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Win XP crashes related to broadband?

Posted on 2003-12-04
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Last Modified: 2010-03-17
One of the computers on my network keeps crashing from time-to-time, for no apparent reason.

The only unique thing about the computer which crashes is that it is connected to the BT's Broadband. I have tried re-installing (even started from an fdisk), but it continues to crash.

OS: Windows XP

I suspect the problem is related to the internet connection: Not only is it the only computer with a direct connection, on one particular day when BT were suffering with several problems, the PC crashed more than usual, but only ever when I was connected to the internet.

Crashes are generally occasional (perhaps one a day, or one every other day), which makes it extremely difficult to diagnose.

Any ideas what might be causing these crashes? And more to the point, how I can prevent them?

Thanks,
David
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Question by:dht1
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26 Comments
 
LVL 61

Accepted Solution

by:
gheist earned 196 total points
ID: 9877003
run dcomcnfg.exe , disable DCOM,  do not yet reboot
Open this page in Internet Explorer
http://www.cert.org/advisories/CA-2003-20.html
disconnect network cable
and read document, and kill the virus.
after you reboot your computer will not crash and you will be able to plug now avoided security hole.
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by:tebacher
tebacher earned 28 total points
ID: 9877316
If you disconnect the PC from your boradband connection it doesn't crash?  You said this PC is the only one w/ a direct connection?   How is it connected and how are the other PCs on your network connected?

Make sure your PC is up to date with ALL of Microsofts windows updates CRITICAL UPDATES!!  Not having these updates installed and having your PC connected directly to the internet WILL cause problems!  Even if you do have a secure network w/ a firewall you will most likely have probelems without the MS patches.
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Author Comment

by:dht1
ID: 9877415
All critical updates installed.
Norton Internet Security (includes Anti-Virus) installed.
Norton is up to date (although I will follow instructions vis-a-vis Blaster to be sure)

The PC is connected via broadband (ie, connected via USB to a DSL modem, which is connected to the socket in the wall) - is that what you mean?

The affected PC has internet connection sharing enabled.
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LVL 43

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by:JFrederick29
JFrederick29 earned 56 total points
ID: 9877560
Try using Sygate personal firewall, its free and a great firewall product.  It will log all traffic and you can setup advanced rules.  Perhaps logging internet traffic will provide some answers.

http://smb.sygate.com/products/spf/spf_ov.htm  

You could also try putting a packet sniffer on the computer to collect traffic as well.

www.ethereal.com (free)
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LVL 43

Assisted Solution

by:JFrederick29
JFrederick29 earned 56 total points
ID: 9877600
Also be sure to run the following to make sure you are not infected already, the microsoft updates will only guard against future infections.

http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/w32.blaster.worm.removal.tool.html

http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/w32.welchia.worm.removal.tool.html
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LVL 61

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by:gheist
gheist earned 196 total points
ID: 9878579
"I have tried re-installing (even started from an fdisk), but it continues to crash."

is enough to get blaster in 5-10 minutes or so
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LVL 61

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by:gheist
gheist earned 196 total points
ID: 9878594
this is more universal popular virus/trojan/worm remover.

http://vil.nai.com/vil/averttools.asp#stinger
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LVL 61

Assisted Solution

by:gheist
gheist earned 196 total points
ID: 9878599
please name crashed module - just in case if we are all wrong about MSBLAST.EXE...
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LVL 12

Assisted Solution

by:public
public earned 28 total points
ID: 9878830
The system event log is a best place to start. What does crashing machine system log say?
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Author Comment

by:dht1
ID: 9881550
Steps so far:

1. Full system virus scan; none found.
2. Disconnect modem from affected PC;
3. Ran Blaster removal tool anyway; not found.
4. Ran Stinger; no viruses found.

Presumably with all updates installed, disabling DCOM is unnecessary. Oh, and system restore is disabled. I haven't installed Sygate's firewall, as Norton Internet Security includes one.

I ran Stinger twice. On both occasions the .exe file was on another PC, and on both occasions the affected computer crashed part-way through.

I then copied the Stinger executable to the affected PC and ran it. The PC didn't crash, so I ran it again. It still didn't crash.

I ran the stinger exe again from the remote PC again to check the PC would crash... but it didn't.

Errors from the event log include:

- ipnathlp
- w32time
- service control manager (distributed transaction coordinator terminated: after starting, the service hung in a start-pending state)
- Disk (driver detected a controller error)

If any of these errors coincided with crashes, I would have said it was w32time, although it has not done so consistently.

ipnathlp appears consistent with the theory of a communications-oriented problem, but the error only appears once; the computer has crashed on several occasions.

The Disk error only occurred once, and appears to relate to the CD drive.
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LVL 61

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by:gheist
gheist earned 196 total points
ID: 9887830
Distributed Transcation Coordinator is not necessary unless you run distributed MSSQL servers
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Author Comment

by:dht1
ID: 9887950
Well that's something I can disable, I suppose... though I don't suppose that's the cause. Given I have three PC's that are more or less identical, they are probably also running the DTC without trouble.
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by:Bing CISM / CISSP
Bing CISM / CISSP earned 192 total points
ID: 9891309
as  tebacher mentioned, If you disconnect the PC from your boradband connection it doesn't crash?
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LVL 61

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by:gheist
gheist earned 196 total points
ID: 9891940
do you see a shutdown countdown or bluescreen when it crashes???
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Author Comment

by:dht1
ID: 9891997
The PC still crashes when disconnected from broadband, so clearly not a broadband issue as first thought.

The shutdown countdown occurred once (maybe twice) shortly after the first clean re-install, but not since.

No bluescreen.
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LVL 37

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by:Bing CISM / CISSP
Bing CISM / CISSP earned 192 total points
ID: 9892013
no bluescreen? so what does your "crash" mean? freezed? can you move the mouse point?
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LVL 61

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by:gheist
gheist earned 196 total points
ID: 9892391
Can you toggle NumLock ???
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Author Comment

by:dht1
ID: 9892978
Sorry, I should have been more explicit.

Yes, I mean the PC freezes - the mouse pointer does not move and numlock will not toggle.
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LVL 37

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by:Bing CISM / CISSP
Bing CISM / CISSP earned 192 total points
ID: 9893003
if so, the problem is hardware revelant, mostly caused by hardware driver, of harddisk, disk controller, network adapter, modem... if your system has been updated with latest patches, try check if you have any OEM or 3rd party hardware installed. commonly, these hardware do not have microsoft certified drivers, or XP compatible drivers, will not be updated while you apply microsoft patches or updates.

hope it helps,
bbao
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LVL 37

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by:Bing CISM / CISSP
Bing CISM / CISSP earned 192 total points
ID: 9893038
btw, commonly, we call it as "crash" for bluescreen or abrupt failure of whole system or program, we call it as "hang" for such freezed situation you got, that is unexpected HALT of a computer, usually while running an application program. we guys often got into deep discussions and finally found we were talking about different things because of quite different understanding for same terms, hehe... ;-))
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Author Comment

by:dht1
ID: 9893413
On the possibility of hardware drivers, the PC in question has a twin (ie, two computers purchased at the same time from the same supplier (Dell) with the same spec. The third is a bit newer, but of very similar spec to the other two.

The only hardware that is unique (in terms of drivers) to the affected PC is a Dymo label printer. I suspected it might be due to the Dymo some days ago, and accordingly uninstalled it. However, the crashes continued and so I re-installed it. Is it possible that there are 'traces' of the installation continuing to cause problems even after the Dymo was uninstalled and disconnected?

All relevant Windows Updates are installed. Aside from the printer and Dymo, all other hardware is as fitted with the PC. The printer is an HP 1100. I suspect the drivers are MS cert'd, but regardless, I have seen nothing to indicate the printer is responsible... unless something in the Windows updates has affected it...? Unlikely, I'm sure.
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LVL 37

Assisted Solution

by:Bing CISM / CISSP
Bing CISM / CISSP earned 192 total points
ID: 9893520
two possible factors you may consider:
1. harddisk and its controller. i would suggest you have a complete sureface scan on the harddisk, under dos or windows real mode.
2. network adapter, what is its type? can you try replace one to move it to another similar computer for test?

if nothing found, how about just to return it to dell for hardware services? or ask them for on-site services?
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Author Comment

by:dht1
ID: 9942841
Problem solved - one of the RAM sticks seems to have been misbehaving:
I removed it, and the computer stopped crashing. Quite why the computer didn't object when it was first installed (some 3 months ago), I don't know.

Anyway, thanks for your help.

David
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LVL 37

Assisted Solution

by:Bing CISM / CISSP
Bing CISM / CISSP earned 192 total points
ID: 9943044
nice to hear that. as i mentioned, "the problem is hardware relevant", and need hardware services. since it is a hardware problem, it is hard to predict, right? ok, it's the time to close this question. regards, bbao
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LVL 37

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by:Bing CISM / CISSP
Bing CISM / CISSP earned 192 total points
ID: 10054227
dht1, your problem solved but this question is still open, please accept helpful comments to close this question. thanks.
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Author Comment

by:dht1
ID: 10055689
Thanks for your help.

David
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