OT-WinXP the Ult. Evil

WhiskeyJack

Diabloii.Net Member
OT-WinXP the Ult. Evil

since no discussions involving hell is complete without our friends at MS, I am seeking some serious advice from any XP users out there. Essentially, about 2 nights ago, I noticed that roughly 2 gigs, yes, gigs of space suddenly cleared. The system seemed to continue running fine, I did a virus scan, turned up one spybot, chkdsk, fixed some minor file problems, and couldn't determine what went missing (you'd think 2 gigs would be sorely missed!). Long story short, while trying to determine more of what happened today, lots of file instabilities of the type 'cannot find xyz.exe' even though the file could be found by search and was found on the c-drive. I decided to try a system restore, but again, 'windows can't find the file'...so, I found it manually, and chose 'run-as' and turned off the little security feature, and it opened, then promptly died due to, yup, not finding a dll that a file search did find. so, no system restore.

so...how hosed am i? are we talking using restore disks back to pristine (reformat basically), or is there something I'm not finding or don't know (probably a whole bunch)?

thanks to anyone who has an idea (and no, i can't buy a mac at this time! :p
 

wildjinn

Diabloii.Net Member
Perhaps a defrag might reacquaint your system with the file tree? I don't know what's going on exactly, but i'll ask some friends to see if they have any ideas.
 

WhiskeyJack

Diabloii.Net Member
wildjinn said:
Perhaps a defrag might reacquaint your system with the file tree? I don't know what's going on exactly, but i'll ask some friends to see if they have any ideas.
tried that, and it's still not happy. when i try to open up programs, win can't find the rundll.exe. I search in 'find files' and can find it, but can't get it to run. under 'run as' there is the option to run without file security, so i turn that off, but it still doesn't want to go- I tried that option because that's how i got the help.exe file to run. I can get (as stated) the system restore to start up, but it fails because of a now missing dll file. For more info- sony vaio notebook, I do have the app, sys and driver restore disks, but the app and driver don't seem to have what I need. if i could reinstall the rundll.exe, taht might help, but i don't seem to ahve that option. what's left is the sys. recovery, which reformats to factory settings. not quite what I want to be doing, but if that's my only option, guess I'll have to (i've burned a bunch of files to cd in case i have to do that).

thanks again...let me know what you find out!
 

WhiskeyJack

Diabloii.Net Member
well, i got the 'file not found' fixed, but I still don't know what happened to free up such a large amount of memory. found a patch to fix the problem on the site 'annoyances.org' interesting place for any of you windows users out there.

cheers all
 

wildjinn

Diabloii.Net Member
good to see you got it worked out. a similar thing has happened to me when running some random cache cleansing scripts. If you like, I can keep asking around about it in case it happens again.
 

StellarDust

Diabloii.Net Member
Hmm, when you ran chkdsk/scandisk, did you let it scan through the disk sectors? It sounds to me that some sectors are broken and as a result files will be corrupted and your total hd size will shrink.

Hope this helps.
 

NSXdreamer

Diabloii.Net Member
I'd suggest you back up all the data you have, format and reinstall. You never know what damage this did, and chances are you won't know until you need the missing file the most.

Then, antivirus, firewall, spyware cleaner is pretty much the only thing you can do. (if you want to go software based firewall, zonealarm is the best)
 

Karmeus

Diabloii.Net Member
I'm not entirely sure whether what I'll say next can have that kind of effect, but isn't it so that with system restore on your PC keeps track of any changes you've made and "writes down" those changes into a big file. with any change that file would grow bigger and bigger and at some point reach a limit right? My guess would be that at that point Windows starts cleaning up the oldest changes since you were happy with them, otherwise you would have done that system restore a long time ago?

Like I said, I have no real clue whether that could be the case or not, but it's the only logical reason I can come up with this early in the morning and it seemed like a nice message for my 500th :teeth: Anyway, good luck Whiskey :) Personally I always have system recovery off... take too much of my precious resources
 

sorcererbob

Diabloii.Net Member
Did the file fail on startup? if so, you can type 'msconfig' in the run bit on the start menu. From there, you can disable any and all startup programs. Make a point of not taking out too many microsoft ones, it doesn't like that.
 

Borlag

Diabloii.Net Member
Hmm, I'm surprised no one's suggested this yet...

Do you perhaps share that computer with anyone else? And also, do you have anything automated on that computer, for example autoupdates and things like that? If I remember right, the default option in XP clears the harddrive out of all temp files and other unnessessary garbage periodically, maybe this is what happened to your computer? That surface scan is also a good option...

What all does the computer complain about? What programs run and what don't? Do you see any missing programs from the add/remove programs menu. Who knows, someone you share the comp with might've uninstalled something *shrugs*
 

Bahamut

Diabloii.Net Member
Temp Files can be safely removed. Important files wouldn't be inside the temp folder and in any other folder that is usually cleaned out from either... :)

I smell a HD problem, or perhaps a virus attack. Is you Anti-virus updated? If it's not update it ASAP ;) And yes I would also agree with you backing up you files... very important.

I have been using XP, I installed it, used it, not a problem. Even before with ME... So I guess lucky me?
 

WhiskeyJack

Diabloii.Net Member
wow...thanks for all the replies everyone! lots to think about...

*I ran scan disk as well as the error checking utility in the 'properties' tab, and didn't turn up anything. when I run scan disk, I always have it check sectors, etc, and not just files.

*Regarding system restore - I had not ever thought of it that way. It's a possibility.

*I don't share my laptop, so any problems are my screwups alone :p Also, I only use dial up, so I'm not running a firewall at the moment- I figure a slow connection isn't as nice a target for someone, especially since I'll disconnect within an hour usually. Does anyone still think I need one?

*I have updated my virus scanner (AVG) about 2 weeks ago. I did catch one worm/spybot, but that was it. The site I found the fix on also suggested that the problem was most likely virus driven.

*I burned all the files I thought I might want yesterday before I did any major investigations, just incase the system went pop, but I do appreciate the back-up reminder!

Specifically, what happened was that any direct opening of a program didn't happen. Ex- clicking the Excel shortcut resulted in 'file not found' even though the .exe file was in fact, there. However, excel could be accessed by opening a xls file. From what I read, it was an error somehow created in the regedit file, and the patch I used seemed to do the trick, so I'm assuming that was the problem. I've since done multiple scans, etc, and things seem to be ok.

This is actually the first serious problem i've had with XP, so I'm pretty happy. I've considered a re-install, but what I have are the laptop system restore cds from sony, and no real manual to speak of, so I'm a bit leery of doing it unless I have to for now. So, I'll see I guess...

again thanks all! cheers! :drink:
 

General Zod

Diabloii.Net Member
I would definitely be running a firewall at all times.

We have a super slow dial up connection at work, but our Norton Firewall is always busy blocking stuff, usually within minutes of getting online.

I would also suggest going to Norton's website and running an online virus scan. It is free, and it would give you a second chance to make sure that the computer is virus free.
 

NSXdreamer

Diabloii.Net Member
Scandisk really don't check for any errors besides the really really basics. If you use dialup only, then firewall may not be necassary, but a good spyware buster is always a good idea. Check out Spybot search and destroy, a really good free program.
 

Shade

Diabloii.Net Member
WhiskeyJack said:
This is actually the first serious problem i've had with XP, so I'm pretty happy. I've considered a re-install, but what I have are the laptop system restore cds from sony, and no real manual to speak of, so I'm a bit leery of doing it unless I have to for now. So, I'll see I guess...
Usually one of those 'restore CDs' will give you the option to reformat and reinstall (that's been my experience with 2 laptops so far), but you should check any documentation you can find (on occassion a pdf file somewhere) before doing anything with it.
 

WhiskeyJack

Diabloii.Net Member
Shade said:
Usually one of those 'restore CDs' will give you the option to reformat and reinstall (that's been my experience with 2 laptops so far), but you should check any documentation you can find (on occassion a pdf file somewhere) before doing anything with it.
The small amount of documentation I have pretty much states that using the system restore cds is only to reformat and return the laptop to 'from the factory' conditions in the event of a major software hosing.

As for spyware- I'm currently using a free version from Lavasoft, but I'll definitely check out the other one.

again, thanks everyone!
 

Bahamut

Diabloii.Net Member
Trend Micro Internet Security has done so much for me. Firewall, Spyware blocker, you name it's got it. :) THe basics it has... and is cheaper too :D

Well I am just starting up some recommendations for you to canvas on
 

DurfBarian

Diabloii.Net Member
When you're working on this machine and trying to fix it, you should unplug it from the network. Isolate it so you know all the problems with it are being caused by things on it, and not something else out there.
 
Top