Computer unresponsive and keeps running CHKDSK

For almost two years I was running Vista x64 on a dual core Pentium with only 2GB of 800MHz DDR2 RAM – not exactly an ideal combination, but I never had any serious performance issues and was able to do my work without major problems.

Two months ago things started to change. Vista seemed to get slower and slower each day, and my network connection also kept dropping. Although most of the time I was shown as being 'connected', the Tx throughput often went to 0.000 Kbps, while the Rx throughput was still showing some activity. Occasionally the network icon in the taskbar displayed 'limited connectivity', and sometimes I would get completely disconnected. The network status varied considerably, from 'weak' to 'excellent'. Sometimes it would help to disconnect and reconnect again, and other times I would have to reboot my computer to get the network connection back again. I also got a lot of 'not responding' messages from various applications, although that mostly happened when I was installing new software, or when I was running Photoshop, so I blamed it on not having enough memory.

Today I upgraded my memory by replacing it with 2x2GB 1,066MHz modules. The computer took ages to start, and after booting up even simple tasks such as opening a new Explorer window or displaying the task menu would take several minutes. Also Vista was using 1.3GB of memory without any applications running, whereas before it had only been around 800MB. I was also getting lots of 'not responding' messages from various applications, whenever I placed the focus on them. This was without any resource intensive applications such as Photoshop or Firefox running, and I don't use any of the Vista extras such as Aero either. I read the tips in the sticky on this forum ('Speed Up The Performance Of Vista'), and turned off indexing by disabling Windows Search in services.msc. All of a sudden everything worked better than it ever had before, and I thought it was the end of all my PC related problems.

Little did I know that my nightmare was only just about to begin!

I followed the next few tips as well – restricting TCP/IP auto tuning (hoping that it would help with my connectivity problems), turning off differential compression, and disabling automatic defragmentation. I also downloaded the recommended registry defrag program and ran it, after which I rebooted.

I was greeted by a CHKDSK screen advising me to run the test, which it did. After taking a long time to fix several errors, I arrived at a screen informaing me that Windows could not be started because of a kernel problem. I ran the repair utility from my Windows installation disk, after which Windows started up successfully. However it took ages, and after the logon screen it took me about twenty minutes before I was connected to the internet. Again I was facing the same performance issues, which I thought would probably be resolved after another reboot.

Again Windows ran CHKDSK, and this time I managed to write down some of the messages:

Connecting error in index $SII for file 9.

Deleting index entry ChkAcc.log in index $130 of file 60.

Deleting index entry mlang.dll.mui in index $130 of file 2983.

Deleting index entry msprivs.dll.mui in index $130 of file 2983.

Deleting index entry comdlg32.dll.mui in index $130 of file 3151.

Deleting index entry mlang.dll.mui in index $130 of file 3151.

Deleting index entry UIAutomationCore.dll.mui in index $130 of file 3151.

The next messages whizzed fast too quickly, so I only caught fragments of them:

Recovering orphaned file [...]

Inserting an index entry with ID [...]

Inserting an index entry with ID [...]

Inserting an index entry with ID [...]


Repairing the security file record segment [...]

This time things took even longer. After the POST screen and the Windows progress bar, I got a blank screen for about ten minutes, followed by a cursor over a black background for another twenty minutes. Everything took even longer than before, and the performance is worse than ever. Also it took me about fifteen minutes and two disconnects / reconnects after connecting to the internet before I had decent connectivity. It has taken me about three quarters of an hour to write this post.

I am very reluctant to reboot again without knowing whether it will help because the problems just seem to be getting worse and worse, but I am seriously at the end of my wits ... :(
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  1. One question I would ask, how good is your power supply? If its an off brand you may consider replacing it, if your psu is not providing clean power, you could get weird symptoms. I would recommend go and download the ultimate boot cd, burn the .iso file to a disc, and boot from that. Once you do, run Dariks boot and nuke, this program will allow you to format your drive, but it will write zeros to each sector of your drive, which may help repair some bad sectors. Then try a windows reinstall. However I would recommend checking your power supply and possibly replacing it. If the method i listed does not help to try and repair your drive, try another known working drive a clean windows install, if it works fine, replace the hard drive.
  2. It could be a possibility. I built the computer about 2½ years ago, and the power supply was one of the components where I tried to save money. It was advertised as 'silent' but I should have known that for £25 I wouldn't get 650W of power supplied silently ... after buying it I was thinking that maybe I should have invested some extra money in a decent OCZ PSU or something similar.

    I was thinking that probably I won't get around a fresh install. Guess I'll have to see if I've got enough space somewhere to back up all my data. I was trying to avoid it as in the past I've always managed to lose some data when I've reinstalled Windows – e.g. last time I exported all my emails, but as I tried to import them again, I got an error message, which was pretty annoying ... but at least if the problem persists after reinstalling Windows, I can be pretty sure that it's something hardware related and trying a new PSU would probably be my best bet.

    I've used DBAN before on a friend's computer, so I'm familiar with it and will try a low level format as well before install. The whole situation is incredibly annoying – it's taken me about twenty minutes again just to write these few sentences ...
  3. If you are trying to save money, here in the US anyway, I can get good deals on BFG tech power supplies, which seem to be good for the pricing. Just picked up a 550 watter last week for 45 dollars US. And if you know BFG tech, they are famous for video cards and boards, so I don't think they are going to put out a bad product.
  4. ohiou_grad_06 said:
    If you are trying to save money, here in the US anyway, I can get good deals on BFG tech power supplies, which seem to be good for the pricing. Just picked up a 550 watter last week for 45 dollars US. And if you know BFG tech, they are famous for video cards and boards, so I don't think they are going to put out a bad product.

    Though they are currently going out of business and left everyone that had purchased a video card from them lately without any warranty !!! -- they shut down and did not sell to anyone so there is noone to contact if something goes bad so beware !

    See here for details
  5. Ok, thanks for the info. I thought I'd heard that, but microcenter, where I get a lot of my parts, is still carrying their products. Thanks for the info. I know not to buy anymore of their stuff. Too bad to, a 550 watt power supply for 45 was pretty good too.
  6. I had a terrible problem backing up all my data yesterday. It seemed to take ages and everything else was incredibly slow – I could barely use a program for twenty seconds before it stalled with a 'not responding' message for the next five minutes. It was also too slow to burn the DBAN image – unfortunately I had left my previous CD with the friend who's computer I nuked with it about half a year ago.

    After my data was backed up, I tried to reinstall Windows, but it wouldn't work. I couldn't format the hard drive from a DOS prompt either, even if I used the switch to force an unmount. I tried my XP CD, but with the same result.

    After trying a differnt SATA port, XP was able to do a quick format, so I rebooted and did a full format. I restarted the computer and ran the Vista installation CD after a new format, this time with success. I left the format running overnight, and was greeted by the POST screen this morning, with all kinds of strange ASCII symbols (in colour) mixed in with it, but the installation worked fine and everything seems to be running smoothly. I guess though that I'll burn DBAN and do a low level format before I install WIndows again and start installing any software.

    I might get a new hard drive soon, as I'm not too convinced that this one isn't on its way out. It's my oldest drive, from a time when 160GB were a lot of data ...

    Just wondering – how much power do I need for four SATA drives and an internal DVD drive, if I want to get a new PSU? At the moment I am using onboard graphics but I'd like to invest in a decent dual monitor graphics card soon. I'm not likely to get another optical drive, as I've already got an external DVD burner.
  7. DBAN didn't work. After loading dban.bzi, it comes up with the message 'Read sectors error(EDD)' (about seven or eight times), then it just reboots and ends up at DBAN's start screen again.

    Looks like I need a new hard drive.
  8. It depends how much you are going to do on the system. A quality 500-600 watt should do fine for most people with a video card. I would look definitely at an Antec, Corsair, OCZ, etc. Another company out there that is more reasonable is Azza. I've read they are a newer company and that their products are ok, but I've not used one of their power supplies yet, so I cannot give you a definite there. Might be an option to look at though if you are looking at price since you most likely need to replace the hard drive too.
  9. I'll be checking some reviews. Money definitley doesn't grow on trees where I live, but I'd rather invest in quality components, even if it takes me longer to upgrade my system. I've got the Antec P182 case so I know I can't go wrong with them (and it's also the reason why I know my problems are not a heat issue). Corsair, OCZ and Coolermaster also seem to be getting good reviews, but I need to figure out just how much I can afford.

    Just had a look on amazon and realised that 500GB SATA drives have become ridiculously cheap, and that should be plenty of storage for a system drive.
  10. Yep they have a decent 500GB WD caviar blue drive for $39.99 shipped right now from Newegg
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