Sudden Instability (?)

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.win98.gen_discussion (More info?)

After an odd crash I suddenly have an stability problem on a Thinkpad
laptop that has been running rather reliably for years with Win98se.
The only thing I can think of is that I uninstalled Macromedia Flash
recently. Other than that I've installed a Thunderbird update but not
much else that I can think of.

The eight or ten crashes I've seen in the past day seem semi-random.
Only one of them resulted in a blue screen. Usually they cause a
reboot. I've had crashes during boot. Crashes during shutdown. Crashes
when connecting to the internet, and I don't know what else.

Is there any logical process for ironing out an instability problem?

Thanks
8 answers Last reply
More about sudden instability
  1. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.win98.gen_discussion (More info?)

    In addition to a possible heat problem, you could have a failing hard drive, power
    supply, or memory. Malware could also be the cause. The exact error messages might
    help narrow it down.

    Since it is an IBM Thinkpad, it probably has an IBM hard drive, unless it was
    replaced at some time. Try the IBM/Hitachi Drive Fitness Test to see if any
    problems are reported. You will need a bootable floppy drive to use it:
    http://www.hgst.com/hdd/support/download.htm
    --
    Glen Ventura, MS MVP Shell/User, A+
    http://dts-l.org/goodpost.htm


    <galt_57@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:1123348464.020372.296190@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
    > After an odd crash I suddenly have an stability problem on a Thinkpad
    > laptop that has been running rather reliably for years with Win98se.
    > The only thing I can think of is that I uninstalled Macromedia Flash
    > recently. Other than that I've installed a Thunderbird update but not
    > much else that I can think of.
    >
    > The eight or ten crashes I've seen in the past day seem semi-random.
    > Only one of them resulted in a blue screen. Usually they cause a
    > reboot. I've had crashes during boot. Crashes during shutdown. Crashes
    > when connecting to the internet, and I don't know what else.
    >
    > Is there any logical process for ironing out an instability problem?
    >
    > Thanks
    >
  2. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.win98.gen_discussion (More info?)

    galt_57@hotmail.com wrote in news:1123348464.020372.296190
    @z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com:

    > After an odd crash I suddenly have an stability problem on a Thinkpad
    > laptop that has been running rather reliably for years with Win98se.
    > The only thing I can think of is that I uninstalled Macromedia Flash
    > recently. Other than that I've installed a Thunderbird update but not
    > much else that I can think of.
    >
    > The eight or ten crashes I've seen in the past day seem semi-random.
    > Only one of them resulted in a blue screen. Usually they cause a
    > reboot. I've had crashes during boot. Crashes during shutdown. Crashes
    > when connecting to the internet, and I don't know what else.
    >
    > Is there any logical process for ironing out an instability problem?
    >
    > Thanks
    >
    >

    Sounds like a heat problem. Is it possible that there's dust in the
    ventilation system? Or maybe the fan doesn't run anymore?
  3. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.win98.gen_discussion (More info?)

    On 6 Aug 2005 10:14:24 -0700, galt_57@hotmail.com wrote:

    >After an odd crash I suddenly have an stability problem on a Thinkpad
    >laptop that has been running rather reliably for years with Win98se.
    >The only thing I can think of is that I uninstalled Macromedia Flash
    >recently. Other than that I've installed a Thunderbird update but not
    >much else that I can think of.

    OK

    >The eight or ten crashes I've seen in the past day seem semi-random.

    That points to variable problems at a low level of abstraction, such
    as bad RAM, overclocking, sick SVGA or mobo (such as bad motherboard
    capacitors), wonky mains or power supply, etc.

    If online at the time, can also be external network attacks - but
    that's far more likely with NT/2000/XP than Win9x.

    >Only one of them resulted in a blue screen. Usually they cause a
    >reboot. I've had crashes during boot. Crashes during shutdown. Crashes
    >when connecting to the internet, and I don't know what else.

    Reboots rather than lockups sound like power glitches. Can be as
    simple as a loose mains connection.

    >Is there any logical process for ironing out an instability problem?

    Yes.

    First priority: Protect the contents of HD from secondary damage -
    unplug from mains and unhook it from the system.

    Then, eyeball the motherboard capacitors to see if they are bulging or
    leaking. If so, they have to be replaced; that means a good board
    soldering dude, such as those at distributors' workshops.

    Check that fans turn OK, and make sure no loose metal objects iin
    case, or dangly wires that can touch stuff. Check where the mains
    connects to witches, etc.

    Now you can power up into CMOS Setup. Look for a section there that
    shows you the temperatures, fan speeds and voltages. Expect some
    voltage drift, say "+12V" could be 11.65V or 12.35V, etc.

    Prepare a MemTest86 or SIMMtester boot disk on a known-good PC, and
    boot the sick on from it. Leave it running overnight; any errors must
    be gotten rid of, by whatever means necessary - usually replacement
    RAM, but could be within CPU's L1/L2 cache or motherboard logic (SiS).

    Having got this far, for the first time you'd connect up the HD, but
    you won't run drool-on-the-HD Windows just yet.

    Zeroth, copy off all your data to safety!
    First, verify the physical HD.
    Second, verify the file system (Scandisk).
    Third, do a formal virus scan.

    See topics at http://cquirke.mvps.org on this stuff...


    >------------ ----- ---- --- -- - - - -
    The most accurate diagnostic instrument
    in medicine is the Retrospectoscope
    >------------ ----- ---- --- -- - - - -
  4. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.win98.gen_discussion (More info?)

    On Sat, 6 Aug 2005 15:08:48 -0400, "glee" <glee29@spamindspring.com>

    >Since it is an IBM Thinkpad

    Whoooee! I missed that; if it's a laptop, then rather not dig around
    inside, though removing the HD for safety (after unplugging mains and
    removing battery) is a good idea if you can do that cleanly.

    Laptops often fail the "carpet test", if they require airflow from
    underneath to cool them down. Watch out for that!


    >------------------------ ---- --- -- - - - -
    Can't stop what's coming
    Can't stop what's on it's way (Tori Amos)
    >------------------------ ---- --- -- - - - -
  5. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.win98.gen_discussion (More info?)

    I've now had no crashes for more than a day. The ram and disk tests
    have not shown anything. Virus and spybot scans were negative. I'll run
    tests again when I see another crash. Does it do any good to have
    DrWatson running?

    Thanks

    glee wrote:
    > In addition to a possible heat problem, you could have a failing
    > hard drive, power supply, or memory. Malware could also be the
    > cause. The exact error messages might help narrow it down.
    >
    > Since it is an IBM Thinkpad, it probably has an IBM hard drive,
    > unless it was replaced at some time. Try the IBM/Hitachi Drive
    > Fitness Test to see if any problems are reported. You will need a
    > bootable floppy drive to use it:
    > http://www.hgst.com/hdd/support/download.htm
    > --
    > Glen Ventura, MS MVP Shell/User, A+
    > http://dts-l.org/goodpost.htm
    >
    >
    > <galt_57@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    > news:1123348464.020372.296190@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
    > > After an odd crash I suddenly have an stability problem on a Thinkpad
    > > laptop that has been running rather reliably for years with Win98se.
    > > The only thing I can think of is that I uninstalled Macromedia Flash
    > > recently. Other than that I've installed a Thunderbird update but not
    > > much else that I can think of.
    > >
    > > The eight or ten crashes I've seen in the past day seem semi-random.
    > > Only one of them resulted in a blue screen. Usually they cause a
    > > reboot. I've had crashes during boot. Crashes during shutdown. Crashes
    > > when connecting to the internet, and I don't know what else.
    > >
    > > Is there any logical process for ironing out an instability problem?
    > >
    > > Thanks
    > >
  6. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.win98.gen_discussion (More info?)

    <galt_57@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:1123442205.493064.307710@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com...
    > I've now had no crashes for more than a day. The ram and disk tests
    > have not shown anything. Virus and spybot scans were negative. I'll run
    > tests again when I see another crash. Does it do any good to have
    > DrWatson running?

    Not really.

    If you are experiencing a consistent, repeatable problem,
    you can always turn Dr Watson back on
    to help diagnose the problem.

    If the problem is NOT consistent and repeatable,
    then Dr Watson won't do you much good at all.
  7. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.win98.gen_discussion (More info?)

    Hugh Candlin wrote:
    > <galt_57@hotmail.com> wrote:
    > >
    > > I've now had no crashes for more than a day. The ram and disk tests
    > > have not shown anything. Virus and spybot scans were negative. I'll run
    > > tests again when I see another crash. Does it do any good to have
    > > DrWatson running?
    >
    > Not really.
    >
    > If you are experiencing a consistent, repeatable problem,
    > you can always turn Dr Watson back on
    > to help diagnose the problem.
    >
    > If the problem is NOT consistent and repeatable,
    > then Dr Watson won't do you much good at all.

    The crashes have now become somewhat less frequent. I have discovered
    something repeatable. Firefox now crashes everytime I visit
    www.cnn.com. I reloaded Firefox 1.0.6 so it shouldn't be corrupted, but
    DrWatson says it is using a null pointer. Could one of the win98 DLL's
    be corrupted? I ran "system file checker" inside system information and
    it doesn't see a problem.
  8. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.win98.gen_discussion (More info?)

    <galt_57@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:1123860230.665175.297480@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
    > Hugh Candlin wrote:
    > > <galt_57@hotmail.com> wrote:
    > > >
    > > > I've now had no crashes for more than a day. The ram and disk tests
    > > > have not shown anything. Virus and spybot scans were negative. I'll
    run
    > > > tests again when I see another crash. Does it do any good to have
    > > > DrWatson running?
    > >
    > > Not really.
    > >
    > > If you are experiencing a consistent, repeatable problem,
    > > you can always turn Dr Watson back on
    > > to help diagnose the problem.
    > >
    > > If the problem is NOT consistent and repeatable,
    > > then Dr Watson won't do you much good at all.
    >
    > The crashes have now become somewhat less frequent. I have discovered
    > something repeatable. Firefox now crashes everytime I visit
    > www.cnn.com. I reloaded Firefox 1.0.6 so it shouldn't be corrupted, but
    > DrWatson says it is using a null pointer. Could one of the win98 DLL's
    > be corrupted? I ran "system file checker" inside system information and
    > it doesn't see a problem.


    I know 2 things about Firefox.

    Diddle and squat.

    However, see if you have a file called XUL.mfl

    If you do, rename it, reboot, and try loading CNN again.
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