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Old 02-08-2007, 06:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Desktop Behaving Oddly

At one point last evening, my computer starting acting unusual. It crashed unexpectedly as it was left unattended. Repeated attemps to restart it either failed or were tediously slow. Any disk checks before hand passed and did not report any errors. The harddrive was constantly being active .... the light flickering excessively. It was also making some odd clicking sounds never heard before.

I did a virus check - pass. Did a Spybot and Adaware check - pass. I cleaned up the garbage that collects on the computer in an effort to speed things up.

Today, bootup is still agonizingly slow. It has been working fine for a while tonight, but it is sluggish! The cursor stops, movement between windows is slow, typing has to catch up, all the while the drive is being accessed.

Is this an indication of a hardware (drive) problem? Should I be preparing for a catastrophic drive failure? Or are there other diagnostic or housekeeping activities I can perform to isolate any potential problems?

Sorry if the information provided is vague. I want to avoid writing a novel full of redundant detail. If anyone wishes to make an attempt to help, and needs any info in an effort to help diagose, please ask.

Jennifer
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Old 02-08-2007, 07:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Right away evidence is pointing to a hard drive fail if you're hearing clicking noises. So I highly recommend you prepare for a hard drive failure. If you have data you don't dare to lose, quickly grab a flash drive (Around $15-20 for 2g) or another large hard drive and start dragging your important files onto it. This, however, is just a precaution, but with the information you've provided there's a very strong chance your hard drive is about to meet it's maker.

If you want to be even safer, or if something happens to your hard drive to prevent you from reaching windows, or if the above is impossible, install windows on another hard drive and use the new drive as the Master, making sure you set the bad drive as the slave. The idea is to boot up on the new drive, open My Computer, and try to drag and drop files from the bad hard drive to the good one.

I'm going to subscribe to this thread so I know immediately when you've posted any updates.

Good luck.
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Old 02-08-2007, 08:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank rahlzel for replying, I will indeed keep this thread posted with any new developments. I have already started preparations in anticipation of the worst, my critical files have been backed up on a CD.

For some reason, in the last hour or so, things have calmed significantly. The drive is no longer making any odd noises, and the jumpiness has subsided (I can best describe the jumpiness as being similar in nature when you have bogged down you computer so much that even the simplist of tasks becomes a burden ... usually just before your system becomes unstable).

I did do a successful automatic registry repair. Perhaps that had something to do with it. I'm not holding my breath through, this may just be a calm before the storm so to speak.
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Old 02-08-2007, 11:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Is your hard drive getting low on free space?

Is your swap file too small?
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Old 02-09-2007, 01:01 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I also know that computers suddenly becoming excruciatingly slow can point to a virus. With viruses, it's important to keep an open mind. The virus could make your hard drive work overtime, therefore indirectly causing the drive to click because it's rapidly degrading.

I noticed you did a full virus scan. Very smart of you - although unfortunately even the most prestigious of virus protection programs won't catch brand new viruses for obvious reasons. Has anything changed with your computer such as program installs, hardware changes, etc?

In either case, I'm glad you have all your important files separated from the bad drive. I think everyone can learn from the importance of this, since hard drive problems can occur at any moment.

P.S. Mind the spyware/adware programs you install. There are some out on the internet that actually imbed viruses and spyware when you install them.
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Old 02-09-2007, 05:43 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Thanks ....

Thanks xTitanX and rahlzel for your replies.
Only 17 of 230 GB used on this drive Titan. Unless the swap file size was inmvoluntarily changed, it should not have degraded it's performca as such from previous days. I wouldn't know where to check.

I ran a disk defrag overnight. It went OK, but after it was done, the computer crashed. It was unresponsive to anything (even CTRL ALT DEL) on my return in the AM. When I hard booted, it ran a disk check, finding no errors, but it to resulted ina unresponsiveness (it never booted to Windows at all). Sunsequent tries failed until I got home and tried again. Bootup was agonizingly slow and the drive lights are going insane. The system slows everytime the drive is accessed.

Augh ... "mind the spyware/adware programs"? How can you trust? :-(

I'm thinking of maybe trying a system restore to an earlier date, as over the last few days I've experienced automatic updates to various applications, and honestly have lost track of programs installed and deleted. Do you think this will help me isolate a software/config problem vs. hardware?
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Old 02-09-2007, 06:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Thanks ....

Quote:
Originally posted by ark05
Thanks xTitanX and rahlzel for your replies.
Only 17 of 230 GB used on this drive Titan. Unless the swap file size was inmvoluntarily changed, it should not have degraded it's performca as such from previous days. I wouldn't know where to check.

I ran a disk defrag overnight. It went OK, but after it was done, the computer crashed. It was unresponsive to anything (even CTRL ALT DEL) on my return in the AM. When I hard booted, it ran a disk check, finding no errors, but it to resulted ina unresponsiveness (it never booted to Windows at all). Sunsequent tries failed until I got home and tried again. Bootup was agonizingly slow and the drive lights are going insane. The system slows everytime the drive is accessed.

Augh ... "mind the spyware/adware programs"? How can you trust? :-(

I'm thinking of maybe trying a system restore to an earlier date, as over the last few days I've experienced automatic updates to various applications, and honestly have lost track of programs installed and deleted. Do you think this will help me isolate a software/config problem vs. hardware?
Try that but that Hard Drive is about to become a Frisbee, as the behavior points to . Buy another Drive. They are cheap!!
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Old 02-09-2007, 11:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Hi all. I ran another virus check with a different application (Avast 4.7). It found a virus in a download cache from Firefox named run.exe. I deleted it through the virus scan console. This may or may not be the culprit. I've been Googling around, but I have not really found any information to check to see if I have been deeply infected, nor how to rid the virus completely.
Anyone have any suggestions or advice?
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Old 02-10-2007, 08:06 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I also find it interesting that sometimes when I can finally get things working, one of my 3 drives goes missing. It's not identified or available on any applications or through windows explorer.
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Old 02-11-2007, 09:04 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Then it's possible this virus is what's causing all these problems. Make sure you have updated virus definitions and run a few full system scans. There are a few good links to free virus protection programs on this site if you'd like a "second opinion".
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