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Author Topic: PC keeps "hanging" even though reformatt  (Read 1379 times)
KC0KM_EX_GFISHER
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Posts: 6




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« on: August 16, 2004, 05:19:18 PM »

I have a 4 1/2 year old Dell Dimension 533Mhz computer with 256 Mb of RAM which ran well until a few months ago. The DSL modem slowly failed and my ISP and Qwest failed to correctly diagnose it. After trying many things to help me get back on the internet the tech at my ISP told me to load XP over itself to correct any corrupted files. I did. In the meantime I talked Qwest into sending a replacement DSL which cured my internet connection problem. Ever since, my computer has run very slowly and keeps stopping or hanging when I'm trying to type e-mail, switch screens or do most anything else. When I try to listen to Real Audio it will suddenly repeat the same two or three words over and over before continuing and may skip back and forth on the audio stream. It does the same with video files. It seems to hang for 30 or 40 seconds every couple of minutes. I use Norton antivirus and scanned everything; no problems. I use a spyware blocker and scanned everthing and again no problems. I did a format of the C drive and reloaded everything but that didn't fix the problem. It's been doing this for nearly five months and it's driving me crazy. I want to run ham radio software for logging and to control my transceiver but can't when the computer keeps hanging up. Has anyone heard of a problem like this? Again, it used to run well until I had the modem problem and reloaded XP. When I disconnect the computer from my modem it still hangs. I'd be very grateful for any suggestions!

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WB6NGC
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Posts: 31




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« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2004, 08:02:20 AM »

While it could be some program you have installed, this also sounds
like the kind of thing that bad RAM can cause. If you have not done
so, check your memory with a decent diagnostic, such as the one below:

www.memtest86.com/memt31a.zip

Any error would mean it's time to get  a new stick of memory.
If you have more than one stick to make that 256MB, then test each
one individually.

After that, if all tests well, than it may be time to do a clean install
of Windows, followed by the programs you REALLY use.
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ORTHOS1
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Posts: 11




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« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2004, 09:34:09 PM »

You may be running too many programs resident in your memory. Check by running msconfig and see what programs are loading at start up. Before changing anything make a restore point in XP. All of the icons on the lower right of your task bar are using memory, too many will cause a computer to hang and run slowly. You can also check the tasks that are running by pressing control, alt, delete keys at once. You will then see the tasks running. Like the fellow said a bad stick of ram can cause this problem also. I recommend a minimum of 512 mb of ram in all XP systems especially since ram is so cheap today.
73
Stu KI4DJN
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WA9SVD
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Posts: 2198




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« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2004, 07:14:51 PM »

You might also try Norton's WinDoctor, part of SystemWorks.  (Make sure it's an XP compatible version!)  The registry could be "messed up" and that can also slow things down big time.
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AA6YQ
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« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2004, 03:04:14 AM »

I'm not sure what "load XP over itself" actually means, but it sounds bad.

Were I in your situation, I would

1. backup all data (email, web favorites, documents, spreadsheets, logs, etc) on a reliable external device

2. verify that the backup is readable

3. verify that you CDROMs and license keys for all needed applications are available

4. wipe the hard drive

5. install XP, install the applications, and recover the data

     73,

         Dave, AA6YQ
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KC2MMI
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Posts: 620




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« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2004, 01:59:57 PM »

Like the others I'd suggest a thorough hardware check on the computer itself.

But first I question the XP installation, a 4-1/2 year old computer didn't ship with XP. Did you run the compatibility test tool that is part of XP, to make sure your computer can run it? Some hardware simply never will run XP reliably.

XP is NT (NT5.1) and especially if you are using an NTFS format on the hard drive, XP has many tools to prevent "corruption" including a journaling file system (checks files after they are written) and internal backups for corrupt system files PLUS the ability to take snapshots and roll back bad drivers and system files.

Reinstalling XP is a last ditch step that is more likely to cause problems than fix them, since a problem in XP usually means there's SOMETHING that caused it. Something a reinstall won't fix.
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AA6YQ
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« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2004, 03:37:32 PM »

Its unlikely that the remaining problem here is hardware related. Lets review the facts in the case. From the original post:

1. I have a 4 1/2 year old Dell Dimension 533Mhz computer with 256 Mb of RAM which ran well until a few months ago.

2. The DSL modem slowly failed and my ISP and Qwest failed to correctly diagnose it.

3. After trying many things to help me get back on the internet the tech at my ISP told me to load XP over itself to correct any corrupted files. I did.

4. In the meantime I talked Qwest into sending a replacement DSL which cured my internet connection problem.

5. Ever since, my computer has run very slowly and keeps stopping or hanging when I'm trying to type e-mail, switch screens or do most anything else.

The original problem was a failed DSL modem, per #2; this was corrected by replacing the DSL modem, per #4. However, the system now performs erraticly, per #5.

There are three possibilities:

A. the "load XP over itself" action (#3) has produced an unreliable configuration of XP

B. the replacement DSL modem (#4) is somehow preventing XP from running reliably

C. there's a hardware defect or XP incompability problem that existed prior to #2 but remained hidden until after #4.

C has a non-zero probability, but its very unlikely. B is possible, but also unlikely. A has by far the highest probability of these three possibilities.

Despite the low probabilities of B and C, a first step of running hardware diagnostics and the XP compatibility checker make sense because they are non-destructive. I'll be surprised if either reveals a problem, however.

B should then be tested by powering the system down, removing the DSL modem, and rebooting. If the system now runs reliably, ask for another DSL modem.

If the diagnostics and compatibility checker reveal no problems, and if the system runs unreliably without the replacement DSL modem installed, then in the absence of a more detailed explanation of what "load XP over itself" actually means, archiving and verifying all data and performing a clean re-installation of the operating system, applications, and data is the only high-probability way I know of to restore this system to reliable operation.

    73,

        Dave, AA6YQ
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KC2MMI
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Posts: 620




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« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2004, 04:15:06 PM »

Dave-
 <Its unlikely that the remaining problem here is hardware related.> Spent too many years troubleshooting and fixing them, and found out too many times that some oddball hardware problem was at the heart of it. For instance, everything that is "seated" from the i/o cards to the cpu and the memory chips, WILL unseat itself from thermal cycling as the computer ages. Yours has aged. If you open it up and press down on every seated part, some of them will go "squonch" and seat a little better. (Unless yours has run 24x7 and never had thermal cycling.<G>)
 So, when things sort of mysteriously crash and then other mysteries come up, first I look for an unlikely common cause of them. A memory chip that was unseating itself could cause all sorts of erratic failures.

<The DSL modem slowly failed and my ISP and Qwest failed to correctly diagnose it. >
 Slowly failed sounds odd. Either they work or they fail...or again, something like thermal stress or a cold solder joint starts making failures and then finally makes it fail 100% of the time.

<the tech at my ISP told me to load XP over itself >
 The finest help that $5.15 an hour can buy, if it is in the US still. Sigh. Too many techs think that XP is a Win9x product, they're too quick to blow away the OS with a reload and that's the LAST thing to do for any NT machine. Mainly, because whether it works or not, it will blow away so many other settings.

< a replacement DSL which cured my internet connection problem. >
 That would tend to indicate your computer hardware is OK, yes.

<Ever since, my computer has run very slowly and keeps stopping or hanging when I'm trying to type e-mail, switch screens or do most anything else. >
 Improperly loaded drivers for low-level subsystems, like the video and hard drive, can cause a computer to run at 1/3 normal speed. If there were low-level drivers supplied with your computer, you might need to reload them during the XP installation. Knowing Dell, they would not supply these with a computer, they would be bundled (slipstreamed) into the custom-OEM Windows recovery disk they shipped with the computer, and they might be impossible to extract from it.
 If that's the case...again, how did you put XP on the compter in the first place? If you upgraded an older OS that Dell had put on the machine, you *might* need to reinstall the Dell version (to load those drivers) and then do an XP update over it, in order to keep and use them.
 I say "might" because I just don't know which route Dell took, and whether XP knows that machine. XP ships with something like 15,000 hardware drivers built in, so it is pretty good about recognizing hardware--but Dell has always done things their own way.

<<A. the "load XP over itself" action (#3) has produced an unreliable configuration of XP >>
 Possible, but unless it is a low-level driver issue (as above) not very likely IF the computer passed the compatibility tool tests. You can run them now anyway.
 Also, some DSL software was problematic. Since XP includes a WinPPPoE stack and DSL support...did your ISP tell you to load any specific software to run with that dslmodem? That's something to question.

<<B. the replacement DSL modem (#4) is somehow preventing XP from running reliably >>
 Least likely. Easy to check--unplug it, uninstall it, and see if the computer runs better.<G>

<<C. there's a hardware defect or XP incompability problem that existed prior to #2 but remained hidden until after #4. >>
 Points back to low-level drivers. MS and Intel have made a point of publicizing this in the past 3 years, because even the techs were generally unaware of the issue and as W2K and the P4 chip rolled out in 2001, they started getting a lot of complaints that were based in this issue.

<< a first step of running hardware diagnostics and the XP compatibility checker make sense because they are non-destructive. I'll be surprised if either reveals a problem, however. >>
 I agree with you. It's always nice to know you're starting with a firm foundation, i.e. that the hardware is healthy though.

<<... a clean re-installation of the operating system,...is the only high-probability way I know of to restore this system to reliable operation. >>

 Sometimes, it certainly is the fastest solution, slow as it may be. Since XP *can* load even the low-level drivers without being installed...I'd still check carefully about the Dell hardware/driver being a possible issue, and any dsl software (Wind River stacks, etc.) that might be involved.

 I think anyone that sells or services computer hardware or software should be required to sell Valium at the same time.<G>
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KC0RSW
Member

Posts: 2




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« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2004, 08:13:08 AM »

Sounds like the processor fan needs to be cleaned.

Take an air gun ( bottled air ) to the heat sink and fan on the CPU, I have an AMD - Athlon that does the same once it gets enough dust dirt built up on it.

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VY2LAA
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« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2004, 01:47:45 AM »

Ok now let me do a quick review...

DSL modem slowly failed?Huh   How? n Why? Due to what?
4.5 Y/O Dell 533 with 256 Ram ...now with XP? home or Pro? and what OS did it come with?

Now heres some things to think about....

Have you considered that what caused the intitial degridation and subsequent failure of DSL modem may have caused a comensurate degridation an emminent failure with you DELL?

You did not mention any more of the hardware in the Dell; for EG: hard drive? or various cards...n optical drives?  or items attached to it. This may help Diagnosis.

You failed to mention how its connected to power? Cheapo power bar? Good UPS? or directly to Wall.

Have you had the power supply checked for ACcurate voltages under LOAD?

From what you have described,   subsequent installs of XP.... My thoughts would be you are having some form of Hardware issue more than something to do with XP directly.

I suspect that your PWR Supply may be showing some signs of aging? Or perhaps te motherboard or ram is.

Without More thorough information on your part everyone here has just thrown out ideas. If you can assertain what the hardware is like? then we can better help you to solve you problem...

Al
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SP5QIP
Member

Posts: 84




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« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2004, 08:52:30 AM »

Check temperatures on ram, chipset (notrhbidge), temp of processor. If it is overcheating it will cause hanging 100%. Check chassis, maybe there is not enough free space for cold air circulation? If it is overcheating try to add blowing fan at the front of chassis, another on the back for removing hot air from inside.
Also good is to remove empty bay cover in a front to let fresh air flow inside.
Maybe there is a dust in fan/radiator of procesor? Also 250 megs of ram is too small for XP to run smooth. XP after reboot takes about 160-190 itself. I`m sure uoy run some additional programs during startup and it takes more and more ram. 512 is minimum IMO. I got 1024 in my PC, and XP with all applications is running fast.

Mike
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N7DM
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Posts: 671




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« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2004, 07:27:40 PM »

Any chance you have "Auto-Protect" selected in your Norton?  That scans files as they are used, and slowed MY machine to a crawl.  I guess it may be  important if you are on a network, or something like that... but for me, switching that OFF put the zap back in my grey box!
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