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Strange behaveour

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Strange behaveour

My mother bought 2 e-machines from PC world 1 for my sister & family which apart from one virus never gives a problem and 1 for my niece & family which has been nothing but trouble.
At first it was OK (no web connection so games only) then it started to slow up, lock up or refuse to shut down. She took it back, a couple of times, to PC world who always said nothing was wrong. Over the phone they always tell her to reset to factory settings or do it themselves when she returns it. Within a few weeks it starts to get all the old problems back. Plus now she wants to go on line but the modem stopped dialling after a few weeks.
I took it and connected it to my BB checked the modem and found no driver (easy to fix) but it had worked for weeks?
Then put on Spybot & Adaware and spybot found on lt 2 things while adaware found 175 (her kids games puting tool bars etc.) and took 3 attempts to remove them all.
Next MSN updates except they require autoupdater turned on in services.msc and when I turn them on the machine turns then off?
Tried installing SP2 , using disk from MSN but that puts the files on and stops, not even a screen for accepting their terms & conditions?
It appears that XP has not been installed correctly or is being eraised over a few weeks, so I will install it (hopefully tonight) and her kids will not put any thing on for a few weeks to see if it holds this time.

Anybody got any suggestions as to the cause if not the kids games? I am not too computer literate but will try anything to cure this. Next option is an independant shop then the bin.
11 REPLIES
craigbrass
Grafter
Posts: 1,009
Registered: 30-07-2007

Strange behaveour

Well first off, using factory settings disks provided by manafacturers is NOT a good idea. It's always best to use the main windows xp cd. That way you get a perfectly clean install. As simple as inserting the cd at computer boot up, pressing a key when it asks if you want to boot from cd, deleting the current partitions and creating a new one. After that your away and it takes about 40 mins. Then it's just a case of installing all the drivers and software. That should fix your problem.

If it still plays up, I recon it will be a faulty MotherBoard or Hard Drive (in which case, take it back and demand they do somthing about it and if not, speak to the store manager).
LiamM
Grafter
Posts: 5,636
Registered: 12-08-2007

Strange behaveour

Quote
Well first off, using factory settings disks provided by manafacturers is NOT a good idea.


For the average user, I disagree. The factory restore disk is definately the best way to restore a computer if you don't really know what you're doing, or if you don't have driver discs for all the hardware, or even know what hardware you have for that matter.
craigbrass
Grafter
Posts: 1,009
Registered: 30-07-2007

Strange behaveour

I have used many restore disks and they have all led to the problem in the first place returning. Hence prefering a clean install using the XP CD.
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Strange behaveour

Thanks for the replies, I got the restore discs from my niece which was the only one supplied and e-machines, like Packard Bell, link the installable software to their disc so you cannot use any other version of XP.

I deleted all but one account ran spybot & adaware then installed Avast antivirus (removed by the repairers) it asked to scan on start up so rebooted, 216 problems found most were copies of trogens (they had surfed without firewall or antivirus). Now SP2 would install amd could get MSN updates. Still has a few quirks but much improved.

2 more trogens found during next 3 hours? in restore points?
Remembered today that I should have turned off system restore before major antivirus clean ups. Will try first thing tonight. Might try stinger as well.

Looks like I may not have to use the e-machine discs after all.

When I have finished and hopefully they have a few trouble free weeks I will try to talk them into BB, dial up is to slow for updates.
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Strange behaveour

Last night no big problems (1 minor adaware fault found) and it seemed to run reasonable.
Loaded AIDA32 to look at details of computer, only 256meg of RAM (the minimum required for XP) so went and got another 512, now instead of working at 80% or more it works at about 30%. AIDA32 suggested this adding more memory but was content with all other aspects
Loaded REGCLEANER by Jouni Vuoro and looked at "installed" programmes and cleaned out all traces of already removed programmes, AOL, Wanndo, Yahoo,etc. Then looked at the "start up" programmes and stopped Adobe, trust installer (modem) and a few others (I was sure of) from starting with every start up. This should speed up the starts a little. There are a couple of things that I am not sure of and left on the machine.

Only annoying quirk now is on start up it looks for USB devices, a small window opens stating this, looks for 1 minute and goes away.
Any one know how to stop this? I do not like deleting things unless I am sure what they are / do.

I have managed so far not to use the recovery discs, which makes me happy.
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Strange behaveour

Right, I'd totally disagree with the post about don't use the recovery discs. The software build on emachines is great. No extra gumf on their except for bigfix, which is generally an excellent program.

As for the fault, it sounded from the off like a virus.

If it was my machine, and there was a trojan on it, I'd wipe the bugger and start again. Guarantees to get rid of any nasties.


Again, emachines recovery is excellent....I fix them for a living. Good move getting more memory, will help big style.
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Strange behaveour

The problem here is not with the PC, it's with the users Smiley

If they're getting infected with that much stuff I'd lock down the accounts big stylee! A PC can't infect itself with virii/trojans. A good AV/Firewall/Antispy and a serious degree of user education will go a lot further to solving this problem than any restore CDs or clean builds.

Also, XP will function (albeit like a 3 legged Mogolian death cat) on 128Mb. That's the Microsoft minimum.
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Strange behaveour

chuffbears you are partly correct, their defences against infection were missing AFTER the EXPERTS at pcworld had repaired the machine. I had put AV & firewall on when they first went on the web. The stuff from games discs slowed them down and they returned it for a check up and repair. Returned to them with the single comment "nothing wrong with it"

It would appear that the first thing they do is wipe everything then run a diagnostic which in this case finds nothing. If they ran a diagnostic FIRST they would see the real cause of the problem and could SELL them protection.

I work in an office where we all have & use computers all day but the number of people who buy one for home and know no more than my niece is scarey. Months after getting one they ask if they should get protection for going on line, infact most only have any if it was free when they bought the machine.

If I have not cleaned everything out (and it seems to still have little faults) then it will have to be restored to default settings, but I will do it using BB then reinstall defences. No more using big stores selling indifference.
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Strange behaveour

When dealing with a new computer, either new generally or from a restore, you must first install the latest service pack. For XP, MS will send you out a free cd with it on to do this. You must then install antivirus and firewall. Please do this BEFORE going online at all. You are totally vulnerable to nasties if you go online without all of these, and most often, the nasties you'll catch in this way won't then be picked up by your AV software.

As a sys admin, the number of people I get asking me about nasties caught from unsafe internet usage is incredible. If you have a CD/DVD burner, create a CD containing all of these apps so that you can do this without having to go online. Of course you have to update them immediately that you are online, but that's the way of things.
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Strange behaveour

Programs to look up:

HijackThis
s-t-i-n-g-e-r
Online virus scans (panda, norton) etc.
MS Antispyware Beta.
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Strange behaveour

Quote
EXPERTS at pcworld


Surely that's an oxymoron?