System help needed to find cause of freezing

By Ford Prefect
Aug 18, 2007
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  1. Hi Folks,
    (I'm posting this here as I need system help not application software help)
    I've been using Photoshop 7 and Photoshop Elements 5 for some time now with no problems.
    I've recently got a full version (tryout) of CS2.
    It installed without a hitch but when I launch it, everything appears to be OK (I get the message saying you have 28 days left etc) but it then freezes.
    I can't access any of the menus or even click the toolbars.
    The only way to get out is via Task Mgr.
    I know the program is OK as it works ok on two other computers.
    I therefore need to track down the problem on mine.
    Here are some details:
    I have a DELL 9200 with a Duo Processor 2.4GHz, 4MB of RAM, 500GB system disc (RAID 0 stripe) so I don't think it's a performance problem!
    I'm running XP Pro SP2 plus all current updates.
    When I launch CS2 I can see from Task Manager that the Photoshop.exe process appears and uses about 2-8% of cpu during loading.
    However, as soon as it is loaded, when I would expect the cpu usage to reduce to zero again, it rises to 50% and stays there and the application immediately says "not responding".
    I need to find out what is causing this so any help will be much appreciated.
    I also have Photoshop 7.0 and it works perfectly.
    I have compared all settings and set my PC for "Performance" (programs) and increased the paging file to 3x RAM size but still the same.
    Thanks in advance.
    Regards.
  2. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    In the 9200, it is usually a video graphics card issue, or a memory issue. What memory have you installed? Is it Value Ram or other low priced memory?
    What video graphics card?
    I would first download and run MemTest86 for four hours or 7 passes to rule out memory problems. Then look at your timings, latency and other such memory specs to rule that out as a cause.
    Adobe CS2 puts such extreme demands on memory and video that you have to suspect them first.
    Do you use a Firewall different than the WXPP firewall? Sometimes a problem when Adobe is always trying to call home... which it is... reporting on you everytime you open Windows.
    Then I would take a look at the cpu fan and cpu heatsink. Many of the 9200's show up in our shops with no thermal past. Their fans also slow down when they get crud on the blades. New thermal paste, a fan speed monitor, and cleaned up cooling using que tips and denatured alcohol might help.
    CPU usage by itself is not an alarm issue, and its value is often misread.
    Still, I suspect software installs, infestations, and such much more than you seem to do. Because Adobe CS2 is normally trouble free, as you have found out on other computers. Run your antivirus and spyware in normal mode, then run again immediately in safe mode.
    I would then run Windows XPP in Repair mode, but I don't think the recovery disc for the 9200 will allow that. If you don't have a full version of XPP available from a friend, I would reinstall everything.
  3. Ford Prefect

    Ford Prefect Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 16

    Hi Ray,
    Thanks for the quick response.
    The memory (4x1GB) is brand new DELL DDR RAM 667MHz and came pre-installed. I've already tried removing and reseating them.
    The graphics card is a 256 ATI Radeon X1300Pro, again pre-installed by DELL.
    It's all less than one month old.
    I use Pc-cillin Internet Security 2007 package, but I've tried both with it on and all switched off, still the same.
    It's also the same in Safe Mode, if that means anything.
    I've just run (last night) a complete virus, spyware, and MS vulnerabilities test and all is ok.
    Haven't done that in Safe Mode yet.
    Just downloaded MemTest but it needs a floppy to run and the 9200 doesn't have one.
    Regards.
  4. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    OK, the Dell memory is always first rate, so that probably isn't it, unless a module has gone defective. But I would still run the free and very good MemTest86 for four hours just to rule out problems, and it can be run in various modes beside a floppy. Try an ISO disc or a flash drive, all described on their site.
    Graphics card is good, but not great... if you do a lot of gaming, it is easily burned out or damaged by too much heat... could be the problem. I don't know of a simple test, except to borrow somebody's other brand or model to try.
    Do not ignore Dell tech support. If you get somebody you do not like, call back. You should still be under warranty.
    I would run an external scan by Panda, Computer Associates EZArmor, McAfee, or run AVG. I am not fond of PCCillin's ability to keep up with the latest infestations. You only need to run in Safemode if it finds something in normal mode. The vulnerabilities test is virtually meaningless.
    I suspect Adobe.
    We do a great number of Adobe Photoshop installs up through CS3, and find it nearly always trouble free... only the memory and video graphics problems already discussed. So I would have to suspect an install issue, or a hard drive issue... or something related to the fact that you have not yet registered the product.
    Adobe is the second largest software company in the world. They are expert EXPERT at tracking the customer. Any Adobe software can tattle on you. If the previous installs have been online, they have probably already told Adobe, and adobe has sent an EVIL back to hide on your latest machine to stop further "piracy" as they see it. If you have a valid copy, call Adobe Tech support and ask them. They will be able to tell you, as their computers have everything known about you and your installs IF YOU WERE ONLINE with them.
  5. Ford Prefect

    Ford Prefect Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 16

    Hi Ray,
    Thanks for that.
    I've downloaded MemTest and made a bootable CD.
    Ran it twice so far, all OK.
    Takes about 40 mins each cycle so might put it on again overnight.
    Checked graphics card drivers and they are the latest.
    Also, don't do any gaming, just photos and video editing.
    Interesting what you say about Adobe, most of my stuff is registered but the CS2 was from a mag CD with a tryout code on the CD so I did the installation off-line. My Photoshop 7 and Elements 3 are legit but I recently bought an "OEM" version of Elements 5 which was sold as "unregistered" but I wonder if there's something suspicious in that? If Adobe is capable of planting "evil" on your system, how do you find out or get rid of it?
    I've got a spare partition on another hard drive, I think I might try installing another copy of XP and then try CS2 on that before doing anything else.
    Thanks and regards.
  6. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    My word for EVIL would not be Adobe's choice of words. They just have ways of protecting their investment. You can watch some firewalls such as Zone Alarm, Comodo, and Kerio, as well as spyware such as SpyBot and AVG for contacts with Adobe. They don't make a secret of it, ezactly, they just track their software... with a certain amount of freedom... I know for certain that they track their unregistered software for the full 30 days, and the adobe software works differently after registration.
    But Adobe will tell you this stuff if ask them on their tech support telephone.
    Anyway, it is "possible" that if they know you have made other test installs, that they are aware of them, without knowing the details... so they have stopped you from doing more.... ask them.
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