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harddrive problem? or memory problem? or ...?

by bobbybob / March 28, 2004 1:42 PM PST

For a while now I've been enjoying computer games, but recently my computer has been 'hiccuping' while playing my most recent game. I'll be moving within the 3d world until everything stops for a few seconds and the sounds will repeat like a CD with a scratch in it. Then it will continue for a while until it happens again. This is a new development in my computer, so I tried to do some diagnostics. I used some freeware, and it told me my harddrive was giving errors, but I wasn't sure if that made sense. I figured it was my computer memory going bad. Could a harddrive issue cause this problem? I'm kinda a newbie, so I wanted to check with someone before I went ahead and bought another harddrive.

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Re:harddrive problem? or memory problem? or ...?
by bobbybob / March 28, 2004 1:55 PM PST

I forgot to mention my hardware/software specifics: I'm using Win 98 1st edition with 10 Gig harddrive and 512M ram. The game which is causing the issues is Morrowind Elder Scrolls III with the 1.2.0722 patch

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Re:Re:harddrive problem? or memory problem? or ...?
by xomegax1 / March 29, 2004 6:39 AM PST

I see a couple of problems here. First, Win98 was never designed for and will not access more than 256MB of RAM no matter how much you install. Using more than this throws off the OS computation of your swap file. Second thing you might try is to manually increase the size of the swap file. The last thing I would suggest is to modify a setting in your BIOS. The setting should be under the advanced section and is called "AGP Aperature". This setting controls how much of your system RAM is reserved for video caching. This should be set to twice the amount of Video RAM you have. Hope this helps you out.

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didn't know that...
by bobbybob / March 29, 2004 12:56 PM PST

Well I'm glad I posted to this site, since I didn't know that Win 98 couldn't access more than 256M of memory. Thanks for your help. Is there any software out that allows Win 98 to access more memory?

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Re:harddrive problem? or memory problem? or ...?
by JPMTJR / March 28, 2004 2:53 PM PST

Click Start then Run. Type the word "Command" (without the quotes). Then type "ScanDisk" (Also without quotes).

This will bring up a GUI (Graphical User Interface). There's a check mark that says something like "Fix any errors", Make sure that you check this block. Then run Scandisk against your "C: Drive".

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Re:Re:harddrive problem? or memory problem? or ...?
by bobbybob / March 28, 2004 3:39 PM PST

I did a scandisk of my harddrive, but it said that no sectors were bad. The program I used that said I had harddrive problems was #1-TuffTEST-Lite, and it said that my harddrive was having "Seek (hysteresis)" errors and "read/verify" errors. I suppose the surface of the harddrive could be perfectly fine and yet the read/write head could be failing or losing its mobility. Any ideas?

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Re:Re:Re:harddrive problem? or memory problem? or ...?
by Bob__B / March 28, 2004 10:59 PM PST

Since your HD is 10GB I would think that it is quite old.

If the HD is going bad there is nothing you can do but replace it.

If you want to test try,

Remove the pc cover, point a small house fan at the innards and test.

Reseat the power and data cable (both ends) and test.

Visit the HD's maker site and see if they have a diag, if so use it and test.

Scan disk is a test of the data on the HD and not a test of the HD.

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took the dive
by bobbybob / March 29, 2004 1:02 PM PST

I've checked the harddrive using the manufacturer's diagnostic tools, and it came up clean. I also checked the memory using a different diagnostic tool, and that came up clean as well. I'm stumped.

I've just gone and bought a new 80G harddrive. Also it seems, based on a different posting to this thread, that Win 98 doesn't handle more than 256M of RAM, which could be part of the problem. I should probably go ahead and buy a version of Win XP. This doesn't explain why there was a gradual decrease in the performance of my computer, though.

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Re:took the dive
by Kees Bakker / March 29, 2004 4:30 PM PST
In reply to: took the dive

So the hard drive is OK. Might be small compared with current standards, but as long as you don't need more: no problem at all. It didn't look like a hard disk problem right from the start, so that fits. It wouldn't harm to do a defrag, however.

About the max memory for Windows 98, that's 512 Mb, not 256 Mb, which is more than enough for practically everything you want to do. If the game really needs more (don't know the specs of the game) you'd better buy a new computer, which will surely help remedy all problems. Or maybe just a new video card (which you can transfer to a new computer, if time comes. Be aware, however, that modern videocards use a lot of power, and if it overtaxes your power supply your problems only will get worse.

If I were you, I would start looking for malware on the computer: http://reviews.cnet.com/5208-6132-0.html?forumID=32&threadID=17371&messageID=190635 will give you quite a number of useful links. Decrease in performance and stalls can very well be caused by such software.

Hope this helps,


Kees

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