I was over at my parents today visiting, and dad asked me to check out his computer.
It's been running terribly slow for many weeks now, and some time ago I helped him download, install, and run some tools for detecting/eliminating malware/virii/etc. We also disabled a couple of startup programs (Logitech Webcam and a PDF utility) to speed up boot-time and lessen the load on his computer's resources.
Also did Disk Cleanup, Disk Defragmenter, and EasyCleaner. Seemed to run better briefly after that. But he continued to complain about how slow it was (I attributed it, perhaps unfairly, to the Celeron processor and only 256 Mb of RAM). I tried making him a video tutorial on how to burn a CD (yes, that's his level of computer-saavy: he also tends to use System Restore every couple days rather than learning how to change a setting he doesn't like. And, when his computer "hangs", he sometimes just kills the power) using Wink 2.0, but his system couldn't handle it and Wink choked about 3/4 of the way through the process of rendering the live-capture session to flash.
I went ahead and finished the CD burn at that time. Was simply using XP's built in ability -- drag and drop files onto CD window, then tell XP to burn files. Windows reported (finally, after 45 minutes!) that the burn had completed successfully (I didn't check the CD to be sure, because I was frustrated and didn't trust myself not to take a hammer to it at that point ;> )
BACK TO THE PRESENT...
Anyway, when I checked his PC today, he had it turned off and the surge-protector strip turned off. Turned on computer and it almost immediately went to the Phoenix BIOS screen. I exited it, rebooting, and it came up again. To make a long story short, I was not able to get past the BIOS Setup, even after applying default settings, saving, and exiting. Still came back to it. Tried putting the 1st of a 2CD Recovery set (that came with his eMachine system) in the CD drive, after ensuring that boot order was CD, then HD. No luck. Couldn't boot into Safe Mode. When I would exit the BIOS Setup and restart I could see, momentarily, startup info showing that the CD drive and HD had been recognized, but it still returned me to the BIOS Setup screen.
His computer specs:
40 GB HD
256 Mb PC100 SDRAM
1 Mb onboard video
Windows XP Home edition
Now, I don't have the expert knowledge some of you have, so I told my dad that my two guesses were virus/malware, or a hardware problem. Or simply the fact that it's an eMachine ;> I recommended he take it to our local ISP service shop (they will actually work on subscriber's computers!) Any ideas about what is wrong?