Acer Aspire 5003WLMI locks up opening programs

  Gongoozler 11:53 10 May 2007

Hi folks. My elderly mother-in-law has an Acer Aspire 5003WLMI laptop which is wirelessly connected to the internet via a Netgear DG834G router. Recently it has started locking up when she tries to open a program about 1 in 3 boots. It still responds to the mouse but it's impossible to do anything else with it, and can only be turned off by pressing the power button for the requisite 4 seconds. Alt + control + delete brings up the Windows task manager, but this also hangs if I try to stop the non-responding program. Trying to move the task manager leaves a trail of task managers! Task manager shows very little CPU or PF usage. The laptop has Avast antivirus installed, but this hasn't revealed any problems. Neither has A-squared, MemTest or an online scan with Trend Housecall. HijackThis doesn't show any suspicious activity. I've disabled all non-essential startups and services via msconfig. I even tried briefly running without Avast, but nothing makes much difference. Before I try restoring with the backup disk can anyone suggest any new ideas for me to try.

  Gongoozler 16:38 10 May 2007

Reviewing my notes on this problem revealed that a frequent non-responding application was showing as SysFader. A Google search comes up with suggestions that this could be part of the Nvidia package or it could be a Windows process where it is known to cause application hangs. A suggested solution was to go to Display Properties - Appearance - Effects, and to remove the ticks from "Use the following transition effects for menus and toolbars", "Use the following methods to smooth edges of screen fonts", "Use large icons" and "Use shadows under menus". I'm not at all sure why any other than the first is related to SysFader, but I unticked them all anyway. So far it looks like I might have cracked the problem. I'll keep my fingers crossed and wait a few days before ticking this as resolved.

  Gongoozler 13:47 16 May 2007

Well, it's been nearly a week now and the laptop continues to behave perfectly, so I'll tick this as resolved and hope the information will help other forum members.
Of course I realise that as soon as I've posted with the tick something will go wrong ;-))

  Gongoozler 07:42 18 May 2007

"Of course I realise that as soon as I've posted with the tick something will go wrong"
Yes, something did go wrong. The computer wouldn't shut down. System restore only made things worse. It wouldn't accept the wireless WPA key. Reformatting, restoring to factory settings and reinstalling the software sorted it though.

  Gongoozler 20:21 20 May 2007

The problem appears to be connected with the "elderly mother-in-law" using the power switch to turn off. The default setting in Power Options - Advanced is for this to work, however the next start-up after switching off this way appears to be problematic. I have shown her how to use the Start - Turn Off Computer method, but as her left arm is very weak since she broke it, the power button method is much simpler. Does anyone have experience of this problem. Is it perhaps connected with Windows Automatic Updates?

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