Booting, task manager, IE/firefox troubles

Mar 8, 2009
  1. All the things I've noticed not working were:

    Windows Side Bar (freezes up on boot)
    Windows Task Manager (shows up in the applications bar on the lower right, cannot access it)
    Pidgin (also shows up, but only as an empty space)

    When I boot my computer, sometimes my fingerprint software/password interface lock up- this being roughly 70% of the time. Google Chrome is the only browser I have that's working. I attempted to download hijackthis only to discover apparently anything to do with downloads also causes a freeze/crash on the program. The other thing I've noticed is over prolonged use my laptop is hotter than it has ever been.

    I am using a Dell Studio 1535 series, if that helps.

    What steps should I undertake from here?
  2. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,423   +77

    Can you give more information ? Is this Vista, what version? Is it up-to-date on service packs and security patches? How long have you had the laptop, did it previously work correctly, and when did this problem start? Was it after installing some game, or other software. What anti-virus, anti-spyware do you use? When did you last run a full scan for anti-virus, anti-spyware etc? Will the PC start in safe mode, and is the problem still present then? Will you please run the hardware tests that invariably come with a Dell laptop, and are called up by special key press during the start-up, and what does that tell you? Is the bios up-to-date (latest is A06 I think)?

    Go to this link and key in your service tag for a list of things you need to look at.
  3. LSENJ

    LSENJ TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I have had the laptop for about three months. I previously had an error in windows that made start up extremely difficult, but I reloaded Vista from disc and it's been fine since thing. I am running Windows Vista Home Premium 6.0 SP 1.

    I last did a full scan for antivirus and antispyware three days ago. I use McAfee and Spybot S&D. The PC has a different error in safe mode where it will go past the password screen but will not load anything once it reaches the Windows screen where you normally have icons and the start menu.

    I will check on the bios and hardware and edit the thread.
  4. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

  5. LSENJ

    LSENJ TS Rookie Topic Starter

    My bios are A05. How do I run the dell hardware tests?
  6. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    I think they're specific to the unknown model you have

    Also I normally don't recommend updating the Bios, especially if this is a Windows or programs and settings issue

    Another point: McAfee
    McAfee is not fantastic at finding Virus and Malware. If you want my honest opinion:
    Uninstall your McAfee Antivirus
    Then run the McAfee Removal Tool
    Install Avira free AntiVirus

    And possibly have a look at this guide: UPDATED 8-step Viruses/Spyware/Malware Preliminary Removal Instructions
  7. LSENJ

    LSENJ TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I can't download at all. Chrome is the only browser that even works; Is there another solution?
  8. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,423   +77

    Your PC will have built-in hardware tests that do not run from Windows. Read the manual for how to start them - certain key or key-combination at boot time).

    I am recommending you eliminate hardware problems first by running the full suite.

    Failing a hardware problem, I agree with Kimsland it is probably a virus etc.

    Then you can try a restore point (NOT last known good), from when the PC last worked properly. You might or might not be able to access previous restore points from safe mode.

    If you cannot access a working restore point, you are looking at a complete reinstall of Vista, before which you will probably want to take off all the important data onto backup.

    If the Dell system hidden install partition (or install CD/DVD that came with the PC) gives you the ability to do a 'repair install' then try that first. You should not lose data or settings in that case., but dont rely on it.

    If no success, it is then a complete reinstall, which will destroy all your current settings and data.

    You dont have the latest bios, and are likely to run into unexplained problems down the line at some future date. I fully understand Kimsland's point about not recommending it, because it is not typically a trivial job and can destroy the motherboard if done wrongly. BUT it can be the only way to solve some problems.
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