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Is My Computer Dying?  
User currently offlineUA777222 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 3348 posts, RR: 11
Posted (8 years 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 2474 times:

I posted a topic earlier this week;

PC Computer Question (by UA777222 Dec 11 2006 in Non Aviation)

I've got a PC. A Dell XPS 200 to be specific. It's been acting weird for the past month or so. I have it so that when the screen saver goes on it requires a password to get back in. At times, like last night, I will just get up from the computer, turn off the lights and the monitor and when I wake up I find it with the screen saver on and have to go through the password routine. Today, like many other days, I turn my screen on to find that the computer is still sitting on my desktop. I have a computer alarm which wakes me up which leaves a box open but that doesn't open until 6am.

I also run Firefox. Does Firefox dump the cookies it stores after x amount of days? I find that some days I go to websites and the computer remembers where I've gone and other's it doesn't. I have my history to only 1 day keepers. Lastly, my screen flickers here and again, it's not the monitor either....


Now, I go to bed and turn my computer screen off and decide to get back up about an hour later to respond to an e-mail to find that my computer hasn't turned off, but logged myself out of my user. The background still flickers, and its only the background, not the Start Menu or lower bar....

Is my computer dying? Or just messed up? I also keep getting a notice in my outlook;

CiceroUIWndFrame: OUTLOOK.EXE - Unable To Locate Component
The Application Has Failed To Start Because MSCOREE.DLL Was Not Found. Re-Installing Might Fix This Problem

And this pops up every time I go to collect mail, open to write a new e-mail, and open Outlook to start with.

Thanks,

Matthew


"It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark."
8 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21521 posts, RR: 53
Reply 1, posted (8 years 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 2466 times:

I can't say for sure with Windows... but it might be any combination of malware, potential hardware defects and plain old Windows rot.

I'd propose the following:

- MAKE A THOROUGH AND COMPLETE BACKUP OF ALL YOUR FILES! I cannot stress this enough. It is the absolute most important aspect of computer security, bar none. If possible, burn new backup CDs or DVDs or alternate your backup media if you're using external harddisks or re-recordable media. Verify your backups periodically - don't wait to discover a bad backup until you actually need it.

- Get a good malware checker for Windows (beware - some malware poses as free anti-virus software!). Other posters will undoubtedly soon follow up with details.

- Try to check your hardware (RAM, harddisk etc.). Again, I don't know the respective Windows software, but you might have defective hardware acting up. Harddisks do wear out over time, but erratic behaviour like the one you described would probably not be a sign of that. Ill-seated or mis-specced RAM, however, might be a candidate.

- If none of the above helps finding the cause, your Windows may have decayed to the point that it may need a fresh re-install. It's a weird and unfortunate property of this OS, but it seems sometimes there's no good alternative to a full erase and re-install.

On every step, be very careful and if there is anything you don't understand, it's usually better to ask first than to take an avoidable risk.

For a replacement I'd seriously look at a Mac if I were you, but maybe the existing problem can still be remedied at this point.


User currently offlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 6118 posts, RR: 14
Reply 2, posted (8 years 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 2443 times:

Mscoree.dll is a file used for .NET. If it's just begging for that DLL, there are reputable, free places that you could download it from. Check the file for viruses after you download it (it will be in .zip format, which both Mcafee and Norton scan during download.) Backup the original file, (which, in this case is in windowssystem32 ) and then put that freshly downloaded one in.

I've been having to do the same thing for Windows programs running under WINE in Linux, especially those that require MS C++ and VB libraries, just so a program will install or even run.

And to reiterate what Klaus said—back up your files. I don't care what OS, chip, or size hard drive you have. Back up those important non-replaceable files.



Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlineUA777222 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 3348 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (8 years 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 2397 times:

Thank you all for the input. Also, does an optical mouse (USB) move itself ever? I find myself looking at something and the mouse will suddenly jump to the other side of the screen......

Thanks,

Matthew



"It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark."
User currently offlineWSOY From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (8 years 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 2381 times:

There's no such thing as a Windows rot, it's a myth of the gravest sort. There's quite simply a hardware failure. Klaus is a Mac user and has never seen a proper hardware failure. It's most likely the RAM that's offending. Find the following piece of software 3Dmark2001 (free download). Leave it on for the night in the looping Demo (or Benchmark) mode. This is a test that never fails me in the sense of verifying everything is ok, and will crash at the slightest hint of bad hardware.
I'm stressing again to anyone: do not redeploy your Windows installation before testing your hardware! Or, what do I know, it could be you're one of the folks whose time has got absolutely no value.

[Edited 2006-12-15 19:31:29]

User currently offlineChrisI1024 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 2362 times:

CiceroUIWndFrame is a component of Microsoft Office Alternative User Input. If you have Microsoft Office, try reinstalling it without Alternative User Input.

User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21521 posts, RR: 53
Reply 6, posted (8 years 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 2356 times:

Oh my. Go trolling somewhere else. You're still posing alternatingly as a teenager and as a middle-aged technician and you've previously declared that you're only in here to stir up trouble and to lie to everybody, so excuse me if I wouldn't recommend anybody to put any kind of trust in your statements.

For UA777222's benefit:

Quoting WSOY (Reply 4):
There's no such thing as a Windows rot, it's a myth of the gravest sort.

One which closely correlates with the daily experience of millions of Windows users, apparently, experienced administrators among them.

I've fortunately never had to deal with Windows that intensely, but hey - who am I to tell them all they're just seeing things?

Quoting WSOY (Reply 4):
There's quite simply a hardware failure.

Possible, but with those symptoms not very likely. Behavioural problems like the ones he told smell a lot more like a malware infection. A hardware failure (especially one affecting the RAM) would much more likely manifest as data damage and intermittent system crashes ("blue screens of death" prominently among them). But that's apparently not what's happening.

Quoting WSOY (Reply 4):
Klaus is a Mac user and has never seen a proper hardware failure.

Yeah - isn't that telling you something there...?  mischievous 

I've had quite a bit of experience with hardware defects outside of my own desktop or laptop computers, however, so I sort of know what I'm talking about...


User currently offlineUA777222 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 3348 posts, RR: 11
Reply 7, posted (8 years 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 2340 times:

Quoting Klaus (Reply 6):
Oh my. Go trolling somewhere else. You're still posing alternatingly as a teenager and as a middle-aged technician and you've previously declared that you're only in here to stir up trouble and to lie to everybody, so excuse me if I wouldn't recommend anybody to put any kind of trust in your statements.

Huh?

Quoting Klaus (Reply 6):

Possible, but with those symptoms not very likely. Behavioural problems like the ones he told smell a lot more like a malware infection. A hardware failure (especially one affecting the RAM) would much more likely manifest as data damage and intermittent system crashes ("blue screens of death" prominently among them). But that's apparently not what's happening.

I've gotten the screen of death a few times. No time recently. Probably 4 times about 7-3 months ago. That normally starts with a VM Shortage and then it's downhill from there, I've had that happen before on a past computer. But that went away, like I had said.

Thanks guys,

Matthew



"It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark."
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21521 posts, RR: 53
Reply 8, posted (8 years 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 2333 times:

Quoting UA777222 (Reply 7):
Huh?

Sorry, I hadn't seen Chris' post; WSOY had exposed himself to me in an earlier thread. And yes, the experience was about as appetizing as it sounds...!   

Quoting UA777222 (Reply 7):
I've gotten the screen of death a few times. No time recently. Probably 4 times about 7-3 months ago. That normally starts with a VM Shortage and then it's downhill from there, I've had that happen before on a past computer. But that went away, like I had said.

In context with a VM shortage it would seem somewhat plausible. From your description it does indeed sound primarily like a software-related fault.

Which could mean a whole range of things, starting at an inadvertent misconfiguration, including damage to the system due to an application malfunction or a system crash (in the process damaging the harddisk structure) or infection by malware and potentially a bunch of other similar causes.

Quoting UA777222 (Reply 7):
Thanks guys,

No problem - just be sure to
- make a complete backup of all your documents and other data
- perform a thorough disk structure check
- then apply one or more reputable(!) malware checkers

These would only be the first steps. If they all complete without indication of an existing fault, further investigation would be necessary.

[Edited 2006-12-15 23:49:50]

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