Freezing: Virus or Computer on it's last legs?

By alligatoring
Feb 23, 2010
  1. I have a Toshiba Satellite P100 laptop and have had it for about 4 years now, I've had some viruses in the past and windows XP did corrupt on me about a year ago (I thought my Hard Drive was toast) but it was completely fine until last night.

    It began freezing - that is one program would lock up, then everything would freeze, quick enough that I could never Ctrl + Alt + Delete, so I had to power it off to restart. Sometimes it'll freeze and then just power itself off. This is infrequent though, usually I have to manually power it off.

    - The last program I installed was on Feb 6, 2010
    - I recently installed new RAM (1x 2GBs Kingston PC2), but nothing has acted up until now.
    - I was reading an e-book on Adobe Reader 9, on the internet looking up lyrics (FireFox) and on AIM chatting.

    - I have Malwarebytes, Spybot Search & Destroy and Avast! installed, the only thing odd was that Avast! keep flashing something about Google Analytics which I thought was weird but I (naively) didn't think too much of it (I just figured it was blocking an ad).

    So I turned it back on and loaded just the e-book (pdf) I was reading, and AIM and it froze again within 5-10 minutes of logging on. So I had to power it off and turn it back on, then I only loaded AIM and it still froze. This is where I got concerned, so I booted into safemode and ran malwarebytes, the full scan found 16 infected files but it errored and I couldn't remove them, so I restarted again into Safe Mode w/ networking this time to update Malwarebytes, did the same thing it only came up with three infected files.
    It was a bit concerning that most of the 16 files it listed were in the system32 folder and were .sys or .dll like cdrom.sys and modem.sys

    Through some googling (on another computer) I found that malware and such can hide in system restore and subsequently purged the restore points (none of them worked anyways), I installed Hijack This and deleted the two blank BHOs which another site suggested I get rid of. The other things I tried were: disabling everything in the startup via msconfig, I also took out my battery pack and am running solely on the adapter (as I considered overheating as well) - now my computer will run about 30-40 minutes and then freezes. It's not enough time to get through any full scan so I have no idea if I have a virus/malware/trojan still or not. Those blank entries keep repopping up, infrequently, so I really have no idea what's causing it but I'm lead to believe a virus... but then again I'm completely stumped, my computer has never been knocked on its butt like this.

    Does this sound like a virus/malware etc problem or is my computer on it's death bed? (hardware failing).

    I wouldn't have a problem with just formatting to see if that would cure it, I have most of my data backed up already but there are some fairly important PSD files I need (dumb not to back them up regularly I know) and I don't want to risk getting the virus (if it is one) onto my external hard drive as well.

    Tomorrow I'm going to try blowing the vents with compressed air, though I don't think it's actually an overheating issue as my core temps stay in the 50s and when it gets up to 55 they turn on and the temps drop back down to the low fifties.

    I don't know what else to try, as I can't rule out a virus until I can get through a complete scan without it freezing. Any suggestions / help would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
  2. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,681   +86

    1. You should check Event Viewer logs, and see all the Red/Yellow tagged events and see whether they tell you something useful.

    2. Turn on minidump recording in System Failure and Recovery options (you can find these by right click on my computer, then going to advanced tab); and if you see a BSOD please post it with next post.

    3. Lastly, has you updated anything recently e.g. device drivers etc. ?
  3. alligatoring

    alligatoring TS Rookie Topic Starter

    1. The logs have deleted themselves (why, I don't know) since it's frozen trying to find notable events. Here's what I remember :
    Application errors Firefox.exe then right after drwatsn32.exe
    System: Drivers failed to load - none that I recognized or can remember but they were the same ones a few different times in the log.
    Anti-Virus: An Avast failure to load, and also before that on the 19th a warning about a URL with Protexer-B detected

    2. Minidump recording is on as far as I can tell but I don't get any BSOD's, my computer just completely locks up and is unresponsive to anything (Ctrl Alt Del) and I have to turn it off via the power button.

    3. Firefox, I know it errored on a page (ultimate-guitar) that has been crashing my browser infrequently and it installed it's updates. Then the other complete freeze-crashing started. Avast updates or checks for updates daily.

    The only drivers I can recall would be for my WesternDigital external drive, I got it at the start of January and it installed its SmartWare and drivers. That's all I can think of.

    My computer seems to be fine as long as it doesn't load into windows, both safe mode and regular mode freeze. What I mean by this is chkdsk ran on a restart for over an hour without incident and I also ran memtest86+ v2.0 from a previous version of Hirens Boot CD. Neither of those froze up. Both of those completed without any errors so I can assume my hard drive and ram are both still good, right? Which would point to a software issue?
  4. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,681   +86

  5. alligatoring

    alligatoring TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks, I guess I will just completely format my computer as I do use it for paypal transactions and other things. Seems the safest option despite the files I need that I haven't backed up previously.

    edit: I also can't run most full scans like Malwarebytes without my computer freezing.
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