|If he has a desktop computer, the most likely hardware thing that could cause all of the devices you've mentioned to not work is the computer's power supply is failing. |
"It started acting up, shutting down when in the middle of things or closing out programs."
If the computer shuts off and stays off, the computer probably has a hardware problem.
- overheating of the cpu (processor) can cause bizzare behavior of Windows, then the computer shuts off and will not start up again until the cpu has cooled to below some temp.
- failing power supplies are common on desktop computers. Sometimes it's failing because it's fan is no longer spinning and it's been overheating to the point that it's being damaged. There should be air obviously blowing out of the back of the case where the power supply is.
Overheating of your video chipset that has a fan on a video card that's installed in a desktop mboard slot can cause bizzare video symptoms.
If it definitely closes down programs without his input, he may have malware on the computer he needs to get rid of.
If the computer shuts off (he may see a glimpse of a blue screen) and Restarts automatically,
Win XP is set by default to automatically Restart when it encounters an unrecoverable error.
To have XP possibly display an error message you can investigate instead of the computer rebooting:
1. Click Start, and then right-click My Computer.
2. Click Properties.
3. Click the Advanced tab, and then click Settings under Startup and Recovery.
4. Under System failure, click on the small box beside Automatically restart to remove the checkmark.
5. Click OK, and then click OK.
If a blue screen appears it will stay on the screen.
Copy down the things that are unique in the message and post them here.
STOP: 0Xx00000xx (we don't need the stuff in brackets beside that)
There may be a problem file named at the end of the text.
There may be a link to More info or similar - if so, click on it to see if it names a problem file.
There may be a mention of a MINIDUMP file having been made - if so, copy down the name and location of it - you may need to click on a link to find that. That MINIDUMP file can be analyzed.
"He used the avast and it popped up that a file was dirty. It asked if he wanted to delete it, but he didn't realize it was an important part of windows. Now 3 drivers are missing. Keyboard drivers, cd rom drivers, and port drivers."
It's extremely unlikely Avast deleting whatever it was it found caused that.
Windows installs generic drivers that are built into it for optical (CD and DVD) drives, most ports, and drivers for standard functions for keyboards (if the keyboard has non-standard buttons, software may be required for those but that's not essential).
Even if they were deleted, all you would need to do to have Windows restore the drivers for those is Restart Windows.
If Restarting Windows doesn't help, he probably has a either a hardware problem or a malware problem.
- If the desktop computer's power supply is failing and is no longer supplying, or not supplying enough of, what is supposed to be an accurate +5.0 voltage, CD and DVD drives, floppy drives, USB ports, PS/2 ports, and other ports that need +5.0, volts, and other devices that require +5.0 volts which include most cards installed in mboard slots on a desktop computer and some devices built into the mboard such as a network adapter CANNOT work properly.
I know from experience that hard drives and the video on desktop computers will still work when the power supply is not putting out enough of what is supposed to be an accurate +5.0 voltage, at least on AT computers.
- 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 .
What to look for, mboard symptoms, example pictures:
Home page that site
- what the problem is caused by
- he says there are STILL bad capacitors on more recent mboards.
Pictures of blown capacitors, other components, power supplies, fried Athlon cpus, etc.:
It's extremely unlikely malware is the cause of the devices you've mentioned to not work.
If that were the case, malware usually affects only ONE user of the computer. You should be able to at least load Windows in Safe mode, choose the built in Administrator user (it has no password by default - just press Enter) and load a System Restore previous restore point, with a time and date just before you first had this problem, which should cure your problem.
Remove any bootable CDs or DVDs you have in drives.
Boot the computer and starting very early, press F8 repeatedly, do not hold down the key, and when the "Advanced..." Windows loading choices menu appears, choose
Safe mode, or Safe mode with networking.
Some computer's bioses have their own use for pressing F8 while booting. E.g. you may see a screen where you can select which device to boot the computer from. If you see something like that, READ the screen and find out which key you need to press to exit that screen, e.g. Esc. Press that key, then immediately repeatedly press F8 until you see the 'Advanced..." Windows loading choices menu.
If the problem computer is a desktop computer.....
- if you can still get into the mboard's bios Setup, usually there is somewhere where you see the current voltages and fan rpms listed. E.g. Hardware Monitor.
What is supposed to be +12.0 v, +5.0 v, and +3.3 v should be within 10% of the nominal values. If any of those are not within 10% , you MUST replace the power supply.
- if you can't get into the mboard's bios Setup, try temporarily connecting a power supply from another working system, if you can.