System problems [not resonding]

I need  some recomendations to help me evaluate and solve some system problems.  (diagnostic software suggestions would also be helpful)  My system keeps freezing - programs will not respond.  I'll hit ctrl alt delete to find that most of the programs are not responding including explorer.  At time I have gotten the standard  windows "illegal operation" dialog box stating explorer has executed an illegal instruction in module<unknown> at 0000:00000113.  Many times the only thing I can do is turn thepower off and then back on - ctrl alt delete won't restart the system for me.  

I don't know if it's related but  when I try to launch netscape navigator (4) it won't start the program - I can't get in to get my bookmarks.  Netscape 6 and internet explorer launch without a problem.

Additionally when I booted up this morning I could not launch outlook - I was asked to reinstall but I don't know if I will loose my info or not

I'm running Windows98 on a Pentium 333mhz processor with 128 megs of ram. My system pperformanace is at 90% but I am excperiencing some lag time when fdoing things.  Let me know if more info is needed.  I know its a general question but I need to start somewhere.  Thanks for the help.
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The commercial antivirus program that seems to most consistently get good marks from the Pc Magazines (both paper and online) that I read recommend Norton Antivirus, available at

In the meantime, you could try the free online virus tool at    I find that it isn't always able to CURE every virus it detects, but it is good at detecting and identifying them.  You can also download a free antivirus tool at the following url:

Another free possibility:
This free DOS-level utility lets you scan your system and files for viruses. It can detect over 50,100 viruses and Trojan horses. To target memory-resident viruses, you can load the program's definition files into memory and run the utility from two floppies.

my first question would be, do you have your Virus software updated with the latest Virus Definitions, and have you run a full scan
usvbaAuthor Commented:
I don't have any virus software installed that I know of what do you recomend.
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You say your system performance is at 90%.  You mean that when you right click My Computer, select Properties, click on the Performance tab, the percent of free resources is 90 percent?  That's very good; it means you must not have a resource leak problem from too many programs running in the system tray, etc.  But you might try using the MS System Configuration utility (type MSCONFIG in the Run dialog box off the Start Menu and click on the Startup tab) to see if there are any startup programs you can disable that might be causing the Not Responding problems. And here is some general advice, borrowed and edited from one of the great Experts in this topic, Emery800, which can be put to use in this situation:

Try a cleanup:

A. Cleaning and preventative maintenance
1. Take as much stuff as you can from running in systray. Light off each app and disable them from running in systray.
2. Run msconfig and take checkmarks out of all you don't need running in start-up. Experiment with different apps etc. to see how they affect your free resources.
3. Click on control-alt-delete and highlight an item and end task then look at system resources and it will give you an idea on how much an application is robbing from your resources.
Note: You can right-click my computer and go to properties and click on the performance tab and see what your free system resources are and check as you eliminate some items to see how you are doing!
4. Search your "C" drive for *.tmp, *.~ and *.chk and delete them. You can do this from start\find\files (make sure you have your C drive set to be searched)
5. If you are running any Norton stuff (it likes to use resources!) be careful, a very powerful program. (You may want to disable it for this troubleshooting and enable after you clear up your problem or it may be the problem if you are having resource problems).
6. Clear your browser cache!
7. Compact your e-mail folders and empty your deleted folder and send folder.
8. Empty the recycle bin!
9. IMPORTANT! If you see findfast when you hit control-alt-delete then highlight it and end task and get rid of the program per this url: 
Note: It is installed by Microsoft products (Office etc>) and was a bad dream from Microsoft that will cause major resource problems.
9. Run scandisk and defrag!

B. Utilities
1. Run hwinfo /ui (don't forget the space between the o and the /) and this will identify any device or driver problems in red text.
2. IMPORTANT! Do not run this unless you have to! Run SFC (system file checker) be careful and back up and files you may want to restore! This utility can replace files that will cause you to have to reinstall some applications. Caution this file needs to run with care because you may have to load some applications again if you replace certain files.

C. Recommendations:
1. Update your IE5 to either 5.01 or 5.5 if you use these. Note: Reports of bugs in 5.5 are being reported by some.
2. Increasing Your System Performance:
If you have a little extra memory to spare, here's one trick that really helps speed Windows 95\98 along.  Changing your File System Performance from Desktop Computer to Network Server (even if you're not on a network) will basically increase the size of the cache that that the operating system uses. Here's how: Right click on "MY COMPUTER" and select "PROPERTIES". Then click on the "PERFORMANCE" tab near the top of the dialog box, and the "FILE SYSTEM" button at the bottom. Change from "DESKTOP COMPUTER" to "NETWORK SERVER", click on "OK", and "OK" again. The changes will take effect the next time you reboot
your computer.

Windows 98 Annoyances 

System Resources Decrease After Starting and Quitting a Program 

Computer Speed and Performance Decreases 



See above links. I suspect you may have the Klez virus as your symptoms are nearly identical to one I removed yesterday. to detect if you have it then use the removal tool (print the instructions first & follow it to the letter.)

Dear usvba,

Did you check the monitor/display adapter settings ??? Did you remember changing/playing with the system settings at all ?  

As wierd as it might sound, wrong display adapter settings are a very probable cause for GPFs (General Protection Fault) and illegal instructions resulting in your application to hang.

I assume you are using a desktop.

Go to Control Panel -> System
Click on Device Manager -> View devices by type
click/expand on the + sign on Display Adapter
you must be able to find a proper adapter which suits/describes your monitor there
eg. S3 Trio64V2 PCI for HP VE4/Net

instead if you see,

Default Monitor -  there....
then the display adapter is the cause for all these problems.  Installing the proper driver for the monitor will resolve the issue for you.

Beware, that with Default Monitor you will still be able to get into Windows and system might look to be fine, but you will have system problems and GPFs as you have reported.  

Best Regards,

usvbaAuthor Commented:
It was a virus - I think its fine now - thanks
"It was a virus - I think its fine now - thanks "

Glad you got it fixed but I think we'd all like to know which virus it was. Did you make a note of the name of the virus?
usvbaAuthor Commented:
There were two: I-Worm/Klez.H and W32/ElKern.  Thanks again.
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