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Old 11-20-2009, 09:01 PM   #1
Masamune
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[HOME] Fix your computer!

Updated 11 Jan 2012

Good Read at this article about why windows computers typically slow down badly over time. Courtesy of lifehacker.com

Another article that outlines how to prevent your computer from getting crap on it! Courtesy of lifehacker.com

---------------------------------------

I decided to do a write up on how to fix some common and not-so-common problems that comes with having and operating a PC. Mac's usually don't have problems with this crap but they aren't impervious. Sorry, but you'll have to check some mac forums for info on fixing them.

I'm going to split this thread up a few ways so it makes finding your problem easier...

Post 1: You are here! Disclaimer and Table of Contents.
Post 2: Speed up your computer! Basic checks and tools you can use to bring that computer back up to speed!
Post 3: Fake virus programs (Antivirus2009, XPAntivirus, etc.)
Post 4: Troubleshooting basics
Post 5: How to ask for computer help and get the quickest response
Post 6: Zen and the Art of Troubleshooting (Highly Recommended Read!)

**********Program directory*************
All programs used here are free for personal use, because paying for this shit is ludicrous!

CCleaner - used to clean up old cached files and fix registry
SUPERantispyware - Cleans up malware
Malwarebytes - Cleans up malware
Spybot - Cleans up malware
HiJackThis (HJT) - Good for ridding viruses/malware. See disclaimer in section 2 for use instructions.
HDDScan - Used to test and diagnose HD issues
SIW - Tells you detailed information about your computer
Knoppix - Live Linux DVD/CD that will give you a functioning desktop, albeit in a linux environment
CPU-Z - Used to determine Processor type and speed, as well as memory type, speed and quantity.
--Scroll half way down the screen to get download link. Directions for use is in the second section from the top
Imgburn - Used to burn .iso and .img files to a CD! Free!!
Firefox - Free alternate web browser. Seriously folks, just drop IE!
Memtest86+ - Used to diagnose RAM issues
AVG Free - Best Free antivirus application available!
ComboFix - Excellent alternative virus and spyware removal tool. Very specialized and very effective.

**********Link directory*************

Newegg.com - Buy computers and computer parts at great prices with great shipping!
Bleeping Computer - Fix your own damned computer!
Tech Guys - Fix your own damned computer, AGAIN!
Portable Removal Programs - Portableapps.com makes some excellent USB versions of commonly used programs, great for when you can't run programs from your HDD.
Dell - Dell support forums
HP - HP support forums
Asus - Asus support forums
Safe Mode - How to get into safe mode on any windows machine
Sandwich! - Because I was bored and wanted people to go make a sandwich...
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D, I'm a fanciful motherfucker. My ish is clean, quick, plush, mature and sophisticated.

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Last edited by Masamune; 01-11-2012 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 11-20-2009, 09:02 PM   #2
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Part 2: Speed up your computer!

MORE INFO IN PART 6! RAN OUT OF ROOM IN THIS POST, APPARENTLY 10000 CHARACTERS IS THE LIMIT

Alright so lets jump right into this. There are a few key things to consider when trying to bring a computer back up to speed:
-Available RAM
-Hard drive age/interface
-Startup
-Malware/Viruses
-Installed Programs

These are not ALL the things to consider, but for 90% of problems one or more of these hold the solution. Lets dive more in depth to each point:


Available Ram
RAM, in extremely simple terms, is the place your computer does it's scratch work. Think of it like a sheet of scratch paper for a very big, very long math test. The more paper you have, the more problems you can do. Same thing with a computer, if you have more RAM your computer can do more calculations as fast as the information can be sent to the RAM. If you have a computer that is about 7-8 years old, chances are you have a meager 256MB to 512 MB of RAM. Today's computers typically run the gamut from 2GB all the way up to 8GB and further if you build one yourself.

So the logical conclusion from all this is that more RAM is better? In most cases, yes. Adding more RAM to a computer will give it more breathing room to work and think. There are some limitations, however. With Windows XP the typical limitation is 3.25 GB. However for sanity's sake, getting 3GB is plenty. In all computers running XP there is an interface limitation that basically says that anything over 3.25GB simply won't be recognized, essentially wasting your money. There was a 64 bit version of XP but it wasn't very popular and was somewhat buggy.

Vista and 7 are different beasts altogether. Vista has a posted minimum RAM requirement of 1GB for all versions except basic. That being said, the unspoken mimimum for a 32-bit version of Vista is 2GB. With that, provided everything else is nice, your computer should be fine. 7 is more lenient and easier on resources, but I would still recommend 2 GB minimum for 32 bit.

64 bit is another consideration.
The difference between 32 and 64 bit has to do with instructions. 32 limits memory usage to 3.25GB because it's not built into the math how to address memory that large. It's like trying to understand how big the milkyway galaxy is against the seen universe. In pictures it's all cool, but the mind simply has no way to quantify just how large it actually is. Back on topic, 64 bit has a limit of 128GB for vista and 192GB for 7. This limit isn't a deal breaker in any sense though, you can't buy any single computer or enough RAM to even come close to that limit. The highest you could conceivably go is 16GB if you shell out for the 4GB sticks. Most, if not all system builders will agree though, 8GB is more than enough for most people, the exception being hardcore video editors. You crazies will want to go nuts with the RAM.

The last paragraph in this section (I promise) is hardware limits. If you have a new computer you can probably just move on. Older (i.e. 3 years+) will want to read this. Laptops and desktops sometimes have older motherboards that can't recognize past a certain limit. In short, hardware makers back then didn't think anything more than a certain amount of RAM would ever be needed, so the hardware didn't support it. Check your manufacturers webpage for RAM or Memory limits.



Harddrive Age/Interface

Most old computers and some new computers use a PATA interface. If you open the side of the computer and see something that looks like thick duct tape running to the HD then you have PATA. On the other hand, most modern computers use a faster, smaller interface called SATA. Again, look inside, and if you see cables about the size of an ethernet cable then you have SATA.
You can't change between the interfaces w/o getting a new MB. That's a little too complicated for this post, though in the future I may cover it.

Older HD's have less cache (quick storage zone) and less sophisticated hardware, limiting their performance. If you want to install a new HD it's fairly easy. Buy a new one with the appropriate interface (PATA or SATA) and reinstall all your old programs and OS. These things are fairly cheap these days. A quality 500GB drive will typically run you ~$50. Newegg.com is great place to get these parts. Simply unhook the two wires, remove the old HD screws and such, and install the new one. Don't forget to reinstall the wires. If you truly have an old computer, you may want to consider getting a brand new one, as a new HD or RAM simply won't bring it up to speed that well. To test for speed and scan for bad sectors, I recommend HDDScan

Startup

When your computer starts up, it has to open all the programs you told it to run. I'm going to put this next point in all caps because no one seems to understand me unless I do so. YOU DO NOT NEED ALL THE PROGRAMS THAT RUN AT STARTUP TO GET THE COMPUTER TO WORK WELL!!! You don't need the kodak photo manager running when you only connect your digital camera once every 3 weeks or so. You don't need the myspace photo uploader running when you only visit every once and awhile. See what I'm getting at here? This is the fastest and cheapest way to speed up your computer.

Hold the windows key and press "R". A "run" dialog will pop up. Type in "msconfig" (no parenthesis, stupid) and hit enter. A new window will appear. Go to the startup tab and behold the craplist you have generated. No wonder your computer is slow, look at everything it has to do! Scroll down the list and read each entry. YOU CANNOT MESS UP YOUR COMPUTER BY DISABLING SOMETHING HERE. You can disable certain services but if something is wrong, simply go back to msconfig and re-enable what you undid, then do it again one by one. For a quicker fix, google the entry. A word of caution: if you see anything that says mywebsearch or anything close to it, you need to run anti-spyware programs NOW. Hit "OK" when you are done and restart. After the next restart, you should notice a considerable improvement.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Malware/Viruses

This is some nasty stuff and in most cases you'll know if you have it. Common ones include AntivirusXP, Antivirus2007/8/9 and mywebsearch. Getting rid of this stuff is easy though!

Download four different programs: Malwarebytes, SUPERantispyware Spybot and HiJackThis (HJT). Install and update each program immediately, save for HJT (see next paragraph for this). Next step, run each one, one at a time and let them finish their scans. If they find something, clean it up but DO NOT RESTART. Instead choose to restart later and run another program. Rinse and repeat until all programs have had their crack at the problem. If one says it wants to run at startup again (spybot) say yes and prepare for a long restart. After that restart, though, the program should be gone. It's a good idea to run each program again to verify but it's not required.

HJT is a great program. It's very direct, very spartan and quick to boot. This program can be very dangerous though. HJT will scan and show you all components running/set to run on your computer, including stuff that's supposed to be there. Deleting certain entries can often have fatal consequences for your computer if you are not careful in your selections. That being said it's easy to save the contents of a scan to a text document and then upload said document to an online analyzer that is roughly 99% effective at picking the bad stuff from the good. If you have any doubts, DO NOT BE AFRAID TO GOOGLE IT!!!

Preparation is good for this and you'll want to get an antivirus program and have it updated and running. AVG is perfect and free. For the love of god, do NOT get Norton or McAfee. In my experience they are as useless as a wet match in a dark cave. That, plus you pay for them and I really, REALLY hate that.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Installed Programs

Often people install one program or another on purpose. Sometimes this happens by accident (Digsby is the worst program for this). Either way, removing old programs is a chief way of speeding up a slow computer. To do this:

Go to start, control panel, Add or Remove Programs (Programs and Features in Vista and 7) and run through the list, uninstalling all extra programs you installed that you don't use. Be honest with yourself here people, it's not like choosing which child to kill. If you need it later, just reinstall it! After getting rid of the trash it's a good idea to use a program called CCleaner. This program will do a couple things for you. First it'll dispose of all your old cached files and recycle bin stuff. Second it can remove traces of old installed programs. And third it can clear your registry of old erroneous entires that'll cause you more heartache later on. Get CCleaner here. Install, run two or three times on each section (cleaner and registry). Problem solved after that!
__________________
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeW View Post
D, I'm a fanciful motherfucker. My ish is clean, quick, plush, mature and sophisticated.

┌─┐
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ಠ_ರೃ

Last edited by Masamune; 02-10-2010 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 11-20-2009, 09:02 PM   #3
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Part 3: AntivirusXP

This, my friends, is the enemy. No exaggeration, this is by far the biggest annoyance to computer users out there. Fake antivirus programs...



Above you'll see a screenshot from a computer with this wonderful program. What is does is scan your computer, bring up a bunch of false-positives and then ask you to purchase the program to get rid of said problems. Thing is though, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG!!!11!1. Please, please, PLEASE do not purchase anything from this company.

This program has many variants including Antivirus2009, Antivirus2008, Antivirus2010 and more. The layout is always the same though, so take note. Symptoms of having this program are obvious (it'll make itself known in an obvious way, see screenshot). Also note that this program will often do a drive-by install without your consent. Often people just accept that it's there and let the program fester. It will get worse if you let it continue on!

Updated info:



The latest incarnation of this program is called something along the lines of VistaAntivirus2012. As this malware program has aged it's gotten increasingly better at resisting removal. It may be necessary to have some portable removal programs ready to go on a USB stick. With Vista and 7 it's possible these programs get blocked by the program as possible malware (lies, obviously) and in some cases refuse to let the programs run. Try launching the program a few times, if that doesn't work try launching the program in admin mode (right click, run as administrator), and finally if that fails to run head into safe mode and run from there. Once you get your foot in the door though, the fake AV program is toasted pretty thoroughly. Make sure your removal programs are relatively up to date when running them and that you run several back-to-back before restarting your computer.

Please see section 2 for removal. For more detailed and very well written instructions, go here.*

*Detailed write-up courtesy of Bleepingcomputer.com

mywebsearch



I've seen HUNDREDS if not THOUSANDS of computers with this and owners usually just accept it. Mywebsearch is a browser bar not unlike yahoo and google toolbars. Here's the thing though, it doesn't give you grief except showing up in your browser window. It's really bad though, as this program is a precursor to keyloggers. A keylogger is a type of program that sends what you type to someone else, including your passwords for you bank, email, and/or (gasp!) wow account.

How this actually gets on your computer is a bit of a mystery to me, to be honest. I've heard it getting installed as part of an online program to get different mouse icons and such, and it wouldn't surprise me if it comes bundled with serious offenders (*cough*Digsby*cough*). What you need to Know is that this toolbar is often a precursor to antivirusxp and other variants.

Again, section 2 will fix most of your problems.Detailed removal instructions here*

*Courtesy of pchell.com
__________________
Fix your Computer!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeW View Post
D, I'm a fanciful motherfucker. My ish is clean, quick, plush, mature and sophisticated.

┌─┐
┴─┴
ಠ_ರೃ

Last edited by Masamune; 01-11-2012 at 10:12 AM.
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Old 11-20-2009, 09:03 PM   #4
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Part 4: Troubleshooting Basics

Alright, this section is for the enterprising individual who wants to isolate and possibly solve some common problems with computers. First a few golden rules for troubleshooting:

-Isolate the problem
-Be able to replicate the problem
-Note any error messages and WRITE THEM DOWN
-Google (yes, google)

The first and most important step in troubleshooting is to isolate the problem. This is VITAL because when you know the root cause of any problem you can only then begin to understand and fix it.

Second, be able to replicate the problem. Does it happen once and go away? Is it some weird pattern where it happens only every 5th day or only when it's cold outside? Replication is key to fixing a problem becuase it proves a problem exists. Computers can sometimes just wig out and go right back to normal. We live in an imperfect world people, a problem without replication is a fluke.

Third, write any and all error messages down. Do your best on this, but don't kill yourself. If you're experiencing a blue screen on startup that remains on screen for less time than it takes you to fart, then just note that you have a blue screen. Otherwise error messages is the computer telling you what's wrong, even if you don't understand it. And just because you don't understand doesn't mean someone else won't.

Finally use the almighty Google. I'm not exaggerating when I say 80% of computer problems can be fixed by simply asking google. I've tried yahoo and bing, but personally I just prefer the simple interface of google as well as the more consolidated answers I get. Did you note the error message? Google that, word for word. Chances are you'll find an answer almost immediately.

In the case of a slow computer on startup go back to section 2 and scroll down to the part about fixing msconfig. If you go in there and determine that the list is small and everything is nice, then we can move on to memory. To find out how much memory you have hold the windows key and hit "r". Then type in "dxdiag". If a box pops up say yes. On the first tab you'll see an entry titled "memory". There you'll find how much RAM you have currently in use. If you've just installed some RAM and it's not showing up in dxdiag then you haven't installed it right. Shutdown and reinsert the RAM chips. If RAM is not the problem we can go to installed programs. Often time people install programs for one time use and then it's just left there to take up space. GET RID OF IT. Go back up to section 2 and use the guide there. When that's not the problem it's time to move on to hardware issues. Again, section 2 is full of information on checking hardware issues so head there!

Broken Hardware
This can be hard to pinpoint as broken hardware can sometimes manifest itself as a software issue. Other times it'll be obvious what's wrong. This is a somewhat big area and troubleshooting can be massive given the number of components that have to live and work together for an unforeseeable amount of time. Thankfully we aren't tearing apart an engine block, cursing and trying to find the source of a mis-fire.



Power Supply
This is where the "blood" of your computer comes from. Located in most cases along the top, rear of the pc case, this box converts power from your wall outlet into more friendly, often more "stable" electricity that can be manipulated by your computers delicate internal parts. If something is going to fail in your computer first, 8 out of 10 times the problem can be traced back to the power supply.

Symptoms of a failed power supply include: Computer turning on (lights, fans, etc.) but not being able to POST; random abrupt shutoffs; fried internals. The first listed symptom is fairly easy to check on. Unplug your computer, re-do all connections from the power supply to different components, and try to turn the computer back on. If you still experience the same problem, go to the next paragraph. For the second listed symptom, find another power supply lying around (don't purchase a new one yet) and try hooking that one up. Still not working? Go to the next paragraph. Finally if you have fried internals theres a chance that either lightning somehow got into your computer through powerlines and such, OR your computer isn't regulating voltage like it should, resulting in literally toasted internals. If this is the case look hard at all your internals. If no visible damage is evident, try buying a new power supply. If you're (very) lucky then the computer will start back up. Often though, the result is you'll have to buy a new computer. Advice? Try to salvage your hard drive. Oh, and skip the next paragraph.

Now if you're reading this then either a) your computer will turn on but not POST or b) you have random abrupt shutoffs. Your next goal is to source one of these. If you're like me, then buying a component like this is a no-brainer. It'll come in useful more than once and test all the connection types, to boot. For the average joe, try finding a local computer repair store (Best Buy does not fix computers, I don't care what geek squad tells you) and bring your power supply to them. You'll only need the box, the wires coming out of it and maybe the power cord. Simply ask them to hook it up and give you the numbers. Better yet, if they only want $20 or less then ask them to figure out if it's broken or not. What you're looking to find out is if your power supply is putting out the appropriate power with an acceptable voltage range. With the tester I linked earlier, the instructions have the acceptable voltages.



Hard Drive Failure
If your HD is truly broken, this is either going to go one of two ways. 1) The HD will still work but certain areas of information will still be readable, or 2) your HD will click incessantly and the OS and info will fail to load. The first option is obviously better, whilst the second option is a far more common occurance.

The solution for both of these is to get a new HD. This section, however will focus as much as possible on data recovery. May I please direct your attention to Knoppix. This is a live, downloadable image that you can burn to a CD using a program such as Imgburn. Make sure to set your computer to boot from a CD in the BIOS. Toss the CD into the drive, restart and hit enter to start knoppix. After a few minutes you should get a desktop with a HDD icon or two. From here you can open the contents and try to funnel as much information out of your old HD as possible. It is possible that you won't be able to recover anything as most HDD failures result in unreadable info. With a little luck though, you can save some of your data.

Another trick to try is to get another desktop and plug your old HDD into that. You may need to set your HDD as slave for this. Or a more simple solution, plug the power cable into the old HDD, let the computer boot, THEN plug in the data cable. I prefer this method as it skips the need to move jumpers and junk like that.



Bad RAM
This is somewhat of a mixed-bag troubleshooting process. Bad RAM can often produce several, non-linear problems. To complicate matters further the method I use to diagnose bad RAM is only about 70% accurate. To get better accuracy would result in you, the user, dropping upwards of $300 or more on a tool that tests all computer components individually. As poor as I am, that simply isn't an option.

If you do suspect that your RAM is bad, or if you've tried everything else, then go download yourself a free copy of Memtest86+. This is also a CD image that needs to be burned using Imgburn to a physical CD. Same routine with knoppix, restart with the CD in the drive and prepare to be wowed by the awesome graphics, circa 1986. This program is very spartan, very simple and very direct. It doesn't have a run limit set so it'll run for days on end if you let it. That said, you should probably let this program run for about an hour or 2. Seriously, there's nothing else to do except wait. Go make a sandwich or something! Come back and look for anything red. You should see an "errors" box and things of that nature. If nothing is on there then perhaps your RAM isn't bad. Like I said earlier though, this isn't a fool-proof method. Bad ram can report good and good ram can report bad. The program has vastly improved since it's orignal inception, if that makes you feel better. If you're still convinced that RAM is the issue, then go online and get yourself a cheap, 1GB stick for about $10 + shipping. For the cost, and extra piece of mind I feel the cost is worth it. For specs and speed, open your computer, pull a stick out and read the sticker. All RAM should have some kind of sticker to indicate size and speed. It'll say either or both of these two things: PC#-#### or DDR#-#### (example). Just match that up with something on Newegg and go nuts!
__________________
Fix your Computer!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeW View Post
D, I'm a fanciful motherfucker. My ish is clean, quick, plush, mature and sophisticated.

┌─┐
┴─┴
ಠ_ರೃ

Last edited by Masamune; 01-11-2012 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 11-20-2009, 09:03 PM   #5
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Part 5: How to ask for help and get the quickest response

This is a culmination of the aforementioned information. In the event that all previous stuff has failed you and you need to seek professional help, this post should help you get a more speedy response.

Internet forums:

First some helpful sites for information and troubleshooting:

1) The thread you are reading!
2) Bleeping Computer (Link is to the forums, more on this later)
3) Tech Guys (My personal favorite)
4) Your manufacturers website (i.e. Dell, HP, Asus, etc.)

You've probably noticed that all the links I've provided are to forums. I have a couple reasons for doing this: First, I'm a social hermit. Talking to "Joe" in "Indiana" who sounds suspiciously like a guy from India is not my idea of a good time. I'm not racist or anything, I just prefer to speak with someone who is on the same level as me. More often than not these tech support folks have to cater to the lowest common denominator and it makes me feel like I'm being spoken down to.

Forums, on the other hand, will often get you someone who is both knowledgable and courteous. This, of course, is provided assuming you provide enough information to begin a resonable problem solving process AND you're polite. Courtesy goes a really long way on forums. Kill em with kindness, my students!

Providing enough information is essential. Making a post like "My computer is broken, fix it" will get you nowhere fast. Instead, describe the problem! Try using a check list like this:

When did the problem start?
What changed when the problem started? (Did you add new RAM, HD, etc.?)
How often does the problem occur?
How old is your computer?
What specs are your compter? (More on this in the next paragraph)
(Optional) What are the conditions surrounding your computer? (i.e. has it ever been cleaned out? is it in a stuffy, warm room?)

When it comes to your computer specs it's a good idea to try and use a somewhat standard format. If you bought your computer from a major manufacturer (HP, Dell, Acer, Asus, etc) then post the model number followed by the pieces inside. It's a little redundant, but providing the model number only means more searching work for the person who is trying to help you. Again, COURTESY! For custom built computers, you should know your specs inside and out. The format for the same is similar, but a slightly changed format is recommended:

FOR CUSTOM COMPUTERS:

Processor (P4, Phenom II, Celeron, etc.) followed by speed. (Easy to figure out using CPU-Z , see first post for info on how to use)
Memory amount
Motherboard info (chipset at a minimum, a link to full specs is nice)
Video Card
Sound Card (OPTIONAL)
HD Capacity (include size of HD as well as amount of space being used on ALL partitions individually vs. the amount of space allocated to each partition)
Power supply (again, link specs but at a minimum post the max power)
OS you're using

FOR MANUFACTURERS COMPUTERS:

Computer model number (if you make a link to the manufacturers info about your model computer then you can skip the rest of this portion)
Processor (P4, Phenom II, Celeron, etc.) followed by speed.
Memory amount
Motherboard info (chipset at a minimum, a link to full specs is nice)
Video Card
HD Capacity (include size of HD as well as amount of space being used on ALL partitions individually vs. the amount of space allocated to each partition)
OS you're using

If you provide all this information I can guarantee a more speedy response! Happy fixing!

EXAMPLE: (This is for my custom built computer)

Quote:
Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0GHz stock clocked
4GB GSkill RAM
Foxconn P45 MB
MSI GeForce 8800GT Video Card
Soundblaster X-Fi extreme gamer sound card
500GB Seagate 7200.11 HD (50 GB Partition w/ 16 GB Free Space, 400GB Partition with 250GB Free)
550W Thermaltake Power Supply
I'm using Windows XP
__________________
Fix your Computer!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeW View Post
D, I'm a fanciful motherfucker. My ish is clean, quick, plush, mature and sophisticated.

┌─┐
┴─┴
ಠ_ರೃ

Last edited by Masamune; 02-01-2010 at 06:10 PM.
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Old 11-20-2009, 09:04 PM   #6
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Part 6: Zen and the Art of Troubleshooting + Plus extra stuff!

This isn't a real section but a good viewpoint for those of you getting frustrated by troubleshooting. If you can't figure out where a problem is coming from, then determine where the problem isn't coming from. I like to say this to myself when frustrated because 1) it makes me feel smart and philosophical and 2) it really does help when tackling problems.

You have a problem in front of you that stems from some unknown area. You test programs X, Y and Z and isolate components 1, 2 and 3 only to find the problem still exists. RELAX! What you have determined is that the problem is simply running out of places it could be! What do you do when you've done everything only to find nothing seems to affect the problem? Take a step back and think of the problem from a different angle. If you're getting an error message when running X program, then maybe the problem isn't with the program itself. Perhaps you've installed a new driver or maybe a program install messed with some settings. Don't look at the problem itself. Look at the circumstances surrounding the problem and everything that could cause it to occur.

AVG! Your free antivirus application!

I can't believe I forgot to include this before! AVG has a free Antivirus application that is just top-notch. It has all the core capabilities you need from an antivirus application but in free form! A suggestion for slightly more advanced users: after install, disable daily scanning for viruses and only scan when you think you have a problem. If you're slightly more neurotic, schedule scans for every month, during daytime hours when you can just let your computer run. Scans that run at 2 am sound great since you probably won't be on, but most people I know just turn their computers off at night anyway. The result is that your scan will start as soon as you next turn your computer on, greatly slowing everything down.

Combofix!

This is one of the unsung heroes of computer repair. This is a DOS-based program that is fairly quick and brutally efficient at what it does. More often than not, this program can be used to open doors for other AV programs to do their thing. That is, sometimes infections are so bad that your computer crashes when you try to fix them by normal methods. As a result, this very small program knows to target certain files over the course of something like 48 "stages". You run the program, your desktop will disappear (DON'T PANIC, THIS IS NORMAL) and watch as it does it's work. In some very serious infections, the program can take as long as 30 minutes, so don't be surprised if you find yourself counting pixels on your screen while waiting for something to happen.
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Old 11-20-2009, 10:15 PM   #7
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IMO, this should be in off-topic because the DIY section relates to your CB.
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Old 11-21-2009, 02:25 AM   #8
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Man that is some excellent stuff you posted!! Forget about whether anyone here thinks it should or should not be wherever posted. As long as they read it!
I only learned the computer about 5 years ago and it is a ongoing battle to keep stuff out and the systems updated. I am 53 and encounter stupid PC owners my age that are on them.
I have had the opportunity to help some people add more RAM to their PC's and did one laptop.
I think you are going to post that later so I will hold off on doing it. I also want you to mention HijackThis as well as Kill Bot for removal of found bad registry
entries. I have Stop Sign as well and am ok with it: no interference as the two bullies Norton and McAfee. AVG for some reason won't uninstall for me. If you want I could post for making ATT home page and how to put it to each browser and a suggestion to load Mozzilla Firefox ( a "click load. done") but some don't know how and are stuck on IE.
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Old 11-29-2009, 09:34 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by True-BlueCB7 View Post
IMO, this should be in off-topic because the DIY section relates to your CB.
X2

(been in the IT world for 14 years now, good write up)
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Old 11-30-2009, 04:49 PM   #10
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Very good write up Masamune!

This should help out a lot of people.
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Old 12-16-2009, 06:37 PM   #11
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great post man
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Old 12-16-2009, 06:42 PM   #12
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Reformat
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:36 PM   #13
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Nice writeup! Rep sent!
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:47 PM   #14
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I got a problem. Own a Hp pavilion dv6810us notebook PC.

Problem: Can't read DVD/ Cd's

Symptoms: The disks will spin for a few seconds, then stop.

I have Windows Vista Home Premium and it doesn't even recognized it has a DVD/CD ROM.

Attempts: I tried cleaning the lens and unplug and plug the hardware, nothing.

I think it could be a software problem. I tried searching for the driver online so Vista could recognize it, but came up with whale poo.

Maybe the ROM is toast, I dunno.

So if you could help give suggestions, the DVD/CD ROM is a Pioneer DVR-K17B.
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Old 12-17-2009, 12:17 AM   #15
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Thanks man. This is good info. Now my computer starts up fast and I don't have every program opening that I don't want. I forgot how you changed that.
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Old 12-17-2009, 10:30 AM   #16
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Reformat
That was always my solution.
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Old 12-17-2009, 12:03 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ibr_adam09 View Post
I got a problem. Own a Hp pavilion dv6810us notebook PC.

Problem: Can't read DVD/ Cd's

Symptoms: The disks will spin for a few seconds, then stop.

I have Windows Vista Home Premium and it doesn't even recognized it has a DVD/CD ROM.

Attempts: I tried cleaning the lens and unplug and plug the hardware, nothing.

I think it could be a software problem. I tried searching for the driver online so Vista could recognize it, but came up with whale poo.

Maybe the ROM is toast, I dunno.

So if you could help give suggestions, the DVD/CD ROM is a Pioneer DVR-K17B.

open your case and check your connection leading to and from the dvd-drive, if they are secured in, boot up your computer and see if windows recognizes the drive. if i still doesnt read that drive then its time for a new one
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Old 12-17-2009, 12:08 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ibr_adam09 View Post
I got a problem. Own a Hp pavilion dv6810us notebook PC.

Problem: Can't read DVD/ Cd's

Symptoms: The disks will spin for a few seconds, then stop.

I have Windows Vista Home Premium and it doesn't even recognized it has a DVD/CD ROM.

Attempts: I tried cleaning the lens and unplug and plug the hardware, nothing.

I think it could be a software problem. I tried searching for the driver online so Vista could recognize it, but came up with whale poo.

Maybe the ROM is toast, I dunno.

So if you could help give suggestions, the DVD/CD ROM is a Pioneer DVR-K17B.
Look for diagnostics on either HP or Pioneer's site (if it came with your laptop HP should have diagnostics).

If it can't read any media at all (dvd or cd) try putting a recovery disc or something in your drive and reboot the computer. If you know how to get your boot menu or you can go into the system setup/bios with I believe the F10 key and put the cd drive at the top of the boot order.

Basically you want to test your drive outside of the operating system. If it doesn't work there, it's most likely your drive.
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Old 12-17-2009, 06:34 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mj213 View Post
Look for diagnostics on either HP or Pioneer's site (if it came with your laptop HP should have diagnostics).

If it can't read any media at all (dvd or cd) try putting a recovery disc or something in your drive and reboot the computer. If you know how to get your boot menu or you can go into the system setup/bios with I believe the F10 key and put the cd drive at the top of the boot order.

Basically you want to test your drive outside of the operating system. If it doesn't work there, it's most likely your drive.
I couldn't find anything from Pioneer, also HP had a generic troubleshoot that involed messing with the registery, which didn't work.

I placed the CD- ROM on the top of my boot order in the BIOS, but I have no idea what I'm looking for, it starts up normal.

I did check 'Start > Crotrol Panel > Device manager', but didn't find anything related to Dvd/ CD drives. :shrugs:
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Old 12-18-2009, 03:26 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ibr_adam09 View Post
I got a problem. Own a Hp pavilion dv6810us notebook PC.

Problem: Can't read DVD/ Cd's

Symptoms: The disks will spin for a few seconds, then stop.

I have Windows Vista Home Premium and it doesn't even recognized it has a DVD/CD ROM.

Attempts: I tried cleaning the lens and unplug and plug the hardware, nothing.

I think it could be a software problem. I tried searching for the driver online so Vista could recognize it, but came up with whale poo.

Maybe the ROM is toast, I dunno.

So if you could help give suggestions, the DVD/CD ROM is a Pioneer DVR-K17B.
First and foremost, kudos for taking at least some steps on your own. You're already lightyears ahead of the average joe.

Now, CD/DVD/Blu-Ray drives don't have "drivers" per se. For XP and newer OS DVD and CD drives were able to be universally recognized w/o extra software. The software that comes with the drive is just to enhance functionality.
This could be a problem with the HD and I would recommend checking for errors, either through windows or some other proprietary program. I would recommend using this method to check for errors. If it comes up clean then it's time to get a new CD drive.
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