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Quirky computer problems

The address bar [using IE6] and some of the desktop icons [ start button, my computer, icon next to start button] flicker as if being clicked on/clicked off. Also when machine boots up it clicks as if there is something sitting on the keyboard which there isn't. These things started after I downloaded latest updates for Win98 and IE6. Prior to updates, I was getting blue screens and IE was locking up. I thought that running updates would resolve this but they haven't. Another quirk is that when I do a hard boot, it loads in safe mode. If I run system utilities [regardless of problems found or not], I can restart and machine will boot into Windows. Have also re-installed Windows. If I restart from safe mode without running sys util, it may or may not start in regular Windows mode.

I am running Win98SE with a 500 mhz processor, 256 mb ram and 8gb harddrive. Have run Ontrack system utilities, spyware checker and virus checker. Have
restored settings from previous system utilities maintenance and tried to uninstall IE6 but it just gave me a repair option.

Any suggestions as to why this is happening or what other methods could be used to repair will be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance for your help!

pfuller

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Re: Quirky computer problems

In reply to: Quirky computer problems

A. The address bar [using IE6] and some of the desktop icons [ start button, my computer, icon next to start button] flicker as if being clicked on/clicked off.

We can't know what is loading in the background if you don't tell us.

PART I

1. For any Windows version before W2K and NT, you will always have to pay attention to what you do in order to conserve "System Resources" (Click to see an example screenshot) since there is only 64KB available. You should study:

a. Fred Langa's article, "Resource Leaks," Part One.

b. The "SYSTEM RESOURCES FAQ."

2. Windows 98 includes a core composed of three components:

a. USER - Manages input from the keyboard, mouse, and other input devices and output to the user interface (windows, icons, menus, and so on). It also manages interaction with the sound driver, timer, and communications ports.

KERNEL:

(1) Provides base operating system functionality, including file I/O services, virtual memory management, and task scheduling.

(2) Exception handling is another service of the Kernel. Exceptions are events that occur as a program runs and that require software outside the normal flow of control to be run.

(3) Allocates virtual memory, resolves import references, and supports demand paging for the application. As the application runs, the Kernel schedules and runs threads of each process owned by an application.

(4) Provides services to both 16-bit and 32-bit applications by using a translation process called thunking to map between 16-bit and 32-bit formats. Thunking converts a 16-bit value to its 32-bit equivalent.

b. GDI - is the graphical system that manages what appears on the screen. It also provides graphics support for printers and other output devices. It draws graphic primitives, manipulates bitmaps, and interacts with device-independent graphics drivers, including those for display and printer output device drivers.

Note: Each of these components includes a pair of dynamic-link libraries (DLLs) (one 32-bit and one 16-bit) that provide services for the applications run.

c. Supplemental reading:

(1) "Computer Speed and Performance Decreases (Q259161)."

(2) "SmartComputing Editoral - Monitor & Conserve System Resources."

3. Once you get a handle on resources (what and how they operate) and you start experiencing problems with their availability with certain programs/applications, you can then decide for yourself whether a programmer abided by the rules or threw everything to the wind and decided to let you contend with the problem. You have to decide for yourself with whom the fault lies and whether to use programs from certain vendors when you know they broke the rules.

4. A couple of choices for cleaning out those background programs:

a. Download and use "Starter," a startup manager that allows you to view and manage all the programs that are starting automatically whenever Windows boots. It lists all the hidden registry entries, as well as the common Startup Folder items as well. You can choose to safely disable selected entries, edit them or delete them altogether (if you know what you re doing).

b. Please read the section titled, "Using the System Configuration Utility:"

(1) The Windows 98 System Configuration Utility (Msconfig.exe) provides a graphical interface for configuring the Windows 98 startup environment. The System Configuration Utility (MSConfig) lets you troubleshoot by creating a clean environment to test against. If a problem is not reproducible after performing a Diagnostic startup, a process of elimination can be used to identify the source of the issue.

(2) The System Configuration Utility lets you edit lines of Windows 98 configuration files, like Config.sys or System.ini, and provides the ability to "remark" individual lines in the files, preventing the lines from executing or processing on subsequent boots of the computer.

(3) The System Configuration Utility also lets you enable/disable items in your Startup group, and the RUN/RUN SERVICES keys of the registry. You can also use it to create a backup of system files.

c. Please read the TechAdvice articles, subjects "System File Checker", and "Using System File Checker."

5. Supplemental reading:

a. "Prompted for CD-ROM When You Run System File Checker While Correct CD-ROM Is in Drive - Q263499."

b. "Error Message: The File Was Not Found. Verify That You Have Selected the Correct 'Restore from' Location and Try Again - Q180465."

c. "Unable to Extract the Desk.cpl File from the Windows 98 CD-ROM - Q193312."

d. "How to Perform a Clean Boot in Windows Millennium Edition (Q26728Cool."

e. TechNet article "First Steps" and apply useful tips to enhance computer speed.

PART II

1. If you have the Microsoft application Tweak UI, which may be downloaded from there or already located in the "Control Panel" as an icon, double-click this icon and then click the Repair tab.

2. If the center line does not reflect Rebuild Icons, use the down arrow to select it.

3. Click the Repair Now button.

4. Close "TweakUI" by clicking the OK button.

B. Also when machine boots up it clicks as if there is something sitting on the keyboard which there isn't. These things started after I downloaded latest updates for Win98 and IE6.

1. "How to Troubleshoot Using the Msconfig Utility in Windows Millennium Edition (Q281995)"

2. "How to Troubleshoot Using the Msconfig Utility with Windows 98 (Q281965)"

3. The System Configuration Utility (SCU - Msconfig.exe) provides a graphical interface for configuring the Microsoft Windows startup environment. The SCU lets you troubleshoot by creating a clean environment to test against. If a problem is not reproducible after performing a Diagnostic startup, a process of elimination can be used to identify the source.

a. The SCU lets you edit lines of configuration files, like Config.sys or System.ini, and provides the ability to "remark" individual lines in the files, preventing the lines from executing or processing on subsequent boots of the computer.

Note: The Config.sys, Autoexec.bat, System.ini, and Win.ini tabs intelligently identify settings and minimize the risks inherent in editing configuration files. These tabs use the following conventions:

(1) Unavailable check boxes indicate lines temporarily removed by System Configuration Utility.

(2) Settings used when the file?s Selective startup option is disabled are identified with a Windows logo.

(3) Previously removed lines are listed without a check box.

(4) Lines edited from within the tool are identified by a yellow pencil.

b. The SCU also lets you enable/disable items in your "Startup" group, (Click to see an example screenshot) and the RUN/RUN SERVICES keys of the registry.

c. The troubleshooting options available in the "Advanced Troubleshooting Settings" (click to see an example screenshot) dialog allow you to make extreme configuration changes and should only be used in special situations when nothing else seems to work, [Understanding the ATS]. This MSDN article goes through and describe each of the eleven options on the ATS dialog and explains the types of situations where each setting will come in handy.

4. MSCONFIG Caveats:

a. WARNING: If the box labeled "ScanRegistry" is disabled by removing the check mark, the System Registry will not be backed up during the first daily boot [Q198864].

b. The article [Q187307] states that when viewing the Startup tab, [Microsoft System Configuration Utility (msconfig) tool] the seven default (six, if the initial Welcome screen is disabled) entries as show below that are installed by Windows Setup are missing or incomplete in the below registry address (separted in two sections). Additional entries may also appear on the Startup tab having installed other programs and applications.

TaskMonitor -- C:\Windows\Taskmon.exe

SystemTray -- SysTray.Exe

ScanRegistry -- C:\Windows\Scanregw.exe /Autorun

Welcome -- C:\Windows\Welcome.exe /R

LoadPowerProfile -- Rundll32.exe Powrprof.dll,LoadCurrentPwrScheme - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

LoadPowerProfile -- Rundll32.exe powrprof.dll,LoadCurrentPwrScheme

Note: LoadPowerProfile appears identically in both registry keys and on the Startup tab. The article [Q187611] states the reason LoadPowerProfile is started twice by design is to provide a power management profile before and after Windows loads. SchedulingAgent and LoadPowerProfile are machine services and LoadPowerProfile loads so that the default power management settings are available when Windows starts. It is loaded again after logging onto Windows to process preferences for individual users of the computer. If its use is not required, the entries for LoadPowerProfile is not necessary. Be advised however, there may be instances where an error message similar to the following is rendered even if LoadPowerProfile is not used, and can occur if the files Powrprof.dll in the Windows\System folder is missing or damaged:

SchedulingAgent -- C:\Windows\System\Mstask.exe - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServices

RUNDLL - Error loading powrprof.dll.
The system cannot find the file specified.

Error Starting Program
A required .DLL file, POWRPROF.DLL was not found.


c. If SystemTray is turned off, certain icons such as "Battery Meter", "PC Card Status", "Volume Control", "Quickres", "Task Scheduler", and perhaps others are simply not seen (ready accessible). It does not mean they are not loaded and/or running in the background. The fact is, they are simply not shown in the SystemTray if it has been turned off, [Q128129] and [Q245692]. Regardless, SystemTray is not a resident program and does not in any way interfere with running a ScanDisk or Defragmenter session.

d. The article [Q185564] states that when the check box next to a startup file (such as the Config.sys or Autoexec.bat file) is cleared, Apply is clicked, the check mark may subsequently reappear in the check box. This issue can occur if all of the lines in a startup file have already been disabled or if all of the lines in a startup file had been deleted. There must be at least one line (or one line that is not disabled) in the startup file for the System Configuration tool to process when performing this operation. The scenario that takes place:

Note: If a startup file exists, SCU will rename the file with a troubleshoot (.TSH) extension whether it contains processing information, or it was blank. SCU will then creates a placeholder (consists of no meaningful or information to process) startup file in its place similar to the following, and may experience an anomaly during boot where an MS-DOS blank screen (black) appears displaying information similar to:

C:\ T REm Shoot..... (perhaps with a path and program name)

rem
rem *** DO NOT EDIT THIS FILE! ***
rem
rem This file was created by the System Configuration Utility as
rem a placeholder for your CONFIG.SYS. Your actual CONFIG.SYS
rem file has been saved under the name CONFIG.TSH
rem


e. The article [Q191547] states that when attempting to disable startup files, some or all of the files may still load and can occur if files have the read-only attribute set.

f. The article [Q177285] discusses the situation that when viewing the Startup tab, duplicate check box entries may be found and occurs when reinstalling or upgrading Windows while items on the Startup tab have been disabled. The "after-the-fact solution" is to click each check box to select it before performing this operation. The solution is to edit the system registry directly to remove duplicate items.

g. The article [Q194181] states that when a user clears the Load= or Run= check box on the Win.ini tab or the Load Startup Group Items check box on the General tab in the System Configuration Utility (Msconfig.exe), programs may still be run when Windows starts and may occur if the Win.ini file contains multiple entries for these lines. Edit the file manually, check and remove multiple lines as applicable.

h. Click to see an example screenshot of the General tab.

(1) When the computer is restarted after using SCU to disable the "System.ini" file, you may be prompted for a Windows password, or to change an existing Windows password. By Design, this occurs because of a possible [Password Lists] section in the System.ini file (Q218630).

(2) If you click "Selective Startup" on the "General" tab to clear, and then click to select the same check box and then click OK, you are prompted to restart your computer. When your computer restarts, "Selective Startup" may no longer be selected in SCU. Instead, "Normal Startup" may be selected. This behavior occurs because leaving all the check boxes under "Selective Startup" selected is the same as clicking "Normal Startup" (Q195042).

i. "Some System Configuration Utility Tools Do Not Work (Q192723)"

Diagnostic Startup - Interactively Load Device Drivers And Software

Enable Startup Menu

Disable Scandisk After bad shutdown

Disable SCSI Double-Buffering

Note: This behavior can occur if you use any version of the DriveSpace disk compression software to compress your hard disk in place (meaning that you compressed the entire hard disk). When you compress a hard disk in place, DriveSpace swaps hard disk letters after the initialization of the compressed volume file (CVF). Because the SCU is not aware of the drive letter swap, it edits the Msdos.sys file on the CVF instead of the Msdos.sys file on the host drive.

5. "How to Perform Clean-Boot Troubleshooting for Windows 98 (Q192926)", under the topic, "How to Use System Configuration Utility".

6. What are those dumb "Startup" tab items or those strange one which keep coming back?

Note: Some Ensoniq sound cards and perhaps some other devices, may have options in their properties which may circumvent any attempt to turn them off through the use of MSCONFIG or any other utility. Check their properties thought Device Manager and see if you can locate any settings which will cause their reiteration to be restored when trying to turn them off unconventionally. Options of this sort are simply reinstated if the program (software) finds that it isn't resident.

a. The "Fee" based "Startup Cop", PC Magazine's utility, version 1.01, provides a pretty comprehensive path to where items reside.

b. Written by Mike Lin, the utility "Startup Control Panel" is well worth investigating.

c. "Starter" is yet another free startup manager that allows you to view and manage all the programs that are starting automatically whenever Windows boots. It lists all the hidden registry entries, as well as the common Startup Folder items. You can choose to safely disable selected entries, edit them or delete them altogether (if you know what you're doing). Expert users can even add their own entries.

d. The following sites give a pretty conclusive view of what items are and you can use their recommendations at your own risk:

(1) "3FeetUnder.com"

(2) "Whidbey.com"

(3) "AnswersThatWork"

(4) "Pacs-Porta"

7. For additional information, the TechNet article "Troubleshooting MS Windows 98."

C. Prior to updates, I was getting blue screens and IE was locking up. I thought that running updates would resolve this but they haven't.

1. In order for us to analyze a potential problem and offer tips, we must rely only on the question content to attempt a qualifying response. A question should state the exact system error(s) - spelled, spaced, and capitalized just as it is shown on the display. Helpful perhaps is the window title in the colored bar of the report and any information when provided by a "Details" section also.

2. Most error messages: 1) usually list and describe standard default error messages - written within the program code and generally recognized by most "Gurus", and 2) the troubleshooting techniques may be published and explained in the Microsoft Knowledge Base (MSKB) library for the Windows operating systems, and may be searched for with accurately reported information.

3. Correct and complete information is vital if informative help and answers are what you seek. You want that Guru who reads your plea to understand the question, to possibly know the answer, and to reply giving you their assistance.

D. Another quirk is that when I do a hard boot, it loads in safe mode. If I run system utilities [regardless of problems found or not], I can restart and machine will boot into Windows. Have also re-installed Windows.

Nothing further here except I want to know what re-installed Windows means -- completely or over itself?

E. Have run Ontrack system utilities, spyware checker and virus checker

This statement only confirms you do something. It does not however inform us of what the programs are which I believe -- at least at this moment:

WARNING: As always, make sure every utility you use is fully updated.

1. First, please read the article concerning "Unsolicited Commercial Software."

2. Second, perform as a minimum the first five items listed below.

Note: If you try using CWShredder, HijackThis, as well Spybot S&D, Ad-aware and several other anti-spyware utilities and a trojan is installed which prevents their running, download PepiMK's "CoolWWWSearch.SmartKiller" removal tool, uncompress the zip file and run the program.

a. "Housecall."

b. 'Adaware." Your attention is invited to "Unable to Log On To Windows XP After Removing wsaupdater.exe."

c. "Spybot S&D."

Note: Should you perhaps receive a warning similarly labeled "DSO Exploit: Data source object exploit . ., please access the S&D site and read the information at this link.

d. "CWShredder" - 1 or "CWShredder" - 2.

Note: Posting a log concerning #f should only be at the direction of a forum moderator IMO. For your reading pleasure, "Hijack Removal", "Malware Removal", and the Viruses and Security Alerts Forum moderator's message concerning "HiJackThis log postings."

e. "McAfee AVERTStinger."

f. "Hijack This" - 1 or "Hijack This" - 2.

Note: Posting a log concerning #f should only be at the direction of a forum moderator IMO. For your reading pleasure, "Hijack Removal."

3. Please reply to our input that each and every one of the five were used and the result if you require further input.

F. Have
restored settings from previous system utilities maintenance and tried to uninstall IE6 but it just gave me a repair option.


Correct. However, download and use "IEFix" - a general purpose fix for Internet Explorer (Win 98/ME/2000/XP):

a. Registers Urlmon.dll, Mshtml.dll, Actxprxy.dll, Oleaut32.dll, Shell32.dll, Shdocvw.dll, [Q281679].

b. Refreshes Internet Explorer using IE.INF method. Note:

"Unable to Install Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP (Q304872)"

"How to Reinstall or Repair Internet Explorer and Outlook Express in Windows XP (Q31837Cool"

c. Initiates "SFC /Scannow" (Win2K&XP), [Q310747].

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Re: Quirky computer problems

In reply to: Re: Quirky computer problems

How do I find out what is running in the background?

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Re: Quirky computer problems

In reply to: Re: Quirky computer problems

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Re: Quirky computer problems

In reply to: Re: Quirky computer problems

Thanks! I'll check it out. Found out my problem -keyboard was corrupt.

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Re: Quirky computer problems

In reply to: Re: Quirky computer problems

Please forgive my ineptitude - Thank you for responding. Your suggestions are most appreciated.

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Re: Quirky computer problems

In reply to: Quirky computer problems

Suzz,

"Have also re-installed Windows"/ "8gb harddrive"

With the issue still existing under these conditions their is a possibility that your Hard Drive is failing.


Bill

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Re: Quirky computer problems

In reply to: Re: Quirky computer problems

Thank you for your response - this was my gut feeling too. Sad

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Re: Quirky computer problems

In reply to: Quirky computer problems

The hardware becomes suspect if the OS was installed proper. But your post neglects details.

For instance, that 500 MHz CPU could be the once garden variety AMD. Even so, the age is such the CPU fan has failed and needs at least cleaning, if not replacement.

Next, many of these units still show up with incorrect jumper settings. Again, the lack of details thwarts if this could be an issue. Compaq and such names don't usually have that issue.

In closing, I would run the memory test from http://www.memory86.com and a hard disk test from its maker (again, not told).

Details matter so forum members can other specific links and ideas.

Bob

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Re: Quirky computer problems

In reply to: Re: Quirky computer problems

Thank you for responding. In reference to hard disk test, scandisk via Windows and Ontrack's utilities was run - both showed no errors. I will definitely try your suggestions.

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Scandisk is not a drive fitness test.

In reply to: Re: Quirky computer problems

Without the make/model I can't supply a website for your drive fitness test. Scandisk is a nice test, but not complete.

Bob

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Re: Scandisk is not a drive fitness test.

In reply to: Scandisk is not a drive fitness test.

I'm not sure of the make/model of the harddrive, the computer is an Everex Explora. It was purchased in 1999. Did find out what was my problem - the keyboard was corrupt.

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