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DrWatson Errors, Crashing, hard drive clicks

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January 10, 2007 3:37:31 AM

On my (basically)brand new self built computer I'm having issues in Windows XP lately- many programs I open say 'this program has encountered and error and needs to close'.

Just a few minutes ago I was particularly alarmed- I got a 'DrWatson needs to close' error message, then was bombarded with a huge number of "rundll32(may not be exact, don't remember now) as an app." errors.

Also, my Raptor X 150 gig hard drive, or at least I assume that's the part doing the clicking, keeps doing bursts of clicks (no more than a few w/ each) every second or two, in intermittent patterns depending on what's loading- is that normal, or might it show an HD error?

Also when I installed Windows for the second time a couple days ago, Windows has had the 'safely remove hardware' button at the bottom regarding stopping/ejecting my hard drive for some reason. That wasn't there on the first install.

I don't get these program crash errors all the time, but it seems that the more things I'm doing at one time, the more likely programs are to say they need to close right when I open them, and when that starts to happen, pretty much everything says it needs to close.

Could this be some virus that survived a format?
Hard Drive error?
Windows error?
January 10, 2007 4:21:54 AM

Don't be especially alarmed by Dr. Watson showing up. This is an error diagnostic tool built into XP that comes up when there is a program error.

I also don't believe your Raptor is bad (or dying).

You've got corruption.

Have you anti-virus & anti-spyware apps? Have you run them inside of normal Windows? and then in Safe Mode? Any results?

If you're okay starting fresh, and you have a floppy drive, get a hold of a W98 (or ME) boot diskette (download the file to make one if you have to).
If you're making one, format the floppy first to make sure it has no bad spots - if it does, keep trying others until you get a clean one.

Boot up with the floppy - type fdisk at the "A" prompt - and delete all the partitions you find.

DO NOT FORMAT HERE!

Remove the floppy - pop in your XP and reboot to start the install.

Remember, boot order in the BIOS should be cd drive first, floppy, hd.

When you get to the screen that formats - choose NTFS, but not the Quick. Let the format utility surface scan the hd. Could take an hour, hour and a half; take a break, have dinner (or lunch).

The only virus that formatting doesn't kill is boot-sector related, which wouldn't allow you to boot up into the desktop. So, it's not that.
January 10, 2007 3:57:37 PM

Quote:
Don't be especially alarmed by Dr. Watson showing up.

well, the thing is, Dr Watson itself has errors as soon as it comes up.

I'm running kaspersky anti-virus and Zone Alarm firewall right now. No anti-spyware yet.

Kaspersky's showing everything's clear in normal windows. It was clear in safe mode before the format, I'll check now though.

Is there any difference between the method of reinstalling you described and simply putting in the XP install disc and telling it to do the non-quick format?
Because I did the slower/thorough one on the list.

Isn't there a disc fixer app that comes with Windows to check for errors?
Related resources
January 10, 2007 5:06:44 PM

You've got corruption, allegedly not caused by a virus. That leaves the following suspects:

SOFTWARE
You may have been hit with various spyware/malware intrusions (not cookies).

If you're stable enough to get out to the net, visit webroot.com and get their free SpySweeper scan. I think it's the best on the market - you should consider purchasing it.

HARDWARE
A memory stick has gone bad.

Get a hold of Memtest - burn its' bootable cd and run it for four hours to see if your ram is okay.

The hard drive is faltering.

(Here's the disk repair you were asking about). Run chkdsk & then read its' report to look for problems:
Right-click the "C" drive - Properties - Tools - Error Checking. Click both boxes - OK out, and reboot. Could take an hour to complete. When you get your desktop back, go to Control Panel - Admin Tools - Event Viewer - Application. Look for "Winlogon" near the top in the right pane. Open it, and scroll down 2/3rds to look for the bad sector line. If it shows any - RMA the drive & start over.

The power supply is funky.

Check the quality of the one you have versus this list. You should be minimum tier 3.

http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=108088

Easiest way is to swap out.

See if any of the above comes up with something; then fix it.

You already have the corruption - meaning dll's are bad in the apps that are crashing. How about this attack:

Uninstall all the bad actors that are not part of the O/S (you'll reinstall them later). Then do a Repair install of XP. Boot with the XP cd in. At the first instance of the install offering to do a repair - DON'T! press r.
Hit Enter to find your way to the next screen to offer to repair an existing Windows installation - that is what you want - do that.
Hopefully, it will stabilize your XP.

As to your question about the fresh install, I like to kill the partitions in DOS and just have XP do the format. You really want the long NTFS format because it does a surface scan. If it finds an occassional bad sector, it will be marked & isolated so that the O/S doesn't write to it.
January 10, 2007 10:16:58 PM

Quote:
SOFTWARE
You may have been hit with various spyware/malware intrusions (not cookies).

If you're stable enough to get out to the net, visit webroot.com and get their free SpySweeper scan.


checking now, hopefully it's that simple.
January 10, 2007 10:18:26 PM

Quote:
A memory stick has gone bad.

Get a hold of Memtest - burn its' bootable cd and run it for four hours to see if your ram is okay.

This was my original problem which kept me from getting the comp functioning when purchased back in oct. till just a week ago- bad stick of RAM. Took me forever to figure it out though.

Since I just got a replacement back from Corsair and ran memtest right at the start, it should be good.
But I'll check again anyway.
January 10, 2007 10:28:50 PM

Quote:
The power supply is funky.

Check the quality of the one you have versus this list. You should be minimum tier 3.

I have a Xion PowerReal 600W.
So, Tier 5 according to that post. At the time I was under the impression the only thing that really mattered was wattage. Shall know more for next build.

But I'll look into all the other options, and if it still remains, then I'll suspect this.
January 11, 2007 12:08:43 AM

Quote:
You've got corruption, allegedly not caused by a virus. That leaves the following suspects:

SOFTWARE
You may have been hit with various spyware/malware intrusions (not cookies).

looks like it's not this. Spysweeper is clear (except for 3 cookies)
January 11, 2007 12:13:41 AM

Quote:
Event Viewer - Application. Look for "Winlogon" near the top in the right pane.


I'm in Event Viewer - Application, where do I find Winlogon?

I see a few WinMgmt entries under the "Source" column, no logon though.
January 11, 2007 2:40:56 AM

It'll be there in the top ten IF YOU RAN CHKDSK first before going here to look for it.

Don't forget to click Application.
January 12, 2007 1:32:11 AM

Quote:
The hard drive is faltering.

(Here's the disk repair you were asking about). Run chkdsk & then read its' report to look for problems:
Right-click the "C" drive - Properties - Tools - Error Checking. Click both boxes - OK out, and reboot. Could take an hour to complete. When you get your desktop back, go to Control Panel - Admin Tools - Event Viewer - Application. Look for "Winlogon" near the top in the right pane. Open it, and scroll down 2/3rds to look for the bad sector line.

Do I need to go to "run" and type "chkdsk" at any point, or just the other two steps?
Either way, Winlogon still isn't showing.
January 12, 2007 4:07:51 AM

No.

Follow the directions from "Right-click......"
January 12, 2007 6:14:01 PM

Quote:
No.

Follow the directions from "Right-click......"

I just noticed that when I logged on there was an error having to do with a windows log.
It could be that the log is not being carried out.
Perhaps you could tell me the exact name of the file I'm looking for under each column (though I'm about 95% sure it's not there).

thanks for the help by the way.
January 12, 2007 7:04:13 PM

Did chkdsk run during boot?

If yes, there will be a Winlogon report under the Source column.
January 12, 2007 8:01:08 PM

Quote:
Did chkdsk run during boot?

If yes, there will be a Winlogon report under the Source column.


I just realized that chkdsk didn't actually run when I told it to- it just displayed nothing on the monitor for an hour or so instead of the blue screen coming up(which I discovered by running chkdsk on my other 2 comps, and I do see the Winlogon file on these).

"0 kb in bad sectors" is the only relevant part?

I suppose I need to try repairing windows then.
January 12, 2007 10:08:04 PM

Now you know that the hard drive isn't failing. Our first supposition that your XP is corrupt was accurate.

You're basically "brand new" as you say, so do a clean install.

You should kill the partition with fdisk first. That'll be on a W98 (orME) boot floppy diskette. Then start the install.
January 13, 2007 10:29:05 AM

Quote:
Now you know that the hard drive isn't failing. Our first supposition that your XP is corrupt was accurate.

You're basically "brand new" as you say, so do a clean install.

You should kill the partition with fdisk first. That'll be on a W98 (orME) boot floppy diskette. Then start the install.

ChkDsk finally ran- had to run a Windows Repair, and indeed the hard drive is fine. The crashing problem remained after repairing. Event Logger is showing these errors- Event ID 1000.

So it does, in fact, look like a full format/clean install is the only thing I can do. Whenever I do, I'll use the steps you said (have a game I'd like to finish up beforehand).

Is there any possibility here that any of this is linked to compatibility issues between Zone Alarm Firewall and Kaspersky Anti-Virus?
January 13, 2007 2:12:45 PM

My opinion on that will be skewed toward ZA; my personal machines, and most of my customers have been running it for years with very satisfactory results.

I have the impression that you've chosen to only run the firewall in the ZA package; and have Kaspersky up as your AV? I'm not crazy about that.

Because you NEVER want to have two AV's up at the same time. That does create problems.

I strongly feel that you should run only ZA - its' AV & wall. They're meant to be together. When you're gaming, turn on its' game mode.

If you like Kaspersky as extra protection, run it manually once a week or so, but use it passively - don't let it load at startup. If you do use it, SHUT DOWN ZA FIRST!
January 13, 2007 8:01:57 PM

Quote:
Because you NEVER want to have two AV's up at the same time. That does create problems.

I'm using the free version of both, so there is no Zone Alarm anti-virus, only kaspersky.

There also is only one firewall- Zone Alarm.

How about System Mechanic 7's compatibility with these two? Any issues there?
January 14, 2007 4:18:09 PM

Errors persist.

Partition was deleted with ME boot disc(floppy), thorough NTFS format was run with WinXP disc, reinstall of Win done.

Now I've been working on getting all my stuff back on- downloading all my programs and such. All are well known programs, most from download.com

When I was just now running multiple downloads/installs, I tried opening Windows Media, and it crashed. Then a couple other things crashed, then an error with DrWatson was reported.

What's the deal here? Conflicting programs I'm downloading?
Bad power supply?
January 15, 2007 4:13:48 AM

Couple of things to troubleshoot.

Crashes are almost always two programs trying to occupy the same place in memory.

First, test your memory with Memtest. Burn their bootable cd, and run it for four hours. If you get errors, and you have two sticks, remove one & retest to isolate the bad one. If no errors - fine. You've eliminated that as a problem.

Next, start XP over again (you could just do the Quick format here). After the install is done, go out to Windows Update three separate times - rebooting between each. There should be about 70-75 updates happening combined. On the third visit, also check the non-critical software section and download & install DirectX 9.0c.

Are you talking about Windows Media Player? If so, get that latest one as well.

After you've gotten all of the MS stuff all set up with XP working perfectly - do your downloads. ONE AT A TIME! I know a few cats who open up two IE's and download at the same time with both of them - don't do this; not a good idea. Don't rush things - patience.

Install just ONE PROGRAM AN HOUR. Reboot; I know in XP they tell you that you don't have to in order to use the app. True, in most cases, but I like to reboot because it clears temp files. Now use it for an hour. SHUT DOWN! This clears ALL caches which doesn't always happen on a warm boot.

Restart, and install one other - use it for an hour - shut down. Keep doing this technique until you start getting crashes again (or, hopefully - not.)

If you start getting crashes again at some point, uninstall the last program - that's your bad actor; you'll have to live without it.

Your hd is fine - partitions are created & deleted; it formats; it installs programs - it's okay. The memory passed testing? Yes? Post the make & model of your power supply.
January 15, 2007 1:09:55 PM

ya, the memory is fine. 5 hour memtest gave no errors.

Power Supply is a Xion PowerReal 600W version 2.0
January 15, 2007 7:56:41 PM

lots more problems- windows won't boot after another format/installing updates and I haven't even downloaded any programs other than firefox (which I got because nvidia's site wouldn't come up right for some reason).

Windows failed booting after I restarted on prompt from windows updates (I did this about 10 times due to an SP1 disc this time- more updates/prompts), then randomly ran chkdsk to check for disk consistency.
Also, at one point, when I was running the install for the update to SP2, the computer froze.

I'm hearing a sound I didn't always hear:
a click, a sort of buzz, then just the normal fan noise again.
Sounds like something I've heard related to a surge protector. Could be the PS indeed.

I can't return it now, but can RMA.
January 15, 2007 8:04:58 PM

Get that new psu right away, and we'll continue this.
January 16, 2007 4:07:32 PM

I haven't had any problems yet on this attempt. I'm doing one program at a time, keeping it slow.
January 23, 2007 8:48:48 PM

ok, so I just installed my Seasonic S12 650W Energy+, and I'm having the same problem.

I start up the system, everything looks normal, goes through the "Asus" logo BIOS prompt screen, goes to the 'do you want to start windows normally or safe mode' screen. If I go with start windows normally, the powersupply clicks, the monitor's LED turns orange(formerly green), and the system continues to run, but does not boot. It stays in this state and does nothing else. If I select safe mode, it does boot into safe mode.
The exact same thing occurs with my Xion PS.

What's the problem? It seems very very unlikely that I just got another bad PSU, especially from this reputable brand.
January 23, 2007 9:47:49 PM

A correction:
It seems the click/noise may actually be coming from the CPU area.

Possibly a bad heat sink, bad CPU, CPU getting too hot?
I don't see why it would randomly start doing that though when it's run fine before.
January 24, 2007 2:50:13 AM

Great choice for a psu.

Delete the last program you installed. You can do that in Safe Mode.

You never said how many installed okay with no problems.
January 24, 2007 8:09:34 PM

it was maybe three programs. It's definitely acting inconsistently as it didn't have this problem (not booting) before when I had the same programs installed.
It's been a week or so since I did anything with programs so I don't remember but I'll go check and uninstall the last (or all programs).
January 24, 2007 8:16:00 PM

It says the windows installer cannot be accessed in safe mode, so shall I just directly delete in My Computer?
January 24, 2007 8:34:24 PM

Quote:
It says the windows installer cannot be accessed in safe mode, so shall I just directly delete in My Computer?


Didn't work. Some .dll couldn't delete.
So I will do the only thing I can do: format again. I'll try not installing Kaspersky anti virus this time (though it seems a reputable anti-virus program would not cause Windows boot to fail).

This seems to be some kind of hardware issue related to the CPU.
I don't know if I wrote this here yet, but on startup into normal Windows, there is a click, a buzz, the hard drive is clicking during this, then when the buzz stops (after a second or two), the hard drive stops clicking, monitor cuts out, nothing else happens, computer continues to run.

Would it make sense that this is a CPU or CPU fan/heatsink issue if the computer runs fine in safe mode?
January 26, 2007 1:04:21 AM

I formatted, installed all my drivers, ran windows update till done with all updates, did things slowly. I installed 2 or 3 of the Asus utilities from the disc that came with the mobo.
ChkDsk ran successfully, but again, nothing came up on the monitor when it ran. This seems to indicate some problem.
Restarted between everything.

I installed 1 program, THe Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
Played it several hours last night.
Shut down, started up the computer a minute ago, and it cut out with the same problem- click, buzz, screen blinks, etc.

Shut it off, started it up, it works.
Random behavior.
January 26, 2007 5:17:44 AM

Check your cpu temp in the BIOS after a couple of hours. Don't want to be too much above 55c.

If your CPU is not overheating, have you considered the possibility that your graphics has gone bad?
January 27, 2007 10:19:32 PM

Quote:
Check your cpu temp in the BIOS after a couple of hours. Don't want to be too much above 55c.

If your CPU is not overheating, have you considered the possibility that your graphics has gone bad?


Well, I should update on what I've done the past day or two:

I've installed several programs and last night I ran Prime95 all night, temps never get above 47 CPU and 35 MB. (temp measured with Asus PC Probe II).

The past couple of days I've been playing Oblivion for a good amount of hours, no problems, graphics are running amazingly. I don't know if that's a good way to test the graphics card or what, but overall, the computer does not seem to be having any problems at present.
The only peculiar thing I'm noticing that happens every time is when Windows is starting up (black background, blue bar runs across), it briefly blanks out and the monitor gives a message of 'check your video cable' or something, flashes orange, then fixes.

That may be a normal part of startup and just something weird this Hanns-G monitor does. Not sure.
January 28, 2007 4:33:21 AM

Running games is a great test for a graphics card. Sounds like you're okay.
!