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ryanbatcund

Corrupted OS?

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I've got an old secondary PC which is giving me problems. On power up the monitor is just blank.

 

So I boot into safe mode (it works). I've run CHKDSK at the cmd prompt and inside if windows. It doesn't find any errors and windows runs normally.

 

Last night I shut down the PC and this morning turned it on to find a blank screen again.

 

Ideas? This PC has original HDD from around 2003.

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Almost sounds like its missing the video driver. You may have to contact General Grant's office to find one. :)

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Ok, and one amendment to my post.  I was in safe mode but I had to select something like "load is last known working state."  Regular safe mode didn't work.

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You might try checking your boot sequence in bios. In addition you can get a rescue disk for windows xp, 7 etc off of ebay for around 10.00 dollars, with  os repair and protection software.

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you could try pressing f8 on start up for safe mode option or tap the DEL key to get into the bios for more options.

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I've got Win XP old school somewhere...

 

I think I'll just format...  I don't save anything important on this PC.  Hopefully it's not the HDD.  Those things aren't cheap to replace (ATA)

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One last note, if it is a blank black screen with a flashing cursor, that indicates hardware problems, it could be as simple as your 3v battery on the motherboard, they should be switched every three years.

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I've got Win XP old school somewhere...

 

I think I'll just format...  I don't save anything important on this PC.  Hopefully it's not the HDD.  Those things aren't cheap to replace (ATA)

 

If you can get W7 Pro 64bit on it that would give you the best bang for your buck in using everything the hardware can give you... 32bit XP is a bottleneck...

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One last note, if it is a blank black screen with a flashing cursor, that indicates hardware problems, it could be as simple as your 3v battery on the motherboard, they should be switched every three years.

 

I might have to try this as well.

 

I formatted and reinstalled Winxp but I still got a screen freeze on the desktop with some odd pixel discolorations near the start menu and icons.

 

edit:  something interesting I found... the CPU was pegged at 100%.  Idle in Winxp desktop.... any ideas why it would be?  Also it's probably a temperature problem.  I opened the case to get to the mobo battery and its freeking hot inside (I did just clean it this fall)....

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Iam not sure on this, but with the cpu problem has this unit been overclocked? does all the cooling stuff work?

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Nope. It's stock and the person who had it before me was computer illiterate... But they did shoot can of air at the thing every so often. I just did again and I'll put a new mobo battery in

 

A few pics... first on boot I get the windows failed to launch screen with the usual options (safe mode etc)... but this is what it looks like, and second, booted into windows but then the desktop froze with these weird lines.  Online search sort of points to a faulty power cord... or power supply issues....  Maybe heat too?  But I did just clean everything and it looks almost new.

 

 

 

 

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I had something similar to this distorted graphics and sometimes black screen I changed the cable that goes from the video card output to the monitor and this solved the problem for me.

 

Jim

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But was your CPU running at 100% sitting idle in Windows desktop? The pegged CPU is the main problem.

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Ok, and one amendment to my post.  I was in safe mode but I had to select something like "load is last known working state."  Regular safe mode didn't work.

The "Load last known working state" is not safe mode, it's a system backup state, hopefully before you had the problem. If that loaded ok, you should be good to go.

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But was your CPU running at 100% sitting idle in Windows desktop? The pegged CPU is the main problem.

 

Find out what process is consuming the CPU via Task Manager.

 

Cheers!

Luke

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You might try removing the video card, blowing out the PCI slot with air, and lightly cleaning the contacts with a pencil eraser.  If the video card has a fan on it, I'd check that it was working, too.

 

Regards

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Nothing running out of the ordinary

 

Video is on board. But I did thoroughly clean it and the previous owner cleaned it very well she said.

 

Last known state did not help either.

 

All cables seem secure.

 

Thanks for the continued responses! Merry Christmas

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Just a followup to this nightmare lol

 

Apparently I was having two separate issues... which made it a heck of a lot harder to diagnose.

 

1) The physical power cord was damaged or something.  I swapped that one out and am now using it for my monitor and it works fine.  The new one I used with my new monitor I swapped out to the tower and now it actually booted into Windows!

 

2) For some oddball reason enabling Windows Automatic Updates is what is pegging my CPU at 100%.  I was able to figure this out by looking at the task manager, and seeing one of the many SVCHOST.exe's running at 99 for the CPU.  (I apparently overlooked this before).  But here's the tricky part.  This specific service host starts exactly 1 min after the PC booted into WinXP....  So after methodically going through all the running programs, and seeing what changed at the very moment the CPU went to 100% I was able to find the .exe that was to blame.  This unfortunately blows because I prefer auto updates on (at least the PC can download I will install them).

 

And finally I'm still not out of the woods.  Is anyone familiar with Synergy+ here?  Anyway I can get the server (Win7 main box) to autostart the program but am UNABLE to get my client side WinXP box running.  Even though I had both running before the client PC started acting odd....  so basically I'm going insane because the same thing I used to do now produces different results!

 

ARGH!

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2) For some oddball reason enabling Windows Automatic Updates is what is pegging my CPU at 100%. I was able to figure this out by looking at the task manager, and seeing one of the many SVCHOST.exe's running at 99 for the CPU. (I apparently overlooked this before). But here's the tricky part. This specific service host starts exactly 1 min after the PC booted into WinXP.... So after methodically going through all the running programs, and seeing what changed at the very moment the CPU went to 100% I was able to find the .exe that was to blame. This unfortunately blows because I prefer auto updates on (at least the PC can download I will install them).

 

 

Ok, I've been very reluctant to reply on this because it's a rather complex issue, insofar as what's actually causing the 100% CPU load, but I'm going to throw this out there because a lot of folks seem to be having this problem.  It also seems to be most common with XP SP3, which I still use too.  I ran into this same issue some time ago, at least a year, and I have a workaround that you can try, though I won't detail it because, honestly, it's been a long time and I don't remember the step by step.  So I'll just share my story.

First, the problem isn't necessarily tied to specific svchost process.  As I'm sure you know, svchost puts a bunch of small processes under one svchost process.  Now when I saw this problem, it happened to be tied to the svchost process that also controlled my network service, so killing the process wasn't an option if I wanted to have internet access.   So here's what I did to work around it.  Using AnVir task manager, the free version, I looked at all the processes after the CPU load increased, as you noted earlier, about a minute after boot.  Under the processes tab and in the bottom panel, you see a tab for "connections."  You will note that when this whole catastrophe starts, the number of connections to the internet instantly increases by hundreds, if not more.  Because it was linked to a svchost process with many processes included within, it was impossible to determine what exactly was the trigger.  So, the trick is to separate each process into its' own individual svchost process.  Problem is that I don't remember the program I used to do this, but a google search should point you in the right direction.  It's tedious, but once you have this done you can isolate the offending process much more readily,  Now from here, one would think that this would be an easy fix if you could just disable the one process that triggers the problem.  But alas, not so, Grasshopper.  :smile:  In my case, the offending process was the "themes" process.  So I disabled the themes process figuring that that would prevent the issue from happening further.  What I found was that when the Themes process was no longer available during the initial boot, the problem would still occur as whatever code was starting in themes just attached itself to another one of the svchost processes.  After this, I re-enabled themes and, lo and behold, after a reboot, the themes process was again the culprit.  So after much frustration, and totally on a whim, i rebooted my system and waited for the problem to occur again, which of course it did.  As soon as it did, I killed the themes process, again with AnVir task manager, and then restarted it.  Eventually, after many reboots, I found that if I killed and restarted the process after boot and before the CPU load started, that the problem would not materialize.  So what I started to do was every time I rebooted my system, after the initial load of the OS, I would go to the themes process and click on restart.  This kills the process and restarts it in one click.  I never had the problem come up again.  Of course, doing this every time you reboot is kind of a PITA after a while, so after a couple of weeks of this, and after I was sure I had mitigated the problem, I created a batch file that runs last in my boot process, that automatically restarts the themes process.  I've never had the 100% CPU problem since. 

I know this is a long confusing post and I'm truly sorry for that, but I have a real hard time explaining this clearly, which is why, again, I hesitated to post on it in the first place. You can give this a try if you like, and I will certainly answer any questions that might come up, to the best of my ability.  I can't say that this is a fix for everyone, but I know for certain that it solved the problem on my system.  Best of luck, sincerely.  :smile:

 

Cheers,

Jeff

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+Jeff H If your svchost processes are active, when you are not using the net, could be caused by a few circumstances, most not good.

 

First the good

 

You have software, there is actively polling the net for updates, or other data it needs.

Maybe some process is just misbehaving (Bug).

 

Now the bad.

 

Possible Malware, possible key logger.

 

Or maybe your system is being used by a hacker for a denial of service attack against some site. Have you checked your network activity when your CPU pegs like this?

 

Hopefully it's the former, but your statement, that if you kill the offending process, it migrates to another, would concern me!

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Thanks Tom.  You're right about svchost processes running without a browser connected to the internet.  With a browser open, the process would start about a minute after boot.  If I didn't open a browser right away, than it would sometimes take up to a couple of minutes to start.   And of course, my very first thoughts and troubleshooting revolved around malware, keyloggers and other malicious software.  I have run virtually every malware, spyware, and anti virus known to man.  My system was pretty clean according to those programs.  And I'm pretty confident that I ruled those out with a reformat and reinstall of my OS at the time. As I mentioned, I haven't had the problem since I went through it about a year or so ago.  This problem affected a ton of people on XP.  It was all over the internet at the time and no one ever seemed to do more than point fingers.  I first noticed it on my system after an update to my browser.  At first, I thought it had something to do with how all the different browsers were updated to work better with Windows 7.  As I went through the troubleshooting, I then began to suspect it was something in the update to SP3.  I researched it through numerous forums and tech guys that I'm friendly with and while the problem was affecting a lot of people, no one could seem to say what really was happening.  Certainly, the issue Ryan's having could be related to malicious programs or the like, but it so closely resembles what I saw back then, that I thought it was something that he might want to consider.  Not being an expert, I know that mine isn't necessarily a traditional solution, but it did work. 
 

Cheers!!

 

Edit: Oh yeah it's definitely network related, hence the increase in connections when the problem starts.  If I disconnected from the internet at the time, the problem wouldn't even show up. 

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Wow what a frustrating issue. Thanks for that reply. This is definitely not malware. It is a fresh install of OS. (Win XP sp3)

 

So far the best reference link I've found is this

http://blogs.technet.com/b/asiasupp/archive/2007/05/29/automatic-update-causes-svchost-exe-high-cpu.aspx

 

Apparently this issue has been around for a while.

 

I actually went to the win XP auto update web site and it DID NOT work. The searching active x box just kept running... Nothing showed up. Just a sign of the XP support dropping off I guess.

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Sounds like the problem is Windows Update set to automatic, have you tried turning it off? (That's what I do BTW anyway, I run it once a week manually, to keep the system updated.)

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