Windows Legacy OS forum


Mysterious freeze of XP but nothing showing wrong

by benbob1 / November 17, 2012 9:43 PM PST

What is the most likely cause of the following mystery?
Computer starts without any sign of problems when left to its own for 5 minutes. However, no program will start; not by clicking a shortcut, not by clicking an icon from the quick start menu. The system will just freeze completely to the point that not even <ctrl> <alt> del has any effect.

It will work "fine" in safe-mode, and I have run all tests and diagnostics available, including chkdsk, bios analysis, on board diagnostics and a full disk deep scan with the latest version and virus database of AVG; not a peep anywhere indicating something is wrong.

I have tried to use the restore option in safe mode with various dates, going back several months, but that changes nothing as it does not seem to be able to do a restore.

Computer is a Dell Inspiron 9400 with latest updates of SP etc. with AVG, Zone alarm and Winpatrol all running automatically from start up.

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Clarification Request
Given the age I'd look at maintenance.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 18, 2012 1:50 AM PST
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Heatsink cleaning
by benbob1 / November 18, 2012 2:44 AM PST

It may be an option to clean the whole machine including heatsink, though I have my doubts about whether or not this is the core issue. I've been backing up loads of data to an old external harddrive in safemode, and after a while I can hear the fan coming on. This clearly shows that the heatmanagement is working. When I start the machine from dead cold, the fan does not come on (which it should not during low resource use); this seems to indicate that it is not a matter of overheating or at least not primarily.

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You can make that bet.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 18, 2012 5:40 AM PST
In reply to: Heatsink cleaning

If you follow the forums it's hard to read folk that dig in their heels over 1 or 2 bucks of heatsink compound that has dried up. CPUs can just lock up due to this and well, your choice to clean and take care of it. My thought is that it's better for the PC industry that folk don't do this work.

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by benbob1 / November 18, 2012 8:08 AM PST
In reply to: You can make that bet.

It's not about spending money on heatsink compound; I've got it already as I use it from time to time. Cleaning the computer was already on my to do list albeit I wouldn't have thought about cleaning under the heatsink and putting new goo on, which I will do now.
Turned out my hunch was right, and it was Windows that was the culprit and had become corrupted. Downside is that I had a new harddisk put in a couple of years ago, and didn't think about asking for the admin password. Sad
So now the computer in itself works again, but I somehow have to find the video drivers for the card (bloody Dell supplied the wrong driver cd, grrr). Also found out that all the setups for stuff like internet connection will have to be redone again. To top things up, the new Windows doesn't see my existing software e.g. Opera, AVG, which probably means I have lost all my bookmarks and access settings/passwords and all that.

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We can fix that ADMIN passwd in 5 minutes for free.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 18, 2012 8:37 AM PST
In reply to: Windows

It's called NTPASSWD, free and found on the net.

As to your finding, I can't guess that it is that given the clues. I use what folk tell me and offer what I've seen do this and try to avoid high costs and reinstalling the OS.

But you may know more about this PC. Such as a bad virus infection.

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Repent at leisure
by benbob1 / November 18, 2012 5:31 PM PST

Oops, it seems I may have acted in haste. Unless there is a way to undo the re-install of XP, I guess I am too late.
Is there a way to undo the re-install?

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(NT) Only if you have a backup.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 19, 2012 2:05 AM PST
In reply to: Repent at leisure
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by benbob1 / November 19, 2012 4:28 AM PST

No backup; seems like I'm in for some work.

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