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Computer problems
Old 08-03-2010, 10:17 AM   #1
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Computer problems

Got FiOS installed over the weekend. May be coincidence because I was noticing some weird problems a few days before, but now it seems the computer has really crapped out.

On start-up, it shows a message that it can't find the diskette (there is no diskette installed) and needs to auto configure, then it makes me press F2 to reset the time/date which I do, I also reset to no diskette installed. Then it boots up, and immediately I get a malicious script warning (this just started with the FiOS install). I block it and the internet and router work OK.

But the main thing is the hard drive seems to be running all the time. The indicator light for it is always on, and the operations like opening a program or doing something on the computer is 1000X slowed down. The internet seems to be really fast still.

When I check task manager, it shows nothing unusual running and 0% CPU usage on the processes tab. I'm running a full system scan with/Norton Anti-Virus right now, but it is scanning super, super slow, may take all day or longer.

Any thoughts?

Also, I was wondering, if I get a new computer (this one is 7-8 yrs old), how do I transfer all of the programs installed on the old one that I need to the new one? Seems like it's going to be a nightmare.
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Old 08-03-2010, 10:36 AM   #2
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You mentioned "FiOS install" once as if it was a program you loaded... you didn't install that FiOS software thing, did you?

Before I got FiOS, I had read online to avoid their sw package. There is a FiOS website that even some FiOS installers were saying that they would not load it. I was prepared to prevent the installer guy from loading any sw on my computer when he came, but as soon as I mentioned I didn't want anything loaded, he told me no problem, he wouldn't either!

Same thing previously when I had DSL... I would not load the program in the box that was sent with the DSL modem. I once had to call DSL support on a problem, and they wanted be to install their "tool". No. Fixed the problem without their tool.
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Old 08-03-2010, 11:19 AM   #3
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The installer plugged in a thumbdrive and installed (at least) 2 programs: Vz In-home agent and FiOS information. Also, there might have been something related to activating the account. The malicious script warnings starting during that process, he just moved the antivirus windows down out of the way. He didn't seem too computer saavy. Not that I'm a chip head.
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Old 08-03-2010, 01:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronin View Post
On start-up, it shows a message that it can't find the diskette (there is no diskette installed) and needs to auto configure, then it makes me press F2 to reset the time/date which I do, I also reset to no diskette installed.
This sounds like maybe your CMOS settings are not being saved because the coin battery is dead. Does this happen everytime you power up the PC when it was turned off?

Not sure why the HD is continuously being accessed but it could also be BIOS related. Trying changing the battery on your motherboard and see if it helps.
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Old 08-03-2010, 03:09 PM   #5
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ronin, I second the advice from WanderALot to replace the motherboard battery, it's very easy if you have a full size desktop but a laptop is a bit of a challenge some times.

If you do buy a new computer with Windows 7, and assuming the old computer still boots up at least, the Windows Easy Transfer is really pretty slick. You'll need to buy the Easy Transfer Cable (USB to USB) also. But it works very well for a Windows program.
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Old 08-03-2010, 03:22 PM   #6
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The battery sounds exactly like the problem. It doesn't save the settings. It's a full sized desktop. Assume if I can open it up, it should be somewhat apparent where it is. Good to know about Easy Transfer. Is this a download or part of Windows 7?

Thank you very much!
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Old 08-03-2010, 03:31 PM   #7
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Easy Transfer is part of Windows 7 so if you buy a computer with Win 7 and get this: ET Cable the whole process is pretty painless. Providing the old computer still boots up and spins up the hard drive.

Good luck.

EDIT: If worst case and the old computer is toast, you can always do the same thing with the Easy Transfer by removing the old computer's HD and getting an external enclosure that has a USB port. Only thing you have to consider is whether your old hard drive has an IDE interface or SATA, but I think this case accepts either External HD Enclosure
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Old 08-03-2010, 03:43 PM   #8
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Yes, it does sound like a CMOS battery issue.

Here's a link on a how to for changing the CMOS battery.

How to replace the CMOS battery.


The battery should be pretty easy to spot.

-----
I've been having my own computer issue. My computer randomly reboots, also I've been getting a message about the VPU (video processor) not working and in order to work, need a restart. I think my issue is heat related as I use software to monitor the
CPU temp. After taking off the computer cover and using a blower to blow out all the dust (there was some, but not tons), the CPU temp has dropped 7 degrees C. So far now random reboots (knock on wood).
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Old 08-03-2010, 03:45 PM   #9
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Old computer does still boot up and works. So that should be OK.

Now in looking at the case, I don't see how to get it off to get at the insides. I thought there'd be a couple of screws in the back, but only some rivets and screws that look like if you unscrewed them the inside components would just fall down, but the sides wouldn't be removable. There are 2 hex head machine screw on the bottom and a couple of slide in tabs that look like they might do something. This thing is a Dell Dimension 4600.
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Old 08-03-2010, 03:57 PM   #10
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I'll see if I can find a picture of the Dell 4600 and see if I recognize anything.

But if the sides don't come off, it's probably designed so that the case just slides off completely and the inside structure is self supporting.
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Old 08-03-2010, 03:59 PM   #11
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Ahh, it has a latch. It looks like a backwards L and is on the lower mid right side.

Better yet, look at page 56 of this Documentation for Dell 4600
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Old 08-03-2010, 04:09 PM   #12
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Got it! Duh, how easy. Before I do anything I am going to go to that start up menu (F2) on initial start up and copy down all of the settings. I know the diskette and time are wrong, but hopefully the others are correct. I copied the system set up pages from the service manual and it indicates what the defaults are for everything in case I get screwed somehow.
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Old 08-03-2010, 05:35 PM   #13
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OK, $1.96 for the battery. Had to move the sound card out of the way to get at it, but no big thing. Buttoned up, reset time/date, diskette config. Started out like a champ. And then it went into that mode where the hard drive light is on constantly again like it is running or looking for something there. It's funny, because I had the computer turned on all day several hours, and that hard drive thing went away and it seemed to be acting normally. I think the battery charged a bit because when I turned off and then back on to get the start up info, the time/date was stored. But no malicious script message this time. I'm at a loss. It was running fast for about 5 min, and now it is all bound up again. Nothing turned up on the virus scan of the whole enchilada.
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Old 08-03-2010, 05:53 PM   #14
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Ronin, so the hard drive light is still accessing like crazy? And the task manager still doesn't show anything unusual? One more thing to try is to go into the CMOS and select the option to reset everything to default. I know you said you copied down the previous settings, but there could be some setting with the IDE/SATA controller that got hosed. The default settings shouldn't break anything (in theory Reboot and see if you still have the same problem.

Not sure what it else it could be, but if the I think you have the following options:

1. Uninstall all the FIOS stuff that was put on there. I don't see how this could possibly be causing your problem, but it's worth a shot.

2. Revert back to a system restore point and see if that fixes things.

Good luck.
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Old 08-03-2010, 07:29 PM   #15
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How much RAM does the computer have? If the FIOS software is taking up a lot of RAM that would explain why the HD light is on all the time. If RAM is limited (like 512MB) then Windows spends a lot of time moving things back and forth from memory to the HD. You should have at least 2GB of RAM for Windows to work well. All the thrashing between HD and RAM will slow the computer way down.
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Old 08-03-2010, 07:37 PM   #16
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In task manager, do you have the I/O Reads and I/O Writes turned on? If not, go to View --> Select Columns and turn those on. Look for a task for which one of those columns is increasing. My task Manager will not display I/O Reads and I/O Writes at the same time, so you might have to look at those one at a time.

I had a similar problem a while back and jqs.exe was the culprit.

Edit to add that Nodak asks a good question about amount of RAM. The thrashing is excessive paging and that would show up in the Page Faults column in Task Manager.

+1 you probably don't need the FIOS stuff.
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Old 08-03-2010, 07:38 PM   #17
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Norton has a reputation of being a resource hog. Perhaps that's contributing to the slowness you are experiencing?
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Old 08-03-2010, 08:19 PM   #18
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ronin, this is from Verizon and checks to see if you system is compatible with FiOS
PC Check
link just takes you to Verizon's trouble shooting page.

One thing you might try is to turn on the PC with nothing running except the OS, and see if the HD still is on continuous.
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Old 08-04-2010, 09:41 AM   #19
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The RAM is low, 512.

The light was on this morning after boot up (no other boot up issues since I changed the battery at least), operating excruciatingly slow for about 1 hour, then the light went off (at least when I'm not performing actions when it should go on) and the performance seems more normal. Seems like a zillion programs are running in the background but what do I know.

When I wrote down all the configuration settings before the battery change out, I had printed out the list from the service manual which had all the default settings and options. Everything was/is set at the default settings.

About ready to drop kick it into the street. I'm as much of a cheap a$$ buzterd as the next guy, but I'm willing to go with a new tower that has more memory and frigging works right.

If it's not bad enough, I have problems shutting down as well. Get a variety of messages, ShellIconwindow, pDeMan (or something like that almost everytime), cApp, explorer.exe, and a couple others I can't remember come into a window that says these are shutting down, sometimes they complete othertimes (always the pDeMan or whatever it is) goes non-responsive and I have to click on the button to turn it off immediately. One time the other day, 12 or 15 programs were shown as being shut down one after another, things that never should have been running like programs associated with my digital camera and music player and just other programs that I hadn't been using.

I'll spend more time going through your other suggestions today in more detail after the coffee kicks in, but geez I was messing with this all day yesterday and now I can see more hours of w#@k involved. I know, here's some cheese to go with the wine.

I really do appreciate all your help. I am looking into everything you folks tell me.
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Old 08-04-2010, 10:00 AM   #20
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I ran the PC check from Verizon, showed my system OK, internet OK, security had error message but seemed pointed at trying to sell me the Verizon internet security suite, email error message said I had no valid email accounts which is untrue, it tried to get me to set up an email account using MS Outlook, which I am not using (yet). I have no problem with email, we have set up 2 accounts with Verizon. So I am not sure that this has been something that tells me anything.

The view tab in Task Manager doesn't have any listing for select columns, nothing about I/O read or write. The PF usage in performance shows 498 MB w/0 -48% CPU usage (seems to fluctuate mostly single digit with occasional transient spikes.
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