Weird computer problems.

By TKMp3
Apr 24, 2003
  1. I built a 2.4GHz P4 computer w/ an ECS P4VXAD+ mobo, 200GB Western Digital 7200RPM 8MB hard drive, and GF4 TI4200 vid card. It worked perfectly fine for the first week or so then it started freezing while starting up windows xp home. I tried reinstalling windows. That didnt work, so i tried quick reformatting and reinstalling windows. That didnt work either, so i finally tried slow reformatting. That worked, but half way into the windows installation it gave a blue screen saying that it couldnt read the image of some file off the hard drive. The same type of thing happened constantly, so I took it to my house, turned it on, and somehow it installed Windows without any errors. When i got into windows, everything was slow - even the startup. This is exactly where i am now. Everything is so incredibly slow. There is a big lag every time you do something, but when it starts going, it's pretty fast. I have also noticed that I can download Windows updates, but they stop installing in the middle of the installation. Please help me out.
  2. negroplasty

    negroplasty TS Guru Posts: 516   +12

    The first thing I wondered while reading your post was if you are trying to install a pirated version of Windows. If you are using an authentic copy, try Microsoft Knowledge Base. If they can't help you, or if you would rather, call one of their support phone numbers.
  3. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    If it does this on two different systems, then it sounds like you have a bad copy of Windows XP. You might want to look into getting another version.
  4. TKMp3

    TKMp3 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I am using a genuine copy of Windows XP Home w/ SP1.
  5. TKMp3

    TKMp3 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I am almost positive that it is a hardware problem. I just don't know what to point my finger at. Any suggestions?
  6. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    I find it hard to believe it is a hardware problem when it happens to two different systems.. But I will give you some tips as to what I know can cause this kind of behavior.

    Software - This problem happens on a clean install of Windows XP without ANY software installed, correct? If this is true, then we know it is a problem with Windows XP or your hardware.

    Hard disk -
    This symptom in particular makes me think it is your hard disk that is fault.. And/or possible memory. I would recommend formatting your disk again and running a full, bad sector test on your HDD. Scandisk comes with a Windows 98/Me bootdisk and you can use this. If not, there are plenty of utilities out there (even freeware) that can scan for bad sectors. Bad sectors cause crashing, freezing and slow downs.

    Memory - It does funny things sometimes and while unlikely, could be causing your troubles. Often times, memory causes problems that can be mistaken for hard disk errors.. Which in this case, sounds possible. I suggest a full memory test Download the compiled windows binary for the easiest setup.

    Peripherals and extra devices - Remove all USB, Firewire, serial, printer etc.. devices from the computer except for your keyboard and mouse. Remove all modems, network cards, sound cards and other devices from your computer. If your problem goes away, then you can narrow it down to a single device causing your problems.

    BIOS settings - I have seen USB legacy support create a very similar problem in Windows XP before. I recommend turning off as many "extra" options as possible, especially this one if it is available.
  7. Phoenix

    Phoenix TS Rookie

    I have had the same problem. I just built an Intel P4 2.4 with an Intel motherboard and installed a WD 80gb 8mb hard drive. After troubleshooting memory, mb settings, hard drive, cpu, and nVidia video card. I determined that the problem was a registry setting in XP that keeps the system from booting or allowing it to boot and crash. Anyway correction...copy what you want to keep such as documents etc...DO NOT BACKUP YOUR OLD REGISTRY! Set your BIOS to boot to the XP CD. Once in XP Setup, erase your old hard drive partition. Make a new partition and make sure you use the full drive (double check your BIOS to be sure it recognizes that full amount...if not try partitioning it but I had problems with the partitions until I finally setup the HD with the full amount). After the new partition is setup, then format the drive with NTFS and let setup finish. After done, you will need to set all of your programs up and copy documents etc from your back-up...Again, DO NOT RESTORE OLD REGISTRY!... New setup should work and you should be able to install drivers for your motherboard to enhance speed of your drive. If you still have crashes, then it could be something else, but I think an old registry setting causes a conflict with the MB or the HD. But I could not even boot to a XP in safe mode when I was having problems in the beginning *Registry Setting?* Hope you don't have to pull out your hair as I did... Also good luck pulling teeth with Microsoft to convince them to re-register your copy of XP because of a registry problem. But don't give up that WD drive is fast with the precache of the 8mb...and works great with the P4 2.4!
  8. TKMp3

    TKMp3 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    OK, thanks a lot for your help. I finally fixed it. It was the hard drive. I love partition magic! It found 3 errors, deleted the partition, repartitioned it and formatted. I also like that memory test program that you recommended. I downloaded the ISO image of it so i can test any computer w/ it. Thanks again!
  9. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    Were there bad sectors or just file system errors? That HDD is probably pretty new and should be under warranty still. Every drive has "bad sectors", but when they start showing up in normal disk space, then you could have a major problem on your hands in the future.

    Your disk could suffer from a cascade failure - Growing gradually worse overtime - And probably failing in the near future. You should RMA it and get it replaced with a new drive from WDigital. They honor their warranties without any hassle.

    I recommend you download Western Digital's Data Lifeguard tools and test your disk using the diagnosis / SMART disk tests. IF they fail (probably will if you have bad sectors), you are in immediate danger and it will make RMAing easy.
  10. TKMp3

    TKMp3 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    After finding out that it was the hard drive, i remember why. I used the windows 98 boot disk to partition and format the hard drive... then i realized that it only supported 60GB or something like that. However, it showed that it was 200GB, so i kept going then eventually forgot about it.
  11. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    That's great! A simple fix and oversight. I'm glad it didn't turn out to be worse.
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