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SydneySnake

Computer Issues, Please Help DX

Hey peoples.

I'm having some computer issues lately and was hoping someone could help. So if you're great with computers, and don't mind helping me, I'd really appreciate it.

Basically, my computer is slowly going to hell, I'm painfully starting to accept that, but before I can afford a new one, or can afford to fix this one I need it to power through and keep going. So the main issue I'm having is with web browsers.

About a month ago I was running Firefox and out of no where whenever I shut down all my Firefox windows, I'd have about 15 seconds before my whole computer would lock up and I'd have to do a hard reset. I switched to chrome, problem solved. But now I'm having the same issue with Chrome. Not only that, but I when I have Chrome open and I try to set it to sleep mode, the screens go into sleep, but the tower doesn't go into low power mode or whatever. AND I can't pull it out of "sleep" so the monitors stay off no matter what I do and I have to do a hard reset.

Problem two, is when I try to play a game that goes into full screen, the computer basically freaks the fuck out, goes into 4-bit color, and changes to 640x480 screen resolution and crashes the game... it's not always, but it stopped me from play Dungeon Fighter Online entirely, and happened several times when trying to launch Portal 2 and Skyrim. And again I end up needing to hard rest in order to fix the problem.

And finally, less of a big issue, but when I try to change my wallpaper the image just doesn't update until I restart the computer, which isn't a huge deal but it's weird and annoying.

I've done LOADS of virus scans and it's not a virus issue from what I can tell. So if anyone knows what could be causing this please let me know. Also I'm running Windows XP if that has anything to do with it.
Viewed: 133 times
Added: 6 years, 1 month ago
 
Lyserdigi
6 years, 1 month ago
i know a person who can help you.. forwarding this to him now....
SydneySnake
6 years, 1 month ago
Thanks Lyser. I appreciate it =)
TheDukeInFluff
6 years, 1 month ago
I am said person. XD Skype me up Syd~ "duke-igthorn"
Lyserdigi
6 years, 1 month ago
YAY =^w^=
i owe you big time for this...
soggymaster
6 years, 1 month ago
Sounds like you might need to check into new display drivers.
SydneySnake
6 years, 1 month ago
I was thinking that too, it's just seems weird for it to suddenly start freaking out like it has been.
fluffdance
6 years, 1 month ago
What I'm seeing here is excessive data IO errors.  Here's what I'd recommend to confirm:

Download a copy of Memtest86 from http://www.memtest86.com/ (Go to Free Download on the left)
Burn to a CD, boot off said CD, and let it do its thing.  It'll be boring as hell for quite some time, but you'll have to sit there and watch it.  Keep track of how many errors it catches, or if the computer mystically reboots in the middle of a test.

RAM errors can manifest themselves in many ways, but if you've got instability any time you're doing massive memory IO (loading large, intensive apps, closing out multiple instances of things, etc.), the RAM is the first place I'd look.  Memory issues are also really good at making themselves look like -other- components are failing, so it tends to be a good place to start checking.  :-)

Best of luck!  Drop me a line if you still need some help.
BunnyFoxglove
6 years, 1 month ago
I have to say this is probably the best answer I've seen so far.

The next step of course being a re-install of XP since that OS has a common problem that's referred to as "OS rot". Basically the longer you run it, and the more you use it (installing stuff, etc) it just gets worse and worse until you finally have to re-install it. Normally I would actually suggest a re-install first, but in this case that might just be a temporary fix, and you may not notice any problems with the ram for some time. If you have problems with the ram you want to fix it, or you could start crashing in the middle of doing art (not a good time to crash xD). Most programs, even SAI, can use a lot of ram depending on the size of the canvas and how many layers, and how much use on each layer, etc. So if it's a RAM issue you want to solve that, or at least be aware of it so you know to save every 2 minutes until you can get it fixed. You're not describing bluescreens which generally point to ram as well, but as fluff pointed out it's still quite possible.

TL;DR, the memtest won't "fix" the problem in any way. You will need to probably format and re-install windows, but you probably want to know if your ram is bad.
fluffdance
6 years, 1 month ago
<nods>  I have a methodology I tend to go through that I've adapted over the years.  The OS-rot issue with XP is nowhere near as severe as it was with ME, and quite typically, will present with a certain set of symptoms.  From the symptoms described, my gut is telling me that if there -is- a software problem, it's just aggravating a hardware problem; likely either bad RAM or a malfunctioning power supply.

Since RAM is simple and free to test, might as well start there.  If the RAM comes back with errors, then based on things like frequency of errors, location, test type, duration, and length of time passed, it makes it much easier to say what the culprit is.  Bad RAM will typically show errors in the same way each time, whereas a faltering PSU will make things quite random.  If the latter is true, borrow a known-good PSU and swap it in, re-run the RAM diagnostics, and see what happens.

Alternatively, if the RAM tests well, then move on to other things; the GPU would be my next target, as I tend to like to make sure the hardware is solid before moving on to software diagnosis (at least with such broad glitches as this).  Hard drives are always a possibility, too, but even using the manufacturers' specific software can be a chore, as half the time its outdated, doesn't cover a specific drive, or is incompatible with some aspect of the system.

I could honestly go on for hours.  My diagnostics protocols can vary widely, and they're formed as much from experience as they are from logic, so what I do find a problem is as methodical as it is interpretive.  :-]
BunnyFoxglove
6 years, 1 month ago
I agree, trouble shooting isn't necessarily hard, but it takes a lot of time and patience even when you know what to do.

In most cases I suggest a format and re-install if I think the PC can handle it. Simply because it's faster than trying to walk someone through a long and lengthy process, and if the problem still occurs you know it's hardware. On a system with an old OS that has been running for a while, or just had a lack of care taken the maintenance of the registry and such, format is often the best start. Gives you a clean slate to test with, and it really only takes about an hour. Even less if you made a ghost the first time and partition your C:\.

I honestly don't know much about ME tho, since it was a terrible OS, and I refused to use it at any given point in time.
fluffdance
6 years, 1 month ago
<nodnods>  Agreed, to some extent.  There are times when I won't do a hasty reinstall--particularly when clients don't have backups (!!!), or as in this case, where I honestly don't know Sydney's computer background, and I'm doing a distance-diagnosis.  Things can be -much- different when the computer is sitting in front of you, versus when you're relying on a user's input.  I will never, EVER criticize someone about their level of experience.  The world becomes a much better place when we can be methodical, patient, and help others learn by doing so.  :-)

I don't think I've ever had a comeback from my clients, and the more I work with them, the less I see of them.  Bad for business, perhaps, but at the end of the day, the client walks away with a functioning computer, and a new understanding of how to keep themselves safe, happy and functional in this crazy digital world.  :-)
Scoutter
6 years, 1 month ago
I would possibly look if your power supply lost too much power over years. I had that problem once, my PC couldn'rt run games, shutted down randomly too.

If not, I would try to defrag and remove unnessesary stuff if possible.
DatGingerCat
6 years, 1 month ago
How old is your OS installation? And when was the last time you checked your ran a checkdisk, to check your hard drive?
Klorsis
6 years, 1 month ago
Are you bluescreening at all?  If you do get bluescreens, copy the numbers down that it references.  ie: (Ex00000B, 0x00000A, etc..)  That number should tell you what is causing the error

Do you hear a clicking noise coming from your hard drive?  

If not, it sounds like it's just time to reinstall windows.  If you do hear clicking, you'll want to replace the drive.  They start around $50 (or 500 -750 gig) and your PC will most likely need an IDE type, not an SATA.  (Connector ref)  

As a side thought, sniff around your power supply fan.  Do you smell any electronic burn?  It's normal to smell a slight bit, but if it smells thick.. kind of like someone smoking a cigarette, you might want to have it checked to see if that is a problem
fluffdance
6 years, 1 month ago
While the memory addresses -can- help to pinpoint a problem, I've seen more often than not that they tend to reference the action that failed, rather than the cause of the failure.  I've personally seen RAM issues cause fault codes ranging from GPU issues to IO op glitches, and it's one of those things that you just need to double and triple check everything.  :-)
Klorsis
6 years, 1 month ago
Actually, I was discounting hardware failure at all for that statment.  If it really was a driver, dll, or library causing a bluescreen the dump shell should also display what the file is causing it too.  I did choose my wording very poorly though.
fluffdance
6 years, 1 month ago
No worries dude, I get what you're saying.  :-)
Shokuji
6 years, 1 month ago
Looks like you already got lots of help above. Hope it all works out, Syd. =)
DraculJOSHI
6 years, 1 month ago
hmm, there are different things you might want to check.

First, try to update your grafik driver.
If that doesn't work, try doing the opposite, using a slightly older version, I would suggest one 3-6months older.
If that didn't help, use CCleaner to clean up your computer and your registry.
If the problems persist, it is either the grafic card, the grafic card controller, or the BUS... in all of these cases it is likely to be cheaper to buy a new one instead of trying to fix it.

P.S.: I don't know if these issues are related, but ever since I upgraded to the newest flash plugin version, my screen freezes ever so often for about 2-3 minutes before self-reseting itself and working just fine.
fluffdance
6 years, 1 month ago
A couple things to note, here:
- Gotta be REALLY careful with CCleaner.  Tick the wrong box or click the wrong button, and all hell can break loose.
- The latest version of Flash is exceptionally buggy; particularly with YouTube. You may try disabling Hardware Acceleration from within the Adobe Flash control panel (found in your system Control Panel).  That's always helped in the past, and from my own personal experience with the latest update, brought it from crashing to just randomly skipping or stopping video. :-)
Moonlight555
6 years, 1 month ago
I had a similar problem with my ten year old laptop. Ran XP. When I closed the decklid, it's supposed to go into sleep mode, which it does. What it doesn't like to do is wake up again. Then I had to restart it. Never got to the bottom of that since I have a new computer.

Anyhoo, lots of stuff can cause a computer to act weird. Viruses, too many tasks being run at once, etc. Even the wrong voltage coming from the wall outlet. Assuming you have a 110 volt AC outlet, you should have at a minimum 108v. Anything below that can cause problems. I had a teacher who's mac computer wouldn't work right. He checked the voltage to his plug (safely of course), and got about 101 volts. Turns out the power company had two houses running off of one transformer.

But yeah, I think it's more likely to be the computer itself. Have you ever defragged your hard drive? If not, you should. It boosts performance. You can find it at; start menu>accessories>system tools>Disk Defragmenter. Also, do the disk cleanup. Disk cleanup should be done first, then defragging. Run an antivirus full scan too.
eliteshyguy
6 years, 1 month ago
i kinda have the same problem like u.
fluffdance
6 years, 1 month ago
The problem you're describing with your laptop may very well have been a firmware/BIOS update.  I forget which specific manufacturers it affected, but the topic has come up before, and I recall seeing patched BIOS updates available on a few manufacturer websites.

As for the voltage issue, that can be a bit of a doozy.  A lot of PSUs can operate on a wide range of voltages; usually a +/-10VAC tolerance.  Some I've seen function as low at 90-95VAC.  It all has to do with the specific PSU in question, as well as how it's loaded internally.

The "two houses off one transformer" thing makes no sense to me at all, though.  Guess that depends on what part of the world you're in.  A lot of the infrastructure I'm used to dealing with switches 40+kV to feed sometimes several blocks of houses.  Don't even get me started on partial-phase AC switching that we use at the datacenter...  XD
Moonlight555
6 years, 1 month ago
Hmm... That would make sense... *Shrug.* Oh well. I gave that laptop to my dad when I got my new one. It was a Dell Inspiron 1300.

From what my teacher told me, there's one transformer for each house. It might just be the way everything is set up around here. Either way, he wasn't getting the right voltage until he called the power company and had them fix the transformer(s). Then it worked. We live in a more rural area, so I'm not sure what that tells you about the system.
fluffdance
6 years, 1 month ago
Aaah, okay.  Rural areas all have their own nifty and unique way of doing things for power distribution.  Likely, what I see as an end-point transformer around here, is somewhere way far away from your location, and isn't stepping things down quite the same due to the larger distances the power has to travel.  You end up with a higher voltage at the pole (or underground, if that's the case), and a per-customer transformer to bring it down to 440.  

I'm trying to remember my math, now.  I think...one phase of 3-phase 240VAC is 107 or something thereabouts?  That's how I'd do it if I had to.  Pull the lines from the 440 trans, step down to 240 at each of the houses, and run single-phase to the 120 outlets.  MOST things are fairly content on a single-phase 107 line--Hell, that's how we run the datacenter.  Still very odd, though, to see that in a residential application.
eliteshyguy
6 years, 1 month ago
i kinda got the same thing but mine is a little slow.
mauro
6 years, 1 month ago
well the ppl above have already recommended everything i can think of
prufen
6 years, 1 month ago
since people have already mentioned ccleaner and defraggler
you may have a lot of programs running.  look up the programs that run at start up by typing MSCONFIG under RUN, decide what you want to run at start up.  windows starts with some unnecessary programs in addition to third-party programs. I can help you with this over private messaging, MSN, AIM or Skype.
fluffdance
6 years, 1 month ago
Much better to run services.msc, rather than msconfig; though it can be a bit trickier to deal with.  msconfig typically only shows user-installed or user-initiated services running at startup, whereas you'll get to see the -real- hell of any given system under the Services console.  Disabling services (not startup items) from within MSConfig can be problematic, as there's no checksum for interdependent services, and quite frequently, the services listed there are actually representations of things at a much higher level of function than in the services console. Disabling in the former doesn't necessarily disable in the latter, and it can cause start-time errors that slow things down in the background and the end user will never see a warning. :-)
prufen
6 years, 1 month ago
he might have a lot of third-party crap before he even got into that
King30
6 years, 1 month ago
I was gonna say defrag but someone beat me to it. >.<
It's awesome you play DFO. I do too.
SydneySnake
6 years, 1 month ago
I don't unfortunately. This was my first time trying to run it and it failed miserably. I never even got passed the log in screen
simbageoleo
6 years, 1 month ago
prehaps a system diag on the next restart to a disk check and see if there is anything gone wrong there then try cclueaner ghet rid of crap files and finally try driver update as you might have drivers that need updating or a wrong version of said driver
PeachClover
6 years, 1 month ago
Will you please give us an update?  
To a computer geek, troubleshooting a computer problem is as entertaining as it is educational and helpful.  I would like to know if your problem is fixed or not, and if it is, what the problem was.  

This is just a small tip, but when you get your computer up and running, you might want to make a live OS disc in case you have computer problems again.  They can keep you productive when your system is down and depending on how they act, help you identify the problem with your system.
SydneySnake
6 years, 1 month ago
Duke has been helping me work through it, still no fix and we haven't found the source of the problem
jleet
6 years, 1 month ago
Sounds like:
Different things:
1)------------------------------------
Harddisk error/system error - Due to lockups
HOLD 'windows button' and press "R" -> type "cmd" -> in the black prompt type "nfc /scannow"

ONLY, when it's done: HOLD 'windows button' and press "R" -> type "cmd" (again, same prompt)-> type: chkdsk /f   -> answer "Y" if it says a process is in use blah blah run on next restart. -> restart your computer. -> you'll see a lot of text. See if problem is resolved
------------------------------------

2)------------------------------------
Spyware/Adware (different from Virus) - Due to lockups - Use "Spybot" from safer-networking.org -> download it -> install, REMEMBER TO DISABLE "teatimer" since you probably don't know how to use it. -> start it -> press update -> next time it starts -> press "immunize" close your browsers, then click the immunize button at the top of that "immunize pane" -> go to the "Scan now" section once done and click the "scan now" -> after the process has run, if anything is found click "fix problems" at the top.
---------------------------------------

3)------------------------------------
Update your graphics driver - due to screen resolution being messed up in games, but this could also be other things
---------------------------------------


There are other options if the problem persists. Look me up on FA under JL_eet if you need help. Good luck!

PS. Search google for "nfc /scannow microsoft technet" etc. There are official guides on how to do it. This is just simplified.

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