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Hangup or freeze of computer on attempted bootup

Posted on 2008-06-11
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It seems to me that the most important of my problems should be discussed first since I believe that this particular bootup problem might eventually lead to an inability to be able to access the computer at all.  In the past few weeks on bootup I occasionally note that the 3 moving blue "progress" squares halt after they have been moving awhile and the computer is frozen.  This requires that I hold the computer's Start/Stop button in for a while to shut the computer down.  Waiting awhile and then pressing the Start/Stop button to restart the computer brings me to a text screen offering a start up using 3 types of Safe mode, or using the last good configuration of Windows or simply  a regular Desktop bootup.  Choosing the last option boots up into what seems to be a normally functioning operating Desktop.

For several months I have been having a set of other bootup and shutdown problems along with some program malfunctions and I don't know whether these are interrelated or not but a community advisor told me that it would be best to present only one of these in a specific question rather than giving the entire set.  I have detailed documentation and images of error messages if these are requested.

Thank you.
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Question by:rsuess1
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by:PCBONEZ
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Some Nichicon HN and HM series capacitors used on 8300 motherboards were faulty. They were overfilled with electrolyte and burst or leak. The affected caps only came from one of Nichicons plants so only some have the problem. Date codes on those that possibly have the problem would be from 2002 to 2004. Date code is as so: [one letter][2 digit year][2 digit week of year]
http://www.badcaps.net/forum/showthread.php?t=4993&highlight=8300

There was a Bestec 250 watt PSU that may have ended up in 8300's and which had a manufacturing defect. (Defect only affected the 250 watt models although most Bestecs use debatable caps.)

Hipro built PSU's 250 watt PSU's did (confirmed) end up in 8300's. Those are well designed but some used Arcon (a Thai brand) capacitors and those don't last that long. [Hipro units may not say Hipro on the label and look as if Dell manufactured them. Looking up the UL number will give away the actual manufacturer.]

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by:nobus
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>>  I have been having a set of other bootup and shutdown problems   <<   please post them, so we can look into it.
it can be your problem is a slow booting   disk, that runs ok when up to speed (you can check this by disabling the quick boot in the bios)
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Jonvee earned 170 total points
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Conceivably it's the Hard Disk itself which is the problem. You may wish to test it with the appropriate manufacturer's tool from here>

"Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities":
http://tacktech.com/display.cfm?ttid=287
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by:Jonvee
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As the problem has been with you for several months, along with other bootup and shutdown issues, have you thoroughly checked for Malware & viruses?

Suggest you ensure all device drivers are as up-to-date as possible.

Run a memory diagnostic such as Memtest86.

Run SpeedFan which is a freeware program that monitors voltages, fan speeds and temperatures, etc >
http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php
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by:rsuess1
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PCBONEZ, I have had the least experience and background with your answer, so it is less understandable to me.  The direction your answer takes might defeat any other simpler solution so brings up the following questions:

Question 1.
If I have the type of  described defective motherboard you mention, should the operating system be able to function as effectively as it has been doing with the only problems in the bootup and shutdown categories?

Question 2.
To answer the problems you bring up, do I, first, need to determmine that UL number? If so, how do I determine this and then use it to determine whether I actually have one of those defective boards?

Question 3.
Would the fact that I might have the particular board, automatically determine that I needed to replace the board, or could it be repaired, or would there be any test procedures via utilities that could be applied to determine that my particular board was malfunctional?
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by:PCBONEZ
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Question 1.
One of the capacitors jobs is to 'clean' the power to the IC chips on the board. (CPU, Chipset, RAM, Sound, LAN, USB). 'Clean' means to remove ripple and noise. Ripple and noise are both high frequency voltage fluctuations. (high relative to DC) Noise is EMI that is picked up by wiring. Exactly the same as static on a radio or a TV. Ripple is lower frequency than noise and is caused by the switching that occurs inside a switching power supply. The caps do this job by acting to higher frequencies as a short circuit to ground.
If there is enough fluctuation in the power to an IC chip then the data passing through it (which is essentially voltage pulses) may fluctuate also and that results in a  corrupt signal.
- Specifically what is affected will depend on a number of things. The frequency of the noise, the amplitude (voltage) of the noise, which voltage rail(s) have noise, and which IC chips are least resistant to noise problems.
[So yes, bad caps ~can~ affect a system only at the OS level by corrupting signals but that's not usual.]
-
Their other job is to act as an energy reservoir to smooth out slower fluctuations in the power. (Something like a rechargeable battery that sucks in current if voltage is too high and provides some if it's too low.) If they go bad on this level then the DC volts will (can) be out of spec.
-
Caps can open, partially open, short, or partially short --
-- and on more than one level.
The DC or AC (higher frequency) characteristics can be perfectly fine on one and completely shot on the other in the same cap.

Cap related BOOT problems are usually:
- Bad volts on +5vsb (standby power).
- 12v/5v/3.3v voltages come up too slow (or don't come up) and so the "Power Good" signal is never sent from the motherboard to the PSU which causes the PSU to shut back down to protect the system.
- Bad voltage to something (RAM, CPU, or ?) that causes that something to not work so the system doesn't pass POST and then locks or shuts back down.

The HM and HN series caps that were known to be problematic are often used in the on-board regulators that regulate the voltage to the CPU and/or memory.
If the CPU or memory are getting erratic or wrong voltages the system may have a wide variety of problems and many of them won't seem to make any sense.
- Like memory errors reported when you KNOW the memory is good.

Question 2. - UL was pertaining to the PSU, not the board.
For the UL number I would look here first
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDArticles&op=Story&ndar_id=24
He is collecting that information and your number may be there already.
If not then follow his link to the UL website.

Question 3.
"automatically determine"
Absolutely NOT. - You basically have to look and see what's on the board.
- Motherboard manufacturers frequently change what caps they use during production due to simple availability problems. An XYZ model board built on Tue many have completely different caps than an XYZ model built on Wed.
- Revision changes during production may re-spec the caps needed. A Rev 1.0 board may have completely different caps (in make/model and specs) than other revisions.
- It's common for boards that have been RMA'ed to be rebuilt and then sent out as factory replacement boards. If the board was ever replaced under warranty it may not have the originally installed caps.
- A third party may have re-capped or partially re-capped it in the past.
-
Yes they can be repaired.
I do that myself for my own equipment. The owner of badcaps.net claims 99+% of boards that at least still boot are repairable. My own experience suggests that is true. I've gotten completely dead boards 'back' simply by replacing caps but the chance of success on a totally dead board is much much less than 99%.
- There are a number services that do it.
(Badcaps.net is I think the most famous but probably not the cheapest around.)
- A TV shop or anyone good at soldering can do it but I would give them the replacement caps. In soldering the only thing that's different from most other electronics work is that the boards are very thick and you need a hot soldering iron. (40 to 80 watts. 50 to 60 Watts is ideal.)
- The biggest hurdle is usually identifying and getting your hands on the right kind of caps. They need to be Low ESR of the right grade. There are several grades of Low ESR which make it confusing at first. General purpose caps like you'd get at Radio-Shack absolutely won't do it.
[ If you decide to try replacement then give me the make, series, uF, volts, and diameter of the ones you want to replace and I can look-up equivelents. ]
-
Testing - Most people use a typical burn-in test after a recap.
I personally install RAM in every slot then run memtest for a few hours to make sure the I/O between the CPU and RAM is good and stable then I check everything else 'the hard way'. Operational checks: Connect things and see if they work: Read/write to drives on each controller, check sound, check lan, and so on.  

Power supplies are less consistent when it comes to re-capping. Some are a breeze and others nearly impossible**. There is a lower success rate than for motherboards but the odds are still in your favor.
**[Some PSU's use these blasted 10mm diameter 10v or 16v caps in 2200 to 4700 uF values -and- don't have room for larger diameter caps. Those are nearly impossible to find replacements for in reliable brands because reliable brands favor using larger diameters in those sizes.]

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by:rsuess1
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I apologize for the delay but I've temporarily misplaced my notes.  I'll try to get back as soon as possible.
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by:rsuess1
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nobus and Jonvee, I'm sorry for not responding to you but I was under the impression that a defective hardware problem might take priority over other considerations in solving my bootup hangup problem, but i hope you are still available for discussion when I can clear up my "hardware" problem..

PCBONEZ,

I realize that every solution in the real world requires attacking the real problem but to determine whether voltages are correct or up to specs under testing procedures is something that requires that I get the computer to a repair shop for that testing and for the repair, so, before I have to lug my computer out to a repair shop, I would like to try to determine whether any other possiblities exist to explain and correct my bootup problems.
.  
Question 1.
Do you feel that it might be possible that my problem or problems could legitimately be approached from the software, operating system side as well as your approach which I will call the physical approach?

Question 2.
I have looked at my motherboard and power supply but see no unusual looking (burnt, boiled, steamed or fried) capacitors, at least that I recognize, but I admit I cant see all the power supply so I will ask again whether there is any diagnostic software or testing procedures available to me that would be useful in ruling out whether my problems are actually due to a hardware problem or not - those available at my home.
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by:Ryan_R
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Can you try a repair install of XP to eliminate a software fault?

If you need instructions let us know or do a Google on 'Repair XP' - you'll need your Windows XP Setup disc (not a recovery cd - otherwise it will delete all your documents and programs)
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by:simpswr
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Did you run diagnostics on the drive?

Do you regularly defragment the drive?

Have you looked at the start up programs to stop any that are not necessary?
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by:younghv
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You've had ton of great advice up above, but will your computer even do something basic - such as boot to "Safe Mode"?

If you want to put together a document (Notepad) of all your various symptoms, you can "Attach File" and let us work through it. More information is almost always better than less.

Some of the folks who tried to help you earlier are among the best on all of EE - make sure that you stay active in the question and respond (by name) to those who are trying to help.
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by:willcomp
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Symptoms described in question point toward a driver or hard disk issue. Younghv is on the right track. What happens when you boot into safe mode bypassing most drivers? If left for 20 minutes or so, does PC go ahead and boot after hanging or have you had that much patience?
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by:nobus
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as it is, i would start by testing the basics  : ram and disk first, to be sure about the basics
ram : use memtest86+ from  www.memtest.org
disk - pick the one you need from :  http://www.tacktech.com/display.cfm?ttid=287
or download the ubcd - which contains them, and more :  http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

alternatively, you can run general tests too :
http://www.pc-doctor.com/                                    PC doctor
www.tufftest.com/tt01-lite.htm                              free      TuffTest lite

is your pc overheating ?  check the value in the bios when it crashes, or install speedfan :
http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php      
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by:rsuess1
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Thanks for the responses.

All of your responses and my answers to the above may be altered by what further has happened.  I will answer each of you but then please consider what is now the status which I describe below.

Ryan_R:  Without the information below, running a repair install on Windows XP could be tried but I wouldn't have wanted to use that as the first choice to try to remedy the problem.

simpswr:  I don't know to what 'diagnostics on the drive' you were referring and no, I haven't defragmented for awhile because I was concerned how doing so might produce further problems during my bootup freeze problem. In addition, I have a ton of startup programs that are not necessary and I knew cleanup was going to be necessary but when I started get those recurrent hangups on booting, I preferred to get the experts' fighting instructions before I tampered with the setup.

younghv:  If it was not clear I will describe what happened when I restarted the computer from its Start/Stop button.  I was presented with a screen giving me the multiple options of the 3 kinds of Safe Mode reboot:  Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Networking, and Safe Mode with Command Prompt, and in addition to that was given the option of rebooting to Deksktop with the last known good configuration
and just a normal Desktop reboot.  I never had any difficulty rebooting into any of those and I could always get back to a normal appearing (and functioning) Desktop.

I'm sorry I couldn't get back in my responses as quickly as I would have liked and I meant no disrespect to any of the previous responders.  

willcomp:  See above for the fact that I never had any difficulty rebooting back to the Desktop.  In addition I had earlier learned the lesson of waiting long enough and none of those freezes would proceed if I just waited long enough.

nobus:  Thank you for persisting.  I didn't follow through with your previous recommendations because I was trying to figure out whether a potential hardware problem would supercede the "software" advice and had to be decided first or not.  Your information looks like useful things to do whether I might have any problems or not and I will get to them when we see how the information I present below works out.  I believe I have used Speedfan before with no wrong specs detected.

*********************************************
But let me bring everybody up to date on the status of my bootup freeze problem.  I didn't know the following when I originally presented my question - or the question would have been different.  

I had continued to have a freezing of the 3 moving squares on bootup up until, on one shut down by pressing the Start/Stop button followed by a restart by pressing the same button.  At that time I was able to reach an apparently normal appearing and functioning Desktop.  

I then eventually opened a Firefox 2.0.14 browser to reach the Experts Exchange website and highlighted to copy some material on the page and pasted it to a document.  I then wanted a printout of that and clicked on the print page.

The screen then displayed a completely blank black page and next a blue screen with the following message:

A problem has been detected and Windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer.

PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA

If this is the first time youve seen this stop error screen, restart your computer.  If this screen appears again, follow these steps:

Check to make sure any new hardware or software is properly installed.  If this is a new installation, ask your hardware or software manufacturer for any Windows updates you might need.

If problems continue, disable or remove any newly installed hardware or software.  Disable BIOS memory options such as caching or shadowing.  If you need to use Safe Mode to remove or disable components, restart your computer, press F8 to select Advanced startup options, and then select Safe mode.

Technical information:

*** STOP:  0X00000050  (0X8000000D, 0x00000000, 0X8055032C,
0X00000000)

Beginning dump of physical memory
Physical memory dump complete
Contact your system administrator or technical support group for further assistance

I have seen this error page before and had had no difficulty with my external hard drives but on this particular occasion, however, I unplugged the 2 external hard drives which I installed over 4 months ago wondering, now, whether they could be responsible to my bootup freezes.  After doing this, I have rebooted the computer about 5 or 6 further times without any computer freezes occurring.  So, I plugged the Maxtor One Touch Plus 500 and 750 GB external hard drives back in and was able to reboot a couple of times without any freezing but on the 3rd reboot the freezing recurred and has been present on each attempted reboot as long as I keep the external drives plugged in.
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by:younghv
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So, this only happens when you plug in the external USB drives?
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by:willcomp
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PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA error is usually caused by a driver. You can attach the minidump file for analysis to determine which driver caused the error.

Tata you had added 2 external drives about the time problem started occurring would have been most helpful information.
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Younghv:  That's what I have now concluded.  And I took them out and plugged them back in several times to confirm that the occurrence seems to hold up.  But does that mean my problem is solved or could there be any contributing problems that set the stage for the hard drives to cause the freeze?

willcomp:  I don't know how to access the 'minidump' file.  Could you describe it and how to use it?

Actually, there were several weeks during which I was having no such bootup problems after installing the external hard drives so I didn't connect it up.  Hindsight is much more reliable than foresight.  Foresight is just more comfortable.  I look at it this way.  If I hadn't had the problem I wouldn't know about it.  By the way does tata mean stupid?
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by:Jonvee
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The dumps are normally located in c:\windows\minidump\    
or  %systemroot%\minidump\

It (or they) will contain information about the bugcheck that was generated.
Can you paste the latest dump(s) in the "Attach File" box and someone can hopefully tell you the cause of the crash.

You may need to disable auto restart:
Right click My Computer > Properties > Advanced > Startup and Recovery Settings and uncheck Automatically Restart.
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by:willcomp
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tata= typo --- should have been "that"
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by:Jonvee
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       > Could you describe it and how to use it? <

Yes, but you may require one of us to take a look, it's prolonged, rather complex, and has no guarantee of locating the problem.  We'll certainly have a go!  

But, if you wish to analyse your own dump file, here's some tips>

"How to read the small memory dump files that Windows creates for debugging":
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315263

The !analyze -v command will probably be your most used command.

You can download windbg from this microsoft website.
http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/devtools/debugging/default.mspx

A good article here>
"Windows system crashes":
http://www.networkworld.com/news/2005/041105-windows-crash.html
Please note the comments on page 2 "Getting the debugger".
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by:rsuess1
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Let me digest the info
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by:Ryan_R
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Also try uninstalling the most recent driver software that you installed prior to these errors appearing and see if you can find one that is the cause of the BSOD.

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by:rsuess1
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In regard to the *.dmp files, I'm now naturally going to give information that may be useless but I've never used them before so hang on:

I located the Minidump folder and found a number of Mini<date>-01.dmp files with creation dates from 11/29/06 to 6/12/08.  The dates of the files that were created during the period I have been having the frozen bootups in 2008 were:  2/24, 2/29, 3/2, 3/2, 3/12, 4/6, 4/25, 4/28, 5/2, 6/11, and 6/12.  However, I don't know whether any of these dates were specifically related to frozen boots.  These are all 100KB in size.  I thought they might be readable in Notepad but, obviously, not.  

Question 1.
Which ones should I attach for your reading pleasure?  I just attached the 6/12 dump file, the last one, and now notice that that was the one requested.  However, that file extension was not accepted so could I just rename it for an accepted extension and then you can rename it properly at your end or would that work or is its material indigestible by the file transfer process?

Question 2.
What program could I read them with?


Could someone please answer this question since seems to have been ignored but I was kind of paralyzed by PCBONEZ' information since I thought it meant that no other solution would shed light on that kind of problem::  

Question 3.
Since he was describing a physical defect due to faulty capacitors, I had thought that that might prevent anything other than a physical repair solution but couldn't there have been some software diagnostic work that could have determined whether there might be such a problem before having to lug the computer to a repair shop?
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by:rsuess1
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I found the Microsoft info about reading the dump files.
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by:Jonvee
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Ok,good.  
It would be useful if you could zip up the last four Minidumps which would give us a pretty good coverage.  Initially we can sample the last one.  
If the analysed results give us a varying answer, we can go back further & use the earlier dumps>  4/28, 5/2, 6/11, and 6/12.

You could re-name the files .txt files.
Have to log off now for the day .. good luck, you're in good hands.  Will drop by late evening ..
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by:rsuess1
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Jonvee:  OK, I've tried to send the last 4 most recent dated dump files in zipped form.
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OK, I, apparently, can't even send .dmp files even if they are zipped since the message stated it recognized the contents of the zip file as unacceptable dmp files.  Would my suggestion to rename those dmp files as txt files fool this system?  I presume they could be renamed back to dmp files at the receiving end.
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by:willcomp
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Yes. Rename to .txt and submit (that's worked previously). We can change back to .dmp.
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by:rsuess1
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Incidentally, I tested both my Maxtor (500 and 750 GB external USB)  drives in the Maxtor Manager and the results for both were "Test successful.  Your drive is functioning normally."  Now I have not yet tested it with the SeaTools but will later do so.

This brings up the question about what I thought would be useful but somebody tell me if I am wasting my time:  I thought it would be useful to plug only one of the external drives in at a time to determine if a specific drive was related to the frozen bootups.  That would leave the logical loose ends of whether the frozen bootup was related to both being connected at the same time or whether a connection to a specific USB port was responsible.  Please clarify my thinking about this particular subject.
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by:simpswr
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Yes . . I would start with no e3xternal drive connected, then with on then with the other to see if that points to the problem
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by:younghv
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I'm going to drop out of this, because you have some of the best folks on EE helping - however - I think you have over-looked some of the basics and you might want to take a second look at the simple stuff the Moderator posted (free advice from Mods - since you can't accept one of their answers).

/unsubscribe
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I can agree with the above comment that I have "overlooked" some of the basics.  My only problem is getting someone to specifically answer questions because that is usually very helpful to me.

For example:

Question 1.
Please list the "basics" in 1, 2, 3... fashion that I should be using here to investigate my problem.  Above was mentioned the Event log which I can look at but don't know how to interpret the Errors and Warnings that I see.  For example, when I right click on the Error listing in that Event log and click on Properties I see for all such errors that I have so far checked the statement that "The Lexar JD31 service failed to start due to the following error: The system cannot find the file specified."  I can click on the link for information listed there but don't know what to do with the information or even if the specific information has anything to do with my frozen bootups.  I can't go anywhere with the information at my level so that's why I have presented my question to EE.

Whenever, I start a particular question on a topic such as, in this case, the frozen bootups and the remedy for that, I am always interested in that remedy but also in the information I gain about how I can systematically investigate such a problem so I ask a number of questions (probably too many from the experts' standpoint but not from mine which is to learn how best to use the computer.  I appreciate specific answers to my questions but maybe I've misunderstood this forum.  I'm open for discussion.

Thank you.
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by:simpswr
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"Please list the "basics" in 1, 2, 3... "

1. Disconnect all external peripherals, including the two external drives
2. Download and run diagnostics on the internal hard drive.
3. If the internal drive passes, run the diagnostics on the external drives one at a teim.

Come back with the results of the diagnostics
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by:rsuess1
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simpswr:
Some diagnostics have been listed above but I get the impression that specific "diagnostics" for the internal hard drive are being referred to but  it is not clear to me which specific diagnostics are referred to here.  Please refer to them (or it) by name.  
Please recall above that I already gave the results of running Maxtor Monitor (but not Sea Tools) above with the results for both of my external drives when they were separately connected (recently) and when they are both connected at the same time (prior to any frozen bootup problems): The results were:  "Test successful.  Your drive is functioning normally."  Is that what is referred to here?  However, I did not first run any testing on the internal hard drive prior to that on the external hard drives..
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by:Jonvee
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Have quickly re-read above posts, and do not think you have yet found time to run a test on the *internal* HD.  I also suspect simpswr is referring to specific "diagnostics" for the internal hard drive.  
If this is so, please refer to my post on 06.11.2008, hopefully your HD manufacturer is listed there ..
"Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities":
http://tacktech.com/display.cfm?ttid=287

If it's not, and assuming you can still access the internet, try running Lavalys "EVEREST Free Edition 2.20" to find your HD details:
http://www.majorgeeks.com/EVEREST_Free_Edition_d4181.html

No mention has been made of a Minidump analysis for a while.  
As stated earlier the analysis can be quite difficult, but if you have the opportunity to post a dump, i'll take a look.  Thanks.
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Jonvee: Does Belarc provide the kind of information about the internal hard drive that you want or would you still prefer the EVEREST info?  Belarc states that my hard drive is a Maxtor 6Y160M0 [Hard drive] (160.00 GB) -- drive 0

Let me clarify about my problem since people keep asking questions about whether my computer is crippled or not.  Except for the problem with the frozen bootups, apparently when the external hard drives were connected, those freezes still never prevented me from eventually accessing the Desktop.  A freeze forces me to shut the computer down using the Start/Stop button.  After that kind of a forced shut down, when I press the Start/Stop button to restart the computer, I am then always given that screen offering the reboots using any of the 3 types of Safe mode or the 2 types of reboot  to the Desktop.  When  I return to the Desktop under these circumstances, it is a fully functional computer with access to the Internet.

As to the minidump files:  You must have missed that I referred to them not too far above.  I'll expand on that::
OK, I, apparently, can't even send the .dmp files even if they are zipped since the message stated it recognized the contents of the zip file as unacceptable dmp files.  Would my suggestion to rename those dmp files as txt files fool this attach files system?  I presume they could be renamed back to dmp files at the receiving end but don't know.  The only other alternative I can think of to get you the dump file contents would have me read them using a checkdump.exe file and then, possibly, sending you their clipped report if that was available..

I will get back to you about the diagnostic hard drive information.  I have SeaTools from Seagate.  Do you know whether this does the kind of diagnostic testing required here?  However, I am concerned that some kind of diagnostic testing might overwrite something on the hard drive being tested.  Do these kinds of diagnostic tests do that?
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by:Jonvee
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Thanks for the clarification.
Yes i did miss your reference here>
>Would my suggestion to rename those dmp files as txt files fool this attach files system?<

This was also my suggestion on 06.28.2008 at 07:23AM BST
>You could re-name the files .txt files<

It was also willcomp's suggestion on 06.28.2008 at 06:22PM>
>Rename to .txt and submit (that's worked previously). We can change back to .dmp<

We have to blame something, so let's just say it's the multi-posting we now have in this thread, making it harder to scrutinise in detail!

Incidently, Belarc information is perfect!

Regarding your concern that a HD diagnostic might overwrite data on your internal HD, yes, there is inevitably a small element of risk.
Best bet would be to remove your HD, then re-fit it into a second computer, setting it as slave.  Then extract any valuably data, & follow that up with a HD diagnostic test.

Before you consider making this move, i would prefer to overcome the Minidump aspect, and see if we can read the real cause of the problem.  Hope that makes sense.
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Reviewing my last HD comment ... you would not have to remove your HD & use a second computer, as long as you have space on one of your external drives, as appropriate.  
Again, this assumes that one of the ext drives does not cause the hang at bootup.
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"it is not clear to me which specific diagnostics are referred to here.  Please refer to them (or it) by name.  "

I did before, but repeated here.  You make a boot disc using one of these ( depending on the Brand of the hard drive" . . they do not have to be installed.

Drive Diagnostics . . depending on the brand of your hard drive:

Samsung       http://www.samsung.com/global/business/hdd/support/utilities/Support_HUTIL.html
Seagate/Maxtor/Quantum       http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/support/downloads/seatools/
Western Digital http://support.wdc.com/download/
IBM/Hitachi       http://www.hgst.com/hdd/support/download.htm#DFT
fujitsu/Seimens http://www.fcpa.fujitsu.com/download/hard-drives/#diagnostic
IBM/Hitachi       http://www.hgst.com/hdd/support/download.htm#DFT

"I am concerned that some kind of diagnostic testing might overwrite something on the hard drive being tested.  Do these kinds of diagnostic tests do that?"

No they do not  . .

I thnk I'll drop out as well . . there seems to be a reluctance to perform basic diagnostics to rule out hardware . . which is where I alwasy start with issues like this.
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Sorry you couldn't stay, simpswr.  There is no reluctance to perform the diagnostics just ignorance of the process since I had said earlier that I had SeaTools and was asking for information about it.  I didn't feel confident enough in using it without some study. I wasn't aware that it required placing it on its own floppy and running it from, I presume, from DOS which I will try to do.  

I have renamed the requested .dmp files into their .txt counterparts and zipped them and will attempt to attach that zip file to this post.
Holder-for-dmpTOtxt-to-be-zipped.zip
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Thanks for the zip.    
Of the 5 Minidumps so far analysed the first two both indicate you may well have a RAM problem!  These tests are never absolutely conclusive and i'll continue with the other 3 dumps, & post back later.

The RAM may be overheating or faulty.    Have you recently checked out your computer temperature? cooling fans ok?  
If your memory is made up of two RAM sticks, suggest you remove one of them & retest.  If no improvement, do the same with the 2nd RAM.
In particular, make sure the RAM(s) are seating firmly.  Withdraw a RAM, then reseat it, & so on ...
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You can of course test a RAM without removing it, but these tests are not conclusive either.  However, if you'd prefer to try this test first before inspecting/removing RAM sticks, run at least 3 passes as 1 pass is rarely sufficient>

memtest86+  v1.70 :
http://www.memtest.org/
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The last 3 Minidumps read the same as the first two, thus firming up the suggestion that's it's RAM>
Analysis gave >>    FAILURE_BUCKET_ID: 0x8E_win32k!HMUnlockObjectInternal+1c

Incidently are you overclocking RAM or CPU, as this could give a similar symptom?

Conceivably your issue could also be a corrupted file!  .. well i did say that the above results are not ~conclusive~   !!

But if that's the case, you can do this to check the files>
Start>Run>   now type SFC/scannow

Have your CD handy as it may be requested.

"How to use the scannow sfc tool in Windows XP":
http://www.updatexp.com/scannow-sfc.html
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An ''afterthought' >
To check your  RAM & cabinet temperatures, & more>
"What is SpeedFan":
http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php

Or ..
EVEREST Free Edition 2.20
http://www.majorgeeks.com/EVEREST_Free_Edition_d4181.html
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Jonvee:  Currently, all I can add at present is the following:

I begin to see my self rating of Intermediate level was misleading.  It probably should have been beginner in this matter.

I am not overclocking memory or the CPU - that is, as far as I know, unless some other program I am using is doing so

I couldn't specifically find the download link for Speedfan from the link you gave me - it was confusing to me and trying to follow any links on that page (http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php) didn't actually seem to list a speedfan download link itself that I could pick out.  Please clarify.

Question 1.
I mentioned to you that I had used Belarc which is also a System Information utility for what is on my computer:
>Jonvee: Does Belarc provide the kind of information about the internal hard drive that you want or >would you still prefer the EVEREST info?  Belarc states that my hard drive is a Maxtor 6Y160M0 [Hard >drive] (160.00 GB) -- drive 0
But you had not answered that so was EVEREST going to show more than Belarc did?  I used the link you gave me for EVEREST and got the following message on that page:
Limitations: Lavalys has discontinued the free edition. This is unsupported.

Question 2.
I was not clear about some of the details of using "SeaTools for DOS" so I contacted Seagate and they suggested I use CHKDSK that was set for 'Automatically fix file system errors' and 'Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors' which proceeded after I had shut down again and restarted the computer.  It read no errors and returned me to a Desktop after which I plugged the 2 external hard drives into USB ports.  Did this offer any further useful information?

Question 3.
Withiin the last few months I had boosted my RAM from, I believe, .5 GB or 1 GB to 2 GB but, as far as I know, I haven't seemed to show any malfunction of which I was aware.  I thought I had been careful to seat the memory firmly, and it did snap right into place.

Before running memtest86 I should mention that I had, so far, tried plugging in the external hard drives back into place, by themselves, with no recurrences of the bootup freezes and I am trying, now, to plug in both at the same time to determine whether those memory freezes recur when both are plugged in at the same time but this will require that I reboot several more times to test out how successful that is.

Question 4.
I see that the memtest is up to version 2.01 now.  Which of the following downloads is the appropriate one to use for the 'memtest86' memory test?:
    *  Download - Pre-Compiled Bootable ISO (.gz)
    * Download - Pre-Compiled Bootable ISO (.zip)

    * Download - Pre-Compiled Bootable Binary (.gz)
    * Download - Pre-Compiled Bootable Binary (.zip)

    * Download - Pre-Compiled EXE file for USB Key (Pure DOS)

    * Download - Pre-Compiled package for Floppy (DOS - Win)

Question 5.
Before proceeding to using  the System File Checker I will need to learn a little more but the question comes up whether the CHKDSK test that has been run covers any of the same type of testing?
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@ rsuess1,
Even though you increased your RAM from, say, 0.5 GB or 1 GB to 2 GB, *if* you have two RAM sticks, i still suggest you remove one of them & retest, with both external HDs connected.  Then do the same for the other.  
This is not to check the integrity of the RAM socket(s) (because of your comments), but rather because of the Minidump analysis earlier!

Also, i see nothing much to gain at this time by running Memtest, and consider it better/faster/more decisive, to simply remove a RAM as explained above.

Don't worry about your 'self rating', in my experience computing can be a very complex subject & sooner or later we all run into major issues that puzzle us!
 
Ok, thanks on 'overclocking memory'.

It's true that EVEREST free edition has been discontinued by Lavalys, but that should not present a problem, & i use it personally.   As far as i can see, your Belarc HD info is all that's needed, thanks.
You could forget speedfan for the moment.  Although perhaps not quite so capable, Everest free should show you CPU & cabinet temps, & also Fan revs, etc..

The scannow sfc tool checks for file corruption, whereas CHKDSK is checking for integrity of HD, two different tests!  
The CHKDSK check suggestion by Seagate was useful.


@ nobus,
After studying the thread again i realise that i have repeated some of your earlier suggestions eg. using speedfan and memtest86+.    I can ensure you that this was absolutely unintentional .. a case of "eyes down & pull out all stops" to fix something!   :)
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@Jonvee : no harm done, better repeat once too many, than not mentioning it at all !
---------
Which of the following downloads is the appropriate one to use ?
   *  Download - Pre-Compiled Bootable ISO (.gz)   is an ISO file (= to male a bootable CD) in gz format
    * Download - Pre-Compiled Bootable ISO (.zip) same as above in zip format (unzip it, an d burn the image to cd with an image burning tool)

    * Download - Pre-Compiled Bootable Binary (.gz)  --> not needed
    * Download - Pre-Compiled Bootable Binary (.zip)  --> not needed

    * Download - Pre-Compiled EXE file for USB Key (Pure DOS) --> you can put it on a flash stick, and run it from there (you can even make a bootable flash stick with it)

    * Download - Pre-Compiled package for Floppy (DOS - Win)  ===>> makes a bootable floppy when you run it

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Once again, after being free of any bootup freezes when neither external hard drive was connected, nor one or the other external hard drive was connected separately, when I had both hard drives plugged into their USB ports, another bootup freeze occurred.  However, on this last freeze on shutting the computer down by holding the Start/Stop button down and then, after awhile, restarting it by again pressing the Start/Stop button when I was offered the choices of the various Safe modes or the bootups to the Desktop (refer to this as the multichoice DOS bootup screen), it did not go directly to the boot up into the Desktop or Safe mode (as it had on all the previous restart bootups) but, instead, went through the Windows logo with its 3 moving blue squares that froze on each attempt to bootup past the mutlichoice bootup screen.  

As long as the external hard drives were plugged in I just couldn't reboot to the Desktop.  As soon as I unplugged the external hard drives while the computer was shut down, a normal reboot could occur back to the Desktop.  I hope this tedious description under these circumstances is useful.  By the way no further Minidump files were generated by the process described in that first paragraph.

I haven't yet run the System File Checker and before checking those 1 GB RAM sticks, i need some information.  Jonvee, you stated, " 'if' you have 2 RAM sticks (which I do), I still suggest you remove one of them and retest, with both HDs connected.  Then do the same with the other."

Question 1.
The question here is that I have lost track of how I should now test the RAM sticks without using memtest86?

And one last concern that I haven't thought through:  I don't know whether I will have any trouble rebooting if I am not able to reboot past the presence of those l2 hard drives.  I don't know whether the presence of one or the other external hard drives is adequate to determine what is wanted by checking the RAM sticks when both external HD are connected.
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Ok, all comments noted, tks.

>if you have 2 RAM sticks (which I do)<
Ok, well the "test" (without using memtest86) is no more than to remove one of the RAM sticks, then see if you still get a bootup freeze *with both external HDs connected*.  
If it still freezes, then re-install that RAM stick, and remove the second one.  Re-"test" in the same way.

Really i'm doing no more than following the 'suggestion' of your minidump analysis.  Again i reiterate, the minidump test is not absolutely conclusive but it is circumstantial evidence!

Incidently, i presume the CPU with its heatsink is relatively dust free, & hopefully not running too hot.  Since you said you had increased RAM in the recent past, i had assumed you had taken a look around while you were inside.

No hurry, but it would be prudent to create a System Restore point when your machine is running well, and you don't have the two external HDs connected .. a bit of security!
My advice at this time ... keep plugging away at it, we're here to help, whenever & wherever we can!
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I was trying to run 'sfc /scannow but apparently didn't use the correct CD.  I have attached a doc file containing the images of the meesages I received in the process which explains the progression of lack thereof.  Basically, it asked for the Windows XP Home Service Pack 2 CD and I thought I had a complete set but apparently not.  I inserted the operating sytem CD from Dell which it seemed to reject.  

I do, however, have a C:\I386 folder that might be useful since I believe I remember that this was a recommendation to include that folder and its contents on my C: drive in order to avoid later requests for CDs.  But here, I don't know how to direct the sfc /scannow process to look at that folder if that is a solution for this particular problem.

Please advise.
Bootup-error-description---furth.doc
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If I didn't mention it when I tried to 'Cancel' that process it warned that I might later be called on to supply that same CD.  In order to avoid that call could I just use the Task Manager to 'end' the process and avoid that later call - if that could actually occur.
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@nobu:
I had that reference and I don't believe that it answers my "problems" with sfc.  As I was trying to use it, it asked for a disk that I didn't have - Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 2 CD.  I had, earlier in the year when it became available, installed the Windows Update SP2.  I don't know how that relates to the Service Pack 2 CD that sfc is now asking for.  In addition when I couldn't supply that CD (although I tried the Dell Operating System CD) and tried to 'Cancel' its request window, it informed me that there might be later requests for that disk.  Also incidentally, I had unhidden system files some time ago.  Thanks.
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@nobus:
Sorry for the name typo.  I forgot to add that I have a C:\I386 folder on my drive but I don't recall having given my registry and notification of this.
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this last comment on the page helped me several times :  
I found that I had to modify both the ServicePackSourcePath and the SourcePath
to C:\Windows where the I386 folder was.
A great tip!
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@nobus:  Some things cross my mind regarding your discussion.  First, in order to do this I will have to study the Registry locations a bit before tackling that so I'll have to look back on the sfc link for that kind of info so that I don't ruin the Registry.

Second, I would think that there was some reason that the sfc in my system now asks for a CD that I never had - the Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 2 CD so could the Windows Update SP2 have altered my system so that it now requires that CD that I never had?

Third, at some time I must have liked the advice to transfer the I386 folder to my system in order "never" to have to insert the System CD again (but, as I said, I missed the requirements for the Registry notification of the presence of that I386 folder so I didn't do it) but that leaves me with the question whether the contents of my I386 folder may be outdated and not containing all that it needs to perform that run of sfc so is that any problem?

I'm sorry that I'm a killjoy but I think of all sorts of possible problems ahead of time and like to solve them before they bite me.
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rsuess1,
Have you had the opportunity yet to remove each of the RAM sticks in turn(as described earlier), to see if you still get a bootup freeze with both external HDs connected?
From the Minidumps there was sufficient evidence to suspect that running both RAMs together, could be a problem!
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by:nobus
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all those issues are discussed on that page imho
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@Jonvee:

Let me try to bring you up to date:

In order to try to clear up my confusion about the running of the sfc command request for the Service Pack 2 CD which Dell had not included with my operating system disk, and not trying to go behind your back, I called Dell Chat and in their discussion asking me why I wanted to run the sfc command I had informed them about trying to clear up the frozen bootup problem when the 2 external hard drives were plugged into the USB ports and they suggested that this could be solved by the following:
At the start of the bootup process for the computer press F2 to call up the BIOS system and <Enter> from Integrated devices.  Then select the option for USB Emulation and set it to no boot.which I took to mean to change it from 'On' to 'Off.'

Since it seemed to me to be a reasonable action under an assumption I made that possibly the frozen boot up could be due to the external drives being used to try to boot the computer, so turning off the USB emulation by the external drives might be able to avoid a conflict during my boot up and thus prevent the frozen bootup.

Since I did turn off that USB emulation, I have had no bootup freezes (even if my reasoning might me incorrect) so far - I'm not sure whether this ia "fixed" or not.  

Question 1.
Could you tell me if that was a reasonable thing to try?

Question 2.
Was my assumption about why the external drives were causing the frozen bootups correct?

Question 3.
Is there any way to force a Minidump so that what you were seeing there might show a correction by this turning off the USB emulation?
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>>  Could you tell me if that was a reasonable thing to try?<<<  sure
q2 yes
q3 not that i know...
   
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Yes, i concur, turning off that USB emulation was worth trying!  
It's backed up by the fact that you've had no further bootup hangs, so far.  Perhaps you'll let us know if you do get another bootup failure, please.

So your assumption about the external drives does seem correct, so far.

I too am not aware of a method to initiate a minidump, but will investigate this further ...
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@Jonvee and nobus:  You'll note that I only said "so far" in regard to freedom from reboot freezes, so a little more time needs to go by.
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take your time..
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So far with about 10 reboots I haven't encountered any freezes.  But another peculiarity has developed that, I suppose, might be related to whatever I have done so far:
First let me say that have set up my sound system to divert sound to the headphones when they are plugged into the front of the computer and when I pull out the headphones sound comes from the loudspeaker system.  
Now, however, during the bootup the musical phrase that Windows plays on bootup comes loudly from the loudspeakers for a few seconds, even though I have the headphones plugged in. Then the system reverts to the way I have set it to function:  headphones plugged in - sound from the headphones only, and headphone not plugged in - sound from the loudspeakers.

At this time I'm only mentioning this to keep you up to date.  I've never had that before and, if it is related to the USB Emulation turned to off, I can't figure that out since the headphones are not USB.
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Ok, will ponder over that one, meanwhile i was about to post this>>

While searching for a method to force a crash dump i located a previous EE thread.
If you scroll to the comments dated 12.16.2004 at 12:05PM GMT  by cpc2004
(who is particularly skillful at analysing crash dumps), you''ll find the following technique.
Although i have not used this Regedit command before, the very fact that it was offered by cpc2004, is good enough for me!  Having said that, it would not be prudent to use it right now if you're still up and running well.  Instead, keep it for the future and if or when you get serious Stop errors again.

To force a crash dump:
1. REGEDIT
2. Locate HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\i8042prt\Parameters
3. Create a new DWORD value and name it CrashOnCtrlScroll
4. Right-click on this newly created value and click on Modify
5. Enter 1 in the Value data field and click on OK.
6. Close regedit and reboot your system.
7. Now you will get a blue screen (crash) your system by holding the right CTRL key and pressing "Scroll Lock" twice.
8. The bugcheck code is E2

Details>
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/WinXP/Q_21236265.html
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@Jonvee:
Now, this is a very superficial run at the above information you have given me and therefore I'm sure you realize that "I don't know what I'm talking about" but I, as I said skimmed it very superficially, glanced  at that link to cpc2004 material (among others - I didn't actually read the whole thing) - and noticed a reference there to the ATI display card.  

By "coincidence", for the past 4 months (really not sure for how long) but I have been getting the messages included in my current attachment to this post.  If you want me to, I can add some of that material to a later post but I would like an answer to the question included in that attachment:
Question 1.
Why should I, only in the past 4 months, have been notified that my ATI Catalyst Control Center was not be supported by the driver that, as far as I know, has supported it for the 8 months preceding the last 4 months?  Could the frozen reboots be related to that as well?

The-serious-error-notice-and-the.doc
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Just to verify minidump information, I ran the minidump files. Faulting driver is mxopswd.sys which is a Maxtor One Touch driver.
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@willcomp:  If I didn't misunderstand what you added above, was that since it is a driver for the 2 Maxtor One Touch Plus external hard drives (500 GB and 750 GB) on my system that the minidump files point to, that confirms the source of my bootup problem.  Which brings up the question:

Question 1.
The remedy for my frozen bootup problem that I believed I used was to turn off the USB emulation capability in BIOS, so would another possible remedy have been a corrected mxopswd.sys driver if such exist?
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Further report from the frozen bootup front:

I have , so far, only made 2 or 3 more reboots (the last 3) after 2 normal reboots (since turning off the USB Emulation) that had no freezes and each of them had a frozen bootup.  One of them even had another bootup freeze following a reboot from the 'Start Windows normally' capability from the restart screen that follows a shut down by pressing the Start/Stop button - this is difficult for me to keep track of (and describe) and I hope I am clearly enough describing the events to prevent confusion.  Just to check on the setting for that USB Emulation, I rebooted back into the BIOS and the USB Emulation was still turned 'off.'  

And I was hoping that the problem had been solved.  I guess one other solution would be to unplug the external hard drives but since they supply needed supplemental storage space,  I think you understand why I'd rather not do that.  The thought comes up that if I restart the computer (without the external hard drives plugged in) in order to be able to reboot to the Desktop, I could still hotplug them in after the computer  was satisfactorily booted up.
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That earlier minidump analysis suggesting RAM was the problem is still worth considering!
i still recommend you remove one of the RAMs & retest, with both external HDs connected.  Then do the same for the other, as suggested way back.
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Went ahaead and analyzed all 4 minidump files (I only found 4 in zip file).

Faulting module for 2 was mxopswd.sys which was previously noted
One was drvmcdb.sys which is a Sonic Solutions (CD burning) driver
One was inconclusive -- no faulting module identified.

Jonvee, can you point me to minidump file with memory in Fault Bucket?

The initial problem apparently has bee indentified (external drives). You can try reinstalling Maxtor drivers. I'll not address any side issues here.
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@ willcomp,
'Memory in Fault Bucket' wasn't stated as such, but here are my comments following an analysis of 5 minidumps( in two batches) on 06.30.2008, using a WinXP.
Also mentioned that these tests are never absolutely conclusive>

<quote>
The last 3 Minidumps read the same as the first two, thus firming up the suggestion that's it's RAM>
Analysis gave >> FAILURE_BUCKET_ID: 0x8E_win32k!HMUnlockObjectInternal+1c
<unquote>

Haven't yet had the opportunity to analyse the 4 minidumps i believe you're referring to, as i'm running a Win Me at present.  But from your own analysis you do appear to have acquired possibly 3 different results, which if my understanding is correct, can also be indicative of a faulty RAM.  
Of course i stand to be corrected, if you feel that for what ever reason, there has been a wrong interpretation.  Thanks.
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No, different faulting drivers is not unusual and does not necessarily point to a memory problem (especially considering the drivers involved here). In addition, 0x8E errors are usually driver related. What were the faulting modules listed?
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willcomp ... regret the delay in replying .. it's due to problems with XP, and therefore the access of WinDbg, hence the reason i'm running Me right now.  I'll need to re-analyse those minidumps to find out which faulting modules ...
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@willcomp:  I was only directed to include my last 4 minidump files in that zipped collection I attached.  

I also will now report that I have rebooted 3 more times and none of them froze during the reboot.
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" I was only directed to include my last 4 minidump files in that zipped collection I attached." --- OK and that's sufficient. Jonvee's comment after his minidump analysis indicated 5 minidump files total. I was trying to ensure we were looking at the same minidump files. If there are only 4 that were uploaded, I obviously got the right ones and the same ones.
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rsuess1 and  willcomp,
Have now got XP up & running, and it seems i owe you both an apology!

Have rechecked those 4, yes 4 minidumps!   Have no idea (at present) where the 5th dump went, or more importantly, the difference between my 2 sets of results!

See "Attach Code Snippet" box.
Mini042808-01 

FAILURE_BUCKET_ID: 0x50_nt!ExFreePoolWithTag+667 

IMAGE_NAME: ntkrnlmp.exe

 

Mini050208-01 

FAILURE_BUCKET_ID: 0x50_mxopswd+510d 

IMAGE_NAME: mxopswd.sys 
 

Mini061108-01 

FAILURE_BUCKET_ID: 0x7E_drvmcdb+d837 

IMAGE_NAME: drvmcdb.sys 
 

Mini061208-01 

FAILURE_BUCKET_ID: 0x50_mxopswd+510d 

IMAGE_NAME: mxopswd.sys 
 

So i'm puzzled, and investigating further at present  ...

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This is one that I considered inconclusive (no faulting module):

Mini042808-01
FAILURE_BUCKET_ID: 0x50_nt!ExFreePoolWithTag+667
IMAGE_NAME: ntkrnlmp.exe
We agree on all 4 now.
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by:Jonvee
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Yes, thats correct!   Yet instinctively, but with no proof,  i'm still thinking it's maybe RAM ...
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by:willcomp
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I've been surmising this was a driver issue since my first response. Still haven't changed my mind. That's what everything points to.
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by:rsuess1
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Question 1.
@Jonvee and willcomp:  not having even been aware of a minidump filebefore my Question began, I'm only vaguely aware of the specific issuesregarding the causation of my frozen bootups as due to some fault in my RAM sticks versus faulty One Touch Plus external hard drivers - I am correct that this is the issue am I not?

Question 2.
I would like to call your attention to the dates of the mindump files I attached - those were the same dates that I had received "The System has recovered from a serious error" messages on bootup that I guess was reporting that the "log of this error has been created' - the minidump files.  None of the other frozen bootups gave that "serious error" report other than the ones associated with the minidump files.  Is this of significance or not?

Question 3,
Now should I just wait until you can clarify the issues further or should I contact Maxtor, actually, Seagate for updated drivers, but what if there aren't any updated drivers?  Or am I on the wrong track?
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by:willcomp
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There are no minidumps when system fails to boot. I requested minidumps based on your BSOD errors.

Fauly driver may be causing boot failure. Can't be for sure. We do know BSODs were driver related and which drivers are at fault.

I recommend uninstalling and reinstalling Maxtor drivers. Also remember that one BSOD was caused by CD burning software. If those continue, either reinstall what you have or change to another program such as Nero or Roxio after uninstalling current software.

I've done all the clarifying I'm going to do. I don't believe you have a memory problem.
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by:Jonvee
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I requested minidumps which of course entails using WinDbg, because(as stated in the extensive text i supplied for you) it's a tool that costs nothing, and you can solve approximately 50% (note 50%)!! of Windows crashes pretty quickly ...

As stated by willcomp faulty driver(s) may well be the reason, and he may well be right. However, for the reasons i've already given, i still believe you should deal with the RAM situation, it's such a straightforward move.  
Remember, we cannot be absolutely certain of the cause, but we're static at the moment, let's at least move forward and try different ideas!
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by:rsuess1
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OK, I'm now trying to get some idea of the percentage occurrence of the amount of frozen bootups compared to normal bootups so that I can try to tell whether the two actions of:
1)  trying the removal and reseating of the RAM sticks individually while the external hard drives remain plugged in does or doesn't prevent the frozen bootups or
2) reinstalling the external hard drives corrects the frozen bootups.

Any comments?
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by:Jonvee
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>trying the removal and reseating of the RAM sticks individually<

Yes, a comment!   This action wasn't to check the reseating of the RAMs, as much
as to check the operational characteristics of each RAM individually, even though one of them at least was relatively new.
Although the RAM Memtest is good, and 3 passes at least are usually recommended, it is not an absolute guarantee.  A 'fault condition' can exist in a RAM that doesn't show itself perhaps until an extreme condition is met.
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by:rsuess1
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@Jonvee:  I was aware that the RAM sticks were not being removed to check on their seating but you will have to admit that if they are not seated properly, that they wouldn't function too well.  I have currently removed one of the 1 GB sticks and am in the cycle of booting and shutting down the computer repetitively to see, what percentage of the restarts freeze or don't freeze.  After that checking is done, I will take that stick out and seat the other one and go through the same cycling.  Isn't that what you wanted me to do?
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by:rsuess1
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One other question here:  I am now noticing that any typing I am trying to do here is very slow and I am outrunning the ability for what I am typing to appear on the screen and if I have made typng errors and try to delete it, it is hard to judge what gets deleted unless I slow way down.  None of the other EE screens on which I type show this annoying characteristic - can I ask how to correct that here?  None of my other typing input screens on my computer do this either.
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by:Jonvee
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Yes, absolutely, thank you.
 
But please don't forget willcomp's suggestions that the BSODs are driver related.  
Hopefully with two bites of the cherry we can nail it!
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by:rsuess1
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My concern about trying to reinstall the external hard drives (since I don't know all that is involved in that process) is being sure that reinstallation process does not destroy data on the external drives.
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by:willcomp
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Drivers are removed and re-installed with drives disconnected. The risk is very small. You could possibly lose drive access but not data.

It's up to you. Live with current situation or re-install drivers.
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by:rsuess1
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@jJonvee:  Sorry about this but it relates to inexperience regarding hardware:  I did not recognize the sticks that I was seeing when I removed the 1 GB RAM stick as you recommended since it looked as if I have more memory than I recalled  So, actually, I have a total of 2.5 GB of RAM memor y.  What I recalled was placing 2 additional GB  of RAM and now I have 1.5 GB since removing the 1GB stick, thus Belarc reports:
            1536 Megabytes Installed Memory

Slot 'CHANNEL A DIMM 0' has 256 MB
Slot 'CHANNEL B DIMM 0' has 256 MB
Slot 'CHANNEL A DIMM 1' has 1024 MB
Slot 'CHANNEL B DIMM 1' is Empty

So, will the removal of RAM sticks extend to the 256 MB sticks as well?  You know, if you will excuse me for saying so, it seems that an easier process might have been to leave the RAM in place and, instead, to reinstall the drivers for those external drives to determine whether those procedures would remedy the bootup freeeze problem prior to shifting the RAM sticks.
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by:Jonvee
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>will the removal of RAM sticks extend to the 256 MB sticks as well<
Yes, i believe that it would be wise to remove both 256MB sticks and run the machine with just the remaining 1GB (1024MB).
Then, if you haven't already done so, remove that remaining 1GB and re-insert the first 1GB stick. Then run the machine again.
I believe it's even more important now, since from the start i believed that you only had a total of 2GB, and one of those older(?) 256MB sticks could well be suspect.  Or, maybe it's one of the 1GB sticks.
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@Jonvee:  I hate to bring this up again but as you can tell I really hate to mess around with those RAM sticks but you ignored my last question so I'll phrase  it as a question:

You know, if you will excuse me for saying so, it seems that an easierprocess might have been to leave the RAM in place and, instead, toreinstall the drivers for those external drives to determine whetherthose procedures would remedy the bootup freeze problem prior toshifting the RAM sticks which is a much more tedious process:

1) remove first 1 GB stick
2) repeatedly reboot and shutdown computer to determine if it is subject to a frozen bootuip
3) put back the first 1 GB stick and take out the second 1 GB stick
4) repeatedly reboot and shutdown computer to determine if it is subject to a frozen bootuip
5) put back the second 1 GB stick
6)  etc., etc., etc.

Question 1.
Isn't it much easier to try to see if that reinstallation of the external drives could remedy the frozen reboot problem since, if that worked, I then wouldn't have to do anytthing with the RAM sticks?


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by:Jonvee
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Well, the decision is really yours.  We can only advise.  Taking a look at the external drives is certainly much easier, so by all means if you prefer to move in that direction, that's fine.  
I have already implied that willcomp may well be correct, and then it would save you the tedious process of RAM exchange.
If investigating the drivers does not resolve the issue, then i can only strongly advise you to continue with the RAM exchange.
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by:rsuess1
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I've looked into the updating of its drivers and/or uninstalling and reinstalling the external hard drives that isn't as straightforward as it would seem (at least not to me) since there are problems with trying to do this that  will require about 4 pages of material to explain and would like to present this here but I want to be sure that this is acceptable before doing so.
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Since I havent heard any objections, I believe the following is useful information but I did edit it to reduce its size:

I will start out by saying that my antiviral and antispyware programs have not detected any malware on my external or internal hard drives.


Question 1.
Am I not correct that current instructions are to uninstall and then reinstall the external hard drives which would also reinstall fresh but not necessarily updated drivers?

Question 2.
Since my frozen bootup does not bring up a blue screen of death can you tell me how the term blue screen of death is related to the frozen bootup problem which I am having?


willcomp mentioned in regard to the minidump file, apparently finding a reference to a mxopswd.sys that he related to the One Touch.  He said:
Just to verify minidump information, I ran the minidump files. Faulting driver is mxopswd.sys which is a Maxtor One Touch driver.  my external hard drives are Maxtor One Touch4 Plus but I presume that this is essentially the same drive.


Because there were things I didnt understand about the uninstallation and reinstallation of those external USB hard drives and updating of their drivers, I contacted Seagate techsupport and was informed that I would have to speak to Microsoft since, apparently, as I recall, I simply plugged those external drives into a USB port and Windows took care of recognizing them (and, I presume, installing whatever drivers were needed).


So, I did a Google search for that faulty driver that willcomp mentioned: mxopswd.sys:

There were several discussions stating that the the password driver (mxopswd.sys) on the OneTouch drives caused their PC to crash when connecting USB devices to the system. One discussant went on to say that Tech support helped him to disable the driver and the problem was gone but he couldnt use the password feature thereafter.

Another discussant said:
The driver can be started or stopped from Services in the Control Panel or by other programs. The program has no visible window.  It is a Microsoft signed file. mxopswd.sys is not a Windows core file. The application can be uninstalled in the Control Panel. Therefore the technical security rating is 0% dangerous.

Question 3.
Is this stopping of that driver from Services accessed via the Control Panel a remedy worth trying?

Question 4.
How would this be done?  I dont know how to find mxopswd.sys in the Services setup


Another individual said that assuming no password had been  entered to protect the Maxtor external drives (and I havent done so) there should be no trouble with inactivating that mxopswd.sys password protection service.  However, it is not clear to me that this is true since it seems that the mere presence of the mxopswd.sys file seems to spell doom.


I had been unable to find the mxopswd.sys driver referred to in the listing for the external hard drives under the Disk Drive heading in the Device Manager but another discussant mentioned a heading in the Device Manger which I had not been aware of before:  it was the Maxtor Personal Storage Security heading and it was in that location that I found mention of its driver, mxopswd.sys.
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by:rsuess1
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Sorry for the length of the above material.  I didn't realize that it took up that much space since I had cut it down but I believe that it is important information relating to the frozen bootup problem and correcting it.
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by:Jonvee
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@ WhackAMod, within minutes i have to leave here & travel for 4 days .. will logon immediately upon my return, & continue ..

@  rsuess1, sorry i could not get back to you before.
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by:rsuess1
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@Jonvee:, I'm having a conversation with WhackAMod regarding my missing you which was not criticism of you.  It just looked like there was not going to be any more feedback and I had just received an Open Question notification.  I thank you for the followup and I can certainly wait for your return.  However, if you would like me to split up that long last post of 7/12/08 4:59AM,  into, possibly more digestible pieces, I can certainly do that if requested.
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by:Jonvee
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@ rsuess1,
Have quickly re-read most comments above, and there seems little i can add to the suggestions from the various Experts, however ...

>Question 1. Am I not correct that current instructions are to uninstall and then reinstall the external hard drives which would also reinstall fresh but not necessarily updated drivers?<
Yes, this is what makes sense, and is what i believe willcomp meant.

>Question 2.
Since my frozen bootup does not bring up a BSOD can you tell me how the term BSOD is related to the frozen bootup problem which I am having?<
One possibility is that a hardware fault has meant that your OS XP has *not been able to report* a BSOD.    So .. RAM?!

Taking a look at the external drives (which i earlier thought would be more straightforward than the RAM exchanges) does seem to be causing you problems, and i feel obliged therefore to ask whether you have a computer technician in your neighbourhood, who could possibly help you further?  To do this rather than attempting the various expensive calls to computer companies.

Personally i still favour running the machine with just one of the1GB (1024MB) RAMs for a day or two, without interuption.  Then try a reboot.  If the 'freeze' problem recurrs, exchange the 1GB RAM for the other 1GB RAM, leaving the two 256MB sticks out at all times, and run for another couple of days or so.  Again, try a reboot.

I don't think much is to be gained by analysing more Minidumps, but i'll certainly take another peek if that is what you wish.
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by:willcomp
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Some additions to Jonvee's response:

Question 2.
Since my frozen bootup does not bring up a blue screen of death can you tell me how the term blue screen of death is related to the frozen bootup problem which I am having?

I thought I covered that adequately quite a while ago. There is no BSOD or minidump when boot freezes since OS has not loaded to to the point where they can be created. You asked about BSODs and we responded. The BSODs caused by Maxtor driver may or may not be related to freezing during boot process.

I don't think you have a memory problem but it certainly won't hurt to test memory and be certain.

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by:rsuess1
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@willcomp and Jonvee:  I'm not trying to aggravate you but I don't recall ever discussing BSOD with you in the way I am understanding it.  You did say that you "requested minidumps based on my BSOD errors and that a fauly driver may be causing boot failure. Can't be for sure. We do know BSODs were driver related and which drivers are at fault."
.
To me it seemed to be another kind of freezing of the operating system by a malfunction and so I think you might understand why I thought that my frozen bootup might be a variation on the BSOD.  I bring this up because of the information I found on the Internet where the statement was made that:
"There were several discussions (on the Internet) stating that the the password driver (mxopswd.sys) on the OneTouch drives caused their PC to crash when connecting USB devices to the system. One discussant went on to say that Tech support helped him to disable the driver and the problem was gone but he couldn't use the password feature thereafter."

Someone else said:
'The driver (mxopswd.sys) can be started or stopped from Services in the Control Panel or by other programs. The program has no visible window.  It is a Microsoft signed file. Mxopswd.sys is not a Windows core file. The application can be uninstalled in the Control Panel. Therefore the technical security rating is 0% dangerous."

Now, since I don't use the password feature either for those external hard drives and couldn't care less if that driver could be stopped (unless there were other consequences), isn't that deactivation of the driver that seems to be at fault (mxopswd.sys) by using the Services accessed from the Control panel another option worth trying since that minidump file seems to be saying that the mxopswd.sys driver is at fault?  If so, how might I use Services to do that?
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by:Jonvee
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>by using the Services accessed from the Control panel<

You could be referring to services.msc.  If so, try this>
Start>Run> then type "services.msc" (with no quotes).    Press enter.

In this next link if you scroll to the sub-heading "Windows XP Services Guide" you'll find further details on how to disable certain services.  Care must obviously be taken.  Not sure if you'll see the driver here, but worth perusing all the same>

http://home.comcast.net/~Suppservices.mscortCD/OptimizeXP.html
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by:Jonvee
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@Jonvee:  Trying to locate the "Windows XP Services Guide" after running 'services.msc.  Doing so reaches a display with 'Services (Local)' in the left pane but nothing resembling "Windows XP Services Guide" in the right pane (if that is what I should have found), assuming that is the correct location to look for it.  Possibly there is some alternative name for it that I don't recognize.  If it would help I could probably attach an image of either the long list of just what is included in the right pane or those listing beginning with 'Windows...'.   And, just to be thorough, I don't find any such listing in the link that you supplied on that 'Optimize XP' page.

In that material I found by Googling the driver mxopswd.sys I saw more than one reference to using that 'Services' route to disabling that driver, again if I didn't misunderstand what I was reading.

Question 1.
Am I misunderstanding just what you were advising here?
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by:rsuess1
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@Jonvee:  I'm sorry I didn't look at that link closely enough.  I'll have to study it in more detail to see if it releases the secret of the Services function to get at that mxopswd.sys driver.
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by:Jonvee
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Removing Maxtor drivers certainly doesn't seem very straightforward, as you imply.
You may have already seen these next two links, but the first link does give you one or two ideas to consider>

"How to completely remove Maxtor Drivers":
http://forums.techguy.org/hardware/566416-how-completely-remove-maxtor-drivers.html

No guarantees on the 2nd link, although if still unresolved, you may wish to try downloading the appropriate file just to see what install(& uninstall?) options they are referring to>

"mxopswd.sys blue screen":
http://forums.seagate.com/stx/board/message?board.id=onetouch&message.id=1971
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by:rsuess1
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When I searched for that driver - mxopswd.sys - and was informed that this apparently controls that Maxtor Personal Storage Security process listed in the Device Manager and statements were made that once the process could be turned off using the Windows Services facility, I thought that this sounded like an "easy" way to solve the problem related to the Maxtor external hard drives.  I recognize that easy ain't always so easy.

However, my question now comes down to whether I have any chance of finding out how to turn off that Maxtor Personal Storage Security (see reference above) since the information I read stated that it could be done via that Serivces facility accessed via the control panel - actually, the same thing accessed by running the service.msc command as you suggested.  From that point, however, I can't seem to find any further details that specifiy turning off mxopswd.sys.  I can't seem to find any Maxtor Personal Storage Security or don't recognize what its name should be to be able to turn it off.

Question 1.
Can you give more specific directions to turn the d--n thing off?  I realize there could be other unforseen consequences to doing that.
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by:Jonvee
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Located this link which discusses Maxtor Software, and it could help.
If you scroll to the entry by "marcolopes", 11th Aug, 07 07:08, and see under subheading "Issue Resolved", this guy does appear to have succeeded in deleting the driver file mxopswd.sys.
It's worth reading, but i must say that i have not thoroughly studied the entry, as time does not permit right now.  i have to log off for some time.

http://forums.techguy.org/hardware/607740-maxtor-one-touch-iii-anyone.html
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So, would you suggest that I close this question and learn a bit more about that process of shutting down the mxopswd.sys driver?
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by:willcomp
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Yes, if this doesn't work for you.

Run msconfig --> select Services tab --> check Hide all Microsoft Services --> uncheck any Maxtor services.
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by:Jonvee
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Yes it may be prudent to finally close this question, if only because no new Experts are likely to find this thread.  Apparantly there are at least fifty new WinXP questions started here each day!

There is no doubt that there is research you could do on the disabling of the mxopswd.sys driver, as you've already been doing.  It seems though that much has already been covered, but from where i sit it looks quite an interesting & challenging project.

Alternatively should you decide to continue this thread, and clearly i cannot speak for willcomp, but i confess i'm rapidly running out of ideas!

Incidently if it were me, i'd bite the bullet and risk deleting the driver file mxopswd.sys, as described in this earlier link>
http://forums.techguy.org/hardware/607740-maxtor-one-touch-iii-anyone.html

Anyway, good luck with your quest, naturally i'll continue to monitor this question & advise if or where i can.
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by:rsuess1
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Sorry, for the inevitable questions but why do Microsoft Services need to be hidden when unchecking the Maxtor Service box?

Since there are must be more "Maxtor services" than the Maxtor Personal Storage Security controlled by mxopswd.sys, would this action to uncheck Maxtor Services in the System Configuration Utility affect anything else?   In addition to the two external hard drives one or both of which seem to be causing me difficulty now, I also have a Maxtor internal hard drive holding my operating system so wouldn't want cutting Maxtor services to interfere with operating system.  
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by:Jonvee
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  >why do Microsoft Services need to be hidden<
To greatly reduce the number of total services visible, which in turn aids troubleshooting.
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by:willcomp
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All non-MS services can be disabled without affecting XP itself. You may have some devices and applications which are affected, but Windows will boot and run. Internal hard disks will not be affected.

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But, please, would this unchecking of "Maxtor services" alter any other services or functions of the external hard drives than just the offending Maxtor Personal Storage Security service (mxopswd.sys)?
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by:willcomp
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Didn't you say that no drivers were required for XP to access drives? If driver installation was required to access drives, then uninstall and re-install drivers. Otherwise disabling Maxtor services should not affect drive access.

This is the last question I'm answering. This thread has gone on too long and you have all the information you need.
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by:Jason C. Levine
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>> But, please, would this unchecking of "Maxtor services" alter any other services or functions of the external hard
>> drives than just the offending Maxtor Personal Storage Security service (mxopswd.sys)?

Worst case scenario, it would disable the access to the drive but not harm anything on the drive.

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@willcomp:  I have no idea if you are still in touch or not.  I'm disappointed that even though you have supplied necessary information in resolving my problem there are still skills I haven't gained yet that I seem too cautious for you to tolerate.  

No, I didn't say that no drivers were required for XP to access drives.  What I said was that Maxtor didn't supply these when I simply plugged the external drive into its USB port so I assume that Windows XP must have already had them in its reserve supply which seems certainly different than saying that no drivers were required.  From my limited understanding of how a perifpheral can function in a Windows environment, I would think that it is a necessity that drivers are required to enable any peripheral to function along with the operating system.  

As far as how long this thread has continued, I would say that if you think it has gone on too long  then I'm not going to argue you out of your opinion.  I thank you for the information that you have supplied but as far as having all the information I need it should be phrased that I have all the information that you are going to supply.
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by:PCBONEZ
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It sounds to me like you are using this thing without the AC adapter for the drive chassis being plugged in.
USB ports do not provide enough power to to run a 3.5" based portable drive.
(For that matter most current 2.5" drives exceed the USB power limit.)
Each USB port is limited to 1/2 amp at 5 vdc which works out to 2.5 watts.

Desktop 3.5" drives need 12 vdc power in addition to the 5 vdc.
Laptop 2.5" laptop drives only use 5 vdc but most pull more than 2.5 watts anymore.

That would be sufficient to cause the driver to error and to not be able to access the drive. - And in fact it may burn-out the USB port permanently.
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@PCBONEZ:  I'm completely at sea whenever I speak to you because of my ignorance of the physical side running a computer.  I'm sure my questions tell you the state of that ignorance:

By the way once I can get the computer past a frozen bootup, I never have any trouble reading the external drives.  I believe the problem with those external hard drives was due to a faulty driver - mxopswd.sys

Question 1.
My Maxtor external hard drives are powered by their own plugs into power (and I have plugged them into the AC sockets) so if that is what you are referring to, doesn't that solve any power problems?  I'm not having any overheating or fires.

I do know that I have one 8 GB flash drive from Memorex and it won't run when plugged into the front USB port but will from any of the ports in the back of the computer.
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~~plugged them into the AC sockets~~
Yes that's what I meant.
I didn't see it mentioned so I thought I'd ask because it's a common mistake.

It used to be that laptop 2.5" drive based externals were under 2.5 watts and didn't need an AC adapter. Some people were confused and tried to use desktop 3.5" drive based externals without an AC adapter and one possible result is about what you are experiencing. Also, many newer laptop drives take more than 2.5 watts so they also must be used with an AC adapter to work properly. Unfortunatly many people still think all laptop based units don't need adapters.

The flash drive matter.
The front USB port may be wholly or partly foobar.
USB ports have two lines for power: +5vdc and 'ground'.
.. and two data lines.
(USB2 can have 5 wires but two are grounds and are connected together.)
If only the power lines are bad then devices that don't need power from USB may still work properly.
(Flash drives are powered from USB.)
If the data lines are bad then the port won't work with anything.

.
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Sincerely hope you have been able to either resolve this long standing issue, or achieve a computer status that you can live with.    Thank you.  
Jonvee.
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