TechSpot

Help, Computer Restarting

By PresChik7
Apr 1, 2009
  1. Hello everyone, I am new to the forum, but in reading other posts, everyone seems very helpful. I found some situations that came close to mine but none just like it so I would like to see if anyone can help me out. I have a HP laptop with XP SP2. I used it one night for reasearch and the next time I went to use it it ran for a few minutes and went to a blue screen and gave me an error and began a memory dump. I let it do this, it said if this was the first time to restart it and check all the settings and that a recent hardware or software change could be the cause. I have not changed anything on it in a long time. It is not the primary computer. All the settings looked fine so I tried it again, still same thing. I tried to restore, it kept saying it could not restore to that day, not matter what date I picked. I then tried to reinstall the drivers and applications, not XP disc. It did that fine and it seeemed to fix the problem, it ran fine for several hours. The next day I tried to use it and it was back to the same problem. I gave up and figured maybe it needed to be restored with the XP cd. I tried repair, i tried restore, even reformat and nothing works. It got to 71% on reformat and it got stuck and would not go any further. Now it won't even come on in safe mode, which it would do before. Now it will try to boot but after the XP screen it will flash up an error screen about a subsystem (it goes to fast to read it all) and restarts and sometimes it just restarts. I am afraid to let it continue to do this. I think it may be the power supply because I noticed after being plugged up for a while it wasn't completely charged and while trying to restore it went off and would not power on until I left if plugged in for a while.

    Please help. I am pretty good with computers but I am at a loss what to do with it....
     
  2. swwelsh

    swwelsh TS Rookie Posts: 34

    If you tried to reformat the drive and it got stuck I would suspect a bad hard drive. It could also be a bad power supply, overheating, or bad ram. I would try to get some sort of bootable CD with some tools on it - UBCD, BartPE, etc. Try to run chkdsk on the drive, or memtest to check the RAM. Make sure all the vents on the laptop are clear of dust
     
  3. PresChik7

    PresChik7 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    okay, thanks for the advice. i would like to start small and work my way to the hard drive if it comes to that, i have my fingers crossed that it doesn't. As for your statement above...I am good with computers to the extent of my knowledge and this is a bit outside of that....If you can tell me how to do this i will try it.

    Thanks again
     
  4. swwelsh

    swwelsh TS Rookie Posts: 34

    You can run some tools from your XP CD. Boot and select R to run the recovery console. From the prompt, type chkdsk c: /r
    If you really tried to reformat the drive and it did not finish, you probably have a drive that is half wiped, it is not going to boot again until you finish the reformat and reinstall XP. If the drive has bad sectors on it (which means it is going bad) the reformat will either stop or it will take a long time as it marks sectors bad and tries to work around them (by long I mean overnight or even longer)

    See what messages you get from chkdsk. The only things that are easily replaceable on a laptop are the hard drive and the memory so that is what I would try to test. Bad ram and a bad drive can cause similar errors - freeze ups, strange errors that don't seem related, shutdowns. If you hear a clicking noise coming from the hard drive as you scan it that is usually a sign of a bad drive.
     
  5. swwelsh

    swwelsh TS Rookie Posts: 34

    You can run some tools from your XP CD. Boot and select R to run the recovery console. From the prompt, type chkdsk c: /r
    If you really tried to reformat the drive and it did not finish, you probably have a drive that is half wiped, it is not going to boot again until you finish the reformat and reinstall XP. If the drive has bad sectors on it (which means it is going bad) the reformat will either stop or it will take a long time as it marks sectors bad and tries to work around them (by long I mean overnight or even longer)

    See what messages you get from chkdsk. The only things that are easily replaceable on a laptop are the hard drive and the memory so that is what I would try to test. Bad ram and a bad drive can cause similar errors - freeze ups, strange errors that don't seem related, shutdowns. If you hear a clicking noise coming from the hard drive as you scan it that is usually a sign of a bad drive.
     
  6. PresChik7

    PresChik7 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the info, I will try to follow your instructions and see what i come up with. I don't remember hearing any odd noises when it was trying to reformat....maybe i should have left it and not thought it was stuck and shut it down....should I try to redo the install and simply let it run a lot longer? It made it most of the way with no problem but got stuck on 71%.

    Thanks again for the help.
     
  7. PresChik7

    PresChik7 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Okay I followed your directions and tried to run the chkdsk...it was not able to complete it for losing power and shutting down. It is like the battery is bad or the power supply is bad and is not charging the battery....could this be what was causing the problem in the first place? Is there anything else I can try or do to it at this point?

    Thanks,
     
  8. swwelsh

    swwelsh TS Rookie Posts: 34

    Well, I am at the guessing stage now, but there are a couple of things you might try. I think you may be on to something with the battery, I have had a few laptops over the years that would not boot up unless the battery had a charge, even when plugged in. The only way I know to test this is with a known good battery. If you haven't tried it with the battery removed, try that, see if it will operate with just the power cord. It also seems that most of the problems are happening when you are accessing the hard drive, it is possible that there is an electrical fault in the hard drive or something that is causing it to shut down or freeze when it tries to access a certain part of the drive. My test for that would be to remove the drive - usually the hard drive is pretty accessible, look for a cover about 2.5" x 3.5", might be a small screw holding it. When you get to the drive there will be a small ribbon cable connecting it to the mainboard or sometimes they just plug into a slot. I would then try to boot from a bootable cd and see how it behaves. If you don't have one, and you have access to another computer with a cd burner and a decent internet connection, you might look at one of these:
    http://lifehacker.com/5157811/five-best-live-cds
    I like knoppix because it runs on most systems (some laptops won't work, unfortunately), has a memory tester (type memtest at the initial prompt) and it allows me to test a system's hardware without the hard drive or XP. To make the cd you need to download the iso image of the liveCD and then burn the image to a blank disc (don't just copy the iso, you need to use the 'burn iso image' or similar feature of your burning software

    If it runs ok on the livecd, you have a bad hard drive, a new one should be $100 or less. Let me know if you need any more info, or get any different responses from the laptop
     
  9. PresChik7

    PresChik7 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the info, I will try that. I thought of trying it without the battery but since it seems I have a half formated hard drive i wasn't sure if even that would work. I did try to go back and reinstall the XP disc, i thought maybe i should have let it finish. When I went to bed last night it was on 78%...it finally made it past 71! When i got up this morning it looked like it had fiinished and was in the process of installing XP but I go a system error....It said, " System setup log-
    the signature for win xp home edition setup is invalid. The error code is 80096001.' and it went on from there...I can give you the rest if you need it. I tried to reboot and it tried to go to safe mode but then said it could not run setup in safe mode and restarted itself. Now everytime I try to boot it goes back to where the setup left off. It finished preparing and it working on installing. The last time I tried (while typing this) it went back to the install screen and a box popped up to tell me that it failed to initialize properly. You hit ok and it just sits here. it looks like it is trying, the install info rotates in the center of the screen but where it says setup will complete in approx:.... it stays on 39 mins, and after a while the dialog box will pop up again.

    I don't know if this tells you anything or not. I will try to remove the hd and try to boot from a live cd like you suggested.

    In the meantime my Vista desktop is acting up. i am currently trying to follow the 8 steps to removing malware or virus from this one. It had a backdoor error from Defender and went on the fritz. i could only open it in safe mode. I was finally able to get it to boot properly in normal mode but not the internet and other things are not 100% back. When i am surfing the web (which I am limitiing until this is fixed) it sometimes doesn't open the link I want, it will open an unrelated window which I immediatly close and is keeps telling me to open security center to view my settings but it says it is unable to start security center......Any thoughts on the vista desktop?


    I have never had many problems with my computers but now they both have gotten messed up in completly unrelated ways. this is so frustrating but i am glad that you are giving me things to try and fix this.
     
  10. swwelsh

    swwelsh TS Rookie Posts: 34

    I would try running XP setup again, and when it gets to the part where it asks where to install, make sure you delete and recreate the xp partition. That will force it to do a format, which will check the drive completely (if it already did that, your hard drive is not the problem) I looked up that error message and did not find anything definite, although it seems related to hardware. I would run a memory test at this point. Bad RAM will drive you crazy because you will get errors that don't seem related. The UBCD bootable cd has memtest, so does knoppix, you let it run for several hours or overnight, any errors means your memory is bad.

    As for the Vista machine, you are doing right, running the 8 steps. A lot of malware out there these days is very tough to get rid of. Sounds like you definitely have a hijacker/redirector, and no doubt some other stuff. Hijackthis is the most direct way to shut down the hijacker, but you need to know what to look for. I would try running your virus scanner, SAS and Malwarebytes first, try to run them from safe mode with networking. Read the logs they create and try to find out exactly what you've got, then look it up on the net to find out about it. It is sometimes a good idea to disconnect your network cable when running scans so the bad guys can't phone home.

    As for both machines screwing up at the same time, it always seems to happen that way. I was halfway through restaging my backup computer this week, just sitting at my regular machine downloading stuff, then Bang! my power supply blows up, complete with a flash and smoke. Never had that happen before
     
  11. PresChik7

    PresChik7 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the help...I tried what you said for the XP laptop and it didn't work. I deleted and recreated the partition but it still would not run Windows...It gave me another "fatal system error" that I hadn't seen before.

    As for the Vista machine, it was pretty bad, it kept restarting itself and saying it was corrupted...the last time I was trying to back everything up in safe mode and it shut down again. I finally just reinstalled Vista from the disc. Now I have a new problem with it...I lost all my data. It normally puts a Windows Old folder in the program files and I can recover things from there--I was not counting on this, the backups did not take to my disc...--and now I am SOL. Is there ANY way I can recover some of this, namely my business files, kids pics etc??

    Thanks for all your help.
     
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Similar Topics

Add New Comment

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...