Seemingly random halts - any ideas?

  davos 20:48 09 Sep 2003

I'd consider myself a fairly compitent Windows user, and have installed windows numerous times on various computers.

I recently decided it was time for a reforma on my home computer, and did so with all my hardware in the computer - yes, i know that wasn't a good idea!.

Once the computer was back up and running as it was before the reformat, i noticed that the computer now suffered from an intermitted hang, every 2-4 minutes, causing the foreground application to stop responding to clicks for about 4 seconds, whilst leaving the background applications running fine.

I attempted to track it using the task manager, only to find that during said halts, there is 99% System Idle process.

Having updated every driver i can imagine, to the latest version, and still having the same problems, i reformated again, this time with only a skeletal hardware loadout and added stuff bit by bit - as you're meant to. Yet STILL it has an intermittent hang.

It didn't do it before i started messing, so something has changed.

I've totally run out of ideas. Can anyone suggest anything?

  MichelleC 09:33 10 Sep 2003

What's your os?

  davos 09:41 10 Sep 2003

Win 2k Pro.

I've asked what feels like hundreds of people about this so far, and have honed my reponses, so heres other info that might seem necessary:

OS: win2k pro
Processor: Athlon XP2100
Mobo: MSI K6 333 ultra

During the reformat I also decided to swap about my hard-drives (1x30gig Maxtor, and 1x180Gig much, much faster Western Digital) into a proper master/slave configuration - not that windows notices anyway.
I thought the halts could be to do with the pedestrian drive trying to access the speedy one, but the halts occur when there is no disk activity, so that rules that out.

A friend suggested i use memtest86, in case my memory was fried: this tested itself all through the night and passed a clean bill of health.

Disk checks too, say that the hard-drives are 100% healthy.

  brian990 13:07 10 Sep 2003

It could be a problem with drivers, you did say you installed latest drivers...........

If the old drivers are not completely uninstalled this can cause various problems......

I had similar problems with drivers.....?

Not only had I to remove from ADD/REMOVE I also had to remove some old drivers from device manager, and reinstall new versions.


  seancblack 13:16 10 Sep 2003

have you installed any software/ hardware that has a registration requirememnt, I had a similar problem a couple of months ago, and it happened to be a scheduler (within processes in task manager) running in the background reminding me to register a TV card. (this scheduler was polling every 3 minutes)

  davos 14:14 10 Sep 2003

brian990: indeed i have installed the latest drivers. I had sorta hoped that the problem would be fixed once i'd upgraded all the drivers to the latest version, but no such luck.

If it were a driver issue, i'd expect to see disk/cpu activity during the halts, but theres none.

Seancblack: by coincidence, i do have a hauppage TV card, but it pre-dates the now commonplace practice of irritating registration nagging.
Besides, as i mentionned to brian990, if there *were* a process in the task manager doing all this, it would be visible when ordering by CPU usage - but like i say; during the halts, the CPU is always completely unused (99% idle).

Given that all applications appear to be affected by the glitch, i was expecting games to also be rendered unplayable. But I tried some pretty CPU-intensive online games last night, and never encountered a halt once...which was both odd, and telling.

My games are installed on the larger, faster western digital drive, whilst windows and applications reside on the smaller, slower Maxtor.

Dunno if this rings any bells, or if its even relevant.

  MichelleC 17:25 10 Sep 2003

How did you do the format, using fsdisc or not? It may be completely off track but when I fsdisced pc1 and installed w2k the running was different to pc2 where I didn't fsdisk 1st.

  davos 17:28 10 Sep 2003

I re-formatted the same way i've always reformatted - which is the same way that it had been formatted before i embarked on all this, and when it was running fine:- i format simply by booting off the 2k cd, and using the installation software to delete the partition that contains all the data on the C:, create a new partition, then install into that.

  MichelleC 18:06 11 Sep 2003

Ok, why not try fsdisking that partition 1st, then primary partition it, then format, then install w2k. It's another thing to try. The reason I think it MAY be a hd-linked-os issue is I had loads of probs with w2k going pearshaped on 2 pc's after changing hd letters (following procedure to the letter). Both os's couldn't be repaired, so I had to follow above procedure to install os on other hd's (to save data on 'c' drives.

  davos 09:40 12 Sep 2003

Hmmm. A good suggestion i think...but one which leads onto other issues:-

1.) I've got two hard disks - one 20Gig maxtor on which 2k is currently installed (NTFS "Basic disk"). And one 180Gig Western Digital, on which all my essential files are. The western digital is also NTFS, but is a "Dynamic disk" and already contains more data than i could backup to the Maxtor for formatting purposes.

Being dynamic, it can't be partitionned - instead you create 'volumes'.

Do you think the windows installation procedure will reconise a dynamic disk, given that dynamics disks are only understood by windows 2k, presumably only once installed? If so, this would allow me to install 2k onto the same disk as my the rest of my files. But the big question is: do you think this would solve my problems?

The only other alternative with a dynamic disk, is to revert it back to being a basic disk - but you can only do this by deleting all the data on it. Bah! Like i say, backups are completely out of the question.

2.) Your suggestion to primary partition the disk seems to be exactly what windows does anyway during the installation procedure. So i'm a little dubious that your method will work, especially given the almost uncountable number of times i've done this exact same method without ever having had problems before.

3.) What *is* fsdisk? I only know of the fdisk dos app, which is long-since defunct. Please elaborate.

  MichelleC 10:46 12 Sep 2003

Although I'm not to 'up' on hd's I suspect it's something to do with dynamic v basic setup and swapping around. w2k is only os to read dynamic, but as I mentioned there may be an idyosincracy with changing drives in w2k. Here's a few links (but you've probably trawled the net anyway:
click here

click here

click here

BTW Fsdisk is dyslexic for fdisk.

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