My family has been using our Dell Dimension E510 for about five years now and it is really giving me fits lately. I was getting the dreaded blue screen of death and it would run very slow. I ran chkdsk /f and the BSOD has stopped. The problem I have now is that after a re-start the system will run ok for a while and then it appears to run out of resources and will lock up completely requiring me to hold down the power button. Sometime it will belt out a continuous tone when it locks up as well. It runs for various amounts of time and seems to depend on what I run. Launching the AOL software and opening emails is the quickest way to cause it to lock up and only takes about 10 minutes at best. If I just surf the web or slickdeals forums it may go an hour before locking up. Any ideas? Device manger indicates all devices are functioning normally with no conflicts. The box is running XP SP2 (just loaded SP3 and still locks up) and has 3GB of Ram. I havenít changed any hardware but my teenagers use it a lot to play things like runescape. Anti-virus is up to date. Thanks
It has a Pentium 4 3.0 ghz with Hyper threading, and is a single core. 3gb of Ram is plenty.
You mentioned you have teenagers, we all know what sites teenagers like to visit. Pr0n sites give you lots of viruses/adware/spyware that slows down the system.
If its been 5 years and you have not done a complete reinstall, that is the first thing that I would do. Oh and throw away AOL, that program is so buggy and is a system hog. Always had problems with it.
I updated and ran Malwarebytes a couple of weeks ago and it found/resolved two registry issues (one of them was something about disabling anti-virus). Guess I will take a look at Spybot. I realize that a fresh install will be ideal; however, I have thousands of team sports photos that I really hate to lose. I have a back-up but not as recent as it should be (I know, I know...). Is it possible (and safe) to perform a re-install on XP while preserving the data? If not, then I will probably grab a new SATA drive. Pull the active/questionable one out and come up under the new drive. Once I have the all the updates loaded I could then slave the questionable drive and pull the photos across. I have the recovery/driver CDs that came with the PC from Dell. Thanks again...
I used the Spybot link and downloaded PC Tools - Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus and it had a field day. It reports 10 threats and 304 infections (all low). I thought it was free though... Wants me to purchase online to remove. I wonder if the list is inflated to cause a panic and get folks to buy. May switch to adaware (sp) since if I recall it's completely free. Advice?
I like your other plan better. Get yourself a new HD & reload windows on it. Then connect your current drive as a secondary/data drive. You'll spend a lot more time trying to clean it than you would reformatting, and even a thorough cleaning will never get all of the crap out. That machine has good specs still, so it'll be like brand new after a fresh load.
Thanks everyone for your valuable time and advice. I ended up installing Spybot and it cleaned things up nicely (and free as well!). The machine is now faster and has gone all day without locking up! I will probably still go with the new drive and fresh install.
If the system reinstall(from scratch) does not solve the BSOD issue, you might be looking at overheating(due to dead cpu/case fans or dusty heatsinck/vent grills), blown capacitors, or one of the interface card problem.
Memtest 86 is the gold standard here. Its free you burn it to a CD, boot to the CD and run it. However I really doubt this is your issue. The guy that suggested it gave no explanation and used outdated terms (Upper memory was a DOS thing that has not been used in over 10 years)
Your problem is rogueware (Virus, Malware, etc) and a windows install that has been running for 5 years continually. No malware program can guarantee 100% cleanup and you really cant trust your computer again after an infection unless you format as many of these have rootkits, etc that hide themselves well. (Malware bytes should find more things than spybot S&D anyways). On the front page there is a sale on an external hard drive, buy that, backup your photos and other files and reformat. When doing the format do a full format of the drive (it will test the drive for bad sectors which is a good idea for a computer of this age. Get the newest drivers by going to dells website. Then run windows update to get to Service Pack 3 and then run it again to get caught up on patches since SP3.
You really do need a backup. With a computer of this age and especially one that has had hard drive sector problems in the past your just playing your chance with fate. This should be your #1 priority. Also think about an offsite backup as well.
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