What could be wrong with my computer?

February 15, 2011 at 14:56:20
Specs: Windows XP
I had been running Windows 7 Pro x64 fine for months. Recently windows had to restart for updates. When it rebooted, it started asking me to register an audio interface that had not worked in a long time. I went and deleted the audio drivers for said interface (emu 1820m though I doubt that is the problem) and restarted. It never went back to windows 7. Instead, it went into start up repair, where it remained for the better part of 36 hours.
I got impatient and opted to reformat using my windows 7 disk. Simple enough, right? Wrong! After 48 continuous hours of installing it was still not done! Frustrated, I decided to reformat again using my old XP x32 disk from my last computer. This time it only took roughly 24 hours and now I have XP on my computer. Problem is that it takes literally 5 - 10 minutes to perform any function at all and at least 15 - 30 minutes to even get to the desktop. I had 16 gigs of ram and I pulled two sticks out to see if that helped but nothing. I have an ASUS p5ql pro mobo if that helps. I have replaced the hard drive recently and I hope that another one did not go bad. Any guidance at all would be appreciated. I have also recently replaced my power supply as well. Oh, I thought the problem originally was just a slow cd drive. Mine is a PATA drive and not a SATA drive. But could that make things install THAT slowly? I never had problems like this before and I have been using this drive...I am thoroughly confused. Thanks in advance.

See More: What could be wrong with my computer?

Report •


#1
February 15, 2011 at 16:03:25
"Oh, I thought the problem originally was just a slow cd drive. Mine is a PATA drive and not a SATA drive.But could that make things install THAT slowly?"

NO. That's not the reason everything is slow.

There is no advantage of an optical drive being connected by a SATA connection rather than a PATA connection other than convenience (if you have spare SATA headers but not spare IDE connections) - the max data transfer rate of PATA and SATA optical drives is the same.

The max data transfer speed of an optical drive is determined by the max speed current disks can be spun at safely without flying apart, which is already near the max now, and by the max amount of data that can be stored on one circle of data on a track on current disks. If the ratings of X speed at which disks can be burned is the same for a PATA or a SATA drive, there is no difference in the max data transfer rate of the drive. Combo DVD burner drives (read and burn CDs and DVDs) have a max data transfer rate of 66mb/sec, = UDMA 66, = Ultra DMA mode 4 in Windows, whether they're PATA or SATA.
.......

32 bit versions of XP (all of them except XP Pro 64 bit) cannot use more than 4gb of ram - there's no point in installing more than 4gb, and even then they can't use all of the 4gb for data.

The 4gb virtual memory address limit for 32 bit operating systems.
An example of 3gb working better than 4gb in a 32 bit operating system.

See Response 6:
http://www.computing.net/answers/ha...
.........

If your initial problem was merely caused by Windows being corrupted, re-installing it would have taken less than an hour.

Something else is going on.

You must load drivers after you have run Setup in order for Windows and the drives to be able to run as fast as they are able to, but still, that doesn't account for the degree of slowness you're experiencing.

Whenever you load Windows from a regular Windows CD (or DVD) from scratch, after Setup is finished you must load the drivers for the mboard, particularly the main chipset drivers, in order for Windows to have the proper drivers for and information about your mboard hardware, including it's AGP or PCI-E, ACPI, USB 2.0 if it has it, and hard drive controller support. If you have a generic system and have the CD that came with the mboard, all the necessary drivers are on it. If you load drivers from the web, brand name system builders and mboard makers often DO NOT have the main chipset drivers listed in the downloads for your model - in that case you must go to the maker of the main chipset's web site, get the drivers, and load them.
.........

See response 2 in this - try cleaning the contacts on the ram modules, and making sure the modules are properly seated:
http://www.computing.net/hardware/w...
.......

Check the ram settings in the bios.

Some ram manufacturer's modules do not strictly adhere to the JEDEC standards that most mboards bioses use to determine ram settings.
In that case, the ram settings in the bios Setup that the bios has automatically chosen may not be correct.
Check the ram settings in your bios - the ram voltage, and the ram timing numbers - those should be the same as for the specs for the modules themselves. Often the ram voltage and timing numbers are printed on the label on the modules.

If the voltage setting or timings settings in the bios are different from the specs for the ram, change them in the bios. The timing numbers must be as close as you can get to the same, or slower timings (higher numbers = slower) - you won't notice the difference the slower settings make.

If you have a mix of different modules
- don't mix ram that different voltages are specified for - the bios will force the ram to use the lowest voltage, if "by spd" or similar is used (default settings) - ram that a higher voltage is specified for is more likely to not work properly in that situation.
- the bios settings must be those for the slowest timing settings of all the modules, or slower (higher numbers = slower).
........

Test the ram.

If you want to try a memory diagnostic utility that takes a lot less time to run a full pass than memtest86 does, this one is pretty good - Microsoft's
Windows Memory Diagnostic:
http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag...

Windows Memory Diagnostic is limited to testing only the first 4 gigabytes (GB) of RAM.

It can be toggled (press T) to do a standard or a more comprehensive set of tests - use the default 6 test one first - if it passes one pass of that, use the latter one. A few of the tests in the latter set are intentionally slower.
If you don't have a floppy drive, see the Quick Start Information at that Microsoft link for how to make a bootable CD of the Windows Memory Diagnostic (you need Windiag.iso - you don't necessarily need to use the program they mention to add it to the CD).

If you want to test more than 4gb of ram, use memtest86 ver.3.4 or lower (it has bugs that cause false errors in two of the tests on some systems that have AMD cpus), or memtest86+ (made by a different guy - it has bugs that cause false errors on some systems unless you disable Legacy USB or similar in the bios BEFORE you run the test).
........

If the ram does NOT test fine, if the Timing settings in the bios are correct for it, it's a lot more likely it's incompatible with being installed in the mboard, or you have a mix of modules that use different ram voltages, than it's actually " bad".
Tell us all the ram module brand and part numbers you're using.
......

When the ram tests fine,

- Check the Data cables.

It is common to un-intentionally damage IDE data cables, especially while removing them - the 80 wire ones are more likely to be damaged. What usually happens is the cable is ripped at either edge and the wires there are either damaged or severed, often right at a connector or under it's cable clamp there, where it's hard to see - if a wire is severed but it's ends are touching, the connection is intermittent, rather than being reliable.
Another common thing is for the data cable to be separated from the connector contacts a bit after you have removed a cable - there should be no gap between the data cable and the connector - if there is press the cable against the connector to eliminate the gap.
80 wire data cables are also easily damaged at either edge if the cable is sharply creased at a fold in the cable.

Try another data cable if in doubt.

80 wire data cables must have the proper end connector connected to the mboard IDE header - usually that's blue, but in any case it's the one farther from the middle connector on a 3 connector data cable.


Check your SATA data cables. The connector on each end should "latch" into the socket on the drive and on the mboard, or on the drive controller card - it should not move when you merely brush your hand against it near the socket - if it does, mere vibration can cause a poor connection of it - use another SATA data cable that does "latch", or tape the connector in place.
(There is a slight projection or bump on one side of the outside of the connector that "latches" it into the socket - it's easily broken off or damaged)

The same thing applies for the SATA power connection.

- test the hard drive Windows was installed on.

Check your hard drive with the manufacturer's diagnostics.
See the latter part of response 1 in this:
http://www.computing.net/windows95/...

If you don't have a floppy drive, you can get a CD image diagnostic utility from most hard drive manufacturer's web sites, but obviously you would need to make a burned CD, preferably a CD-R for best compatibility, on another computer if you need to.

E.g.
Seagate's Seatools will test any brand of hard drive.
Do the long test.
http://www.seagate.com/ww/v/index.j...

The bootable Dos versions of SeaTools can be used even if Windows is not working properly.

If the hard drive itself tests okay, any data problems found can be fixed, one way or another.
.....



Report •

#2
February 15, 2011 at 16:51:19
Thank you for clearing that up for me, as I was under the impression that PATA was much slower than SATA, when it comes to dvd/cd drives. So then it must be the hard drive again?? I will take out the extra 4 gig stick of ram since XP will not support it anyways. Perhaps that is slowing my computer down? The thing is, I used to be running a 64 bit Windows 7 Pro just fine until this past wekend, and now that particular OS refuses to install. I am wondering if I somehow messed something up by deleting the drivers, although they were drivers for a product that no longer functions at all. Also, XP has been installed and will run. It just takes FOREVER to do anything at all. Could this be something that I can address in BIOS? Something must not be communicating correctly. Thanks again.

Report •

#3
February 15, 2011 at 16:55:18
I'd run some tests. Start with memtest. Be sure it says you do have the correct amount of ram. Then move on to hard drive diags.

"The era of big government is over," said Clinton 1996


Report •

Related Solutions

#4
February 15, 2011 at 17:14:20
Whoa! I sis not even notice that i could scroll down your whole message initially Tubes! Thanks for all of the info. When I get back to my computer I will investigate. I am at work now. Thanks again.

Report •

#5
February 16, 2011 at 07:59:40
"I used to be running a 64 bit Windows 7 Pro just fine until this past wekend, and now that particular OS refuses to install."

The following also applies to Windows DVDs........

You should get NO ERRORS AT ALL when reading files from the CD during Setup. If clicking on Retry or similar does not help...
If you DO / DID get errors, something was not right !
See Response 7 in in this,
http://www.computing.net/answers/ha...
starting at

BELOW

"Errors reading from the CD can be caused by....."
.......

"I am wondering if I somehow messed something up by deleting the drivers, although they were drivers for a product that no longer functions at all."

By the way, you DO NOT delete anything in Windows that you can un-install - that's likely to cause you problems.

It's possible something got messed up in the original Windows installation when you did that, but that would have absolutely nothing to do with your problems installing Windows etc.after that.

"Could this be something that I can address in BIOS?"

If you have NOT been messing with bios settings since the computer worked fine, NO, absolutely NOT !

If you HAVE been messing with bios settings since the computer worked fine, loading Bios Defaults in Setup will probably fix possible wrong settings you have made.

As far as flashing the bios is concerned....
it makes NO SENSE AT ALL to flash the bios to a newer version if the present bios version allowed the computer to work fine at ANY time previously.

There's one possibilty I forgot to mention in response 1.

You can get all sorts of strange symptoms if the optical drive(s) is(are) defective.
If this is a desktop computer, you could try disconnecting the optical drive's data cable (at the drive is usually easier) and try your computer.


Report •

#6
February 16, 2011 at 14:27:20
Ok, last night I downloaded Western Digital's "Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for DOS" and put it on a boot disk. When i ran it, it said that no drive was detected and gave me an error code 0120, which, upon further investigation, is an unknown anomaly and the drive should be replaced. How can XP run at all without a hard drive? How important is it to test the RAM before the hard drive since I sort of went out of order from your recommendations. This is the 2nd hard drive that I have been through in the past year, the last one being a Seagate model. Could this point to a deeper problem within the configuration of my PC or is it just bad luck? I am hoping it is something other than my hard drive as I just purchased this thing in November.

Report •

#7
February 16, 2011 at 16:01:49
It is common to un-intentionally damage IDE data cables, especially while removing them - the 80 wire ones are more likely to be damaged. What usually happens is the cable is ripped at either edge and the wires there are either damaged or severed, often right at a connector or under it's cable clamp there, where it's hard to see - if a wire is severed but it's ends are touching, the connection is intermittent, rather than being reliable.
Another common thing is for the data cable to be separated from the connector contacts a bit after you have removed a cable - there should be no gap between the data cable and the connector - if there is press the cable against the connector to eliminate the gap.
80 wire data cables are also easily damaged at either edge if the cable is sharply creased at a fold in the cable.

Try another data cable if in doubt.

80 wire data cables must have the proper end connector connected to the mboard IDE header - usually that's blue, but in any case it's the one farther from the middle connector on a 3 connector data cable.


Check your SATA data cables. The connector on each end should "latch" into the socket on the drive and on the mboard, or on the drive controller card - it should not move when you merely brush your hand against it near the socket - if it does, mere vibration can cause a poor connection of it - use another SATA data cable that does "latch", or tape the connector in place.
(There is a slight projection or bump on one side of the outside of the connector that "latches" it into the socket - it's easily broken off or damaged)

The same thing applies for the SATA power connection.
......

Connect the drive to a different computer if you can, if you have not already done so, and run the diagnostics to confirm that it's really dead.
.......

Your power supply may be defective.
If it's producing too much of what is supposed to be +12v or +5v, whatever uses that voltage will be damaged eventually, and the mboard will be damaged eventually after a longer time.
Check the readings for the three major voltages the PS is putting out.
See response 4 in this:
http://www.computing.net/hardware/w...

If your PS has more than one +12v output max amperage rating, there is more than one section of the board inside the PS that is putting out +12v and the only way to check the voltages are by measuring at the wire connectors with a volt meter.
.....

If your computer has been exposed to a power failure event that produced power spikes or surges that can damage the mboard or anything that was connected to it.

If the power failure event was caused by a lightning strike that can cause damage even when you have the computer and everything that uses AC power that is connected to the computer and the cable you connect to the internet protected by a device or devices that protect against power spikes and surges.
.....

Your mboard may have failing capacitors.
It's unpredictable what damage that can cause to the mboard or anything connected to it.

If your mboard is not new (usually the mboard is at least 2 years old when this happens)......

Some mboards develop this problem - electrolytic capacitors were installed on them that were not properly made, and they fail eventually - the mboard manufacturer didn't know they were improperly made at the time the mboard was made.

Open up your case and examine the mboard to see if you have bad capacitors, and/or other findable signs of mboard damage .

This was the original bad capacitor problem - has some example pictures.
History of why the exploding capacitors and which mboard makers were affected:
http://members.datafast.net.au/~dft...

What to look for, mboard symptoms, example pictures:
http://www.badcaps.net/pages.php?vid=5
Home page that site
- what the problem is caused by
- he says there are STILL bad capacitors on more recent mboards.
http://www.badcaps.net/

Pictures of blown capacitors, other components, power supplies, Athlon cpu's, etc.:
http://www.halfdone.com/Personal/Jo...



Report •


Ask Question