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Last post Author Topic: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).  (Read 12214 times)

nudone

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #25 on: January 24, 2007, 01:20:53 PM »
right, i'm now going to run chkdsk /f /r which, as i undertand it, will try to fix the problems it finds and will also scan for bad sectors.

i'll run this on all 5 partitions - that's 3 partitions on the raid 0 drive and then on each of the individual samsung drives.

memtest reported no errors but i shall run it again later.


Carol Haynes

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #26 on: January 24, 2007, 01:27:28 PM »
fodder, Carol - Would the chkdisk even "see" these sectors since they were in the "Unmovable Files" area of the drive.  I thought chkdisk only checked the data area?

If you do an offline chkdsk you can check the whole disk (including the pafefil.sys and hivberfil.sys files which can't be checked when they are in use). Bad blocks in the page file can have pretty odd random events.

If you have multiple installations you can speed up offline chkdsk activity by running it from a different installation and using the /x switch.

cthorpe

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #27 on: January 24, 2007, 01:32:50 PM »
Any recent windows updates that could be mucking things up?

nudone

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #28 on: January 24, 2007, 02:08:45 PM »
(still running chkdsk)

whilst i'm running chkdsk from the command prompt it first asks if the volume can be dismounted first as the drive is in use - to which i reply 'yes'.

so is this scanning everything or not?

f0dder

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #29 on: January 24, 2007, 02:18:10 PM »
If it didn't bitch about not being able to dismount the volume, it should be fine - otherwise it usually says "couldn't dismount, check at next boot?".
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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 #30 on: January 24, 2007, 05:12:10 PM »
all 5 'partitions' have now been scanned using chkdsk /f /r. no problems reported at all. i'm now going to leave the memtest running again but i know that will be okay too.

tomorrow i shall jump out of bed like a spring lamb, install xp anew and find that everything is working perfectly. it has to.

nudone

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #31 on: January 25, 2007, 02:47:05 AM »
just to confirm, memtest+ ran for 9 hours and did 13 passess with no errors then i turned it off.

i shall now install xp again.

f0dder

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #32 on: January 25, 2007, 04:37:30 PM »
I just remembered a thing!

Back on my P4 system, the onboard RAID stuff was slightly unstable - sometimes when processing lots of non-fragmented data (like doing a md5sum of an ISO image), I would have ~5 corrupted bytes out of ~700MB.

I only experienced the problem in stripe mode, and only on reads; although, if I copied a file from the stripe to another drive, the read could still be fast enough that I got corruption, which would of course be present in the copy. I never experienced corruption just from writes, though.

Never found a solution for it either, I thought perhaps the chipset was overheating, but having a table fan blow into the computer didn't help (although it lowered temperatures decently).

Dunno if this is any help, just popped into my mind while at work.
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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 #33 on: January 25, 2007, 05:15:16 PM »
i've given up trying to figure out what's wrong and have simply reverted back to the older xp install, i.e. i've not installed xp again.

i've been using the maching all day long, as i normally would, without a single problem. which is exactly what i expected.

when i next feel like sticking needles in my eye, i'll pause and then instead i'll install xp onto THAT partition again and see what happens. i don't think it's going to prove anything whatever the outcome.

all i can really do is write the problem down in the book of mysterious pc phenomenon - maybe there is some weird fluctuation going on at the quantum level that is the result of nearby unicorn being a bit sad. i don't know and until someone at the fortean times investigates i'm going to forget about it.

thanks to everyone for making your suggestions, i appreciated it.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2007, 05:18:10 PM by nudone »

Carol Haynes

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #34 on: January 25, 2007, 06:07:54 PM »
Glad you have everything working again ... dare I say the magic words "Daily Incremental Backups"  :-*

urlwolf

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #35 on: January 25, 2007, 06:09:57 PM »
Seems like I'm late, but here is a quick and dirty solution that might be fun.

Why not try another OS alltogether? A linux boot CD would let you test the computer for hours/days as needed. If it's a hardware, then the linux install must croak at some point. If it doesn't, then you can say that windows/drivers etc may be the culprit.

And who knows, you may even like linux :)

BTW, glad your problems are gone!

CodeTRUCKER

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #36 on: January 25, 2007, 10:17:00 PM »
Perhaps keeping track of what goes on in minute detail or perhaps a log could offer some insight?
« Last Edit: May 13, 2009, 05:39:09 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 #37 on: January 26, 2007, 03:08:26 AM »
thanks again, but the reason i brought this problem to everyone's attention is that it was so inexplicable (and remains so). the machine appears to be working perfectly - all recent hardware scans have been fine and the machine often runs for several days without me bothering to reboot.

the software problems i encountered were relatively trivial in that they wouldn't have stopped me from doing my 'work' on the machine. the problems i described indicated that something was not right somewhere and yet being able to dual boot into another xp on the machine proved again that there was nothing wrong hardware wise.

to me it looks like the evidence points to these culprits: the acronis images weren't perfect, the partition the 2nd operating system was on wasn't perfect, the machine is sufferring from Dissociative identity disorder.

i think (near) daily backups of my data is a habit i need to take up. i'd consider using linux if i felt adventurous but it's such a paradigm shift that i'm not ready for it yet (ever?). i've certainly not fixed the problem - merely chosen to pretend it never happened.

Carol Haynes

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #38 on: January 26, 2007, 03:52:20 AM »
i think (near) daily backups of my data is a habit i need to take up. i'd consider using linux if i felt adventurous but it's such a paradigm shift that i'm not ready for it yet (ever?). i've certainly not fixed the problem - merely chosen to pretend it never happened.

Simplest solution is to set up Acronis to schedule a daily incremental backup. If you leave your computer on 24/7 just set it to run in the middle of the night. Another solution is to do a daily differential backup that way you only need to retain the original backup and a small set of differential backups. Every month or so (as the differential chunks grow in size) do a fresh full backup and then add differentials from there again. If you have a large enough spare hard disc you can easily automate all this and not have to think about it at all.

nudone

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #39 on: January 26, 2007, 04:43:05 AM »
very wise words, Carol, but there is a slight problem (sorry to labour the point)...

i made two acronis true image backups of the operating system that was sufferring the problems. one backup was made just after xp had been installed the other backup was made after i had installed most of the software i use. these backups were not used/restored until i encountered the problems that i've described.

restoring these backups had absolutely no effect in removing the problems i was having with the troublesome software. not even restoring the backup that was made directly after installing xp, i.e. a perfectly clean operating system, could not work correctly when i tried installing the problem software onto it. the machine is behaving like like it has a homeopathic like memory.

to make it clear what happened:

i installed xp.

i made a backup.

i installed programs - these programs worked perfectly.

i made another backup (complete new backup, so there are now two backup images).

the machine worked perfectly for several days.

i turned the machine on one morning and i suddenly started getting consistent problems with software that had been working perfectly the previous day. nothing had been 'changed' on the machine the day before to cause these problems.

i booted into the other operating system on another partition (on the same drive) and found that the set of troublesome software on the other operating system worked perfectly within this operating system, i.e. no obvious hardware problems to blame.

i then restored the acronis backups that i had made, believing these would be a simple solution to the problem. one backup would allow me to install the programs again from fresh and so they would work perfectly again, and the other backup actually contained the programs in question - BUT the backup was made BEFORE the programs started going haywire so they would obviously work perfectly again when restored.

BUT THEY DIDN'T.

the backups made not one slightest bit of difference to the problem. without there being a hardware problem this looks impossible to me. BUT there is no hardware problem as the other operating system on the machine works perfectly with everything (forget about the dodgy drive problem i was having - it's been working perfectly for days and it isn't the drive were the operating systems are installed).

so, what i'm getting at is this...

my acronis backups were of absolutely no use to me.

i shall definitely backup my data in future but i'm very suspicious now of what a drive image can do. it still makes little sense to me what happened and i won't be surprised if everyone thinks i'm leaving details out or exaggerating - i'm not (unless i sufferred a blackout).

Carol Haynes

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #40 on: January 26, 2007, 05:36:09 AM »
Never encountered this with Acronis so I can't really comment on that.

Have you considered it might be a boot sector virus or other malware attacking the active partition? It would account for why the other dual boot was unaffected?

nudone

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #41 on: January 26, 2007, 05:38:51 AM »
hmm, it could be a virus i suppose - in the boot sector. i'll investigate later. thanks.

f0dder

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #42 on: January 26, 2007, 09:34:11 AM »
Boot sector virus sounds extremely unlikely - that was a DOS phenomenon, really. At least I haven't heard of any boot sector virus in the NT era.
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CodeTRUCKER

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #43 on: January 26, 2007, 10:04:59 PM »
f0dder, you are a wellspring of knowledge when it comes to the cyber world.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2009, 05:41:03 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 #44 on: January 27, 2007, 02:08:42 AM »
well, i certainly wouldn't know what's possible but i guess as the old install of xp (the original install i've been using for just over a year) doesn't show the same weirdness as the new installad xp, i assume there isn't anything wrong with the boot sector(?). or does each partition have it's own boot sector? i don't know.

i'm going to carry on clearing the machine of all the important data that's on it and then i'll try another new xp install attempt - on the exact same partition it was on before.

Carol Haynes

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #45 on: January 27, 2007, 03:24:11 AM »
You don't have to be quite so drastic in Windows XP you can use the recovery envirnment and run FIXBOOT to replace the MBR without having to reformat and rebuild.

See http://www.microsoft...ixboot.mspx?mfr=true

Muadib

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #46 on: January 27, 2007, 05:55:31 PM »
Hi Nudone,

I'm preparing a old computer to give to a friend of mine, and during the process of verifying the HD before installing things on it I remembered about a wonderful and FREE set of nice tools available as ISO image called "Ultimate Boot CD" (http://www.ultimatebootcd.com), which together with several useful tools you can find a set for "partitions tools", where a specific software called SPFDisk can be used to verify the HD's surface (similar to the old DOS SCANDISK), so I grabbed my old (and hated) Samsung and I started using that software on it. Again I could confirm that old HD has a lot of Bad Cluster. Suddenly I imagined that you could use that CD to run few test on your computer. There you can find tests for memory, CPU, HD, network, etc.

I don't know if somebody indicated this CD before in the forum but it's fantastic! You can use it for several things on your computer. It worth seeing the list of softwares included in the CD, maybe you can find something to keep you busy during the weekend  :D


nudone

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Re: is it me or is it the machine (i'm sorry for even posting this).
« Reply #47 on: January 28, 2007, 02:57:21 AM »
ah, yes, i've used ultimateboodcd in the past. must have been a while ago - or something like it.

i should give it a try.