can open my documents etc, but opening IE or double-clicking the internet connection does nothing for 30s - 1 minute. From task manager, the CPU usage is only 0% to 2%, until all of a sudden the dial-up connection dialog just jumps-up and it seems to work OK (until the 'freeze' later, at least).
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#4
Jack123

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Topic: Strange XP freezing problem - - - ainwood
Date: 28th July- 2005

How many processes are you running? Are any of them AV or Spy ware programs? If you downloaded & ran any of the items this forum recommended - they probably have themselves loaded with windows start . . .

That Ad-aware is good, but it is a dominate program & and hides itself well . . . .

The type of “freeze” you are describing is:
Appears, like you have an application or process in a wait state, until a scan is completed.

Another thing that can cause this . . . delay . . . is maybe some application is trying to download an update.
(Maybe 2 or 3 ) Microsoft might be downloading Windows updates – Office Updates. . . .Adobe could be updating or 1 of your AV program could be updating. . .many of these start off the download in the background
& Are running for awhile before you are notified.

Check your Internet connection . . .may have a browser conflict?

Is it only when you are on the Internet??? What if you open a couple applications do you have the same delay?

May be your modem or Internet connection. . Do you have an Internet connection for work? Maybe that is trying to get modem time? Your modem can be the bottleneck & trying to direct traffic

You did say you were on dialup??

What about keyboard & mouse drivers? Are they correct? How are they connected? (PS2 or USB)

Another item . . . Do you have an automatic backup of your data . . . maybe you are waiting for this??

Why did you do the reinstall in the 1st place? Malware problem??

But if you suspect “malware” get that done 1st – go to “Read this 1st” and do what you are told . .

I would have computer tested by Gibson Research . . . make sure no ports are hanging open.. before getting on internet.

I suggest installing a firewall 1st –A personal firewall keeps “Junk” out and Data IN (till you give permission).
Firewalls provided by IP only keeps stuff OUT. . . .Closing Messenger not only keeps OUT but keeps in IN also. (But that was just 1 port, but everyone can access & control it)

Just trying to get you jumpstarted
Jack123
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#5
ainwood

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Topic:  Strange XP freezing problem - - - ainwood
Date:  28th July- 2005

How many processes are you running?  Are any of them AV  or Spy ware programs?  If you downloaded & ran any of the items this forum recommended  - they probably have themselves loaded with windows start . . .

That Ad-aware is good, but it is a dominate program & and hides itself well . . . .

No - its fairly much a clean system. The only programs installed are literally the ones I mentioned in the first post - standard windows ones, and anti-virus.

The type of “freeze” you are describing is: 
Appears, like you have an application or process in a wait state, until a scan is completed.

Another thing that can cause this . . . delay . . . is maybe some application is trying to download an update.
(Maybe 2 or 3 )  Microsoft might be downloading Windows  updates – Office Updates. . .  .Adobe could be updating or 1 of your AV program could be updating. . .many of these start off the download in the background
& Are running for awhile before you are notified.

I'm not really sure. This initial delay is only a delay in accessing the dial-up connection dialog. I can open windows explorer as soon as the desktop loads.

Check your Internet connection . . .may have a browser conflict? 

Is it only when you are on the Internet???  What if you open a couple applications do you have the same delay?

Nope. The other applications start straight-away.

May be your modem or Internet connection. . Do you have an Internet connection for work?  Maybe that is trying to get modem time?  Your modem can be the bottleneck & trying to direct traffic

You did say you were on dialup??

No - single connection. Its ADSL, but is not an 'always on' service - requires that I log-in via a dial-up connection-type dialog box.

What about keyboard & mouse drivers? Are they correct?  How are they connected? (PS2 or USB)

Dedicated PS2 plugs. No problems that I've seen

Another item . . . Do you have an automatic backup of your data . . . maybe you are waiting for this??

No - nothing like that enabled.

Why did you do the reinstall in the 1st place?  Malware problem??

Slowdown, and the odd crash. But I did a full reformat.

But if you suspect “malware” get that done 1st – go to “Read this 1st” and do what you are told . .

I would have computer tested by Gibson Research . . . make sure no ports are hanging open.. before getting on internet.

I'll certainly try that!

I suggest installing a firewall 1st –A personal firewall keeps “Junk” out  and  Data IN (till you give permission).
Firewalls provided by IP only keeps stuff OUT. . . .Closing Messenger not only keeps OUT but keeps in IN also. (But that was just 1 port, but everyone can access & control it)

Just trying to get you jumpstarted
Jack123

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A good suggestion. I have just downloaded zonealarm, pc-cillin anti-virus and adaware (including latest definitions and the 'stop windows messenger' add-in), as well as the WindowsStartup process monitors. I think I'll reformat again, and then install all of these before going anywhere near the internet.

I <hope> that the initial slowdown and then the complete freeze are related - hopefully solving one will fix the other. As its a clean install, then another reformat is not going to be particularly painful - and at least by doing it again - and doing it properly - I shouldn't have to contend with the virii again!

Thanks for your help. :tazz:
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#6
Jack123

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Ok - sounds like you have a plan. That is a good start.

One more suggestion. . . Do you clean Internet Temp Files & cookies regularly? If not, get a utility and clean every time you leave the intewrnet. It piles up quickly.

Run the AV & Spy Removal whenever something strange happens, and keep them updated.

Keep the doors closed & keep testing every once & awhile. These hackers keep trying & Gibson Research is always imporoving there test & methods.

Jack123
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#7
ainwood

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Ok - sounds like you have a plan.  That is a good start.

One more suggestion. . . Do you clean Internet Temp Files & cookies regularly? If not, get a utility and clean every time you leave the intewrnet. It piles up quickly.

Run the AV & Spy Removal whenever something strange happens, and keep them updated. 

Yes - have been using AdAware for quite a while now, and periodically run Spybot S&D as well.

Keep the doors closed & keep testing every once & awhile.  These hackers keep trying & Gibson Research is always imporoving there test & methods.

Jack123

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I'm about to try this, as soon as I've finished installing office etc.

I did a full reformat and reinstall, installed ZoneAlarm & PC-Cillin before I even installed the modem drivers. Removed the messenger service, then went on-line and installed all windows updates (incl. XP SP2). Now the freeze problems are gone, and the lag on start-up is much reduced (that reduced when I set-up the windows network - must have been looking for a network that didn't exist).

Anyway - thanks for the suggestions - the PC is now running better than it has in months.
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