Complex Problem - Read if you dare :)

By shocking
Nov 24, 2007
  1. I'll try to be as descriptive as I can without writing an essay :)

    A while back I was gone for about 5 weeks, came back, booted my computer to find that it no longer recognized one of two ethernet ports or my sound card (Creative XFI Xtreme). My mobo has onboard 5.1 sound so it's not really a problem that I can't use my sound card, just a minor inconvenience. I also (through help) activated my 2nd ethernet port using some nvidia driver.

    That was the first problem. (I only listed this because I thought it might be connected to my main problem)

    Main problem now, one that would prevent me from getting a halfway decent selling price for this rig is:

    Simple programs, such as internet explorer/firefox take almost a minute to open up now. Anytime i want to install a program that is fairly large (4gig executable etc...) I'll have to come back a half hour later just for the installer to initialize so I can click "Next" all the way through.

    I should mention that I recently reformatted when this "main" problem first occured and I'm still having the same problems. Before reformat HDD was only 50% full.

    Since my first problem seemed to be mobo based, I'm wondering if my mobo is slowly dying and not letting the full potential of my RAM and CPU to process... or are my CPU or RAM bad as well?

    Specs listed in my profile, though I'll gladly post them here as well if it's easier.

    Thanks for your time guys/gals :)

    *edit* ZoneAlarm/Norton AV is my current protection. Though I really dislike norton... too much mem usage for me.
  2. davids

    davids TS Rookie Posts: 96

    Hmm is a tricky problem.

    Firstly, has the computer been in any use while you were gone for 5 weeks?

    If no my first thought is possibly a power surge of some sort - could have damaged mobo or maybe processor as things are taking ages to load - in this senario I would have a look in task manager when you are trying to run these programs and see what is actually happening - ie see what the processor usage is like, see what processes are using memory etc.
    After this i would also run a hard disk check (goto the properties for your main hard drive> tools > error checking) see if this finds any bad blocks.

    if everything seems normal here, or if the computer was in use while you were away, then I would try going into msconfig and running a diagnostic startup, see if things still running slow - if it improves it could be a virus, if it doesnt then again it looks like a hardware problem.

    Also check in control panel> administrative tools> event log, see if there are any errors.

    Finally if none of this sheds any light, I would be temped to either reload your drive or get a pemporary hard drive put in a load it with a standard windows install, keep it off the net, and see if it still runs slow - if it does you know its definatly hardware.
  3. Daveskater

    Daveskater Banned Posts: 1,687

    Hello, shocking, and welcome to Techspot :wave:

    Please take a moment to read the following threads to make your experience here as enjoyable as possible :)

    Message for all newcomers

    SNGX1275's Guide to making a good post/thread

    The Techspot FAQ

    Also remember to post any problems or questions that you have in the appropriate forums

    With regards to your problem, you could be better off getting rid of Norton by using the Norton Removal Tool and installing other programs instead such as AVG or Avast for anti virus (choose only one) and Spybot S&D and Ad-aware for anti spyware. Only other thing i can say really is try davids's suggestions and see how it goes :)
  4. shocking

    shocking TS Rookie Topic Starter

    It was not in use during the 5 week break.

    I sometimes open the task manager before I open a program I know will open slow... and the memory usage and everything seems normal, the amount of memory the program takes as it opens increases very slowly...
  5. davids

    davids TS Rookie Posts: 96

    Hmm, maybe not the processor then.

    I agree with dave skater though, take norton of - it really can slow down your machine or it may be corrupted - but make sure you disable it before you unuinstall it, and if it isnty completly removed, use the noton removal tool from their website.

    After that try windows uin diagnostic mode, maybe take out a stick of memory just to see if that makes any dfifference (might be faulty).

    Failing that you'll have to install a clean test copy of windows.
  6. shocking

    shocking TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I'll remove norton...

    What's Windows Diagnostic Mode? Never used it... unless it's safe mode? lol not sure...
  7. davids

    davids TS Rookie Posts: 96

    Sorry I was iun a rush yesterday because my dinner was ready!

    If you goto start menu > run > and type "msconfig" >enter

    You will see system configuration utility window, on the default tab it will give you boot options and one of them will be diagnostic startup - this basically disables all un-essential services, so basically it should eliminate and hungry programs from being the cause of the problem.
  8. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    Norton AV is the first thing that should be removed from your system. Replace it with Avast! Free Edition instead. If the motherboard has been damaged in any way, the easiest way to determine this is to take a look at the capacitors on it. If any of them have holes or are swollen, then the motherboard is the problem.
    Also, in order to test RAM, use memtest86 (Google for it). It'll download as an ISO file, which you can burn on an empty CD and boot the computer with. Then let the test run for about 6-8 hours with each stick and see the results. If there is even a single error, then it indicates a bad RAM stick.
  9. shocking

    shocking TS Rookie Topic Starter

    what do i have to do in bios in order to boot from cd first?
  10. pdyckman@comcas

    pdyckman@comcas TS Rookie Posts: 527

    In BIOS (setup) go to the 'BOOT' section. Go down to 'boot order'. set#1 to 'boot from CDROM. #2 can be HARDISC. The program will now boot from the media in your ROM. Why 'boot from CD'...reformatting? The other day one of my programs got R E A L L Y slow. I really slowly went into 'system restore' and all was well. Would this choice be viable first? The easiest thing to do is to send it to a better time. (Kinda like Star Trek). If you are going to take the ultimate step and reinstall Windows, do that. If it won't activate online...use the phone always works. Just be honest with them. If you're selling it...nothing reaches folks better than a 'virgin' installation. Let the new guy 'defile'. Luck.
  11. shocking

    shocking TS Rookie Topic Starter

    ive already reformatted once, this didnt help... im booting from CD to memtest my RAM

  12. shocking

    shocking TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I ran memtest, it took about 10 seconds then told me there were many errors on each pass... did i do it right? I'll post a picture of what I mean if necessary...
  13. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    I think you've done it properly IMO. Your RAM seems to be the cause of your problems. Which stick it is, that you'll have to find out by individually testing them.
  14. shocking

    shocking TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I can't individually test them? It's a dual-channel mobo and I tried taking one stick out and the computer wouldnt run lol
  15. nickc

    nickc TechSpot Paladin Posts: 923   +11

    then the stick u left in is the bad one.
  16. hardwire

    hardwire TS Rookie

    got to agree with nick duel channel dose not mean that it requires 2 ticks to run

    take the one you left in out and put the other in and i bet it will run smoother
  17. shocking

    shocking TS Rookie Topic Starter

    When I only had one in, the computer turned on, heard all the fans going, and the monitor light stayed "green" instead of orange but nothing happened as far as on the monitor, it was black. I'll try taking the other one out.
  18. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    Yes, dual channel uses pairs of memory, but your motherboard will default to single channel during the absence of one of your modules.

    Memtest failing almost certainly indicates your memory has problems, but memtest CAN product false errors (very unusual, but happens). Keep an open mind and don't trust it 100%. Memory errors can also be caused by problems with your CPU and motherboard.

    BUT, if you test one module and it fails and test the other module and it passes, I think this is a very good indicator that your conclusion is correct... failing memory.

    If the other module doesn't work by itself either, make sure you are placing the modules in the SIMM closest to the processor. The next thing you can try is clearing your CMOS (take out that little silver coin cell battery on your motherboard for a second or two or use the clear CMOS jumper [manual should have more details]). This might solve your board's issue with switching modules... if it has one. Be warned that clearing your CMOS does just that - it resets all of your BIOS settings to the defaults.
  19. shocking

    shocking TS Rookie Topic Starter

    wont run with just one stick of ram in it... bought new ram, havent put it in and memtested to see if its my mobo.
  20. rf6647

    rf6647 TS Maniac Posts: 829

    Pardon my interruption - I have lost sight of the symptoms. At one time memtest results were visible on a monitor. Now one of the symptoms is the monitor is black.

    I interpret this to mean that the mobo/bios reports to the monitor during the POST. The assumption that's being followed is that once the boot begins using memory, it gets weird!

    Furhtermore, I am interpretting the posts to mean that memtest was not run individually on the memories, because a bios setting could not be found that controls the dual memory function. Actually, can the mobo only run with dual memory? Is that the current theory?

    This post needs no reply. I wish I could contribute a specific help, rather than a request for clarification when it is not my call. I am tracking threads such as this one to build up my confidence and enthusiasm to work on my test-bed computer that is sitting dead in the corner.
  21. technicalfury42

    technicalfury42 Banned Posts: 62

    for what its worth, you sometimes need to put your RAM in the proper slots on the motherboard for it to work properly. for example, with 1 dimm, it usually can go in 2 of 4 slots. with two, they can operate in two configurations, etc.

    You definitely had bad RAM, but I find it highly suspect that both sticks were bad.
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