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Help! laptop keeps rebooting


lukebl
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Help. I think my laptop's just got a virus and I can't get rid of it.

Basically, it's the one I keep permanently in my obsy to control the scope & cameras and I'll be absolutely lost without it. It just keeps rebooting after a minute or two. I have tried running Malware and AVG, but it just reboots before they can do their stuff.

Any of you tecchies got any ideas what I should do? Not too technical, please!

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....Have you run any updates recently?

Not knowingly, but I thought it updated itself automatically?

The last time I got the BSOD was when I tied to run Sharpcap (which just won't work on any of my PCs without crashing. Anyone else have that problem?). But I don't think that's the problem, as it's worked fine for weeks.

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Is it likely to be a virus ? Do you access the internet on it ?

I often fix lappies for people, and find that heat is often a factor these days. Dust builds up in the processor fan, and the heat can pretty randomly kill the cpu, memory or disk. You can easily rule that out by running something like NHC or Speedfan and keep an eye on the temperature. If it goes much over 60% I would say your machine needs a dust. Usually I open up laptops to do that, but you can simply make sure the lappie is off and find the intake for the fan and vacuum it (get some good suction going)...

Also try running it on battery for a while and see if it lasts longer. Most lappies these days turn down the CPU MHZ when running on battery, and so the CPU doesnt get as hot. This will also rule out power issues with the transformer, and will give you some indication of the health of your battery (you should get an hour out of a reasonable battery if you arent running anything)...Hopefully those ideas may give you some insight into the issues....anything more complex than that and it normally means getting out the screwdriver :)

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Thanks for the advice, Chris.

It's running OK in safe mode, whilst it does the virus scan. Is that a good sign? It has discovered and healed a Trojan Horse so far. Just need to wait and see if it's OK when running in normal mode. Never had this problem before (apart from when attempting to run Sharpcap), so I'm thinking it must be a virus.

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I had trouble with Sharpcap locking up my machine when I tried to use the SPC900NC with a short USB extension lead. It complete locked the computer up so that only a power cycle would fix it. As soon as I removed the USB extension cable it all worked fine.

Chris

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Safe mode disables many of the drivers, so I'm not surprised it's running ok.

Software can and will install/update drivers. So if you have installed something new it would be worth seeing if you can uninstall this (whilst in safemode as the reboot will stop you doing it in normal mode).

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Hi

I had something like this ages ago. It was called the blaster virus, details of which are here:

Help2Go - free computer help and advice - Blaster Virus

Have a look there and see if you are running one of the operating systems that can be infected. NT4.0, 2000 or XP.

Then there is a removal tool linked on that page however it is also here since you only have 60 seconds:

W32.Blaster.Worm Removal Tool | Symantec

Weird though since any up to date virus checker should have no problem with that.

cheers

Dan

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Safe mode disables many of the drivers, so I'm not surprised it's running ok.

Software can and will install/update drivers. So if you have installed something new it would be worth seeing if you can uninstall this (whilst in safemode as the reboot will stop you doing it in normal mode).

The majority of driver writers seem to think that they have to write the driver as a kernel driver. As kernel drivers run in kernel address space, any crash usually brings down the entire machine as a BSOD.

Apple have been pushing for driver writers to move away from kernel drivers for this very reason. Oddly enough the software I'm writing uses user-space drivers, if it fails the machine continues without taking anything else with it!

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Might be an idea to check to see if the CPU cooler is blocked. Is the fan on all the time?

It all looks clear to me. I just completed the virus check in safe mode and it found and cleared a few suspect files. However, on rebooting it's done it again. Reboots after a couple of mins.

Calamity, and a clear night tonight but no way to control the scope or CCD! Why, oh why, do these things happen?

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From the few times this has happened to me it has always been the graphics driver or graphics hardware has packed in. Same symptoms as your describing, works for a bit then just crashes/freezes or generally doesn't behave but works fine in safe mode. Try disabling your graphics driver if it has one to see if that helps?

I would have thought dodgy memory would have taken out your laptop in safe mode too? Had that problem too - memory came loose, but that was many years ago

Feel for you, computers are great when they work, but when they misbehave I certainly want to go back to pre computer times as being simpler...!

Ian

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If it's rebooting, there's a couple of things:

1. Check heat levels - run prime95 to stress the CPU to produce high temperatures. The CPU should throttle back to protect itself. Start up of a machine uses the CPU alot (if the machine is left at the BIOS screen is another test as the machine runs without power saving).

Overclockers use this to test for stability.

2. Check memory - use memtest86 to stress the memory to pickup issues. Again overclockers use this for stability testing. I've long since moved on from overclocking but I've used this to find why my old MBP kept crashing - this turned out to be the seating of the ram. After refitting the memory it was fine for four years..

3. Verify the entire hard disc. Defects on the hard drive will cause the machine to lock up, reset or bluescreen. You could look at the windows event log which may indicate read/write errors.

4. Drivers- bugs in drivers may only show after a period of time however these will end up blue screening the machine. Try running the laptop without anything plugged in.

Hardware can just give up the ghost - my MBP was entirely fine, closed the lid then found it wouldn't wake. (it had an SSD fitted so no HD movement issues) Fans and everything ok except no screen or keyboard, booting sequence or anything. The GPU in that model was known to unsolder itself (led to apple sueing nVidia) but it's had 4 years of airport scanners, heavy use etc.

Annoying as hell as I can't replace it at the moment as I've got about two weeks of my extended contract left.. so I'm stuck using my little mac mini and only using the SynScan for visual use :/

Edited by NickK
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Thanks Nick. However, there's a lot of junk on it and I've got nothing to lose so I thought I may as well format the whole thing and reset to factory settings. Unfortunately, I can't even seem to do that.

According to the instructions you simply press F8 on booting up, then go to 'repair your computer' (it's a Dell) and you should then go into the repair settings. Unfortunately, I get to a password stage, and my own name and password doesn't work.

So I'm stuck. Any ideas how to get past the password prompt, or any other ways to reset the thing? All the instructions I've found on various websites say 'Log in as a user who has administrative credentials'. Well, the only username and password I have is my own, and if that doesn't work, what do I do next?

Edited by lukebl
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Depending how the original build was done this user and PW may simply be the admin account. Try Admin and hit return... see if that allows you to continue.

BSOD normally indicates that some driver or hardware is having compatibility issues and windows initiates a STOP instruction. As already mentioned this will contain an 8 digit error code - if you get chance post that up and I'm sure we can google that and tell you what / where to look.

Oh and try it with all cables (other than power) removed

Edited by malc-c
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I think everything's been covered. My first thought was dust clogged processor cooler but that usually produces a straight power off - no BSD. Next thought was a System Restore. Yes, try Admin for system ID and nothing for PW.

If you have a Windows install CD - boot that and you should be able to format and install Windows as if new. If you haven't got an install CD you should be able to borrow one to install XP and use the code on the label on the laptop to register the copy as yours. If it's no XP, I don't know. Also, I think Dells are a bit different from generic PCs.

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