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Last post Author Topic: Unpredictable Windows ... Can someone HELP !! (Slowly going mad)  (Read 14835 times)

Carol Haynes

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Unpredictable Windows ... Can someone HELP !! (Slowly going mad)
« on: December 06, 2005, 05:57:34 AM »
I have spent the last day and a half backing up odds and sods on my system, reformatting and reinstalling Windows from scratch.

It has been long overdue, and a screwed up NTFS partition was the final straw (lots of crosslinked files all of a sudden for no apparent reason).

Great I think - blank partition - full format (so I map any bad spots on the disk) and away we go - it will be really nice to have a clean install ...

That's what I thought.

I installed the latest Catalyst Drivers from ATI (the recommended download for my card). Having installed and rebooted twice to complete it my even viewer had loads of errors (including things like stuff not found, bad parameters etc). So much for the recommended drivers. I rollwed back to the MS supplied versions from Windows Update and no errors now.

Lots of things like this. For example, trying to install my Audigy 2 sound card from downloads at the Creative website ended up with an incomplete install, and I had to uninstall and start from the CDROM supplied and then update from the website, my Creative Zen Micro had to be installed from the CD as there didn't seem anyway to do this from the website. Trouble is the firmware is at a completely different version to the that expected by the disc so it doesn't work - OK update from the website and then manually unistall the rubbish that is left behind.

After going on like this for some time my installation was looking less than clean.

MS Office shouldn't be a problem .... oh yeah ... lots of events recorded (mostly about permissions set incorrectly and assuming defaults that may or may not work) ...

Anyway I have fianlly got an installation that is running with no extraneous event log entries (well usually - it seems to vary a bit from boot to boot).

One final annoyance - which is where I really need help:

When I logoff/restart/shutdown the system instead of simply hearing the usual annoying tune there is an error beep first and an error window flashes up for a split second befor disappearing. I can't figure out what is causing the error (it leaves no log entry to tell me) as I can't see the error window message (it really is just a blur) ...

Anyone got any ideas how to track this down?

What I have done so far is to close all tray icons, all processes that I can and all services that look stoppable before shutting down, and it still happens.

It really is very frustrating ... am I going to have to put the last day and half down to experience and start again?

mouser

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Re: Unpredictable Windows ... Can someone HELP !! (Slowly going mad)
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2005, 06:18:43 AM »
i was going to say it sounds like a tray program screaming out as its being shut down, but you say you tried shutting down all tray tools.

you could try stopping all non-critical processes from services control

brotherS

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Re: Unpredictable Windows ... Can someone HELP !! (Slowly going mad)
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2005, 06:24:57 AM »
No idea, but you might get help in #windows on irc.freenode.net or in some BIG Windows www forum.

PhilKC

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Re: Unpredictable Windows ... Can someone HELP !! (Slowly going mad)
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2005, 06:26:13 AM »
Errr, it is actually possible the full format went... Wrong (Bad copy of files, etc)... Take 2?

(Would a 'How to format and recover' acticle be of any interest to anyone here? *opens notepad*)

PhilKC
It's not a bug, it's an undocumented and unexplainable feature.
Stick it on your site:

Carol Haynes

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Re: Unpredictable Windows ... Can someone HELP !! (Slowly going mad)
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2005, 06:31:41 AM »
i was going to say it sounds like a tray program screaming out as its being shut down, but you say you tried shutting down all tray tools.

you could try stopping all non-critical processes from services control

Yes I have done that - it must be either a driver complaining or a core element of Windows.

I have tried shutting down everything possible (even to the point on one attempt that I could no longer get the machine to restart)!

Ideally it would be good to really slow down the shutdown process so that the error remains displayed for a while.

It is probably something totally trivial but you know how frustrating this sort of thing gets.

I think the quickest solution is going to be to stop installing software and start again from scratch - even though that will now mean phoning MS for activation again!

Before that I may try a Windows Repair Install over the top and then run Windows update again. Not a lot to lose, and if it works it is quicker than starting from scratch.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Unpredictable Windows ... Can someone HELP !! (Slowly going mad)
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2005, 06:35:13 AM »
Errr, it is actually possible the full format went... Wrong (Bad copy of files, etc)... Take 2?

(Would a 'How to format and recover' acticle be of any interest to anyone here? *opens notepad*)

I suppose it is possible that there were duff files copied from the CD - but how does that explain that it is running flawlessly (and fast) until I shutdown? There are no problems starting up and the services used are the same for shutdown so if the files are corrupted I would expect to see other odd behaviours.

Windows XP also has a file check system running in the background on Windows files, which should pick up a bad checksum (though I know this isn't infallable)

PhilKC

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Re: Unpredictable Windows ... Can someone HELP !! (Slowly going mad)
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2005, 06:36:42 AM »
How about PrtScr'ing your TaskManager and Services.msc setup? :)

PhilKC
It's not a bug, it's an undocumented and unexplainable feature.
Stick it on your site:

mouser

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Re: Unpredictable Windows ... Can someone HELP !! (Slowly going mad)
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2005, 06:37:46 AM »
carol - nod32 sometimes crashes my computer on shutdown.
can i suggest you try uninstalling antivirus and firewall, and reboot a couple times see if error goes away.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Unpredictable Windows ... Can someone HELP !! (Slowly going mad)
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2005, 06:47:17 AM »
carol - nod32 sometimes crashes my computer on shutdown.
can i suggest you try uninstalling antivirus and firewall, and reboot a couple times see if error goes away.

Currently I haven't installed a virus scanner (too much of a pain when you are spending most of your time installing software). I am only using the built in Windows XP Firewall at the moment too.

How about PrtScr'ing your TaskManager and Services.msc setup? :)

See below:

PhilKC

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Re: Unpredictable Windows ... Can someone HELP !! (Slowly going mad)
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2005, 07:00:56 AM »
Holy smokes batman, that's a lot of processes...

TSKILL * /ID:Carol /V

Try running that a few times, then try to shutdown and see how it goes... (This isn't a permanent solution, just 'debugging')

PhilKC
It's not a bug, it's an undocumented and unexplainable feature.
Stick it on your site:

Carol Haynes

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Re: Unpredictable Windows ... Can someone HELP !! (Slowly going mad)
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2005, 07:08:29 AM »
;)

It's only what has been installed by Windows, Microsoft Office, Visual Basic 2005 Express and drivers (plus a few utilities)

Actually quite a lot are disabled - or manual start (and haven't been started)

I'll have a look at TSKILL and see what happens ...

Carol Haynes

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Re: Unpredictable Windows ... Can someone HELP !! (Slowly going mad)
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2005, 07:18:17 AM »
Hmmm ... that was interesting ...

Closing all services under my session also killed RPC - and that forced a shutdown. It all happened so quickly I caould tell what was going on, but there wasn't a beep (but then I don't hink it logged me off either - and I thing the beep comes during logoff since it occurs if I logoff without a restart).

Looking in the event logs there was nothing surprising - just a usual list of Info entires plus a list of "Service xxxx unexpectedly terminated" from the TSKILL call.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Unpredictable Windows ... Can someone HELP !! (Slowly going mad)
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2005, 08:23:58 AM »
Tracked down the main issue ... (blush) ...

Good bit of trouble shooting this ... you'll like it ;)

I got out my camcorder and recorded the screen then played it back a frame at a time.

The 'error' window actually says "Logging off" <blush> but it disappears so fast to be replaced with saving settings that you can't see it, plus it is accompanied by a system sound "Default Beep" - which is not what I remember from before. Is this beep usual? I used to have all windows sounds switched off so I can't remember???

One other issue is during startup I often get the following:

Event Type:   Error
Event Source:   DCOM
Event Category:   None
Event ID:   10005
Date:      06/12/2005
Time:      14:16:54
User:      LAIRDSWOOD\Carol
Computer:   LAIRDSWOOD
Description:
DCOM got error "The service database is locked. " attempting to start the service iPodService with arguments "-Service" in order to run the server:
{7A7FB085-6068-4898-8CCA-480A9187277C}

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft....om/fwlink/events.asp.

The troubleshooting references from the Support link doesn't solve the issue.

The odd thing is that I have now set iPodService to start automatically, but DCOM still reports this error even though it is running (it also does it when iPodService is set to manual. Since I haven't got an iPod (the service is part of iTunes which I do use) I presume I can simply ignore this error and disable iPodService???

mouser

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Re: Unpredictable Windows ... Can someone HELP !! (Slowly going mad)
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2005, 08:26:07 AM »
used the camcorder!!! i love it  :D

Carol Haynes

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Re: Unpredictable Windows ... Can someone HELP !! (Slowly going mad)
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2005, 09:29:07 AM »
Lateral thinking is the more upmarket way of thinking about it ;)

m_s

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Re: Unpredictable Windows ... Can someone HELP !! (Slowly going mad)
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2005, 09:41:55 AM »
Carol, Do take a clook at OptimizeXP (http://mywebpages.co...rtCD/OptimizeXP.html), which has good advice in general - and a link to Black Viper's page on Windows services, which is helpful in sorting out what services you really need to have running.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Unpredictable Windows ... Can someone HELP !! (Slowly going mad)
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2005, 12:13:47 PM »
Thanks m_s, useful looking site. It is a shame that BlackViper is down (under construction at the mo) as it is the main link for service related optimization but I did manage to download the PDF summary.

Does anyone know what the effects are of changing the DCOM service from Automatic to Manual ? My system seems to work fine, everything still loads and obviously the DCOM errors have disappeared and no new ones have popped up. Strange thing is that although DCOM is set to manual it doesn't actually start - so I am just curious to know why it is normall used tostart services, and what other uses are likely to be affected?

PhilKC

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Re: Unpredictable Windows ... Can someone HELP !! (Slowly going mad)
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2005, 12:21:26 PM »
DCOM is rather needed, i wouldn't disable it...

Just disable the I-Pod Service?

PhilKC
It's not a bug, it's an undocumented and unexplainable feature.
Stick it on your site:

Carol Haynes

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Re: Unpredictable Windows ... Can someone HELP !! (Slowly going mad)
« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2005, 12:36:22 PM »
Trouble is I was getting random errors relating to DCOM starting up services. iPosService was a common factor but there were also problems with starting NetMan, which is a bit more important.

I had myself auto logging in without a password - it has been suggested that slowing down the boot up process by waiting for the user to login can cure this ... I'll give it a go.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Unpredictable Windows ... Can someone HELP !! (Slowly going mad)
« Reply #19 on: December 07, 2005, 05:08:27 PM »
Mouser would you like me to start a general windows annoyances and fix the little buggers section in the Wiki with the following?

Interesting bit of info ...

I have tracked down the cause of the DCOM errors - and this may be of interest to others using Creative SoundBlaster equipment. This seems to be a generic common problem in Creative's drivers, but is more often experienced with Audigy Cards. Here is my summary of the problem and solution:

Event Viewer Alert:

Event ID = 7000, PfModNT service failure due to 'missing file'
Also a number of DCOM alerts in the same log referring to various processes that would not startup properly because the service database was locked. These services varied, but "netman" and "iPodService" (installed with iTunes) were a common services to suffer in this way.


Background Info:

The process PCI/ISA Device Info. Service belongs to the software PfModNT by Creative Technology Ltd (www.creative.com).
PfModNT.sys is located in the folder C:\Windows\System32.
The driver can is started during system startup.

Important: Some malware is hidden as PfModNT.sys, possibly in c:\windows or c:\windows\system32.

The version I have on WindowsXP is straight from the CreativeAudigy driver site, and has the following properties:

Location\filename:  C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\PFModNT.sys
File size: 15,840 bytes
MD5: C8A2D6FF660AC601B7BB9A9B16A5C25E

Fix:

This is a typical bug of Creative Audigy 2 drivers (and others in the SB family).

Solution: Open Control Panel > System > Device Manager and select View > All hidden devices.

Scroll down the device list to Non-PnP-Drivers.

Find "PfDetNT" and "PfModNT".

With the right mouse button select "properties" and change
the startup type of PfModNT to "System" and the startup type of PFDetNT to "Demand".

If you are asked to restart you system do it after you have changed both.

You should now find the mysterious PfMonNt error no longer appears amd the service starts properly. I found all the DCOM errors disappeared too so obviously the system was fighting to start PfMonNT when the other processes were asked to start and they couldn't because the PfMonNt problem was blocking access to the service start mechanism. This also explains why the problem DCOM services varied from boot to boot.

mouser

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Re: Unpredictable Windows ... Can someone HELP !! (Slowly going mad)
« Reply #20 on: December 07, 2005, 07:59:25 PM »
as tempting as it is to encourage adding content to the wiki, i think we might be better off focusing the wiki on areas of content where we can really deliver.  It seems to me that your info is extremely useful but belongs somewhere where such information has a context and other posts by others in same area, and donationcoder.com is probably not such a place.

it's not a settled issue of course, we're still trying to figure how to best use that wiki and figure out which content belongs in forum and which in wiki.  i kind of think that best use of the wiki might simply be for collaborative group software reviews, listing user sites and info, and maybe some how-to's on using the software from our site.

mouser

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Re: Unpredictable Windows ... Can someone HELP !! (Slowly going mad)
« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2005, 08:00:44 PM »
had another thought... you know carol.. i have had an ongoing dcom error for YEARS... and was never able to find a cure despite long days searching..  i'm wondering if your fix is related.. going to give it a try soon.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Unpredictable Windows ... Can someone HELP !! (Slowly going mad)
« Reply #22 on: December 07, 2005, 08:42:05 PM »
My thinking re. wiki was that if a KB starts to build of useful fixes and these pages are indexed in Google etc. it might draw more people into the main site proper. It was just a thought but I don't want to start cluttering things unnecessarily.

PS I have tracked down the extremely annoying beep problem too ...

Basically I had a problem unistalling Logitech webcam drivers/software and it has left some entries in the registry (as well as some files in the Windows\... folders). One of these loads a file from Windows\... at startup. If I disable that the beeping stops.

I thought I would try and fix the problem with new Logitech drivers. Having installed them the startup items have all changed to new files, but I still get the annoying beep. Again if I disable the Logitech startup ites in HKLM\...\Run the beeps stop.

I have emailed Logitech to see if I can find out what is required to do a complete manual unistall of the original driver set.

At least it is nothing more serious!
« Last Edit: December 07, 2005, 08:46:14 PM by CarolHaynes »

mouser

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Re: Unpredictable Windows ... Can someone HELP !! (Slowly going mad)
« Reply #23 on: December 07, 2005, 08:49:31 PM »
my main worry with the wiki as it is now is that it's quite empty and people may get dissapointed when they go looking for content and find very little.. but maybe it's just a matter of time.

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Re: Unpredictable Windows ... Can someone HELP !! (Slowly going mad)
« Reply #24 on: May 18, 2008, 03:09:31 PM »
I formatted my PC this morning, using an nLited Windows XP SP3 disc (made using an original SP2 CD and a slipstreamed SP3 exe file, no other customisation was made).

After spending the best part of the day slowly (yay for multiple reboots!) reinstalling and reconfiguring everything, I hit the first problem: the right-click context menu would freeze explorer indefinitely, forcing a ctrl-alt-del to kill the process.
The event logs reported nothing, even though it happened every single time I right-clicked a folder/file.

I decided to do a system restore to the most recent automatic restore point and see if that problem would go away, and it did. I began reinstalling everything again but I noticed something was wrong: now the folders wouldn't remember the window positioning and view settings (even though I have it checked in folder options of explorer). Every time I restarted the computer, the quick launch bar would rearrange itself. Then somehow it got even worse, and now it starts disabled by default...

Meanwhile, I discovered what was causing the original context menu problem, I (rather stupidly) had told Eraser to enable background entropy polling.

Now I don't know what to do: I thought about reverting to my original restore point (with the context menu problems, easy to "fix" by configuring Eraser correctly), but since it appears that my first restore operation caused all this mess with explorer's settings, I'm afraid of making things even worse.

Does anyone know how to fix this, or would I be better off reformatting everything?
I'd really like to avoid that given that I've wasted so many hours already, but if that's the best solution so be it. If so, should I reuse my nLited disc, or install plain vanilla SP2 and use Windows Update to install SP3?