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Thread: Random lockups

  1. #1
    Chewie's Avatar Chew E. Bakke
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    Right, I'm stumped.

    A few weeks ago my daughter installed Sony's software for her mp3 player on my XP boot and I started to get random lockups. No BSODs or restarts, just system freezing.
    This was happening all over the place for no apparent reason; it would happen while browsing, gaming or even idling with background downloading, defragging or virus scanning.
    I unstalled the Sony app and dug out the parts it left behind and it seemed to be OK for a while then started locking up again.

    I have a dual boot with Vista Ultimate x64 that is absolutely rock-solid. Not a jot of trouble with it.

    I've gone straight into the BIOS hardware monitor after a freeze to make sure temps aren't high and they're normal for this system - ~55C per core etc. - so I've discounted that.

    I ran memtest 86 v3.4 for the whole day I was at work and it came up clean.
    After that I booted into Vista and stress tested the CPU with Prime95 for two hours without issue.

    OK, I've been meaning to go over fully to Vista so I bought a new HDD on Sunday and set about installing clean with my original HDDs disconnected.
    Would you believe that this installation started locking up after the first couple of reboots?

    I racked my brain eariler to come up with whatever I've done differently with this Vista install compared with the stable dual-boot on my old IDE drive and the only thing I could come up sith was that I hadn't installed Perfectdisk on the stable install, so I uninstalled that.
    Well it seemed to be fine but the machine locked up again in the middle of installing Office.

    I'm currently in my XP boot and hoping it's gonna hold long enough to post this!

    Any possible clues would be most graciously accepted; I'm at my wit's end with this.

    Relevant system specs:
    Athlon x64 X2 5200+
    Asus M2N32-sli deluxe wifi
    2x Samsung 512MB 667MHz
    1x Kingston 1024MB 667MHz
    Samsung 250GB SATA
    Maxtor 250GB IDE
    Maxtor 250GB SATA
    Lite-On DVDRW SATA
    Asus GE7300 gfx
    There isn't a bargepole long enough for me to work on [a Sony Viao] - clocker 2008

  2. Software & Hardware   -   #2
    zapjb's Avatar Computer Abuser BT Rep: +3
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    Puzzler. Specially with the fresh install info. Before that I'd have guessed Sony ROOTKIT.

  3. Software & Hardware   -   #3
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    I assume that one of the two SATA drives is the new one and you're installing Vista with just the one drive hooked up?

    What I'd do is...
    -run the manufacturer's diags on the drive, verify it's integrity.
    -change your RAM configuration...either pull the one gig stick and leave the two 512's or vice-versa.
    -disconnect any printers/scanners.

    Then try the install again.

    If successful, you can reinstall the memory you took out.

    If still good, add the other HDDs, one at a time.

    It sounds to me like a hardware issue but you've already covered the obvious, so it's gonna be tedious from here on out.
    Just on the off chance, have you another keyboard and mouse to try?
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  4. Software & Hardware   -   #4
    Based on the steps you have already taken, it could only be a handful of things, from a faulty SATA cable to a faulty controller on the mobo. Could also be something like a bad driver (an old PCI ethernet card from Netgear used to give me BSODs all the time with the default XP driver, had to find an alternate one). Hell, it could even be a problem with the CPU itself that it has developed with age - unlikely, but possible if you are able to narrow it down that far.

  5. Software & Hardware   -   #5
    Broken's Avatar Obama Supporter
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    Just off the top of my head, and this is really grasping at air.

    How old and what kind of power supply do you have?
    A power supply going on it's way out can cause all kinds of gremlins in a system.

    I remember not too long ago I had a bad one that was causing freezes like you are describing, just one day out of the blue for no reason. I was literately banging my head on the wall trying to figure it out... it was the PSU going out. Last thing I checked after stripping the system completely down.

  6. Software & Hardware   -   #6
    lynx's Avatar .
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    After the fresh install, did the system hang up before you added the original HDDs back or after?

    If it was after, it is possible that the system has performed an autorun when it detected the second sata drive. That in turn could have installed a virus or root kit onto your nice shiny new drive.

    I've just cleaned a rootkit virus off a system, it was a real swine to find since it is able to hide from most virus scanners. It was the rustock.b trojan which seems to cause all sorts of different problems, depending on what software and service packs you's got installed. It is certainly out there, and seems to be one of the files being spread through the vulnerability in lsass.exe which microsoft fixed 2 weeks ago. Fixing the vulnerability just stops further infection, it doesn't cure any infection which has taken place.

    The timescale certainly matches up with the problems you are getting. Have a look for rustbfix.exe, which will check and remove it if present.
    .
    Political correctness is based on the principle that it's possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

  7. Software & Hardware   -   #7
    Chewie's Avatar Chew E. Bakke
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    Quote Originally Posted by zapjb View Post
    Puzzler. Specially with the fresh install info. Before that I'd have guessed Sony ROOTKIT.
    I had a nice time removing the startup entry for one of their shared files.

    Quote Originally Posted by clocker View Post
    I assume that one of the two SATA drives is the new one and you're installing Vista with just the one drive hooked up?

    What I'd do is...
    -run the manufacturer's diags on the drive, verify it's integrity.
    -change your RAM configuration...either pull the one gig stick and leave the two 512's or vice-versa.
    -disconnect any printers/scanners.

    Then try the install again.

    If successful, you can reinstall the memory you took out.

    If still good, add the other HDDs, one at a time.

    It sounds to me like a hardware issue but you've already covered the obvious, so it's gonna be tedious from here on out.
    Just on the off chance, have you another keyboard and mouse to try?
    Yes the Maxtor SATA is the new drive. I had the others disconnected while I set up Vista (completed in 30 minutes) and installed some minor apps without re-connecting them before it started locking up.
    I'll be off to Maxtor shortly to grab their software and see happens with that.

    The lockups are happening both while I'm at the machine and away (though it's now been running since I posted last night) so I'd considered and dismissed the mouse/keyboard as potential causes. It does seem to happen more when I use the scroll or drag a window slider but that's probably just coincidence as I'm doing those a lot anyway. I have got some spare mice (with ropey LMBs) and keyboards so I'll be swapping as soon as it happens next.

    I've tested the RAM (memtest) and it's controller (Prime95) but it's still worth considering and won't hurt to try.

    Interesting idea on my AIO Epson. I'll unplug it after posting and see how long the system hangs on.

    Quote Originally Posted by nsap View Post
    Based on the steps you have already taken, it could only be a handful of things, from a faulty SATA cable to a faulty controller on the mobo. Could also be something like a bad driver (an old PCI ethernet card from Netgear used to give me BSODs all the time with the default XP driver, had to find an alternate one). Hell, it could even be a problem with the CPU itself that it has developed with age - unlikely, but possible if you are able to narrow it down that far.
    I'd be unlucky to have two faulty cables but it's not an impossibility. I have seen systems lock up when a hard drive is on the way out so it's certainly something to keep in mind.
    I don't think the CPU is flakey though, since it handled Prime95 stress without errors.
    The only drivers I've updated recently are gfx. The lockups are happening when there's nothing going on graphically so I think it's unlikely but I have just (after your mention of drivers) disabled the three un-needed nvidia processes just in case.

    Quote Originally Posted by Broken View Post
    Just off the top of my head, and this is really grasping at air.

    How old and what kind of power supply do you have?
    A power supply going on it's way out can cause all kinds of gremlins in a system.

    I remember not too long ago I had a bad one that was causing freezes like you are describing, just one day out of the blue for no reason. I was literately banging my head on the wall trying to figure it out... it was the PSU going out. Last thing I checked after stripping the system completely down.
    If the PSU is flakey, it would be the third in a year. That sounds unlikely but they've all been EZ Cool (current is one of their high end modular units) so I can't rule it out. I'll consider it again later after the simpler steps.

    Quote Originally Posted by lynx View Post
    After the fresh install, did the system hang up before you added the original HDDs back or after?

    If it was after, it is possible that the system has performed an autorun when it detected the second sata drive. That in turn could have installed a virus or root kit onto your nice shiny new drive.

    I've just cleaned a rootkit virus off a system, it was a real swine to find since it is able to hide from most virus scanners. It was the rustock.b trojan which seems to cause all sorts of different problems, depending on what software and service packs you's got installed. It is certainly out there, and seems to be one of the files being spread through the vulnerability in lsass.exe which microsoft fixed 2 weeks ago. Fixing the vulnerability just stops further infection, it doesn't cure any infection which has taken place.

    The timescale certainly matches up with the problems you are getting. Have a look for rustbfix.exe, which will check and remove it if present.
    The lockups on the new install started before I hooked up the old drives again but I downloaded and ran rustbfix anyway. Result was clean - I don't know whether to be happy or sad about that!


    Well thanks to everyone for throwing your ideas into the hat, as it were. All suggestions have been noted and I will consider all of them as I go along.
    I'm amazed that the system is still running after nearly 24 hours although not quite as amazed as I am with Spurs being 4-0 up against The Arse

    Better go before I have to reboot and type all this again...
    There isn't a bargepole long enough for me to work on [a Sony Viao] - clocker 2008

  8. Software & Hardware   -   #8
    Chewie's Avatar Chew E. Bakke
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    Well XP ran all that night and locked up while I was browsing yesterday morning.

    Last night I changed keyboard & mouse and booted into the new vista install. While there I realised that MessengerLivePlus was something installed on both freezing installs but not the stable one so I disabled and rebooted to new vista... to have it freeze again after about an hour.

    This afternoon I booted into the old, stable, vista installation and it's been working faultlessly since then.
    At about 3:15 I started a Kaspersky rootkit scan and have surfed, chatted and played Freecell until I'm sick of it (there's nothing much installed on it at all) and it's still here, 8hrs 17min later.

    I am now almost positive that this is a software issue. Surely this install wouldn't last this long with Kaspersky doing it's thing all the while if it was hardware?

    I have had another brainwave: Office2007. It's something I hadn't installed on this Vista. If the scan completes then I'll be rebooting to remove that and see what happens.

    BTW I love Vista but what they've done to Explorer is criminal; no toolbar buttons and full-row select hardwired into detail view? WTF are they thinking?
    There isn't a bargepole long enough for me to work on [a Sony Viao] - clocker 2008

  9. Software & Hardware   -   #9
    Have you looked in the Event Viewer to see if you can get a hint as to whats causing this?

  10. Software & Hardware   -   #10
    Broken's Avatar Obama Supporter
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    Any new updates on this issue?

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