General discussion


Hi - I installed SP2 when I had to, it worked perfectly until two days ago when I was asked to install the latest update. Since then the cmputer has been freezing (hanging) completely every few minutes. No key and no mouse. Had to restart manually each time. All the restore points were erased, including those I added manually. Tried spybot and Symantec they found something (DSO exploit) which spybot removed but it returned each time; I read somewhere that this is a spybot issue and it cannot hurt. Tried to update IE6, but the computer froze. Tried to find the latest windows update to uninstall but could not find it (only SP2 itself is now there). Moved some heavy items from the boot disk to an almost empty one, but this too did nothing to correct the issue. - To recap: I run XP pro with SP2, AMD mobo with Sempron 2400+, two hard disks with 120 giga, and 512 Mb memory. By the way - it may be related and maybe not - I cannot access the Web while ZoneAlarm is active, my ISP said to cancel it while accessing and reactivating afterwards. Is that good advice? Should I put this on a separate thread? TIA - Amos.

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Sptbot Restore?

When you run Spybot, it normally creates a restore point. You might try to revert back to when the machine was working reasonably. Also obviously all aspects of safe mode, if accessible.

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Dear Paul - sorry, but absolutely no restore point left. Spybot did create one, but it is gone, vanished, disappeared. And I cannot acces the Web in safe mode although all the rest seems to function as usual. Any more ideas? Amos.

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"An update" or SP2?
Hi - I installed SP2 when I had to, it worked perfectly until two days ago when I was asked to install the latest update.

I don't understand whether you're speaking SP2 as that update or something else later on. If it was otherwise however, why not uninstall that update to see what happens?

1. Please read through the information in the article, "WINUP-Third-Party Products That Conflict with Windows Update (Q241234)" and perhaps use some of the information for troubleshooting.

2. Service packs and hotfixes contain an Uninstall (Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel - click Q###### , click Change/Remove and then follow the instructions that appear or by running the Uninstall program from the command prompt - click Start, Run, type cmd, and then press Enter. Change to the folder C:\$NtServicePackUninstall$\spuninst\, where C: is the root of your hard drive, type Spuninst.exe, and then press Enter), which is a feature used to restore a computer to its previous state.

Note: When running the ServicePack.exe program to install, a subfolder named $ntservicepackuninstall$ is created in the systemroot folder, which is subsequently also used by Windows File Protection (WFP) to replace damaged or changed protected system files. The Hotfix naming convention followed by the extension .exe include the variables:

? Q###### - the Microsoft Knowledge Base article number (for example, 123456)

? XXX is the platform or operating system

? YYY is the service pack level

? ZZZ is the hardware platform

? LL is the language

3. Search using the Find function to locate Spuninst.exe utility that supports the following switches:

? /? Show the list of installation switches

? /u Use Unattended mode

? /f Force other programs to quit when the computer shuts down

? /z Do not restart when the installation is complete

? /q Use Quiet mode (no user interaction)

4. For example, to remove a patch in Unattended mode without restarting the system, use the following command:

%windir%\$ntuninstallQ??????$\spuninst\spuninst.exe /u /z

5. The article [Q329260] explains there are three folders created when SP1 is installed and the archive files that contain temporary and archived files used to remove it and the folders that can safely be deleted. This article warns that if the Windows\Servicepackfiles folder is moved or deleted, SP1 cannot be removed in the future.

6. The article [Q296861] describes how to install multiple Windows product updates (for example, critical updates, security patches, or hotfixes) that use Update.exe with only one restart. This procedure does not work howerver for product updates that do not use Update.exe as the installation program. For example, Internet Explorer updates for Windows XP use an INF-based installation instead of Update.exe. As a result, you cannot use this procedure to install multiple Microsoft Internet Explorer updates with only one restart on Windows XP.

7. Supplemental reading:

a. "Chapter 5: Installing, Uninstalling, and Managing Programs."

b. "How to remove Windows XP Service Pack 2 from your computer (Q875350)."
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an update after SP2 worked fine

will read and try to do. Thanks - Amos

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Did as taught by you

- finally found how to uninstall the latest update but it did no good: the moment I leave the computer for three or four seconds it freezes again , and sometimes in the middle of some task, such as printing. Could it be a hardware problem? The boot disk is about four years old. TIA - Amos.

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Try this test.

Remove the case cover. If the behaviour changes much as in 4 seconds is now 1 minute, then you may be onto something.


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Hi Bob - I first followed what Cursorcowboy instructed me to do, and found the apparent culprit: Microsoft Windows Installer 3.1. When I removed it the restore points reappeared. They had vanished before. But the machine still hung now and then. So I removed the ZoneAlarm appliance which I had installed the same day, suspecting that maybe the trouble was caused by a virus not found by the others: Spybot, Norton AV. The result is that for more than two hours I had smooth sailing, and the freeze began again when I transmitted high-speed documents: one was a mail with attachment, the other an attempt to transfer a bulky folder from C: to G:. In both cases I had again to manually restart. So, the trouble is much more bearable now, but still - if any of this rings any bells please let me know. And thanks, as always. Amos.

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I can't tell if the cover test was performed.

Sometimes it's more than one thing. Many are searching for one reason for a machine to fail. Sadly, with hardware and spyware out there, the cause can be many things.


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Not yet

but I shall be back in a week, do it then. It makes sense because it happened on a very warm day. tks. amos

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Hello - back after a miserable week in which I nearly froze my *** off in NY. ("This is not the way/New York should be in May") Have now taken cover off computer and the result is an improvement by a factor of infinity: it keeps on and on without freezing and does not rear up despite intensive work. Question is what does that mean? What do I have to do now to get it back to work decently covered? Should I go back on automatic Windows updates which I disabled when the trouble started? Shall be grateful for advice. Amos.

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It means some part was heat sensitve.

Let's start with ...

How old the machine is and how long ago you dusted it out.

About the wretched weather. In Boston it wasn't much better.

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Not old

got new mobo plus CPU plus power supply (with two fans) in march of this year. Have now attached blower pipe to my vacuum cleaner and as I do the work will examine how dusty it has been. On the face of it there seems to be little dust. Shall then report back. Thanks for the support. Amos.

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froze again

while I was giving myself a rest after about 12 hours of computer work the a/m decided to freeze again. I discovered it when I returned from my nap: the Norton AV program stalled and nothing could move it except the somewhat brutal use of the reset button. Tried the scan again, and again it froze after only a little scanning. Then I gave the computer a rest, vacuumed it thoroughly but it did not need it: very little dust on most parts, some as clean as a whistle. Inserted ASUS utilities program which reported all temperatures to be well within limits, the only one a little off-base was the CPU fan with 4400 rpm instead of the nominal 6000. But the threshold is set at 600, so I wonder if this has any importance. Ran Norton AV again, this time no hitch. The cover is still off. What say you? Amos.

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Are those ball bearing fans?

If not, replace that CPU FAN.

Also, with twin hard disks and that CPU and what else I can gather, you'll want a whopper power supply.


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I really cannot tell

but they seem to be too small for ball-bearing. The CPU fan is part of the unit and I do not see how it can be replaced. The power supply has 400 watts, this should be sufficient, and anyway I just ran the probe again and the temperatures have changed by one degree only; this after another freeze. Is it your experience that more cooling will solve the problem? Thanks again - Amos.

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That or finding the part that is causing the lockup.

It's not always the CPU, but your note lead me to believe the CPU fan was down over 1,000 RPM from some time ago. That's not good.

This area of troubleshooting is nuts for some. You can only unplug stuff if you don't have spare parts to swap in and out.


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Hi I do have a same problem, but I do not think, the overheating is the cause. Some days when I turn my computer on everything is OK no problem other day when I turn computer on - bingo computer freeze from start and I have to hard boot.Some days no problem, some days freeze 3 times in row. It is enoying and I also do not know where to look to solve this problem. Beside this I do have a other problem - any chance you know (or somebody else from the smart forum?)what is the reason, that sometime in middle of my work the computer starts to dumping physical memory?

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Need to know more of your set up. IMHO usual causes for unwarranted memory dump aree:

1) Ram and size of VM
2) Driver conflicts (usually graphics)

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Hi I finaly found out about ram and size of VM:
VM - 672
Ram 448 MB

By the way what IMHO stand for (I have no clue)
It will help this Info to give me advice how to dela with my problems?
Thanks millions

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In My Humble Opinion - nothing significant, just a way by Paul of being polite. Amos.

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Hi Megina - what kind of processor have you got? Mine is an AMD, rather new, and before I changed it never happened. To be exact, AMD Sempron 2400+, while previously I had been working with the Pentium family. Is your freezing new or old, and how does it relate to the age of the processor? Am curious. Amos.

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Hi Amos
thanks for your response My system is: Pentium 4 CPO 2.2 GHz , Service Pack@ (by the way somebody told me that when people download Pack 2 have a problem I do not know if that is true). 448 MB of RTAM and 80 G Hard Drive. My computer is 15 month old.
Thanks again

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Hi - your data seem to be right, so do try the memtest I wrote about. It should show zero errors. If it does not, something has gone wrong with your installed memory. As to SP2, most of the complaints come from people who had problems before installing it. My computer did not balk or anything until much later and for a different reason. If the memtest does show zero errors it may be a driver conflict or something of the sort. You should try uninstalling them one at a time and see if the trouble continues. When it ceases, that's the program to get rid of, and install something similar of a different make if you need it. Good luck. Amos.

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Freeze plus memory

Hi - I am told that freeze and memory loss may be related. If you are up to it you should try Memtest86 (find it on Yahoo), if you are not some techie friend might help. Good luck and let me know how it worked for you if you used it. Amos.

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Freeze plus memory

I do have good news. My computer does not freeze and does not dumping the physical memory anymore. What I did? Well one day I stop @ Future Shop and asked one serviceman what they will do if I bring my computer in theirs shop to fix my problem. His answer was, we will make a tune-up. But; he said it is not your hardware problem it is the software. May be the Ad-aware? I said yes this software I do have.
When I return to my computer the first thing what I did I uninstalled this Ad-aware. Result? No more problems, my computer work like a charm.

Good luck to you

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Hi Gina - I've been running adaware for over a year now without any problems. So it may be that your particular configuration does not jibe with it. Thanks for the progress report, I hope that somehow the suggestions in answer to your query were helpful after all. And soon we may welcome you back as an expert, helping others. Amos.

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