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"It looks like a bomb went off".....

Discussion in 'Computer Talk' started by Smash, Jul 29, 2002.

  1. Smash

    Smash Super Lurker Retired Moderator

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    ...."inside your computer".

    Thats what the technician said to me.

    I was innocently surfing the net,Apolyton as a matter of fact,when my IE froze.So I wait a sec for task manager to come and say "this program not responding blah blah" when my mouse freezes.
    Hmmmm.
    A few minutes later I get the BLUE screen of death.
    Uh oh.
    I restart but get yet another blue screen with a new message.
    I restart again
    I am now down to a black dos prompt screen with "F1-help" and "F2-setup"
    Setup reports there is no hard disk installed and no cd-rom drive installed.So much for last resort -re-install OS.
    It was right about here I had visions of macintosh in my head.

    Off to technician.
    $429 and all is well.No data lost.
    Techie has no idea what caused it.This is unsettling to me.I kinda had hoped to hear "Virus" although I have no idea how it snuck thru if it was.

    He says all checks out well inside as it should only being 6 months old.

    I'm afraid to go to Apolyton now ;)

    Did I miss a big one lately or was it just me? :(
     
  2. Lucky

    Lucky Game- and Quizmaster

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    Hmm, these peculiar things happen sometimes.

    Often there is no visible reason behind it. I had such a problem a few months ago, I started my computer the one day and he couldn´t boot Windoze. :eek:
    Somehow he managed to put most of the needed vxd and dll files in the Windows/System dir into 4 big unreadable files. No idea how that happened, he somehow must have made a mistake when writing the adress table for the HD.

    It´s rather difficult to find out the reasons, Murphy´s law really rules the world, especially the computer world.
    :D
     
  3. starlifter

    starlifter Deity

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    I do not understand the "bomb went off" reference.

    What did the technician charge you $429 for? I hope that is Canadian, and not USD (that's about $270 USD, I think).

    What did he do, exactly?


    For free, I could have told you what happened, how to fix it, and how to prevent data loss if (when) it happens again ;).


    I do not have access to your computer, and cannot check certain things to be 100% sure, but this is very probably what happened:

    1. MSIE caused a routine fault. It does this a lot, and is extrememly bug-ridden, particularly with heap problems and out of bounds references under certain circumstances.

    2. Most MSIE faults will, at worst, corrupt some disk files that are relatively unimportant. But you very likely (like most people) allow windows to put temporary files on your boot drive. This increases the chance of boot drive corruption with the routine MS beta software that people mistakenly call an "OPERATING Styem".

    3. In this case, given that you said the machine would not recognize the hard drive, at least one key bit (and maybe more) in a special part of your hard drive was corrupted. The BIOS then will not recognize the hard drive, but the data structure is intact. It requires gooting from a CDROM or A: drive to fix.

    4. Another possible case: The glitch was caused by heat (not M$) and altered a bit in your machine somewhere, and this also triggered a change in BIOS setting. It required entering BIOS setup at boot to correct the problem.



    Well, those are a couple very likely candidates, given what you described so far.



    Everyone reading this should learn something: you need to back up your partition information onto a Floppy disk, and be able to restore it if your drive is corrupted either by M$, or a virus. Good programs to do this are Fix It Utilities and Norton Utilities. Key data necessary to restore a drive is typically stored in an "image" file (about 300K on average). BTW, Partition Magic can repair certain things (not all) in some circumstances.


    Glad your machine is working.... let us know the details of what the tech did to it :).
     
  4. damunzy

    damunzy recovering former mod Retired Moderator

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    Yeah, I am trying to figure out how he charged you $429!! I need to get into that business! :)

    I took my computer in one time and got charged $25 USD...much more reasonable but nothing was replaced...they just removed a few extra studs I didn't need...d'oh! :D
     
  5. Smash

    Smash Super Lurker Retired Moderator

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    Booting from the cdrom was not possible as as far as the machine was concerned there was no cdrom installed.As far as the machine was concerned,there was no machine at all!!

    It required 8-9 hours to fix as secondary problems were found.I know I know,but that was my only choice.I lacked the equpiment and/or knowledge to do anymore than I had tryed.Most of the time was spent in retreival.Their rates were:free pickup,free estimate,free delivery and $65 per hour.As hours began to rack up I flat rated at $375 plus tax.Over $50 in taxes :mad:

    The only way to to do anything required a 2nd computer and some diagostic software.

    The "popular" rate at other places was $75 per hour with a range of $35>50 for an initial consultation, but none of them seemed too interested in my business.One guy's phone answerer offered to have the guy phone me for an estimate of when he could just talk to me about it!.Future Shop said 2 weeks minimum :eek:.
     
  6. starlifter

    starlifter Deity

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    Ouch! There were many more problems than I thought :eek: ...

    One thing that is both fast and easy to do is to keep a 2nd hard drive (they are so cheap and large today) with a backup of essential stuff, esp. data. IDE CD-RW ROMs are pretty cheap, and make a great way to backup drives, too.
     
  7. damunzy

    damunzy recovering former mod Retired Moderator

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    wow, what a racket up there! No wonder Corny wants to go back!! :D

    The places I have dealt with (mostly by phone pricing around) were all flat rate, 25 bucks to find out the problem, and then they would talk about the cost. Charging by the hour to figure out the problem seems wrong. If you are good it shouldn't take you too long. :) You need to get a computer hardware nerd friend. ;)
     
  8. Smash

    Smash Super Lurker Retired Moderator

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    IT HAPPENED AGAIN.

    For anybody that cares or knows,here is the jist of what my screen said:

    disable bios memory options such as caching or shadowing

    stop:0x0000007A
    (0xC03e66f8,0xc000000e,oxf99be806,0x091eb860)

    atapi.sys address f99be806
    base at f99b0000

    date stamp 3b7d83e5

    beginning dump of physical memory

    <end>
    whatever all that means.
    I got it back,it booted to windows ok.Then I couldn't open the start menu,followed shortly by the SAME thing.
    So,I unplugged everything and held the power button for abit.Re hooked everything and did a couple of restarts before it finally seemed to be working.I did another restart to seeand here I am.Up and running,but for how long?

    I'm running Mozilla as my previous glithes happened with IE.Probably not the problem but can't hurt ;)
     
  9. gonzo_for_civ

    gonzo_for_civ Chicken Walker Retired Moderator

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    Wow! It sounds like a bomb really did go off. I would definately buy a new computer/motherboard, it sounds more like a motherboard going bad, something that's happened to me many times. When/If you do get a new motherboard I would install a 2nd hard drive for backup purposes.

    P.S. If you are really up to it you can install your own new motherboard and save a lot of money but there are a few steps that if done wrong will fry the new motherboard as well.
     
  10. Smash

    Smash Super Lurker Retired Moderator

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    The machine is only 6 months old!...it better not be a motherboard :eek:
     
  11. starlifter

    starlifter Deity

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    What is happening is very likely a driver issue, possibly tirggerd by an installe application. Specifically, the driver for your IDE hard Drive (as contrasted with say, SCSI).

    I might be able to tell you more, but I would need exact and extremely precise details about the exact BIOS, the exact Motherboard hardware revision (e.g., "ASUS P5A, revision 1.003), the exact operation system and any patches or upgrades that have been applied, any disk compression, do you have any CR-RW software installed (or have you ever had any installed), have you ever installed any busmaster drivers, Northbridge or Southbridge patches or drives, etc. Also, any PCI driver, AGP Port driver, and video card driver revision number might be helpful.

    :)
     
  12. Smash

    Smash Super Lurker Retired Moderator

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    I wish you were my neighbor.

    wait a sec...what am I saying? ;)
     
  13. King of Camelot

    King of Camelot Camelot's King

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    Bah! Who cares about logic! Just blame it on Windoze and take M$ to court over it;) then 8 years later you'll still be in court... :lol:
     
  14. gonzo_for_civ

    gonzo_for_civ Chicken Walker Retired Moderator

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    Ahh I didn't see the part about no data being harmed. It's probably your drivers, but I like the King's suggestion.
     
  15. kundor

    kundor Chairman of the H.I.V.E.

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    you could try going into bios and disabling all the caches and shadows. If that's what the error message said, you might as well try it. But if that is what's causing a problem, then you do have serious issues with that motherboard.
     
  16. Smash

    Smash Super Lurker Retired Moderator

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    Its not the motherboard damit ;)..I don't want to hear that kind of talk :eek:.the technician did a check of all that good stuff and said all was well.

    I think it is something along the lines of what starlifter's last post discussed.I beleive the app in question is IE.This was what I was using when the problems occurred.
    Since I am on XP,I am little more than a guinea pig as there have been more patches and updates than you can shake a stick at.

    It is still working.Seemingly ok.

    My solution for now is to not use IE :D

    which brings up a rather embarrassing question:
    How do you change your default browser? :o
     
  17. King of Camelot

    King of Camelot Camelot's King

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    Well, not sure about others, but Netscape asks on startup if you would like to make it your defualt browser if it isn't. Then you could also did it manually, by changing file extension openers.
     
  18. Smash

    Smash Super Lurker Retired Moderator

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    I am using Mozilla which is netscape more or less.I got that box but unchecked "ask at start up" and now I can't find where to do it
     
  19. King of Camelot

    King of Camelot Camelot's King

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    Not sure how much Mozilla is like Netscape but in Netscape Preferences under System it lets you set what you want to open in Netscape, hope this works for Mozilla too.
     
  20. starlifter

    starlifter Deity

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    by Smash:
    In Netscape 6.xx, this will do:




    BTW, my post asking for lots of specific information was not babble. With that specific info, the cause of your problem might well be determined, but no guarantees.

    Anything that you can specifically state that the Tech dude tested can eliminate entire troubleshooting branches (assuming the tech really knew what he was doing, and at his prices, I am definitely presuming he knows his business ;: ).

    Unless you know what you're doing (or at least carefully write down the original settigs), changing BIOS can be a pain. Do not touch the settings on the first page related to disk geometry, however. That is one way to mess up your disk drive(s) if you make certain unfortunate choices.


    You will not hurt anything physical be enabling and disabling the Shadowing.

    I will explain what shadowing is. In the old days (the wild west of the 1980's and early 90's), comuters were slow, and ROM was dead slow. Most monitors displayed tables of code characters that were translated into symbols, like numbers and letters. It was quite slow to use ROM to look up these values, so someone came up with the bright idea to copy the ROM contents into the much faster RAM. But there was a drawback. Machines had RAM on the order of 256K, 512K, 640K and 1024K. RAM was very very expensive, and available space was limited.... so they put an option in BIOS to enable this copying of data into the faster, but limited, RAM. Since this was a duplicate of data, it became known as Shadowing. In today's machines, and with the modern graphics cards, screens are bitmapped in copious quantities of RAM, and there is no longer the need to shadow ROM into RAM... you simply don't use it if you don't operate in text mode (e.g., DOS). And even if you did use DOS, today's machines are so fast that you don't need the shadow anyway. Besides, the speedup is only noticiable when producing vast amounts of characters to the screen in rapid succession.... I doubt most people even have applications that can do that in DOS anymore.


    Soooo.... you should indeed turn off shadowing. More than just video character talbes can be shadowed, but nothing needs it anymore. In fact, some stupid programmers of today actually produce software that will crap out if certain things ARE shadowed. MS has never been particularly adept at producing quality software, and MS IE is one of their worst examples of bug-ridden crap... it has memory leaks, exploits you can park a car in, and is generally unstable, esp. over time and use in a session. It would be quite in keeping that the arrogant, and simultaneously incompetant, child-like programmers of MS IE have yet another bug in MS IE that causes a crash with some hardware + BIOS + MS Application combinations. I have documented some of these (but not yours in particular) to MS, who is thoroughly ungrateful and attempts to shift the blame to others when you talk to them. I do more than talk... I know people there and actually have gone in person to discuss certain compiler and network issues with them in the past. The just have a few people that consider themselves legends in their own minds, and it spoils the efforts of their employees who are rather meek, but actually know more about what is going on.


    So.... try it, if your techie did not... that is, turn off all the shadowing and see if stabilty improves.

    :)
     

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