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Last post Author Topic: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).  (Read 12204 times)

nudone

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i will understand if this post is seen as dragging this situation out for as long as i possible can but i really am losing my will to turn this machine on...

i'll try and explain as briefly as i can. this machine is just over 12 months old. i paid out top money to buy all the best bits of hardware at the time (just over £3000 - i priced the same components up yesterday - they are currently worth £2000 retail). i can't say it ever worked perfectly from day one but i put that down to me rushing the install of the operating system and then banging loads of programs onto it. it worked well enough, just not 100% perfect.

i recently started having hard drive problems (they might be resolved now, i just have to wait for the next random reboot to occur). this prompted me to install win xp onto another partition of one of the hard drives - i'm glad to say i can keep installing xp without much trouble as i have a legal corporate key.

this new xp install was to be my masterpiece operating system. since its first boot up, i've been keeping a log of every install i make, every setting i change, every issue that occurs and how i fixed it. it was all going so well.

yesterday, the new xp install decided to start playing up - winamp creates errors when trying to run the visualizations and kmplayer complains when i click on a specific set of preferences. poser 6 also wouldn't work as it should. all these things worked perfectly well the day before.

no problem you might think. i've been keeping a log of what i've done to the machine, i can simply revert back by uninstalling and reinstalling, etc.

well, i've tried everything: reinstalling, deleting, using xp's system restore which didn't work at all, and the final kick in the teeth which has nearly pushed me over the edge of sanity - i used acronis true image to restore the entire partition.

acronis worked perfectly well. i successfully restored two different backups of the operating system (one version being a minimal backup of the operating system and another containing a few programs i'd installed). you'd think this would be the answer to my frustration and winamp, kmplayer, poser 6 would now work perfectly after their fresh installs. WRONG. they do exactly what they did before i wiped everything clean. HOW ON EARTH IS THIS POSSIBLE?

you might reply that i must have a hardware fault. maybe it looks that way, but don't forget, i have the old xp installed on another partition. if i boot into this older operating system and use the programs in question, they work absolutely perfectly - so where's the hardware problem now.

i can, of course, just revert back to the older xp install and forget about the newer one. i will, what else can i do. but that doesn't explain what is happening on the machine. it really is driving me insane - i've nearly spent two weeks messing about with this machine since it started playing up - that's whole days nearly, not a couple of hours here and there.

i'm considering asking a friend to drop the machine out of an upstairs window so that it lands on my head as i lie on the ground below. the computer would then finally know that i am beat and would hopefully leave me alone after that.

and now the moral of this tale:
don't spend a lot of money on computers believing that they are going to be the perfect godlike machine. stay in the midrange price bracket and get good value for your money. don't assume your computer actually likes you, mine is a total prima donna that likes nothing more than to see me banging my head up and down on the table in despair. the terms sadist and masochist start to seem quite fitting for my pc interplay.

mouser

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2007, 06:24:29 AM »
First know: you are not alone.

My very limited experience with computers is that sometimes they just work perfectly, and sometimes you get one that acts up.  You will be able to get this sorted and working ok - and your sanity *will* be restored.  I have my own computer anger management issues and have been known to scream and curse and spit at the computer so loudly that the neighbors came over fearing i was murdering someone.  I have also smashed mechanical devices with hammers as the only way to get out my revenge on them.  I know full well the feeling that your mind is slipping from all these random insane non-sensical frustrations.

But, we will help you get your top of the line system running smoothly - just take a deep breath and resign yourself to the fact that it's going to take a little longer.


sri

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2007, 06:27:28 AM »
I quickly glanced thru your post and to me it appears as if you have taken an Acronis image with the problems (of winamp and kplayer or whatever it is). How is it otherwise possible for the problems to resurface? This time, make sure you backup when everything is tested and working fine.
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mouser

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2007, 06:31:58 AM »
Here is how i might start out trying to address the issue:

Order yourself a new hard disk.  Take your old one out of the drive or mount it as second hard drive, etc.

If you are using a fancy raid disk drive adapter that you dont need to be using, dont use it.  If you have some overclocking settings in your bios, reset them to default.

Now install windows cleanly on it in a standard way (ie C:\ partition for windows, D:\ for your drives).
Run all windows updates, graphics drivers updates, etc.

Make an image of the drive with acronis.

Now start by installing your meddlesome programs again and see how they behave.

I personally ALWAYS suspect the memory sticks when i start getting insanely random errors.  I've had enough trouble with bad memory to be constantly suspecting that memory errors are doing bad things and never reporting anything is wrong.  Someone else may be able to tell you some stress testing programs you can run to help identify if the problem is a hardware problem.

mouser

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2007, 06:34:47 AM »
Also, was the image you restored with Acronis ever itself previously restored and then re-imaged with Acronis? It's possible of course that if so, the source of all your problems was an Acronis restore that didnt 100% work.  That's the problem with much of these frustrations, in that you can't 100% identify WHEN the problem first starting occuring.

Don't give up nudone - no matter what you bought, no matter when you bought it, 12 months later it's worth half.  And if you had bought a cheapo machine it might be doing the exact same thing and you'd be punching yourself for not buying a top-of-the-line model.

nudone

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2007, 06:46:12 AM »
ah yes, i remember you mentioning your outbursts that resulted from bad computers. strangely, i no longer feel that angry about the machine - i really haven't felt rage about such things for a couple of years or more. reflecting on this i wonder if i have gone beyond that rage stage - i've reached the point of acquiescence. i've lost the battle. all i can do is gather myself and start again (oh, how melodramatic i make it sound).

sri, you would be right about the acronis backups but neither of them contain the programs that are causing the problems. at the time of the backups were made the system was working perfectly and so i went onto installing the problem software afterwards - the problem software was working 100% perfectly well until yesterday. to reiterate, one of the backups only contains xp directly after install, i.e. no other software installed (except acronis).

i suppose the acronis backups might just not have made very good backups anyway and so i have simply restored something that doesn't work properly.

mouser, the backups have only been restored this morning - i've only used them today so i've not really messed them about in anyway.

as for the RAM, well i sort of think maybe that is the problem - but the problematic software works perfectly well in the other older xp install. so, either there is nothing wrong with the ram or it's being used differently between the operating systems - is that likely? i've no idea.

it looks like i have no choice but to try installing xp once again. and maybe taking the hard drive out. i would be eager to do this but as things looked like they were working quite well for several days i fear i might not discover any problems again until two weeks have passed - in other words, i'll believe everything is okay only to be disappointed again.

i shall ponder on my next step.

mouser

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2007, 06:52:28 AM »
Quote
as for the RAM, well i sort of think maybe that is the problem - but the problematic software works perfectly well in the other older xp install.

Yeah this is indeed the curious part-- which makes me think maybe it's the hard drive or some partition issue or restore problem.  It wouldn't be strange for the errors to appear randomly if it was the memory, but it would be very strange to get them only on the new xp install and not the old.

A good diagnostics program might be able to help detect whether it is a hardware fault; ive no experience with them but ill bet someone here can recommend one.

jgpaiva

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2007, 06:53:23 AM »
I can't really help, as i'm as puzzled as you are, but here's a word of confidence and support:
Were here for you.

As for having trouble, it might just be anything unrelated to the programs you mentioned. My advice? Start with XP, and install only those 3 programs. Chances are that there's something external to those that is creating the trouble. Also, as you mentioned winamp and kmplayer, maybe the issue could be related to sound codecs.

Notice that usually, problems with computers don't make any sense until you find the root of the problem. There are so many things that can fail, that usually the explanation isn't obvious at all. In my classes, i often wonder "how can something as complex as this, work as well as it does?".

Carol Haynes

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2007, 07:23:56 AM »
Have you checked the system error logs? Sometimes very odd things happen when you get a registry corruption and windows reverts to an earlier version (usually without telling you) !

nudone

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2007, 08:05:18 AM »
that's a good idea about the system error logs, Carol, i always forget to look at them. now the problem is i'm looking at them i can't see anything that looks that bad, i.e. i've just run winamp and kmplayer and after their errors i can't see any information in the logs about them.

here are the errors i get. i guess it looks like ram problems(?) the poser 6 problem i can't show as it's to do with rotating the model in none fast preview - it simply won't rotate smoothly as if i didn't have a 3d card.

errors.JPG

i think i'm going to just go back to the old xp and use that. this new install has just proven to be one massive failed experiment that has proven to me not to trust the computer - and more importantly not to waste any time on it trying to make it work better than merely adequate.

thanks for all your suggestions. i will ignore the problem until it arrises in the older xp system and then i'll have no choice but to start removing hard drives and things.

here is the drive layout to clarify things:
drives.JPG
both operating systems are on the raid 0 disk 0. the dodgy drive(?) is drive 1 (work)
« Last Edit: January 24, 2007, 08:07:06 AM by nudone »

CodeTRUCKER

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2007, 08:12:47 AM »
You might want to refer to the previous conversations.  There are some steps you can take there and remember what you are doing can be case-sensitive. ;)
« Last Edit: May 13, 2009, 09:05:05 PM by CodeTRUCKER »

nudone

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2007, 08:34:12 AM »
thanks, Farmsteader, for your comments. and i did snicker about the capital letters reference - but as you see i've not learnt how to use the shift key yet.

your advice would be something i'd consider following, but as the acronis backups i'm using must be restoring the registry back to its previous state (the state at which the backup was made) and there were no problems encountered on the machine after those system STATES for a few days, then i cannot blame the registry.

this is the perplexing thing. the software/data part of the machine has been restored back to a time when things worked. i've made fresh downloads of winamp and kmplayer and installed them onto what should now be a perfectly working restored machine - i know it's perfect because the machine worked perfectly in the days after i'd made the backup, quod erat demonstrandum (i think).

so, system/data is perfect. that leaves hardware as the fault. but hardware isn't at fault because it works okay with other operating system.

this is the root of my mental collapse. the problem is there but there is no cause. i question whether it is me or the machine that might be sufferring from Munchausen Syndrome.

Carol Haynes

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2007, 09:34:19 AM »
??? Disc errors on the RAID partitions ? Possible? They are a bugger to track down but I did have my old PC built on the internal RAID interface at one time and it caused no end of headaches with data corruption. Run CHKDSK C: /R /V /X on your problem system and your data partitions.
 
I also had lots of problems on my old system with memory problems (which also caused data corruption) - these are a real pain to track down and had random symptoms that only occured rarely - best thing is to leave MEMTEST+ running over night to give the memory a hard workout.

sri

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2007, 09:45:31 AM »
I think the attached cartoons are very relevant. Excuse me nudone if you feel they aren't appropriate :)
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nudone

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2007, 09:49:06 AM »
fortunately, the problem drive is not in the raid 0 setup - it's one of the samsung drives used for just storing files. the drive has had all data removed from it, formatted twice, using different formatting programs, most data restored and then several chkdsk scans run on it - some of which worked perfectly some caused the machine to reboot. currently the drive seems to be fine, i.e. it has not caused any reboots for about a week.

thanks for recommending memtest+ (again), Carol. i'll leave the machine running tonight to see what happens with the RAM.

good cartoons, sri, very appropriate.

momonan

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2007, 09:59:49 AM »
If all else fails, try this:  http://www.2flashgam...he-Computer-2260.htm
When you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning - Catherine Aird

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2007, 10:14:27 AM »
memtest is a good suggestion. It's weird, however, that the problems are with one XP install and not the other - especially considering they're on the same disk (but different partitions)? Doing a chkdsk with sector scan on all the partitions on the raid  might be a good idea.

Computers >:(
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Carol Haynes

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2007, 10:57:15 AM »
then several chkdsk scans run on it - some of which worked perfectly some caused the machine to reboot.

Ah ... that looks strange. Why should chkdsk cause your system to spontaneously reboot EVER?

Sounds more and more to me like a memory issue or a heat/power issue.

Run MEMTEST+ as we suggested tonight but also check temperatures and also check the recommended PSU capacity for all the hardware you have. I was surprised to find a system I recently built for a friend had a mobo manufacturer's recommendation of a minimum of 450W, 600W for dual crossfire video cards and even higher for lots of memory.

All these manufacturers keep wittering on about low power consumption and cool running systems - strikes me that most systems are running a lot hotter these days and consume almost 4x the power systems did 5 years ago. I still have a Pentium III / 1Gb system that runs on a 160W PSU and doesn't need any case fans to run stable.

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2007, 11:12:01 AM »
Nudone,

After reading your posts I've noticed you cited having a Samsung drive. Well, by coincidence I had similar problems during months. I even made similar actions trying to find the source of all problems. Until the day that I used a software to scan the HD's surface. Then I've noticed bad blocks that Scandisk never showed. Not completely sure that could be that the problem I decided to buy another HD. This time I bought a Western Digital one. Coincidence or not, all the problems disappeared. It seems that the windows used in some occasions some regions with bad clusters.

I'm not telling that you have the same problem that I had, but if you can try another HD (any brand but Samsung) maybe you can verified that.

I hope you can solve that problem.






f0dder

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2007, 11:19:52 AM »
Dune fan, eh? :-*

If Windows (or applications) were installed to the bad disk, that would be a very likely cause for serious trouble; when a sector goes bad and it has to be reallocated, it's not always possible to save all the bytes in the sector - pretty bad if the sector was used for program code :)
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jgpaiva

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2007, 11:37:22 AM »
Sounds more and more to me like a memory issue or a heat/power issue.
Very good point!
On one of my old computers, i had constant blue screens and reboots, and there were errors in everything. I then found that the processor's fan had stopped working a few months ago. And i was thinking it was win98's fault..  ;D ;D

nudone

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2007, 12:06:29 PM »
thanks again to for all your comments.

memtest is currently running on the machine - no errors so far (1 pass done).

both operating systems are installed on the raptor drives which are in raid 0. all scans on these drives have always performed perfectly.

current scans on the bad(?) samsung drive report no faults. no SMART problems either. i still haven't run the manufacturers diagnostic util on the drive but it looks like i will have to - though i don't believe this can be the problem causing the programs i mentioned to behave strangely.

kmplayer i can forget about - it's not 100% stable anyway. but for poser and winamp to have display problems means there is obviously something seriously amiss. maybe it's a graphic card problem - and yet it isn't, again, because the card clearly works perfectly in the older xp system.

Maudib (our messiah from dune it seems), for you to mention your samsung problem does make we wonder about these samsung drives. i've replaced a samsung drive already that was only 6 months old and the problem drive i have now is also of the same model number. it obviously isn't fair to judge samsung by a few complaints - you never hear about the number of people that have no need to complain about their samsung drives afterall - but it still makes me wonder.

maybe it is a power issue, but the psu is a 600w seasonic, which are regarded as quality units (i bought top performance hardware throughout the machine). temperatures monitored in the computer have never shown anything alarming for graphics or cpu or hard drive (except the samsung one that was replaced).

i shall leave memtest running and then tomorrow i shall reinstall xp with the guilty programs tested immediately afterwards.

i can't risk abandoning the older 'working' xp install as there are a few things good about it. the encoding times i got in virtualdub were at least twice as fast in the older xp than in the new xp install. codec issues, no doubt, but i don't know which ( this is when converting mpeg to xvid). all well and good then you may say, why don't i just use the older xp install. i would but this older o/s would often cause the screen to lock up when using the tv card or watching videos - this didn't happen with the new xp install. so, you see, i've always had problems with the machine - that's why i've been so dissappointed by this fresh install - it worked perfectly and then inexplicably suddenly stopped.

i might be better off getting an exorcist in to sort it out.

CodeTRUCKER

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (No need to be sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2007, 12:30:29 PM »
... or maybe take a vacation!
« Last Edit: May 13, 2009, 08:57:44 PM by CodeTRUCKER »

Muadib

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #23 on: January 24, 2007, 12:31:03 PM »
Dune fan, eh? :-*

Who!? Me!?.. err... yes... :-[

f0dder

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2007, 01:07:40 PM »
There aren't actually much that's "unmovable" - and those can still be defragged when doing an "offline" defrag (ie., a filesystem that can be "unmounted", or at boot-time before launching the full windows system).

Basically the $files (special NTFS files, like $MFT) require offline defrag afaik, and the paging file as well. But registry and such should be normally defraggable. I think :)

I wonder how NTFS/FAT bad sector marking works these days... internal drive logic handles bad sectors by remapping to a "scratch sector" - I wonder if it reports error when doing this, or if it's just noted down in the S.M.A.R.T log.

Doing a /r does sector-based checking after it's done examining the logical (ie. filesystem) structure, so it should indeed find problems. But again, the question of how this mixes in with the internal drive badsector remapping remains.

I wish computers were really deterministic :P
- carpe noctem