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HellBound Hackers | Computer General | General Computer Problems

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Win XP Problem

Futility
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Posted on 09-09-08 22:21
Starting a thread for once seems kind of weird, but this problem has been plaguing me for a while now. I hope you guys can help.

This story begins a few weeks ago. My computer was running slow, files were fragmented all over, and errors popped up every time I loaded Windows. Generally, it was a mess. I know I could have gone through and fixed it up real nice, but I decided to take the easy way out. I backed up a few 'important' files, formatted the hard drive, and reinstalled Windows.

Since then, the computer has crashed a few more times. The first time was when I started installing SP3, and everything just went crazy. Error this and error that and eventually I just restored to before I tried. I then tried again with similar results.

Since I restored, I forgot to turn off automatic updates. Because of this, one naturally slipped through without me noticing yesterday. Now whenever Windows loads, all I get is my desktop. No start bar, no icons, and no right click. Fortunately, ctrl+alt+del still worked. Through that, I was able to open a command prompt and any program I wished. Just as if the system was still working normally. So I began to think that it might have something to do with explorer.exe. I was right. I went back to the Task Manager, ended explorer.exe, and started it all over again. And it worked.

So now my computer seems to be working fine, right? Wrong. Every time I turn it on, the same thing happens. I've tried it in safe mode, I've tried editing the registry, I've tried changing users... Does anyone know how I can fix it? Does anyone know why the update would have caused it? Could I have done something stupid to cause this (within the few days since my restore)? I've read through various sites offering help, but none have seemed to actually do anything.

Thanks in advance,
Futility


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Futility91@hotmail.com Futility91
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RE: Win XP Problem

Infam0us
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Posted on 09-09-08 22:33
Ive read about problems with SP3 and HP AMD based computers.. If it was my computer I would re format and just use sp2 and some vital patches until you figure out whats going on. It sounds like the updates aren't mixing very well with your setup (which happens alot actually). I would re format to xp SP2, turn off auto updates and be careful what you do install from then on.

But you may also want to look at some of the problems with SP3, I forget what they were.

what a fuckin pain...


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Edited by Infam0us on 09-09-08 23:17
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RE: Win XP Problem


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Posted on 09-09-08 22:52
Futility wrote:
Help


It's interesting that explorer won't start on startup but it does start from command prompt. You didn't give enough information so I will give a variety of possibilities.

1. Corrupt CPU
2. Corrupt RAM
3. Corrupt HD
4. Corrupt anything connecting 1-3 together (cables, motherboard, etc)

The first three can actually be tested via software.. if you write simple code to test each intensely while directly comparing results. (ex: writing a large file to the harddrive that contains the same data over and over again and you try reading it back.. if you don't get the same data then it's more likely to be an hd problem)

For RAM and CPU testing you could use something like prime95 w/ a torture test.

(All this is under the assumption that you have used the CD you did use to install before and it's been perfectly fine before.. your computer getting progressively worse hints that it could be one of these hardware problems)

Another more interesting scenario is someone fucking with you.. I know that when you hit 'Run' and you type in a program.. it checks directories in a specific order and different extensions in a specific order.. and would execute the first one found... are there any other 'explorer's?

Do errors occur only after installing updates? Did you get any errors during the windows install?
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RE: Win XP Problem

spyware
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Posted on 09-09-08 22:59
Mi first guess would be corrupt HD. It's pretty easy to fix, also. There's bound to be a program which can measure the integrity of your HD, you should look into that.



img507.imageshack.us/img507/3580/spynewsig3il1.png
"The chowner of property." - Zeph
[small]
Widespread intellectual and moral docility may be convenient for leaders in the short term,
but it is suicidal for nations in the long term.
- Carl Sagan
[center]�Since the grid is inescapable, what were the earlier lasers about? Does the corridor have a sense of humor?� - Ebert[/ce

Edited by spyware on 09-09-08 23:03
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RE: Win XP Problem

spyware
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Posted on 09-09-08 23:05
Ah, doublepost time.

(0:04:12) zephyrpure: Well... he could try looking for the DOS "zap" utility to wipe the partition table, then fdisk the drive and reinstall. Most likely, though... it's not the HD, unless it's specifically giving him HD errors.
(0:04:26) zephyrpure: Oh, and you can relay that in the thread if you like. I don't mind. I just can't get on there to help him right now.


Edit, he had more to say.

(0:07:23) zephyrpure: Oh, and chkdsk / chkdisk (I forget which it is) will show him bad areas of the HD. Also, scandisk will, too.




img507.imageshack.us/img507/3580/spynewsig3il1.png
"The chowner of property." - Zeph
[small]
Widespread intellectual and moral docility may be convenient for leaders in the short term,
but it is suicidal for nations in the long term.
- Carl Sagan
[center]�Since the grid is inescapable, what were the earlier lasers about? Does the corridor have a sense of humor?� - Ebert[/ce

Edited by spyware on 09-09-08 23:08
Author

RE: Win XP Problem

Futility
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Posted on 09-09-08 23:16
Chinchilla3k wrote:
It's interesting that explorer won't start on startup but it does start from command prompt.

Sorry, I guess I wasn't clear. Explorer does start on startup, but it doesn't seem to work. When I go to the processes in task manager, there is an explorer.exe. I have to 'end process' it, then I have to start it again. Sorry.

You didn't give enough information so I will give a variety of possibilities.

1. Corrupt CPU
2. Corrupt RAM
3. Corrupt HD
4. Corrupt anything connecting 1-3 together (cables, motherboard, etc)

The first three can actually be tested via software.. if you write simple code to test each intensely while directly comparing results. (ex: writing a large file to the harddrive that contains the same data over and over again and you try reading it back.. if you don't get the same data then it's more likely to be an hd problem)

For RAM and CPU testing you could use something like prime95 w/ a torture test.

Alright. What kind of information should I post? I don't think it's a hardware issue because the computer was fine before the SP3/update debacle. It was just bogged down by all kinds of shit that I installed over the previous year or so. But, hell, I could be wrong. I'll look into it. I never even considered it a possibility.

(All this is under the assumption that you have used the CD you did use to install before and it's been perfectly fine before.. your computer getting progressively worse hints that it could be one of these hardware problems)

Yes. I've used this WinXP (legal) CD for a while now, and every other time it's worked perfectly fine. Actually, it worked fine this time, as well. It's the updates (I believe) that got me.

Another more interesting scenario is someone fucking with you.. I know that when you hit 'Run' and you type in a program.. it checks directories in a specific order and different extensions in a specific order.. and would execute the first one found... are there any other 'explorer's?

No, there isn't more than one 'explorer'.

Do errors occur only after installing updates?

So far, yes. Everything was peachy until the update. What's going on now isn't even that bad. It's more of an inconvinience. I know how to temporarily fix it, but I'm more curious as to what caused it. I don't want it to be something more serious than I expected.

Did you get any errors during the windows install?

Nope. The install went nice and smooth.

EDIT: There are no specific HD errors, but I've got a chkdsk scan scheduled for my next reload (which will occur right after posting this) just in case.

Thanks for your help, everyone.


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Edited by Futility on 09-09-08 23:27
Futility91@hotmail.com Futility91
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RE: Win XP Problem


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Posted on 09-09-08 23:19
if you are using windows at least change the shell to something decent
i like aston Pfft


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RE: Win XP Problem

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Posted on 09-09-08 23:37
sacman wrote:
if you are using windows at least change the shell to something decent
i like aston Pfft


Your personal memoires add nothing to the creation of a solution for the problems futility has.

Also; enjoy your damn Die Hard 4.0 look-a-like desktops.



img507.imageshack.us/img507/3580/spynewsig3il1.png
"The chowner of property." - Zeph
[small]
Widespread intellectual and moral docility may be convenient for leaders in the short term,
but it is suicidal for nations in the long term.
- Carl Sagan
[center]�Since the grid is inescapable, what were the earlier lasers about? Does the corridor have a sense of humor?� - Ebert[/ce
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RE: Win XP Problem


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Posted on 09-09-08 23:51
i use fedora - kde
i used to use aston and i didn't take the die hard 4 look there are others ^^
btw i used it because it was so damn efficient


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RE: Win XP Problem


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Posted on 10-09-08 00:47
Futility wrote:
Stuff


I was the one that wasn't clear. That's what I meant when I said explorer doesn't start up.. that you actually see the process, but it just doesn't work. That's why I suggested the possibility that someone could be messing with you with the idea I mentioned. (more so if your computer is directly connected to the internet.) If an admin of a 'hacking' site told me something like 'brb, gotta reinstall xp' .. I would have something scanning either his ip or his range looking for prepatched XP machines. Then cause a bunch of random esoteric computer problems that he needs to solve. However, since it's been a few weeks already.. and no other developments.. I doubt that this is the case.

As for the hardware issue, you shouldn't really have to post anything here.. just try out various integrity checkers. One I've used for RAM/CPU is Prime95.. http://files.extremeoverclocking.com/file.php?f=103.. I'm starting to doubt that this is the problem though

I'm not sure what other advice to give you.. I doubt you want to debug an active process.
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Posted on 10-09-08 01:26
Infam0us wrote:
Ive read about problems with SP3 and HP AMD based computers..

AFAIK, there was a patch released for SP3 users with that hardware.

sacman wrote:
if you are using windows at least change the shell to something decent
i like aston Pfft

If the built-in shell does not fit your needs, that is only because you don't have the pre-requisite knowledge to use it effectively.

Chinchilla3k wrote:
If an admin of a 'hacking' site told me something like 'brb, gotta reinstall xp' .. I would have something scanning either his ip or his range looking for prepatched XP machines.

I wouldn't... I'd expect him to be using a proxy.

Futility wrote:
Sorry, I guess I wasn't clear. Explorer does start on startup, but it doesn't seem to work. When I go to the processes in task manager, there is an explorer.exe. I have to 'end process' it, then I have to start it again.

That could be due to the service pack; if it changes the order of loaded dependencies during the boot process (or has a hole in that area), then it's possible that it could fail to load in the incorrect conditions and then, later, the dependencies are loaded and present by the action of another system process. This... is just speculation, though.


I don't think it's a hardware issue because the computer was fine before the SP3/update debacle.

Alright. Wipe your HDD clean (as information will persist despite formatting a Windows partition) and reinstall, using the following logic with your updates: SP1 & SP2, all security updates, NO hotfixes unless ABSOLUTELY essential, driver updates are fine. Using fdisk to remove the partitions and restarting following that will cause the data on the drive to lose its cohesiveness; however, to be completely certain that everything is off the drive, you can use a wonderful LiveCD from the Sourceforge community called "DBAN" (Darik's Boot and Nuke - http://www.dban.org/). It's easy to use and effective.


EDIT: There are no specific HD errors, but I've got a chkdsk scan scheduled for my next reload (which will occur right after posting this) just in case.

Good. Better safe than sorry, even if there are no errors.




Edited by on 10-09-08 01:46
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RE: Win XP Problem

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Posted on 10-09-08 02:14
The chkdsk didn't show anything as wrong. Since I really don't have much installed right now, I'm going to take Zephyr's advice and just delete everything. I probably won't be back tonight (the homework is starting to pile up) but I'll tell you guys how it went tomorrow.

Thanks Zephyr and everyone else who helped. I really appreciate it.


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Futility91@hotmail.com Futility91
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Posted on 10-09-08 02:58
Zephyr_Pure wrote:
I wouldn't... I'd expect him to be using a proxy.


It's usually better to assume that the person you're targeting can fuck up - that way if and when they do fuck up, you won't lose an opportunity.

Code
(9:45:56 PM) R*lla: Hi, um, quick question, is your ip *?
(9:46:58 PM) Futility91: It might be
(9:47:46 PM) Futility91: Yea it is
(9:48:04 PM) R*la: ok I was pretty sure
(9:48:26 PM) Futility91: Yea.  I got careless since I knew I was deleting everything anyway




Like in this particular case you would've been wrong.. a lot of people aren't paranoid enough to cover their tracks all the time.. especially when it seems like there is no need to.
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Posted on 10-09-08 04:28
Zephyr_Pure wrote:

If the built-in shell does not fit your needs, that is only because you don't have the pre-requisite knowledge to use it effectively.



-.- you guys don't seem to understand me


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RE: Win XP Problem


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Posted on 10-09-08 04:29
Chinchilla3k wrote:
It's usually better to assume that the person you're targeting can fuck up - that way if and when they do fuck up, you won't lose an opportunity.


Opportunities of that sort are only for those that you consider targets. Regardless, nice catch.


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RE: Win XP Problem

Futility
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Posted on 10-09-08 20:55
Alright. It worked and everything is back to normal. Thanks again for all your help.

(Oh, and thanks to Chinchilla for teaching me something new, as well)


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Futility91@hotmail.com Futility91