XP SP3 freeze 30 seconds after startup

By BenHoughton
May 25, 2011
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  1. Hi guys,

    First time poster so be gentle with me :)

    Operating system
    Windows XP SP3

    Last night I finished playing WoW, turned my laptop off and went to bed. I had downloaded nothing new nor visited any new websites etc.

    This morning I turned my laptop on and after 30seconds or so the screen had frozen.I restarted the laptop and the same thing. and again. (you get the picture).

    The 'Not Responding' message mentioned the rundll32 so I tried the following:
    - from the CMD prompt I typed SPC \Scannow (or similar, I'm doing this from memory!). I inserted my disk at the prompt but again the machine froze after a set period of time.
    - I copied the rundll32 from another machine running xp (though I believe sp2) and attempted to paste it over the old one on my laptop at c:\windows\system32 but received a message about the file being in use. The machine then froze but I did notice the old file was 32KB and the new one was 16KB (ish).
    - I attempted, from the command prompt: expand d:\i386\rundll32.ex_ c:\windows\system32\rundll32.exe but this returned an error writing (I think) to C

    I then moved on to watching the task manager processes.

    Nothing seemed to be eating up the CPU.
    CPU usage was settled at 1% ish
    System Idle Process was settled at 99% with slight fluctuations during startup but nothing that made me think 'wow!'.

    again nothing here on startup seemed obvious but I disabled msn, some itunes stuff, some nvidia stuff

    Safe Mode
    Boots but instead of freezing the laptop turns itself off after the time frame

    Safe Mode with Networking
    As above.

    Any ideas? Remembering I only have like 30seconds to do anything once the laptop boots :)

    Interestingly the mouse moves but my other USB ports don't seem to function as my keyboard has no output on the screen and my iphone doesn't seem to register when I plug it in.

    I have a bit of a background in IT admin but by no means an expert! I hope I've given you enough information! I need to get this fixed asap as I use it for open university and can't afford to have it out of action :(

    I wondered, as a quick fix, if simply upgrading to Windows 7 would 'wipe over' the problem but in itself then i don't have driver disks so not sure if that would save me time.
  2. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

    This sounds like an overheating problem, but with only 30 seconds to play with it there is not enough time to download and install temperature monitoring software. You need to make sure that any fans are operating. If the fan on the CPU has failed that would cause a quick shutdown.

    You could also try connecting to a stand alone monitor (normally connected to a desktop) as it might be your Laptop's monitor that is failing.

    It may be Malware. You would have to remove the hard drive and hook it up to another PC, either internally on a desktop or using a USB adapter on a laptop. Then download from this link and run a full system scan with it. http://www.malwarebytes.org/products/malwarebytes_free

    One final though is a faulty memory module. Try running on just one memory module at a time. (Always disconnect the power and remove the battery before removing or replacing memory).
  3. BenHoughton

    BenHoughton TS Rookie Topic Starter


    thanks for the quick response!

    I do have a piece of temperature measuring software installed from previously so I'll try and get some sort of reading from that but if it was overheating wouldn't it turn itself off in both normal start up and safe mode? As it is, it freezes in normal and turns off in safe.

    Similarly if it was the monitor I would expect not to get any kind of on screen response? as it is I can get 'new' rundll32 not responding boxes pop up during freeze.

    I'm not too 'up' on malware but how would I have obtained this if I havent visited any new sites, downloads etc? I'll see if theres anything i can do for this but I'm not sure :/

    thanks again for the quick reply :)
  4. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

    OK, I've given this some further thought. From a bit more searching it seems that rundll32.exe error is often caused by Malware, you don't have time to run a scan before it crashes so try this anti virus boot disc. If this keeps your system going while running in dos it should find any infections and it will show that your hardware is less likely to be the cause of the crash from overheating, etc.

    If this finds any infections and removes them you should then boot from the XP disc and run a Repair install. This will fix any damaged files and will leave all your software and files intact.


    Catching a Malware infection is just bad luck, you don't have to be on any particular site.

    Once you get it to boot and stay on the desktop without freezing run Malwarebytes from the link I gave earlier, just to be on the safe side.

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