amezri: (whatever)
This morning Avast! was all "hey, program update!" so I updated it. It needed to restart, so I finished some stuff I was doing and let it do that...

Booted to black desktop, no start bar. I gave it a few minutes in case it was working in the background, but then it didn't do anything. Rebooted in Safe Mode, which ran fine. Then rebooted in regular mode. Desktop froze when I clicked on it - not even right-clicked, just left-click. Restarted again... log out/shut down took FOREVER (~5min). Restarted again and it was at normal speed. Everything seems to be working normally now I guess? I checked the Event log and it doesn't show any errors except longer boot time (marked Critical). I'm just hoping things are okay now. I'm sort of afraid to shut down/restart because I don't want to deal with it right now. I have to shut down for DragonCon next week, so I'll just deal with it when I get back if there is a problem, I guess.

I'm seeing online that some people have had similar problems. Half the people seem to be fine after letting Avast do whatever it was doing and the other half have to uninstall/reinstall. And then half of those see the problem recurring after shutdown/restart, but it goes away after reboot. I guess if it continues, I'm going to have to completely dump Avast! and try out Avira or something. Or at least do a clean install of Avast.


Edit: Just did a complete shut down & reboot as suggest by a friend and everything seems to be back to normal. Speedy boot up after log in. I guess whatever it was corrected itself. He suggested possibly video driver got reloaded. I still think it's Avast being a jerk.
amezri: (geeky hobbits)
So here's another weird thing I was noticing... my hard drive space was going down like half a gig every day without me saving anything! Weird. I thought maybe it was some system restore points - about 2.5gb gets used for every one. So I decided to just delete the last few because the system is working fine. Nope, still a HUGE drain. I looked it up and it turns out the hiberfil.sys file is eating TONS of space, about equal to how much RAM you have in your system. Since I just added 4GB, the system decided it needed to eat another 4GB of space for the hibernation file. I have a desktop and I've never used Hibernation or Sleep mode so I decided to disable it.

Instructions from the Microsoft Knowledge Base page:

To make hibernation unavailable, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, and then type cmd in the Start Search box.
  2. In the search results list, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as Administrator.
  3. When you are prompted by User Account Control, click Continue.
  4. At the command prompt, type powercfg.exe /hibernate off, and then press ENTER.
  5. Type exit and then press ENTER to close the Command Prompt window.
To make hibernation available, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, and then type cmd in the Start Search box.
  2. In the search results list, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as Administrator.
  3. When you are prompted by User Account Control, click Continue.
  4. At the command prompt, type powercfg.exe /hibernate on, and then press ENTER.
  5. Type exit and then press ENTER to close the Command Prompt window. 

So that pretty much took care of it. My 94GB of free space is now 101GB! Woot! Of course, if I install anything, the system will create a restore point, but whatever, I think I've already installed most everything I need.
amezri: (geeky hobbits)
I've been using XP for... well, an embarrassing number of years, actually. My current system is about 2 years old and has had XP SP2 on it since it was built. I never installed XP3 because there were issues with it killing systems, especially if you didn't have a valid serial. I could never remember where my serial came from - if it was a crack from who knows how long ago or a genuine key I got somewhere along the way, so I never installed it.

About two weeks ago, I started getting pop-ups from Avast, saying it was blocking a Malicious URL. I ran all sorts of malware and rootkit scans - none of them ever found a thing. Then I wasn't sure if the attack was coming from outside, or if it was something on my machine trying to get out and download something (in which case there wouldn't be anything detectable on my machine yet).

Looking for help on Avast's boards, I basically just got told to update to SP3. I can't. So my final solution was to back up all my files (needed to be done anyway) and format the drive before I finally updated myself to Windows 7. Genuine key, even. Seemed to work fine. Machine was up and running. Got all my files back. No malicious URL blocking. Shiny.

Only not because ClearType is driving me nuts. EVERYTHING looks blurry and fonts are not the same size as they were in XP under the same settings. Firefox was practically unreadable. That I fixed by turning off Nvidia's own anti-aliasing features and disabling Firefox's hardware acceleration (while also using a Anti-Aliasing Tuner extension). It's bearable now.

Except that was not the end of it. Photoshop file type icons are not displaying properly. Oh, file association is perfectly file - .psd files open with Photoshop when double-clicked. The icons, however, are just a blank page "unknown type" icon. Registry key looks perfectly fine. I uninstalled/reinstalled. Same. So, fine, it doesn't work. EXCEPT THEY SHOW UP IN AN OPEN FILE BOX. WUT. I have no idea why that is. I've given up on fixing that. Thankfully, I have show extensions on as default.

You cannot change a file type icon in Windows 7. You can associate it with a different program and change it that way, but that is not what I want to do. You now need a third party program to change an icon for a specific type (ex: Default Programs Manager) or go and fiddle in the registry.

Did you now that the status bar in Explorer no longer tells you the total size of the folder? That's super annoying. Sure, you can find out if you highlight the files and then click "see more details" but only if you don't also have a folder selected. I could install Classic Shell, but WHY DO I HAVE TO DO THAT?! This also affects the Recycle Bin as you can't see the total size of that either.

Speaking of... custom icons for the Recycle Bin break the ability for the icon to refresh when you fill/empty it. You have to go into the Registry and fix the key. Not a big deal... but WTF? It's an option right there in the personalization for me to be able to change the icon. This should work properly!

Instant auto-arrange. YOU CANNOT TURN THIS OFF. I don't mind auto-arrange - everything sorted by name automatically is ace. I don't want it to resort instantly when I've dragged & dropped a bunch of files into my photos folder for sorting or instantly arrange while I'm changing file names. WTF, WINDOWS?! (Yes, I am aware you can turn off auto-arrange on the Desktop. This is not what I mean.) Work around now is to remember to set it to arrange by date when I'm working with a large number of files. Thanks for destroying my workflow, Windows.

Resizing desktop icons with the mouse scroll wheel is kind of cool, though.

And it now reads EXIF info properly when I view the properties for a photograph.

The fact that System Restore now pretty much works is really good because...

I installed Classic Shell to get some features back in explorer (well, just the folder size, actually). Seemed to work fine. I switched back to the Aero theme just because and my machine decided that's when it would lock up. Restarted. Locked up again. Uninstalled Classic Shell. Locked up again in Basic theme. Used System Restore to roll back to a point before I installed Classic Shell. So far, so good. To be fair, my system is currently using 1.35GB of ram with Firefox, Digsby, and Winamp open, as well as whatever background junk is going on. Aero eats up a bunch of memory from what I understand, so it's possible that caused the lock up. More RAM is on the way so I'll soon have 6GB total instead of 2GB, which should help. My graphic performance rating is still crap (3.4), though, so I might stay with Basic.

That's another thing - you can't change the color of the windows or the title bars while using Basic or Classic Windows themes. Sure, it'll let you change them in the Personalization screen, but it doesn't actually do anything. Thanks for that, Windows. In order to change the color of Windows Basic Theme, I need to go in and replace a .msstyles file and thenuse Universal Theme Patcher. SERIOUSLY, YOU GUYS?! (I might try this one, though.)

Otherwise, Windows 7 IS GREAT!
amezri: (schrodinger's cat)
In the latest round of me trying to stuff in an attempt to not have to reformat my computer, I restarted the system, went in to Task Manager and disabled a whole load of stuff. Can't say anything about runtime, but so far so good?

If it continues to work okay, I guess that means there is a funky program running on my system that is not working nice with the others. Problem is, I know what everything is (basically...) so getting rid of it is going to be easy, but annoying.
amezri: (whatever)
Was having some issues with Slax freaking out and not loading MP3s or playing any media file off drive or CD, so I decided to reboot and ended up back in Windows.

It occurred to me that while running Slax, the HDD activity wasn't blinking. Which.. obviously, since it was only running in RAM and not writing to disk. But then I was thinking about how often Windows writes to HDD and that probably isn't normal? Googled it a bit and per research, have turned off fast indexing on both drives and well as SpeedFan logs (because, honestly, I don't care anymore). Write disk caching was already enabled.

HDD activity light is much less frequent now. I'm pretty certain it has nothing to do with the freezing I was getting, but *shrug* Just another thing to tweak I guess?

While searching for that, I also read a few threads saying that I should recheck power cables to the HDD and see if any are loose. Hm. Will give that a try at some point.

Since I'm already booted into Windows, I think I'll just leave it on and see how long it takes to freeze up on me. I'm betting it'll be before I've finished lunch and caught up on my shows.
amezri: (twilight ;; alice ;; slap her)
Furthering my quest to find out what heck is wrong with my computer, I'm now running a Linux Live CD to see if it freezes. I guess the idea is that if I get NO freezes with the Live CD, then the problem is Windows and not hardware, but if the Live CD freezes, then it's hardware. Theoretically, that makes sense. We'll see how it goes in practice.

I started off intending to go with the Ubuntu 8.10 Live CD, as Ubuntu is probably the most popular distro right now. Or among my friends, anyway. But after an hour and a half trying to get the wireless to work, I gave up. The problem was the Live CD wasn't packaged with drivers for the Linksys wireless card, which the card won't work correctly without and the solution was just not happening -- I'd have to connected to the onboard ethernet with a cable and have it download drivers from the internet. The router is on the other side of the house, one floor down. So, uh, not happening.

Before I located the Ubuntu Live CD, I'd already downloaded the Slax distro, which is designed for portable use. I'm not really sure if this will be taxing the system properly, but at least I got the wireless working in 10 minutes instead of an hour! All I had to do was enter some commands in terminal because the GUI for the wireless connection doesn't work exactly right -- it'll take the WEP but for some reason doesn't handle auto DHCP.

Slax is running KDE and I kind of like the look of it. Display response is a bit sluggish, but I'm thinking that could be because it's just using whatever display drivers and not the proper one for the Nvidia card. I do have access to all my files, but won't be writing to the drives in case things go wonky. Actually, I'm probably not going to access the drives at all if I can help it.

In any case, I'll give this a try and see what happens. If I can't do all my normal stuff, at least I can use the internet! It'll almost be like those times I was out of the country and had to use net cafes. But, you know, without the fun travel part.
amezri: (schrodinger's cat)
So to see whether or not Windows is being the problem, I'm thinking of running Linux of a bootable CD.

Who here has experience with that? I'm pretty sure I'll just go with Slax? But anyone with more Linux experience, please give me some input. I just want to be able to run the OS off a CD without formatting/installing it onto my primary drive right now.
amezri: (schrodinger's cat)
For anyone who might be keeping track, I'm optimistic that I've cracked the problem with Hippaforalkus. *knocks on wood* After some random searching and head-scratching, it occurred to me that it was strange that the lock-ups happened near around the same time every day and/or after about the same about of uptime.

So... I used my google fu and looked for any sort of solution, stumbling on a few random article suggesting that late-night lock-ups were perhaps caused by System Restore. Huh. Well, couldn't hurt to try, right? In those same forum posts, it was suggested that one runs SuperAntiSpyware to clear out any junk. First thing I did was disable System Restore -- this supposedly is enough to clean out all previous restore points. Then I ran SuperAntiSpyware.

I freaked out a little at first because SuperAntiSpyware locked up during the first scan, but having a look on their forums, it seems this is a common occurrence and all that needed to be done was uncheck a scanning option. Once working, SuperAntiSpyware found nothing on my system, but while it was searching, it did trigger AVG's active scan to flag two items as infected with a Trojan. One was an exe file I didn't really care about, and the other was an exe in the System Restore folder. I had AVG dump the files and then I restarted.

Restarted. Ran SuperAntiSpyare again and it was all clean. No AVG triggers. Done.

One tiny hiccup - AVG ran a normal scan last night and returned three more Trojan infections - one in System Restore, one in an rar file, and one in a tracking cookie. I'm thinking at least one if not all are false positives, but better safe than sorry. Got rid of the lot and ran SuperAntiSpyware and AVG again and both came back clean.

The system has been online for 58 hours as of this post. Gonna let it run through the night and see if it freezes up again. Will do an endurance run when I get back from Farpoint on Monday.

Edit: Spoke too soon. At about 5am, the system locked again. This was, however, the longest uptime I've had in several months without a freeze (65 hours if my math is right). And though I think it's mere coincidence, I feel I have to point out that the system locked up about 3 minutes after I let Windows install some updates. So. I have no idea.


Feb. 5th, 2009 03:09 pm
amezri: (iron man ;; stark ;; suit r&d)
Right. So, the computer drama continues. Electrician came today to check out the outlets. Well, turns out he's not really an electrician, but a fix-it guy. Argh. Anyway, he checked out the outlets in my room and there's some sort of open ground problem which he didn't have time to hunt down. Still, having an open ground shouldn't be causing the problem. I guess my next step is to take the new 900VA UPS and swap it for a 1300VA and see if that stops it. Ugh. At this point, I'm almost okay with it freezing every two days.

I guess I still don't understand why it didn't do this when I first put the computer together, but it is now. Ugh. Whatever.

Meanwhile, watching Gordon Ramsey's F Word. Kinda love the song they use and the hijinks.


Feb. 1st, 2009 12:07 pm
amezri: (kkbb ;; harry needs a hug)
Just to repeat my twitter scream:

COMPUTER FROZE AGAIN. So now I don't know what the problem is. Do I need to buy a new power supply?! Should I return the new UPS and go back to the old one. WHAT THE HELL.


[ profile] tirgaya - what's the possibility of the current PSU in the system having been damaged due to poor voltage from the old UPS? Should I swap that out next? I guess I should look in to trying a Linux Live CD. Then again, the connection directly into an outlet looked like it was working for three days, so now I have no idea.
amezri: (amezri ;; geek code 3.12)
Greetings from Pevensie! It's the new family netbook. Well, actually, it's mom's netbook, but I can borrow it if I need to.

Pevensie is an Asus Eee PC 1000, 40GB SSD (actually 8GB and a second 32GB SSD), and 1GB RAM, running an Intel Atom processor. The system comes preloaded with a Xandros distro which, after playing with it for an hour, I decided was pretty annoying. Trying to tweak things was nearly impossible and it was difficult to do normal things like figuring out how much space is being used and setting up other user accounts.

Last night I downloaded Easy Peasy 1.0, an Ubuntu distro modified for netbooks. All reviews said this was the best for the current netbook line. So, what the heck, it didn't seem like that big of a deal to set it up. After the .iso finished, I created a bootable SD card.

This morning, I popped the SD card in and started the install. My first snag? Figuring out the partitions. A stop at the Easy Peasy/Ubuntu Eee forums let me know that I should set it all up manually. Once that was done, the rest was really easy. within the hour, the OS was installed and the machine was up and running. I updated things that needed updating and fiddled with some custom settings.

partition notes for reference )

A number of users expressed concern that once installed, the wireless wasn't as effective as it was in the Xandros distro. I haven't seen that problem at all and the only weirdness I noticed was sound output being low, but that was fixed a bit in volume properties.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with this netbook once Easy Peasy was installed. I think this is a pretty neat little piece of tech to take on trips when I don't want to drag around a full sized laptop.


Jan. 27th, 2009 04:45 pm
amezri: (schrodinger's cat)
I noticed when I switched out my lamp (and had to fiddle and unplug my UPS for the computer), that when running on battery power, the UPS will cause the PSU to make a buzzing sound. APC says this is normal... but that seems, not good?

In any case, just to see, I've switched the cord on my tower to a surge strip and plugged that directly into the wall. No power back up, yeah, but I want to run it for a couple days and see what happens. I have no idea if that would be causing the problem, but if it is at least it's not a major operation to replace it.

Of course, there could be a power surge in my house that kills my machine. Or it doesn't help at all. Then I'll look at replacing the power supply, I guess.
amezri: (whatever)
UGH. Right. So, two days of no freezing and suddenly the computer freezes three times today, twice within the span of 3 hours.

Is my only option here a) a rebuild or b) a reformat? I mean, I guess I'll have to do it if that's what's to be done. If it's a software issue, I guess I can deal, but if it's hardware failure, I'm not exactly sure what I can do about that without buying all new parts.

I guess I'll be shutting down the machine tonight. Tomorrow, I might just go through and double check connections inside and see if maybe something is loose? *shrug* Maybe I did something trying to take the old graphics card out. I don't know. I'm just pretty positive if I leave this on tonight it's just going to freeze again.

Tomorrow: Definitely doing mass burns of stuff to back-up data.

Edit: Removed a few registry entries referring to ATI using CCleaner. I don't think that will make a difference, but hey, let's give it a try. *rollseyes*

tech help?

Jan. 23rd, 2009 10:58 am
amezri: (schrodinger's cat)
Right. So. Not having a huge ton of fun with this computer. I'd been having some green screening problems. Replaced the old PCI Express card with a new nvidia GeForce card -- no more green screen problems.

Except now, it just freezes randomly (in the middle of the night usually, when I'm not doing anything) and I have to hit the rest button. It's not overheating. The graphics card drivers are latest. MemTest came back clean after running for like 8 hours. Hard drives are not making weird noises.

I was wondering if it was the PSU, if only because the main difference between this card and the last is this new one has an onboard fan. Of course, if it's the PSU wouldn't the freeze happen more often and not in the middle of the night?

[ profile] ozw suggested I update the chipset firmware. Well, that's a bitch and a half considering I can't find the right board anywhere. CPU-Z reports the following:

Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd.
GA-MA770-DS3 (version and revision unknown)

more details )

So, now I don't know what I'm supposed to do as I can't find the specific firmware for that NB/SB on this board, but Gigabyte has downloads for that board, except I don't know if I should get rev 1 or rev 2 because I don't know if it matters??

Also, should I try swapping out the PSU for another in case this one is faulty or doesn't have enough wattage.

UGH. I hate computers.

Edit: It seems like there is no difference in the upgrades offered between revision 1 & revision 2?

In the comparison chart, there is a difference between the two. I know mine does not have onboard video, but it does have onboard sound.

I think maybe it's revision 1? 6 USB ports in back, 2 connected to the front of case... might be 2 open. So... 10 USB board?
amezri: (so agitated .:. by speakerwiggin)
Honestly, why does technology have it in for me today?

Went to the office to pick up my work-from-home machine and after standing around for nearly an hour, I basically have to go back in tomorrow because tech support deactivated my user account and they were all at lunch. So, my option was to stay and wait for them to get back (which could be FOREVER) and fix it, but I needed to be home to wait for the phone guy so now I have to go back again tomorrow. OMG SO ANNOYING.

ALSO: OMG GLOBAT I HATE YOU. I mean, normally, I have no problems, but can I just say when you guys screw up, it's always a massive clusterfuck.

Rey: hi Cynthia, hope you are doing fine today ^_^
Cynthia: I'm not, actually. But thanks.

Because, really. Who contacts tech support when there's nothing wrong. Who?

I tried really hard not to rip the guy a new one because I know it's not his fault -- why would it be his fault? It's the fault of the idiot who just went in there and changed stuff when all the ticket asked was they they notify me when things were supposed to be fixed. And it's not the fault of the team who took six days to fix the issue, but it's the fault of whoever is supposed to communicating the problem to the customers. After some explaining of the screw-up:

Cynthia: I am fixing my myself right now.
Cynthia: which does not solve the original problem
Rey: Cynthia, I am now coordinating with our senior techs regarding your concern
Cynthia: Great.

Sarcastic? JUST A LITTLE.

I calmed down a bit as the whole thing went on, but seriously, people, just fix it! I'm giving them until morning. I mean, either they have the backup to restore from, or they don't. If they don't, I have an old one from October that will at least get me back most of it. UGH.

Also? I have just realized that I haven't eaten at all today. Awesome.
amezri: (sga ;; sheppard ;; hi. annoyed.)
Meant to be writing about the fun of my birthday week, but instead, I've spent the last two hours trying to uninstall/reinstall/troubleshoot my green screen of death problems. Oh, Hippaforalkus, I hate you sometimes.

This morning, it green screened, and on restart, I got an error saying that my ATI Control Panel was no longer compatible with my drivers, even though I didn't change anything! Ugh. But of course, the problem I had with my LogonStudio app (namely, the password box being squished) had gone away. The only return result from Google is that the GSOD is possible related to hardware failure (ARGH!) and possible crappy display drivers. And not a lot of anything else. How helpful.

So, I uninstalled all the ATI stuff. Reinstalled the new drivers and control panel from ATI and... we'll see if that does any good.

Meanwhile, vzwpix is being a pain in my ass an erroring on everything I send except one file I sent early this morning. I hate when their server gets all messed up like that. Could be days until it's working right again!

To ease the feelings of argh, I'm adding new fanlists to my fanlisting page. Oh, the geekery!


Aug. 17th, 2008 10:05 am
amezri: (sga ;; sheppard ;; hi. annoyed.)
Does anyone know where this image came from? :\

Also... my stupid computer green screened again. ARGH.
amezri: (whatever)
So. Hippaforalkus keeps green screening. Well, by keeps, I mean it's done it twice so far and I can't really figure out why. Both times it was when I was scrolling through a page. [ profile] seijitataki just shrugs it off.

My ATI Control Center now won't open and it's giving me an error saying that my version of the driver can't support the Control Center. WHAT?

In the meantime, I lowered Hardware Acceleration one notch to the left of full. I can't really see a difference so far and maybe that will help? IDK.

ATI has a new driver update. I guess I should install that. ARGH.


Jul. 6th, 2008 09:38 pm
amezri: (iharthdarth ;; i can't feel my legs)
Hey guys. Hippaforalkus is up and... well, crawling I suppose. I have a lot of general software installed and I think everything that I've tested so far works.

There are a couple tweaky items -- like the screen being too contrasty (need to rebalance) and my customized Torchwood logon no longer looks right at all.

WMP 11 installed itself with the update, which is mildly annoying because my Zen Micro isn't particularly fond of of it and I'm not sure how easy/difficult it will now be to get files on to it. I tried it on Talyn, actually, and it was useable, but utterly annoying.

Huh. Okay, well, Windows Media Player might hate my Zen, but apparently Winamp wins again and not only can read the device, but it sees the playlists I set up. Sweet.

I should probably stop using that Schrodinger icon. Maybe when I can make a new one. Photoshop is installed, but I haven't put in any of my fonts. And then I discovered that even though I exported my brush sets and action sets this morning, they somehow didn't make it to the right drive or something stupid, so they're gone now. UGH.

Going to call it a night and continue over the next week or two to get everything slowly back to normal. Talyn's still going to be getting a workout at this stage.


Jul. 6th, 2008 04:01 pm
amezri: (schrodinger's cat)
Reformatting drive for Hippaforalkus. Apparently the old drive I had in Schrodinger was 320GB and not 160GB like I always thought I bought.

We first suspected something wonky when [ profile] seijitataki was checking partitions and going to reformat the new secondary drive. The primary was listing three partitions -- the two [ profile] pgnblade originally set up and a third unpartitioned space. The two were right, math-wise, for a 160GB drive and we couldn't figure out why there was a third because, seriously, I thought I bought a 160GB.

Now we're reformatting the primary (will be Arcturus) and I double-checked my Newegg invoice from two years ago... and, uh, it is in fact a 320GB drive. Which means I have 160GB I could have been using for the last two years. *facepalm*

[ profile] seijitataki is now yelling at me for not knowing how much space my drive has. :\

We're reinstalling Windows XP right now. I'm being completely useless. I used to work at a Help Desk! For three years! Geez.


amezri: (Default)

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