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Massive computer loading with no mention in the task manager? Constant crashing!

Posted on 2009-05-19
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Last Modified: 2013-11-08
Sorry about the long post. I have no idea where to start with this problem so I will just say everything ive experienced with it.

About 2 weeks ago my computer started acting up. It was having spurts of massive computer work during a game that shouldnt have required much processing at all. It would freeze the game for a minute or two then either crash or allow me to continue playing. Then a few days ago I woke up and my computer had been restarted. Two days ago I came in and there was a blue screen that mentioned something about my computer had to be restarted due to a fatal error.
Today it has been constantly freezing (kind of. Like I explained before its more like its just really trying to load something. The lights on my tower are flashing, making alot of noise..when im not even really using it) and very long start up times (very long as in 10+ minutes to get to the logon screen. Then another 5 + to get windows up). I was watching the task manager to see if any process came up that would explain it, nothing. I watched the performance tab, and there was no jump. No sign that there was any more activity than usual.
I have ran spybot and adaware. My system is clean from that side. Runs at normal speed if its not freezing during normal operation.

I have a 4 year old system with windows xp pro sp3. It has 3.4ghz speed and 2gb ram. Ram is about a month old. The Ram ran perfect for a while.
In fact there was slight freezing during a more intense game before I bought the ram, but I contributed that to the RAM(computer was calling for it, all the ram and the majority of the PF was being used for the game), hence the buy. And the problem did go away for a small while.

To my question, what is going on? I feel like it couldn't be the RAM.

Also on a side note my USB ports stopped working bout 2 hours ago. Still have power but wont work the mouse or detect anything. I feel like it could be from failed attmepts to fix the problem.
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Question by:Mr2pie
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Expert Comment

by:flubbster
ID: 24421545
Make sure that the fans are working properly and that the CPU has not become loose due to vibration. Check that it is seated properly. I would also check your power supply. This can occur due to a supply going bad or putting out a lot of ac ripple (noise).

Also, open the case and look at the big capacitors on the MB. Do you see any discolored areas around them? Any bulging at the top of the caps? This would be a sign of bad capacitors, which will hose the system due to improper voltages.
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Callandor earned 500 total points
ID: 24423738
Try booting with a Knoppix CD http://www.knoppix.net/ to determine if this is a hardware or software error.  If it's a hardware problem, it will continue to happen with Knoppix; if it doesn't, it may be corrupted OS drivers or malware.  You can check for malware by downloading and running a few suites, such as MalwareBytes Anti Malware, SuperAntispyware, Grisoft AVG and spybot-SD.
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Author Comment

by:Mr2pie
ID: 24426868
Ok, thanks for the responses. Due to knoppix I now know that my USB drives do work, just not on windows. So how do I go about getting a new USB driver? Im looking online but dont really know what im looking for. I have an intell motherboard and the USB ports are coming out of that.As i said before I have already run scans on my computer from a few different programs. On a side note, my mouse light is on during start up right up until the windows loading screen appears, then it goes dark.

As for the main question, I do not see any blackened areas or expanded capacitors. Also my power supply is fairly new (less than a year old) and looks normal, not too sure of what im looking for though. Computer fan is stable and running well, CPU seems stable. Although I did find one external fan facing the wrong way, which I corrected. But all other fans were working normally inspite of this.

Windows still takes a very long time to load. Not sure if this could be related to the bad USB driver or not.

Thanks for the help! Hopefully we can get this worked out.
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Author Comment

by:Mr2pie
ID: 24427526
Found something out on the USB side again. Looked in the device manager again and now it says the driver for "root usb" for all the usb ports is corrupted. I downed the intel chip updates from intel but to no avail. Can seem to find the usb drivers. I will keep looking but if someone has any information thatd be great, thanks!
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 24427616
All you need to do is delete the existing USB drivers and reboot - they are part of Windows and will reinstall automatically.  You may need to reinstall your motherboard chipset drivers, if they got corrupted.
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Author Comment

by:Mr2pie
ID: 24427627
For the USB again. I found the file that is apparently 'missing'. USBhub. Apparently this problem happened after I downloaded an Intel chipset update from before. Although I did find the file, windows doesnt reconize it as a peice of device information. If someone could help me fix this, I found the information at www.softwarepatch.com/utilities/intelinf.html. Its down toward the bottom under 'problems'. I wont be able to respond to any posts till later tonight, gotta go work on finals. Although any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Author Comment

by:Mr2pie
ID: 24427774
Callandor, sorry about my last post, didnt see yours before I posted. I tried reinstalling the chipset, then deleting all the root usb hub devices. When I restarted they reinstalled, and asked me to restart again. I did and the root usb hub devices still can find that file. I see the file it is searching for but maybe it is in the wrong format? I'm not sure. I downloaded the chipset from Intel so it should be accurate. Am I missing some software to make the files readable?
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Author Comment

by:Mr2pie
ID: 24427779
sorry, the root usb hub devices still *canT* find the file
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 24428114
The files should be located in C:\Windows\System32\drivers - look for them.  If you have them, just point to that location when it asks you for the file.
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Author Comment

by:Mr2pie
ID: 24428233
I do, and I see them there(usbhub.sys, etc). But the computer says "The location you specified does not contain any device information files. Please enter another location or uncheck the 'Include this location in the search' box." That comes from clicking: update driver, then entering c:\windows\system32\drivers into the search box. I dont know, maybe this has something to do with my other issue. Maybe my HD is going bad causing it not to be able to find the file?
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 24428315
That is very strange behavior.  Perhaps you should run the malware detectors, just to be sure it isn't that?
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Author Comment

by:Mr2pie
ID: 24428335
Already ran a few, and my mouse doesnt work so it wont let me get to the 'fix' button on the reg cleaner, but I have a feeling this is hardware. A very strange thing just happened though. I gave up trying to focus it on that one drivers folder, and just said c:\ and it said it didnt exist. then i tried d:/ and it went right through. I don't normally search like that with drivers, but should it search the whole c:\, not just say it doesnt exist?
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Author Comment

by:Mr2pie
ID: 24428698
Thanks for all the help Callandor, but I give up on this machine, lol. Decided to reformat, if it doesnt work then ill stock it in the closet and buy a new one till I have time to work on it. Thanks again.
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