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Last post Author Topic: Something on computer is fubar  (Read 23053 times)

nite_monkey

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Something on computer is fubar
« on: December 31, 2009, 04:12:11 AM »
I'm not sure what the problem is, but either some hardware on my computer is about to go out, or something.
For some reason, my computer randomly starts to freeze for about half a second, and it does this every 2 or 3 seconds. Also, the task manager and the cpumeter gadget built into windows 7 both say that the cpu is at 30-76% even though the system idle process is at 92-97%.
This makes watching videos, and playing games very difficult.
When I started this post, all of the above was happening, but right now, the system has stopped freezing every couple of seconds, but it still says the cpu is at 30-76% and the idle process it at around 90-92%.
I am pretty sure I can rule out the hard drive, because I just replaced it about a week before Christmas. So if anyone could help me out here, that would be awesome.
If you need anymore information, just let me know, and I will see what I can do.

edit:after further inspection, I ran across the resource monitor tool, and found out "System Interrupts" is what is taking up around 30% of the cpu
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« Last Edit: December 31, 2009, 04:21:06 AM by nite_monkey »

f0dder

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2009, 06:10:15 AM »
I am pretty sure I can rule out the hard drive, because I just replaced it about a week before Christmas. So if anyone could help me out here, that would be awesome.
If you need anymore information, just let me know, and I will see what I can do.

edit:after further inspection, I ran across the resource monitor tool, and found out "System Interrupts" is what is taking up around 30% of the cpu
Ruling out the harddrive is exactly what I wouldn't do - your symptoms sounds pretty much like a damaged drive (or cable) resulting in access mode dropping from DMA to PIO... trying to read/rewrite bad sectors would explain the freezes, and running in PIO would explain high System Interrupts CPU consumption.

It's not the only possible solution, but a likely one. Go to device manager, check properties for your IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers, and see if any of them have dropped to PIO mode. Google dma+revert+pio for more information.
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cmpm

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2009, 07:43:55 AM »
I had to update the IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers after upgrading to w7.
I didn't have those symptoms but I was checking all my drivers anyway.
Right click the IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers and click upgrade,
let it search ms.
And ms/w7's choice of video adapter driver was poor.
Went to the manufacturer's site to upgrade it.

nite_monkey

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2009, 10:15:46 AM »
I've never heard of dma mode or pio mode, so I don't know for sure if my hard drive is running in dma or pio, but I did run across something that I thought looked like something useful.
dma.pngSomething on computer is fubar
That is the closest thing I got to any dma/pio settings
dman.pngSomething on computer is fubar
those are the only devices under the ide ata controllers, and I attempted to update all of them through the windows update, but they were all up to date.
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bob99

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2009, 12:25:08 PM »

I had the same occur to me on my laptop a while back.  Others members were helpful in my old post here:

http://www.donationc...g0&topic=13175.0

It was a hard drive getting ready to fail.  Replaced it and all has been well since.

Good luck.

nite_monkey

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2009, 12:38:47 PM »
It was a hard drive getting ready to fail.  Replaced it and all has been well since.
Well I haven't fully ruled out my new hard drive. I guess it is possible that I just got a bum drive.
Though the problem only started 2 days ago.
I was playing batman arkham asylum, because I just bought it and it finally got fully downloaded. My system more than meets the system requirements, and for an hour or two, the game ran fine, but all of a sudden, the freezing every couple of seconds started. So if it is the hard drive, then the drive must have just started to go bad about two days ago.
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f0dder

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2009, 01:10:52 PM »
nite_monkey: those are the settings - if ALL of the controllers are in UDMA mode, then it's not the dma->pio failure, and probably (though not guaranteed!) a failing drive.

If the freezes only happen while playing a game, it could be your GPU overheating...
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nite_monkey

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2009, 01:14:21 PM »
well I mean that is only when it first started. It has also started when I was watching a video, and it wasn't even an hd video at that.
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Innuendo

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2009, 04:24:16 PM »
A couple cheap things to try:

1. Run the diagnostic tool from your hard drive manufacturer's web site. Your hard drive could be defective out of the box.

2. You replaced an old hard drive. Did you replace the cable as well? Hard drive cables do get old & do need to be replaced eventually. A dodgy cable could lead to stuttering like you are experiencing.

nite_monkey

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2009, 04:50:36 PM »
I never replaced the cable, I might go ahead and use the cable that came with it. I'm fixing to leave for dinner right now though, so I will have to change it when I get back.
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4wd

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2009, 06:47:40 PM »
Assuming they are SATA cables, use some decent quality ones with locking clips, (like Gigabyte provide with their motherboards).  One of the worst designed connectors ever IMO.

FWIW, I've been having problems that are not too disimilar to your own.  The HDD LED lights up permanently for about 30 seconds, (in this period anything that requires access to a HDD just freezes), then it'll go off for about .5 a second, then back on full for another 30 seconds.  This cycle will continue for approx. 2-3 minutes and it has been doing it for about a month on both XP Pro and Win7HP.

Unfortunately, at the time it started I had the misfortune to have done a few things to the PC all at once, eg. board upgrade to use DDR3, added another 1TB HDD, caught the f'n Conficker.J on a LAN meet  :wallbash: , upgraded Thunderbird/Firefox and other minor tweaks.

After screwing around disinfecting the HDDs, (really slow over 4TB+), testing hardware, re-installing OS's at least 6 times, etc, etc, I've narrowed it down to either Thunderbird 3 or Firefox 3.5+.

I've tried all versions of Firefox from 3.5.5 to 3.7a1, portable/not portable, enable/disable add-ons, etc, etc - made no difference.  If I do not use Firefox or Thunderbird then there is no problem - the system works fine.

I now believe it to be Thunderbird 3 that's the problem and have gone back to Portable Thunderbird 2.0.0.25, (besides the fact TB3's "Smart" Folders were giving me the sh!ts), and Portable Firefox 3.7a1, (both of which ran for months without problems), as of today to see what happens.

As in your case, Task Manager shows absolutely nothing out of the ordinary, and although it has all the symptoms of Delayed Write Fail the Event Log shows nothing wrong also.  Process Monitor didn't show anything wrong, nor did DiskMon, or anything else I could find to try and track it down.

So, the above may or may not help you but I thought my fault sounded suspiciously like yours.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2009, 09:01:35 PM by 4wd »

cmpm

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2009, 06:57:01 PM »
@4wd
Maybe it's an update.
Heard about the one for MS Office that's supposed to do something.
It was about that lawsuit settlement.

Also if you have an ip blocker like Malewarebytes has,
enable it, sounds like something following you on the net.

cranioscopical

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2009, 08:38:07 PM »
I've narrowed it down to either Thunderbird 3 or Firefox 3.5+.
Interesting. FWIW I've recently had some freezes. Don't use Thunderbird, do use FF 3.5

4wd

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2009, 08:58:15 PM »
Maybe it's an update.

That may explain the Win7HP installation but my XP Pro system receives no hot fixes after an SP update - so it will remain at SP3 until I change OS.

Also, the OS is the only software I run from Microsoft and no other software I have receives automatic updates except Outpost Security Suite for the reason that sometimes updates just don't work.

Quote
Also if you have an ip blocker like Malewarebytes has,
enable it, sounds like something following you on the net.

I originally thought that after having been infected with Conficker but OutPost kept blocking it everytime it tried to create it's files in System32 and/or removable media.  And MalwareBytes reports nothing over all my HDDs, internal/external, or Flash drives.

I run Outpost Security Suite and also have the SPI firewall in my modem/router enabled, (as well as NAT).  I would have thought you'd need a paid licence for MalwareBytes to enable it's resident features, (I've just used it for on demand scanning) ?

Otherwise, that wouldn't explain how it seemingly only happens when either only Thunderbird or Firefox, (haven't categorically ruled out either yet), is running.

If I run the whole day just using IE8, (blah!), then the problem never occurs - not once, (this was a couple of weeks ago when it was really bad - a run of 30 minutes without it happening was a very good run indeed).

However, this problem seems to be slowly disappearing, this morning was the first time it has happened in about a week - so maybe there is something in what you say and my PC is slowly disappearing below the radar of any possible net tracker/bug.

I'll add that I have been running in Win7HP fully for the last 10 days or so in an effort to see if it made any difference and at the moment the result is pretty positive - I think it's happened only 2 or 3 times, (latest this morning), so I think I'm getting somewhere with it.

I've narrowed it down to either Thunderbird 3 or Firefox 3.5+.
Interesting. FWIW I've recently had some freezes. Don't use Thunderbird, do use FF 3.5

One other thing I've noted regarding Firefox, (this I'm also trying to pin down, I think it's add-on related), is sometimes it won't exit cleanly.  ie. Close Firefox, process load in Task Manager immediately jumps to 25% and remains there for a seemingly long time, (minutes+), or until I nuke it.  This has also been going on for about the same amount of time and occurs on Firefox 3.5+.

I'm starting to think the computer is haunted  :(
« Last Edit: December 31, 2009, 09:10:48 PM by 4wd »

cranioscopical

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2009, 09:18:11 PM »
One other thing I've noted regarding Firefox, (this I'm also trying to pin down, I think it's add-on related)
I'm starting to think the computer is haunted  :(
I'm fairly sure mine is haunted. The only times it goes seriously wrong are those when I must have it right now for some project that brings in revenue.
Long ago I realized that the only worthwhile back-up is a redundant machine or three.

And a Happy New Year to all our readers!

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My add-ons FWIW
Application: Firefox 3.5.6 (20091201220228)
Operating System: WINNT (x86-msvc)

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cmpm

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2009, 09:33:19 PM »
The paid version of Malwarebytes is the full time protection, or at least always on. And it has an ip blocker that can be enabled and on all the time. It will notify of what they have determined to be a bad address trying to connect.

I would run the sophos rootkit detector-free.
Look for anything you don't recognize as legit.
Random letters with alternating capital letters,
like 4 or 5 maybe more. maybe all lower case too.

And I know about the files for amd and i386 have that,
but this will look different.

http://www.sophos.co...os-anti-rootkit.html

I had 2 ips following me around. Malwarebytes blocked them but I couldn't find the cause after scanning with every gun I could, till I came across Sophos rootkit.

And I tried the other rootkit detectors but nothing showed itself to me like Sophos did. Smitfraud, combofix, others-no help at all.

4wd

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2009, 09:54:40 PM »
I would run the sophos rootkit detector-free.

Thanks for the suggestion, I ran HijackThis but it showed nothing being run that shouldn't have been.

However, the more the merrier :)

nite_monkey

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2009, 11:52:35 PM »
lol, I can rule out FF and TB, I use chrome and the web version of gmail. I'm going to run sophos and see what happens, after that I will replace the sata cable... but first, it is about 6 minutes until 2010, so I have other things I need to do.
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4wd

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2010, 12:35:49 AM »
Well, I ran sophos and after 68 minutes it reported 3 hidden files - all of which I knew of.

I then fired up Firefox to post back into the thread and *BANG* the &%^$*# problem appeared immediately and then occured every few minutes until I killed Firefox and rebooted.

So I've reverted to a proper install of Firefox 3.6b5 with just AdBlock+ and TabMix Plus extensions.......plus all toes and fingers crossed.

Unbelievable, everything works fine for just over a week, the minute I post about it *KAPOW!!*

If that isn't the definition of a haunted computer I don't know what is.

BTW, sorry nite_monkey for kind of hijacking your thread, hopefully you'll get something useful out of it.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2010, 12:37:31 AM by 4wd »

nite_monkey

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2010, 01:06:49 AM »
lol, I learned about various things I didn't know through all of this. I also learned taht it is a good thing I use chrome and not firefox
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4wd

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2010, 08:59:58 PM »
OK, still trying to track my particular bug down.  On Saturday it went really nuts and started doing it's freeze trick rather often, so today I (un)installed Outpost Security Suite (OSS) and scanned the system again with MalwareBytes - nothing found.

But the system has been nice and quiet which causes me to look rather more closely at some of the alerts I was getting from OSS that I hadn't really been paying enough attention too.

eg. Yesterday, an Attack Detection report for IP 192.168.0.254 on high ports, (40000-65000), which is strange because it's apparently my router that's doing it  :huh:
Standard service ports I could possibly understand but not high ports.  OSS blocks the IP/Subnet if there's a scan of 6 ports within 600ms, IIRC, which kind of meant my net access just got cut.

Anyway, I've turned up OSSs security settings a notch or two and the computer seems to be behaving itself for now.

EDIT: Typical, 5 minutes after writing that the f'n thing happens again - screw it, I think I'll go back to my Amiga3000 which never gave me this much trouble.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 09:10:11 PM by 4wd »

cranioscopical

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2010, 09:42:52 PM »
Quote
Typical, 5 minutes after writing that the f'n thing happens again - screw it, I think I'll go back to my Amiga3000 which never gave me this much trouble.
  ;D
Keep at it, you'll get there.
There's always a dynamite solution  ;)

4wd

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2010, 11:31:49 PM »
There's always a dynamite solution  ;)

I'm thinking thermite since it's legal and easy to make plus you can get up close and video as the slag slowly runs in from the top immolating the motherboard on its way.

Then again, reloading my own shotgun cartridges means there's plenty of smokeless and blackpowder on hand  ;D

Oh well, new BIOS to try.

It wouldn't be so bad if it was something consistant, eg. doing something specific in Firefox and/or Thunderbird, but it seems to be semi-random in that it's only likely to happen if I'm running Firefox.  I've restored OS backups created before it started going wacko but it still does it - still, there's a few more things to try software-wise.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 11:42:14 PM by 4wd »

cmpm

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2010, 01:39:38 AM »
I don't mean to sound like you don't know any suggestion out here.

But have you unplugged your router and modem and let them reset, takes a minute or two. The settings are still saved, but they seem to get fubar for some reason, especially with security products.

nite_monkey

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Re: Something on computer is fubar
« Reply #24 on: January 04, 2010, 07:21:55 PM »
lol, still hijacking My thread I see. Luckily it seems my problem has pretty much disapeared. Not sure what I did either

edit:nvm it started doing it again.
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« Last Edit: January 04, 2010, 09:53:04 PM by nite_monkey »