Screensaver Hangs - XP Home SP-3

Chi Is Current
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Hello ~ Dell Vostro 1000 laptop, XP (and other) screensavers reliably hang.  Mouse pad and single keystrokes do not exit screensaver.  Launching Task Manager does exit screensaver; screensaver app is displayed as 'Not Responding'.

Screensaver -> Power properties are ALL set to NEVER.

There is no hibernate in BIOS.

?????

I look forward to your ideas!

Best Regards, Jacob
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Mark BradyPrincipal Data Engineer

Commented:
Try reading the same or very similar discussion at http://www.techsupportforum.com/microsoft-support/windows-xp-support/221016-windows-xp-hangs.html

I hope that helps
Most Valuable Expert 2011
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
Anything in the Event Vieer, outside of an Application error stating a "hungapp"?

Author

Commented:
elvin66 ~ Thank you for your reply.  I actually saw the post you mention, before I posted on EE;  it seemed inconclusive.

I'm not using MS SilverLite...
No flagged or devices
No external mouse / keyboard
Windows firewall off / on doesn't matter

What's most puzzling is the fact that the screensaver is listed as "not responding" when I bring up task manager.

johnb767 ~  The Event Viewer is perfectly clear after the hang.
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Mark BradyPrincipal Data Engineer

Commented:
Is this a standard windows xp screensaver or is it one you have installed?

Author

Commented:
Standard XP screensaver.  Trying both starfield and XP logo.
Mark BradyPrincipal Data Engineer

Commented:
These guys might be onto something

http://www.daniweb.com/forums/thread13562.html

Author

Commented:
Good advice there, however, the problem is not the same.

I CAN press Alt + Ctrl + Del to bring up task manager, and the system is responsive then.

Malware or a virus was my first thought. I have done multiple scans w/ malware detection software (Avira, Super AntiSpyware, Spybot SD).  Also created a bootable CD in Avria and scanned booting from CD.  Nothing.
Mark BradyPrincipal Data Engineer

Commented:
Man this is a stumper !. My only other thought here is, are you able to log off your account and log onto a different used account? Preferablt one with admin rights. If you can, see if the problem is the same in that account. If so, it's time to run msconfig and start eliminating things from the startup cause it sounds like some program is causing a conflict with xp screensavers. It's worth a try but it's up to you.

Author

Commented:
'Sounds reasonable.  I'll do this as time permits and be back.  Thank You!

Author

Commented:
OK ~  Setting MSCONFIG to "Diagnostic Startup - load basic devices and services only" - Problem STILL occurs.

However, problem DOES NOT occur in SAFE MODE.

Can you suggest how the two modes differ.......

Many Thanks!
Mark BradyPrincipal Data Engineer

Commented:
Safe mode only loads the very basic drivers needed to start windows xp. So it proves that it is a driver conflict problem. What software have you installed lately? If, while in safe mode, you go to control panel, and open the system icon, then click on 'hareware' and 'device manager' you will see a list of drivers installed. Beside some of them (in safe mode) you will see a yellow exclaimation mark. This means they are either not loaded or have a conflict. Make a note of those drivers and what they are for.

Let me know what results you get. Also, boot up in normal mode, and do the same thing. See if you have any yellow check marks (or red marks which means the driver is dissabled)

Author

Commented:
OK - There are no flagged (yellow exclamation marks or red 'x') hardware devices either in safe more or in normal mode.

This is a client's computer, so I'm not sure certain of the software history.

It would be worthwhile to know what IS loaded when MSCONFIG is set to "Diagnostic Startup - load basic devices and services only" and what is not loaded in SAFE mode.

Since this is a reliable hang, it seems that the system is "busy" or confused by some process that's running.

Processes THAT ARE running in Normal, "Diagnostic Startup - load basic devices and services only":

1. csrss.exe
2. explorer.exe
3. lass.exe
4. services.exe
5. smss.exe
6. svchost.exe
7. svchost.exe
8. System
9. System Idle Process
10. taskmgr.exe
11. winlogon.exe


In SAFE mode:

1. csrss.exe
2. explorer.exe
3. lass.exe
4. services.exe
5. smss.exe
6. svchost.exe
7. svchost.exe
8. svchost.exe
9. System
10. System Idle Process
11. taskmgr.exe
12. winlogon.exe

......I'm stumped.  
Mark BradyPrincipal Data Engineer

Commented:
I'm beginning to see why your stumped !  Ok, we know that safe mode stops the problem right? Let's have a look at what is really going on in xp safe mode. There is an option for safe mode to enable boot logging. This will record everything that gets loaded in safe mode and safe it as a text file. to quote off another site :

Enable Boot Logging: This option turns on logging when the computer is started with any of the Safe Boot options except Last Known Good Configuration. The Boot Logging text is recorded in the Ntbtlog.txt file in the %SystemRoot% folder.

I would try enabling it and looking into that file once you have booted into safe mode. You will see everything you need in there. Worth a shot.  Here is a slightly longer explanation about safe mode

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315222

Author

Commented:
OK, but how about everything that gets loaded w/ Diagnostic Startup - load basic devices and services only?
Principal Data Engineer
Commented:
One would think that would only load [basic devices] as it states, but obviously something is getting loaded that is not loaded when safe mode is used. The reason I suggested the bootlog option above is to find out what is actually being loaded. You would compare that list of drivers with the drivers/services that is getting loaded in diagnostic mode.

I don't know what else to suggest as it is a very strange problem. I know one way to fix it but it's a bit drastic... that would be to use the recovery console and do a repair install. Something is obviously gotten screwed up along the way. I know I go nuts when trying to trouble shoot problems on my laptop and I always find it eventually but if I didn't , my next step would be to dig out the install CD and get a strong drink !
Most Valuable Expert 2011
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
Did this system get an SP3 update, or was it imaged with SP3?
Is there a BIOS update?

Author

Commented:
It was updated to SP3.
I also updated the BIOS - yesterday, to see if it would make a difference.  It didn't.
Most Valuable Expert 2011
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
Was this problem presnet "pre sp3"?

Author

Commented:
I don't know.

Author

Commented:
This is a client's computer.  I do not know if the problem arose with the SP3 update or at some other time, with s-o-m-e other software installation.
Most Valuable Expert 2011
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
See if you can uninstall SP3 for testing at least......

Author

Commented:
Even with 'show updates' checked, uninstalling XP SP3 is not an option.

I'm thinking recovery console might be the best option.  Ideas?
Most Valuable Expert 2011
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
from .....
How to remove Windows XP Service Pack 3 from your computer
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/950249 
Method 2: Use the hidden $NtServicePackUninstall$ folder Click Start, click Run, type c:\windows\$NtServicePackUninstall$\spuninst\spuninst.exe in the Open box, and then click OK. When the Windows XP Service Pack 3 Removal Wizard starts, click Next. Follow the instructions on the screen to remove Windows XP SP3.

Author

Commented:
I'm also noticing the screensaver is frozen.

Author

Commented:
I have put this aside temporarily.

It's great to know:

Screensaver hangs in Normal Mode and not in Safe Mode.
Screensaver hangs "Diagnostic Startup - load basic devices and services only"

Screensaver DOES NOT HANG in Safe Mode.

I am stumped as to how to determine which services or apps. ARE NOT loaded in Safe Mode but ARE loaded in "Diagnostic Startup - load basic devices and services only".

I'd appreciate your thoughts for the best way to move forward.

"There IS a reason."

Best Regards, Jacob

Commented:
i just got a complaint from two different users today about this same issue.  I'll monitor the question to see if anyone comes up with something.  IF i happen to come up with something i will make a post.

Commented:
our issue seemed to be tied with the 3D screen savers.  Display properties would hang when tringing to adjust the settings.  Chaning the screen saver to non 3D ones seemed to work for us.  It was just very strange 3 machines the same day, only recent update was the virus definitions (and possibly automatic update?).  Just thought i would pass along for what it is worth.  Good Luck.

Author

Commented:
isnp ~

Thank you for your thoughts.  The hang occurs w/ standard Windows screen savers: XP logo and starfield.

I realize there has been a lot posted here, and it's easy to miss some of the detail.  My mystification happens when the hang occurs:

NORMAL MODE - YES
"DIAGNOSTIC STARTUP - LOAD BASIC DEVICES AND SERVICES ONLY" - YES
SAFE MODE - NO(!)

Still stumped.

Author

Commented:
Thank you all for your help!  It's time to wrap up this thread.

My resolution is to scrub the HDD and reload.  It's not a very complex config....

"There IS a reason."

Best Regards, Jacob

Author

Commented:
Cheers.  It's not a very complex config, so, the strong drink won't be necessary.  Thank you for your help here. ~ Jacob

Author

Commented:
Perseverance Furthers:

So, I formatted the HDD and reinstalled everything again: SAME PROBLEM!!!

Continuing my research on another problem (turns out to be related) of slow keyboard response, I disabled the: 'ATI HotKey Poller' service  -> -> PRESTO!!!!!

The screensaver no longer hangs and the keyboard response is just fine!

Solution provided courtesy of 'Robbo' on:
http://www.satellites.co.uk/satellite/computer-discussion/116784-problem-slow-typing-dell-laptop.html (about 1/2 way down the thread).

Thank you EVERYONE!  Especially Robbo!

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