Random Tech Questions you want answered.

Seems like every other boot locks up after I log onto windows while the desktop is loading.

The fact that it's every other boot nudges me toward hardware as a possible issue. Have you checked the system event log? Right click My Computer and click Manage, or go to Control Panel/Administrative Tools/Computer Management. Go to the Event Viewer category and expand it, expand Windows Logs, and click on System. There will be a huge list of things -- look for red icons indicating problems. It's sorted by date/time, with the newest entries first, so you don't have to go too far in the list to get an idea of what's going on.

Another possibility would be some network service that's failing to contact the mothership (perhaps even malware); it might be interesting to try booting without the network connected a few times to see if anything changes.

Is there a malware detector more preferred than others? I have malwarbytes and it's showing clean.

mwb does a decent job, if I suspect something might be hiding from that I'll sometimes give a run through trend micro housecall, and maybe something rootkit specific like sophos anti-rootkit scanner

of course all such things require being kept up to date since there are constantly new threats out there.

Ugh.. ok. rebooted 2x with no networking and no problems.. so that means something is trying to contact the mothership..which is.. concerning.

Again MWB doesn't show anything. What else should I be trying?

if you have a home network probably best to leave that infected machine disconnected for the time being, try getting some portable options via a clean machine to run on the infected machine in safe mode;
spybot search&destroy portable
perhaps

Well i take that back.. i just booted no networking and still hung.. first time I've ever been relived that my computer didn't succesfully boot to windows.

I'm going to give myself the benefit of the doubt and presume I did not install something unwanted.. as crazy as that may sound. I'm really very careful with this machine, and I have no kids or anything that could mess with it.

I ran trend and MWB again, nothing.

As far as system event log goes, there are some errors.. but its the same 2 or 3 recurring errors that have been occuring as far back as 2 or 3 months ago and this problem just started happening.

but its the same 2 or 3 recurring errors that have been occuring as far back as 2 or 3 months ago and this problem just started happening.

What are the errors? There's a ton of data in most of those logs... you can probably ignore most of it. Just tell us enough to give us a clue what the system is complaining about.

Basically, the big first question that needs to be resolved is this: are you having a hardware problem, or a software one? Once we can nail that down, proceeding from there will be much easier.

is there a dust and dirt proof keyboard or keyboard cover that still provides a decent typing and input experience?

Well, the Topre mechanisms are extremely dirt-resistant and durable, because they're basically super-cool rubber domes with springs underneath. As I understand it, the keyboard underlay is a single solid sheet of thick rubber. You press down on the rubber domes, which compresses the springs, triggering a capacitative sensor. There's no direct coupling between the crud on the top and the sensor mechanism underneath, so to whatever degree a keyboard can be dirt-proof, the Topre is probably it.

The Topre Type Heaven is the cheapest option I know of, at about $150 on Amazon. You can spend as much as $300 on the better models; the higher-end ones come with variable keystroke weights, PBT keycaps, and are incredibly solidly constructed. I don't think you can buy those on Amazon, though, you have to chase them down at specialty keyboard retailers.

Banks often use Topre mechanisms for their teller stations, because they're just so crazy durable.

Note that they take awhile to break in, about a month or so. They start out feeling kind of nasty and uncomfortable, but after awhile the rubber breaks in, and they start making this very characteristic "thwock" sound. They get very comfortable to type on, super easy on your fingers for the marathon sessions. The springs give them a nice bounceback at the bottom of the stroke, so your fingers aren't slamming into the board in the same way. This isn't something you notice right away, but after you've been typing for thirty minutes or an hour, your fingers being more comfortable than usual will creep into your awareness. (at least, it does for me.)

Hitman Pro gets a ton of registry things and cookies that MWB misses. For me it is a great combo. (hitman + MWB)
I believe there is a free 14 or 30 trial.
I bought a single seat 3 year license for ~$25

Thought you meant Hitman Go for a second... I was confused.

Malor wrote:
but its the same 2 or 3 recurring errors that have been occuring as far back as 2 or 3 months ago and this problem just started happening.

What are the errors? There's a ton of data in most of those logs... you can probably ignore most of it. Just tell us enough to give us a clue what the system is complaining about.

Basically, the big first question that needs to be resolved is this: are you having a hardware problem, or a software one? Once we can nail that down, proceeding from there will be much easier.

OK.. well I'm getting closer. I'm pretty sure its networking related, but not sure why. Here's what I've been able to do.

1) Boot into safe mode with Networking. No problems, windows doesn't hang
2) Using msconfig if I boot with only "Load System Services" checked under selective services. No problems windows doesn't hang
3) Using msconfig if I start turning on "Startup items" then things start to hang. What's driving me crazy is that there is no rhyme or reason what startup items cause it to hang or not. I check one item.. it boots fine. I add a second item it hangs . If I remove that item and check a different one, it hangs. Sometimes it doesn't hang.. but then I reboot again with just those few items and it hangs.

The reason I'm thinking its networking is I've now turned on all little tray icons., and if the Network icon appears, then everything works fine. When it hangs, that icon doesn't even show up at all, which I assume means I'm not connected to the network at all. Unfortunately because windows is stuck, I can't open a command window or anything else to confirm.

I suppose there's a chance that either a cable, or the connector or something is bad, so its causing the network driver to not load properly, but if that's the case why would it work 100% of the time in safe mode or if I boot only with "Load System Services"? There was one time when it was hanging, I reset the router and lo and behold windows finished its logon.

Not sure if that gives any better hints, but that's where I am now.

Sorry I don't remember from earlier in this thread, did you already do a RAM test?

Memcheck was clean. I did download hitmanpro and it did pick up a few tracking cookies and one ask.com annoyance that may have been in the registry. I can't imagine that was the culprit but who knows.

RIght now I'm booting with only system services, and a few select items turned on and its booting fine. Maybe I'll start turning on more startup items soon.

Carlbear95 wrote:

Memcheck was clean. I did download hitmanpro and it did pick up a few tracking cookies and one ask.com annoyance that may have been in the registry. I can't imagine that was the culprit but who knows.

RIght now I'm booting with only system services, and a few select items turned on and its booting fine. Maybe I'll start turning on more startup items soon.

Disable the network hardware in your BIOS. Then do some test runs on the machine for a while. It might even be worth buying a cheap network adapter to see if introducing that makes the problem come back.

I suppose there's a chance that either a cable, or the connector or something is bad, so its causing the network driver to not load properly,

Well, since you've memchecked (my next suggestion), then I'm thinking in the same vein that Lou is, that perhaps something is wrong with the network hardware. See if disabling that brings you back to semi-normal.

From there, you've kinda got one of two choices. The first would be to try a fresh Windows install, preferably on a separate drive, to see if you can duplicate the problem with a vanilla setup. The very best way to do this would be by pulling the existing drive completely, and using a different drive to install and test with... this means that you don't change anything about your current setup. Any OS install with the existing drive still attached will probably make changes to your existing setup, which is something I always worry about if I don't have a couple layers of safety net.

At that point, if it fails again, and especially if it works without network hardware enabled, then you've got a fairly precise diagnosis, and can just add a $30 aftermarket network card. (Intel makes some of the best, and their drivers are outstanding.)

The second option is skipping all that, and just trying a new network card directly. There's a fairly good chance you'll end up with a spare card that doesn't actually fix the problem, but you could save yourself a whole bunch of time. The best approach depends on how you value time versus money.

Yeah, a 3rd party network card to test was the next thing I was thinking of, or maybe uninstall/reinstall the windows networking driver?

Twice in the last three months I think, my computer has wonked out on me. I sit down at the computer, and my display is all black, except for a "Start" button in the top right of my primary display that looks like it's from the 90s Windows look-and-feel. I can't see my pointer, but if I right click, the standard desktop right-click menu pops up where that "Start" button was, the whole screen turns white, and my pointer shows up. I can't click anything, or at least I can't see that I'm clicking anything, Ctrl-Alt-Delete doesn't seem to do anything, so my only recourse has been to reboot/shut down. I usually chalk up any first-time incidents as anomalies, but it happened for the second time last night, so I'm asking if anyone knows what may be up. When I restarted my computer today, I got the "Windows did not shut down correctly" message, and it did a "Windows is configuring updates" thing when I booted normally, not sure if that had something to do with it. Reliability Center doesn't show anything recent that would suggest this weirdness.

I don't know if it's graphical, motherboard, Windows being stupid, a rogue/buggy program (I suspect my previous Windows woes were caused by CCleaner), or something else entirely. For completeness, I'm running Windows 7 with the latest updates, my motherboard is an MSI Z87-G45, my CPU is an Intel Core i7 4770K, and my graphics card is an MSI GeForce GTX 980 Ti running a dual monitor display (I have an Asus Full HD monitor hooked up via DP to HDMI, and an Acer WQHD monitor hooked up via native HDMI, the Asus is what the BIOS thinks is the main display until Windows starts). Any help would be appreciated.

I'm BSODing at Windows startup (Windows 10); I installed a Windows update Tuesday evening, and now I can't boot into Windows. I get an Unexpected Kernel Mode Trap error, and I can't seem to do any recovery. A restore point won't restore, going into startup options on the repair screen I can access locks up when I try to choose safe mode, just F4ing into Safe Mode does nothing but lead me to the same BSOD; I don't really want to do a full Windows restore at this point, but not sure what options I have. Any suggestions?

Visio saves a file to a location. I manually open that folder... no file. I open up the location again in visio.... the file is there.

Any fixes or is this just a fun quirk?

manta173 wrote:

Visio saves a file to a location. I manually open that folder... no file. I open up the location again in visio.... the file is there.

Any fixes or is this just a fun quirk?

Any chance this is a VirutalStore issue?

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817...

If Visio doesn't have access to the folder in question, Windows fakes it out and saves to somewhere under your user folder.

Try and save it to your desktop and see if it shows up.

fangblackbone wrote:

Try and save it to your desktop and see if it shows up.

It does not. I was able to save to a USB stick and pull it up on another computer with the same issue if that gives any clues.

I don't think it is a VirutalStore as the program was installed with windows on this PC and has not been removed. This is a work computer where I do not have admin control. (I am not sure if that matters.)

VirtualStore comes into play when the app does not have admin rights and attempts to save to a place it's not allowed. Being installed with Windows doesn't matter, it's about permissions of the account it's running under.

But saving to your desktop should always be possible and should never involve VirtualStore (AFAIK).

Ahhhh learned something new.

I've been trying to figure out why Rocket League on my PC has had lag issues over the past few weeks, and short of doing a fresh install of Windows 10 (which I think the system is due for) I'm at the point where I think I might need to start replacing network components.

My router (Linksys WRT160N v3) is 5-6ish years old and has been running continuously for years. About 4 years ago I flashed it with the then-latest version of DD-WRT, which (from what I can tell) has served well. But today I have 4-5x as many wi-fi devices on the network, and while I had the time to fiddle with DD-WRT and every router setting back in the day, today I just want something that works well out-of-the-box with the option for tweaking if I want.

I'm looking at the Netgear AC1750 pick from The Wirecutter as it's relatively inexpensive but has some features that I'd probably enable down the road (QoS, VPN). Any major pros/cons to this router besides what's covered on The Wirecutter?

Second, I have an inexpensive USB wireless-N adapter plugged into my primary Windows 10 desktop. As much as I would prefer to route about 30 feet of ethernet cable from the living room to the office, it's not a practical solution for the rest of the family. Does anyone have any recommendations for wireless adapters or receivers?

I have a strange issue. On my main PC my Razer mouse will freeze for a second or two randomly constantly. But it only happens if it's plugged into a USB hub. I have swapped out USB hubs and it still happens as well as Razer mice and it still happens. It only seems to affect my x99 PC and not a Z710.

So weird. USB hubs are 3.0 and powered. Maybe I should try a 2.0 hub?

Weird. I assume Windows is not doing the USB plugged/unplugged sound or adding new hardware popup each time? Does the hub have other traffic going through it or have you tried to unplug everything else from the hub but the mouse?

T-Prime wrote:

Second, I have an inexpensive USB wireless-N adapter plugged into my primary Windows 10 desktop. As much as I would prefer to route about 30 feet of ethernet cable from the living room to the office, it's not a practical solution for the rest of the family. Does anyone have any recommendations for wireless adapters or receivers?

You might want to look into power line networking.

TheGameguru wrote:

I have a strange issue. On my main PC my Razer mouse will freeze for a second or two randomly constantly. But it only happens if it's plugged into a USB hub. I have swapped out USB hubs and it still happens as well as Razer mice and it still happens. It only seems to affect my x99 PC and not a Z710.

So weird. USB hubs are 3.0 and powered. Maybe I should try a 2.0 hub?

Try turning changing the power settings on the USB Root Hub in device manager? This "sleep" seems to override standard power settings and cause problems I had a similar issue, and it resolved.